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Means Girls 2004 VS 2024, The Biggest Differences and Similarities

Back in 2004, Cady Herons' who was being home-schooled finally stepped into North Shore High School in Illinois only to meet the Plastics, a trio of high-school brats led by Regine George. Hailing from rich and illustrious families, Cady was a misfit but soon enough found herself as the coolest kid in school and prom queen and soon becomes caught up in the social ladder of her new school.

The movie went down in history to be one of the most iconic films for every 90's kid. It became an everlasting cultural phenomenon when it hit the big screen in 2004. Known for its iconic Jingle Bell Rock Winter talent show sequence, "on Wednesday's we wear pink," so fetch!, and On October 3rd, he asked me what day it was, the movie today is a cult.

20 years later, the iconic Menan Girls movie has been recreated. While the movie has many references from the 2004 film including the burn book, Jingle Bells Rock performance, everyone’s favourite one-liners, some returning cast members, costumes and characters; the new movie is a musical remake. In addition, it adopts the newer norma of society, Cady has a single mom, Janis is openly queer, Ms Norbury and Principal Duvall are dating and Gossip is spread through social media. Overall, Mean Girls (2024) embraces meta-humour, calling out sex, feminism, bullying, and social standards more explicitly and engagingly. Social media will play a bigger role in the plot of Mean Girls (2024), highlighting its influence in spreading rumours and giving bullies power outside of school hours.

Meet The New Cast

The new cast fits well into the characters of the old movie. Though it does feature Janis and Damian as pseudo-narrators, rather than Lindsay Lohan's Cady, who narrated the 2004 movie.

So what does the new film offer? Touted as not your mother's 'Mean Girls,' the updated version is described as a combination of the 2004 teen movie and the Broadway musical that debuted in 2018. The new film focuses on new morals, values and a more inclusive society. Single-parents, queer relationships and social media takes a spotlight in the film. Unsurprisingly, for an early 2000s movie about popular high school girls, Mean Girls is incredibly white and incredibly thin. Of course, there’s still some diversity, especially where Janis, Damian, and Kevin G. are concerned. However, in addition to incorporating Black, South Asian, and Polynesian actors into the main cast, the film does a much better job than the original at representing a whole host of body types. Plus, in this film, Janis is actually a lesbian.

The Key Differences

While the movie was a cult favourite in 2004, with the immense change in society some of the jokes, stereotyping and cancel culture from the OG Mean Girls definitely wouldn't fly in 2024, and even a mean girl like Regina George is sensitive to certain groups. Here is how the new movie differs from the original.  Many of those one-liners from the original film made it into the new version, mixed in with musical numbers from the Broadway show.

Cady has a single mom

Promoting the concept of single parents, Cady is brought up by a single mom In the 2004 movie, Cady's parents are research zoologists whose work took them to Africa for years. The new film makes no mention of Cady's dad but Cady's mom is still a researcher in Africa who accepts a job at Northwestern. However, the film decides to take Regina in a softer direction as the story pans out, but we like the OG!

Janis is lesbian

Living in a world where we celebrate pride month, outcasting Janis as a lesbian wouldn't be right. The 2004 version of the film depicted a subtle tension between Janis and Regina George especially with Regina's accusation of Janis being a lesbian. the storyline tiptoed around Janis' identity by using "Lebanese" as a descriptor and through Regina's joke made during the gym assembly where she says, "It's her dream… Jumping into a pile of girls!" This new film shows Janis as openly queer and it also added more backstory to the duo's relationship. In the 2024 adaptation, the pair were best friends in middle school and had matching plush toys. When Janis came out to Regina, they both put gay pride pins on their toys in solidarity. Damian tells Cady that Janis and Regina even kissed during a game of Spin the Bottle, but it turns out that Regina only did it to get attention from a guy named Kyle. It seems that Janis' reasoning for her revenge stems from potential romantic feelings for Regina and the betrayal she felt after.

Coach Carr does not have affairs with students

Coach Carr's various affairs with students, for which he was exposed at the end of the original film has been aptly removed from the new version. In the latest version of the film, Coach Carr is simply a teacher who sticks to his roles.

Ms Norbury and Principal Duvall are dating

The original film drops hints that Principal Duvall has a little crush on Ms. Norbury, but Mean Girls never offered Tina Fey's Ms. Norbury a happy ending, with the chronically single math teacher needing to move forward with her story. But the new adaptation solved it with Ms. Norbury now dating Principal Duvall and it is subtly revealed during the gym assembly scene when they whisper about chores.

The winter talent show Regina's downfall

In the '04 movie, the Plastics' Jingle Bell Rock is associated with the downfall of Regina Army of Skanks, once Gretchen kicks the boombox in Jason's face. In the new movie, Regina is humiliated as she tumbles during the performance—and even prompts TikTok commentary from Coach Carr.

Social media

The OG Mean Girls movie had little to no mention of social media, and probably because it was NOT a big deal. But now with social media transforming every aspect of life, in the new Mean Girls we could see how easily it can be used to spread the rumours/lies from Regina's Burn Book. It could also be used as a source of power, with the Plastics abusing social media to assert dominance over everybody at school outside of school hours. Additionally, the film will call out how quickly fashion trends start from someone else's experience, like Regina's spoiled make-up turning into a TikTok-like trend.

Cady, Janis, and Damian’s iconic revenge plan is altered

Mean Girls (2024) ditched the revenge plan that saw Janis and Damian cutting holes in Regina's shirt. Instead, it saw a new plan where the trio doused Regina in water in front of the whole school. But the result has remained unchanged, with the school still embracing Regina's style and going for the wet look instead of tops with giant holes.

The Recreated Scenes

While there are differences, and even in terms of fashion which seems most high-street as opposed to couture, some similarities remain. The burn book, The Winter Talent Show, October 3rd and The Halloween party.

While the new film adapts to modern-day life, can the new film replace the cult Mean Girls? For the 90’s kids, it would probably be a no!


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