Why Is Mean Girls So Quotable?

The best answer to any question.
Jan. 8 2014 8:22 AM

Why Is Mean Girls So Quotable?

Mean Girls
Tina Fey in Mean Girls

Still via Paramount Pictures

This question originally appeared on Quora.

kdonahue

Answer by Katy Donahue, Georgetown senior:

Advertisement

Mean Girls is a cornerstone of the collective "millennial" (or whatever your preferred term is) cultural references. Its enduring place as a cultural reference is due to many factors, mostly surrounding its quotability—it has survived, 10 years later, because people are still constantly quoting it. Here are some reasons for its quotability, which is the major reason for its cult status:

It's funny. Written by Saturday Night Live alum Tina Fey, it features many one-off lines and situations that are hilarious.

It's distinct. The lines from Mean Girls are distinct enough to stick in your mind—lines such as "Her father invented Toaster Strudel" are specific enough to make them easy to remember and repeat.

It's accessible and universal, at least to girls of a certain age. Bullying in middle and high school and power dynamics among female friendships are almost unilaterally experienced by girls and young women, so quotes such as "You can't sit with us!" are not only easy to connect to, but most importantly easy to reuse in everyday life, which reinforces its cultural status.

It's a female movie in an era of cultural comedies that were frequently male-focused (Anchorman, Zoolander, Wedding Crashers, etc). Most of the oft-quoted lines from the early 2000s were from male-dominated movies, so Mean Girls had the distinct advantage of a niche movie type, female-centric comedy, that easily catapulted it to the top of this nonexistent but necessary category.

More questions on Cult Films:

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
  Life
Gaming
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.