Tuesday, August 18, 2015
#WeirdEd Week 70- Mean Girls
Credit to #WeirdEd co-mod Shawna Briseno (@nolagirlfromtx) for both suggesting the movie for the chat and writing the questions. Why aren't you following her on the tweets?
Mean Girls is unique among the High School genre. It's a movie about high school, so it feels artificial because no one has high school dances and parties like that, but at the same time it lands a lot of blows right on the chin. Yeah, you've never been to a Halloween party quite like that, but you have heard those conversations. You knew those girls.
The movie is a cartoon, to be sure. The main villain gets hit by a bus at the end (spoiler alert). There's hallucinations where high schoolers become wild animals. Everyone is closer to an archetype than an actual character. But that works. It makes Fey's point brilliantly and cleanly. The cliques. The student-teacher relationship (no, not the coach-student one). The dead funny satire of high school life and social classes. Tina Fey feels like she pulled no punches and used a lot of what she never let go of from her own high school time.*
What can we learn about our kids and our teaching from Mean Girls? Aside from being drop dead funny most of the time, and almost painfully on point the rest of the time, we can dig deep into lessons about our kids and ourselves.
This is a movie that passes the Bechdel Test with flying colors as well, something that I never noticed until I started paying attention. The speaking percentages are basically the reserve of every other movie. There are three important men in the film- the love interest, the gay friend**, and the principal. The other men, the dad, the mathlete/DJ, and the coach, have few lines and little screen time. Tina Fey gets credit for a lot of things, but she can never get enough. (Side Note- if you haven't read Bossypants read it. Even better, she reads the audiobook.)
This week's chat is going to be so fetch. You're going to get a candy cane, not give one. But if you don't wear pink you can't sit with us. And yes, the more quotes you fit into your answers (and damn is this movie quotable) the more popular you'll be.
*Note- all writers do this. Remember that when you're friends with a writer.
**Not played over the top FLAMING gay, but still with gay signifiers. No more a stereotype than most of the other characters. In Hollywood this kind of restraint counts.