In celebration of the unsung heroes of "Mean Girls'"
Mean Girls is an undisputed classic (and soon to be a musical). It’s emblematic of the early 2000s, and it arguably represents the high point of Lindsay Lohan’s career (so far, at least!). The movie is endlessly re-watchable and is still being quoted on the reg (in real life and in memes and gif form) over a decade after its release. I, for one, have been dropping at least one Mean Girls-ism into daily conversation since the movie first graced our screens in 2004.
While we can all point to specific reasons why we adore the movie’s main characters like Cady Heron, Regina George, Janis Ian, and Damian Leigh, the allure of the movie goes much deeper than that. It’s filled to the brim with amazing side and background characters, with one-liners galore — and it’s no wonder, given that the amazingly talented and hilarious Tina Fey wrote the movie.
All of those small details and ace performances (even by the bit players!) make the movie the absolute gem that it is. In honor of the 12th anniversary of the movie’s release, we’re taking a look back at a few of the unsung heroes of Mean Girls, the minor characters who gave us some of the biggest laughs while appearing in the smallest doses.
She may not go to North Shore, but she certainly has a lot of feelings. After practically bringing Ms. Norbury to tears with her impassioned speech about wishing everyone got along like they did in middle school, Damian bursts everyone’s bubble by loudly interrupting and saying that Crying Girl doesn’t even go here. Thus, in her one quick scene, Crying Girl gives us two classic Mean Girls lines.
Bethany and her uber-expressive face actually have several amazing, subtle moments throughout Mean Girls. She’s the girl that Regina once (awesomely) punched in the face. Later, while Cady, Damian, and Janis are actively trying to destroy Regina, it’s Bethany who mistakes Regina’s bra-exposing cut tank top for a fashion statement and spreads that new trend around school. When Cady reaches peak Mean Girl, it’s Bethany, yet again, who mistakes Cady’s army pants and flip-flops for a fashion statement (oh, Bethany).
But her crowning moment arrives during the all-girl (plus Damian) pow-wow in the gym, when she complains about her need for super-jumbo tampons, thanks to her heavy flow and wide-set vagina. Girl, we hear you. The line isn’t even all that funny on its own, but her delivery and facial expression make that moment an instant Mean Girls classic.
Poor Principal Duvall and his carpal tunnel syndrome. And his nephew named Anfernee. And his unspoken love for Ms. Norbury. This guy is a hilariously delightful sad sack. Until the end, of course, when he gets to dance with his love interest. We’re supposed to be rooting for Cady and Aaron Samuels but I am 100% more into that Duvall/Norbury subplot, to be honest. And we’re still wondering what he did leave the South Side for, if not this…
Regina’s mom and her rock-hard fake boobs appear sporadically throughout the movie, but basically every time Amy Poehler appears onscreen, it’s a golden moment. This character is so amazing because she’s based in life — everyone has that one friend with the mom who thinks she’s the coolest, who bends over backwards to be “one of the girls” and allows her kid’s friends to break all the rules. Mrs. George is just perfectly and ridiculously over the top.
Kevin Gnapoor (“Kevin G”)
Cady saving the performance of “Jingle Bell Rock” is supposed to be the big moment in the winter talent show sequence, but who can argue that the Bad-Ass M.C.’s ridiculous and explicit nerd-gangsta rap isn’t one of the movie’s greatest moments? Kevin G. overzealously and aggressively hitting on Janis is, at first, a little icky, but she’s totally into him and his eccentric mix of math nerdiness and chest-puffery by the end. Where Janis Ian’s favor goes, so goes our nation.
We don’t even see this guy’s face during his big scene but he gets four candy canes, so you know Glen Coco is legit. His awesomeness also gives rise to what is arguably the most often-quoted line in all of Mean Girls — “Four for you, Glen Coco! You go, Glen Coco!” To this day, I still wonder what exactly Glen Coco did that was worthy of four candy canes. The man is a North Shore legend.
She gets barely a split second of screentime, but Regina’s little sister steals the show in that quick bit, shaking her butt to that 2003 classic, “Milkshake” by Kelis. That song is almost as emblematic of the early 2000s as Mean Girls is.
Girl who can spell Xylocarp
She’s just so happy about spelling xylocarp! And we’re so happy for her! Yay home-schooled girl! Yay xylocarp!
Coach Carr is a problematic fave because, well, he’s hooking up with under-aged high school girls. That said, it’s hard to argue that Coach Carr’s distressed plea to the kids about not touching each other (or else they’ll get chlamydia or get pregnant and die) isn’t one of the funniest, most off-the-wall moments in the movie. Bonus LOL points for his completely inaccurate spelling of chlamydia.
Joan the Secretary
Quiet, frazzled Joan the Secretary has two classic moments — when she bursts into Principal Duvall’s office to let him know that “the girls have gone wild,” following the break-out of “jungle madness,” and when she coyly puts her hand up when Ms. Norbury asks the junior girls if they’ve ever been called a slut. Joan the Secretary, we want to know all about your secret past life.
The moment of Regina’s comeuppance and her ostracizing from the Plastics is so ridiculously satisfying overall, but the icing on the cake is when Emma Gerber barks at Regina to watch where she’s going and calls her a fat-ass. Emma Gerber also puts Reese’s peanut butter cups on her sandwich and should be everyone’s hero.
Kristen Hadley’s boyfriend
Props to this kid for getting a girlfriend significantly out of his league and aggressively making out with said girlfriend in front of their class. Kristen Hadley’s boyfriend’s call to his mom during the “jungle madness” outbreak, asking her to come pick him up because he’s scared, is a hilarious moment amidst the chaos. He also votes for Cady for Spring Fling Queen because he thinks she pushed Regina in front of the bus, which is a wonderfully bizarre and dark throwaway line.
I mean, it takes a lot of confidence to 1) tell someone that they’re fat due to you hating them and 2) fearlessly back your wheelchair off of a platform straight into a group of girls. The gasps and Cady’s horrified reaction to Jessica literally crushing her classmates are the cherry on top of the cake.