Time, According to the New ‘Mean Girls’ Trailer

I'd like a word with whoever decided to include, "This isn't your mother's Mean Girls," at the beginning of the trailer, please.

Time, According to the New ‘Mean Girls’ Trailer
Screenshot:YouTube (Other)

On October 3rd, Aaron Samuels famously told Cady Heron that it was October 3rd. And on November 8th, the rebooted Mean Girls trailer told everyone who enjoyed the original 2004 comedy that they’re old as hell.

The trailer for the movie musical — which is a filmed version of the Broadway musical based on Tina Fey’s movie — was released this morning with two title cards that read “This isn’t your mother’s Mean Girls.” Okkaayyyy. To borrow a term from elder millennials, “let’s unpack this.”

First, I should say that my general reaction to the trailer was, “Wait, where are the songs in this trailer for a musical movie?” And it seems I wasn’t alone. Folks online who’ve seen the musical have noted that the songbook is decidedly, not fetch. Perhaps that’s why the movie musical is being marketed as, uh, not a musical.

Now back to the egregious ageism at play!! Just kidding, it isn’t really ageism but the generational framing the marketing team is doing here is arguably egregious. I was 14 when the original film came out and in the thick of my own IRL mean-girl tribulations because I was a freshman in high school. I’d say I was pretty much the prime age and audience (maybe slightly on the younger side) for the film starring Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, and Amanda Seyfried. For me to have a child who is now the target audience for this reboot starring Fey, Tim Meadows, and Renee Rapp, I’d have to have had a kid around 17. Not passing any judgment on folks who become parents at 17, but a movie franchise centered around teen girls should know teen pregnancy, as a whole, has decreased steadily since 2004! Who was that title card for?!

I’ll be the first to admit that millennials can be a little sensitive about our age. We spent the first half of our life being admonished by boomers for not curbing our latte addiction in order to take out a mortgage and now we’re battling off Zoomers who want to send us to the Hague for parting our hair on the side. Being bullied for not being able to own property and for brushing our hair wrong can help solidify an identity as a perma-kid and in general, give us some age-based anxiety. But, to kick off a seminal millennial movie by addressing our hypothetical daughters, who again, we cannot afford to have, really feels like twisting the knife.


But on top of the strange decision to neg an excited older audience…what does the marketing team even mean by “this isn’t your mother’s Mean Girls”??? Aside from some pretty gross casual racism, the 2004 movie was a sharp satire on the politics of teenage girldom that still feels pretty poignant to this day. The trailer features a lot of TikToks made by classmates and a gym teacher played by Jon Hamm, so maybe that’s what they’re getting at? They’ve discovered that I still haven’t fully embraced TikTok? But other than that, the trailer doesn’t offer much that seems radically different for a movie that is mostly a musical nostalgia grab. It just feels like an unnecessary dig at the generation that’s most likely to have their butts in theater seats come January 2024 when the movie is released…which I will be, because I’m not a regular mom, I’m a cool mom. And by “mom” I mean whatever the youngs mean when they use mom and dad as slang.

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