Mean Girls Script Teardown

The Mean Girls script is widely known for being Tina Fey’s screenwriting debut and the foundation for a cult hit, but what are the things that make it work so well?

Let’s break down the Mean Girls script by looking at characters, quotes and story with the goal of finding the story’s major theme!

Mean Girls Script

Click to view and download the entire Mean Girls script PDF below.

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Mean Girls Script - Tina Fey Headshot - StudioBinder

WHO WROTE MEAN GIRLS SCRIPT?

Written by Tina Fey, based on a book by Rosalind Wiseman

Tina Fey is a writer, actor, producer and comedian who has worked in the entertainment industry for more than 25 years. After starting her career in Chicago at the Second City improv theater, Fey moved to New York to work at Saturday Night Live. In her nine years at SNL, Fey became one of the show’s forefront faces and first female head writer.

In the years since her work on SNL, Fey has pursued other projects in film, television and stage production.

STORY BREAKDOWN - MEAN GIRLS SUMMARY

STRUCTURE OF MEAN GIRLS SCREENPLAY

Here is the story structure for the Mean Girls screenplay:

Exposition

Cady is a sixteen year old girl who is about to go to school for the very first time. This is because she was homeschooled in her youth while she travelled the globe with her parents who study animals in the wild.

Inciting Incident

The “Spring Fling” dance is announced by former queen Regina. Cady’s new friends Damian and Janis tell her that Regina and her clique are “plastics”, AKA material girls that should be avoided at all costs.

Plot Point One

Cady is invited to eat lunch with Regina and indoctrinated into the “plastics”, which also includes Gretchen and Karen. Janis suggests that Cady conspire against them to expose how evil the group really is.

Rising Action

Cady develops a crush on a boy named Aaron and fails her math class so that he’ll “tutor” her. Aaron invites Cady to a party but when she shows up, he’s kissing Regina.

Midpoint

Cady plots to destroy Regina by getting Gretchen and Karen to turn on her. She also gives Regina fattening foods and foot cream for moisturizer so that she’ll become ugly.

Plot Point Two

In her quest to bring Regina down, Cady starts to lose her individualistic characteristics. She fractures her friendship with Janis and Damian and foregoes her commitment to the “Mathletes.”

Build Up

After turning everyone against Regina, Cady throws a party where she plans to express her true feelings for Aaron, but Regina crashes the party and Cady vomits on Aaron due to excess of alcohol and nerves.

Climax

Regina exposes a “burn book” that contains horrible insults. Although co-authored by the rest of the”plastics,” Regina frames Karen, Gretchen and Cady for abandoning her. This creates mass chaos in the school and a mandatory assembly.

Climax Part II

The girls at school are taught body positivity and how to support one another. This leads to a series of apologies, and ultimately the reconciliation of all of the damaged relationships.

Finale

Cady wins the Mathletes championship and Spring Fling queen. In a gesture of good faith, she shares the trophy with Regina, Gretchen and Janis.

Denouement

Flash forward and we see that Aaron and Cady are now together and that the rest of the characters found their own callings.

Mean Girls Script Takeaway #1

Mean Girls Quotes

The language and vernacular that a story’s characters use are massively important in building a believable film world. The Mean Girls script is no exception. The way that the characters in Mean Girls communicate with one another is realistic, even if it is exaggerated at times.

Mean Girls “Fetch”

We’ve all been here- well maybe not here exactly, but somewhere along these lines. At some point in our lives, we all think that something dumb is really cool and try to “make it happen,” whether it be a wardrobe decision, a hair style or a hot new catch phrase. 

In this case, Gretchen tries to use the term “fetch” to sound cool, but she fails miserably.

Regina Shuts Down “Fetch”

This is really the only time that we see Gretchen try to do something that’s independent from the group, and as she fails at doing so, it reinforces the theme of conformity.

Here are some other great quotes from the Mean Girls screenplay:

  • Don’t have sex. Cause you will get pregnant and die.
  • She is a little Gucci hoochie.
  • Do you have any massage oil that’s edible?
  • From my grades to my lines, you can’t touch Kevin G. I’m of the asian persuasion, so truly amazing. I drop the bomb rhymes on any occasion.
  • You wanna do something fun? You wanna go to Taco Bell?
  • I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but I only date women of color.
  • Every one of you is going to say something positive about the way you look.

MEAN GIRLS SCRIPT TAKEAWAY #2

Mean Girls - Characters

Since the theme of conformity is so pervading in the Mean Girls plot, we have to dive deep to see what’s really going on in the characters' heads. 

We know that Cady is a bright young girl who loves math and authentic relationships. Meanwhile Regina is an insecure girl who has no passions and prefers material possessions over emotional ones.

In this next scene, we see how Cady, Damian and Janis conspire against Regina by planning an attack on the things that make her “popular.”

The Takedown Plan

To takedown Regina, the group decides that they must strip of her popular characteristics, which are outlined in the script as:
  1. “Hot body”
  2. Older boyfriend
  3. Skanked-out clothes
  4. Army of whores

The whole middle act of the film is dedicated to bringing Regina down, but what do Cady, Damian and Janis hope to gain by doing so? Well as it turns out, all three are jealous of Regina’s social cache in one way or  another. Janis tells Cady that she can’t join the Mathletes because it’s “social suicide,” despite the fact that she seems to purposefully alienate herself from social groups.

Cady Sabotages Regina

This “catty” behavior causes tension and leads to the loss of character individuality.

Mean Girls Script Takeaway #3

Mean Girls Ending

The ending to Mean Girls is very strong, from climax to finale to denouement. This is because we see strong resolution on the theme of conformity and a surprising amount of depth in the motif of the “plastics.”

In this next scene, we see how the “plastics” come to terms with their own insecurity and superficiality.

Body Positivity Scene

Here, Ms. Norbury uses her wisdom to impart a great message to the girls of the school. Before this moment, all we’ve seen is that the school’s student body is a jungle, a metaphor for a vicious social scene. 

But Ms. Norbury tells the female students that they should be rallying together rather than trying to take each other down. She then calls for each student to say something nice about their body as a way of reinforcing body positivity.

Mean Girls Climax

This ending serves to set a positive example for young people who are struggling with insecurity, social anxiety and body dysmorphia. 

Each character takes this lesson to heart and uses it as fuel to find their own passion. Karen joins the marching band, Regina becomes an athlete, Cady focuses on her academics, and Gretchen- well Gretchen doesn’t quite make it out of her slump. But then again, everybody moves forward at their own pace.

Up Next

Read and Download More Scripts

Mean Girls features a sharp script and winning performances that makes an exceptional teen drama. If you want to read more great scripts, we have The Breakfast ClubStranger Things and The Social Network in our screenplay database. Great screenwriters read lots of scripts. Get started today!

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