Mean Girls is one of the greatest teen comedies of the 21st century, which owes a lot to the former Saturday Night Live cast members also featured in the movie. Mean Girls (2004) follows Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan), a new girl at North Shore High School who, prior to her junior year, had been homeschooled her entire life. As she is introduced to the wild jungle of high school life, she becomes entrapped in both sabotaging and molding into the titular popular mean girls group, or “the plastics,” that include Regina George (Eurovision Song Contest star Rachel McAdams), Gretchen Wieners (Lacey Chabert), and Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried).
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Though loosely based on the non-fiction self-help book, Queen Bees and Wannabes, Mean Girls is primarily the brainchild of former SNL writer and actress Tina Fey. Mean Girls has held tight reins on the American cultural conscience since its premiere, even inspiring teens to wear pink to school on Wednesdays and celebrate October 3rd as “Mean Girls Day.” The movie’s commentary on high school pettiness, girl-on-girl backstabbing, and the importance of kindness at this crucial stage in life still hold water and impact those that watch it today.
Unsurprisingly, SNL was an instrumental aspect of Mean Girls’ success, including being produced by showrunner Lorne Michaels, written by Tina Fey, and starring several former cast members. SNL paved the way for some of the greatest comedy films and brands in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s under former cast members like movie star Will Ferrell and Adam Sandler, while also contributing to the success of major female-led comedies like Mean Girls and Bridesmaids. That said, here are all of the former Saturday Night Live cast members featured in Mean Girls.
Not only did Tina Fey write the screenplay and create the characters for Mean Girls, but she also plays the central adult character as Cady’s recently-divorced math teacher. Fey’s character, Ms. Norbury, serves as the moral conscience of the film, noticing all of the horrible things going on with the students and confronting Cady about her transformation from a nice, shy home-schooled girl to a mean, vindictive popular girl. Cady even accidentally spreads a rumor that Ms. Norbury sells drugs after pushing Cady to join mathletes and do better in school, which leads to an investigation. By the end of Mean Girls, Lindsay Lohan’s Cady and Tina Fey’s Ms. Norbury have made amends, and she appears to be possibly pursuing a relationship with Principal Duvall.
After a stint in Chicago’s improv comedy group, Second City, Tina Fey joined Saturday Night Live as a writer in 1997. By 1999, Tina Fey became SNL’s first female head writer, whereafter she began performing in sketches and co-hosting Weekend Update with Jimmy Fallon the following year. Fallon and Fey co-hosted Weekend Update for the next four years until he left the show and it brought in Amy Poehler as his replacement. While Fey’s performances on Weekend Update and sketches were well-received by critics and audiences alike, she left after the 2005-2006 season to develop her own comedy, the seven-series 30 Rock. Fey returned to SNL to host several times following her departure, including several guest appearances in 2008 to parody vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
While only seven years older than Rachel McAdams, Saturday Night Live veteran Amy Poehler plays Regina George’s mother. Tina Fey had actually written the role specifically for Poehler but was worried the director may not cast her because of how young she was at the time. While only playing a small part, Poehler’s Mean Girls role has taken on an iconic capacity of its own. Her 2000’s sweatsuit, in-arm chihuahua, overenthusiastic involvement with her daughter’s sex life, and support of the Christmas performance have become a staple for Halloween costumes and memorable cool-mom quotes.
Amy Poehler, who almost appeared in The Office, was a main cast member on SNL from 2001-2008 at the same time as Tina Fey. SNL tends to have iconic duos in different eras that collaborate on iconic skits and have an organic flow, including Dan Akyroyd & Steve Martin, Will Ferrell & Cheri Oteri, Kristen Wiig & Maya Rudolph, and Amy Poehler & Tina Fey. Poehler and Fey’s chemistry was most apparent when they co-hosted Weekend Update in 2004 and their recurring portrayals of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin, respectively, during the 2008 presidential election. Since their time together on SNL and Mean Girls, Poehler and Fey have also co-starred in Baby Mama, Sisters, and Wine Country.
Saturday Night Live veteran and Hubie Halloween star Tim Meadows plays the second lead adult, Principal Duvall, in Mean Girls. While quite oblivious to the real activities of the students and how to deal with the cattiness of teenage girls, Meadows is the adult that most often has to intervene and deal with the aftermath of the students’ antics. Having previously worked together on Saturday Night Live, Tina Fey actually wrote the role of Principal Duvall with Meadows in mind.
Tim Meadows is notable for being one of the longest-running cast members on Saturday Night Live, having been a part of the show for 10 seasons. Meadows was featured on SNL as an actor and writer from 1991-2000, overlapping for a few seasons with Tina Fey alongside other movie stars such as Mike Myers of Wayne’s World, which celebrated 25 years in 2017. As one of the few Black cast members at the time, Meadows commonly parodies Black celebrities and actors such as OJ Simpson, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jackson, and Tiger Woods. One of his only recurring SNL original characters was Leon Phelps, “The Ladies Man,” who was a horny talk-show host. Since his time on SNL, Meadows has been featured in several films written or starring his former cast members including multiple movies with Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, David Spade, and Tina Fey.
While not specifically written for a role like Poehler and Meadows, former SNL cast member Ana Gasteyer plays Cady’s mother, Betsy Heron. Gasteyer was a cast member on SNL from 1996 to 2002, appearing with all other former SNL actors featured in Mean Girls. Gasteyer starred in one of the most famous SNL skits, “Schweddy Balls,” as a radio co-host with Molly Shannon, providing a tongue-in-cheek episode about Alec Baldwin’s character’s Christmas desserts. Gasteyer also recurrently parodied Martha Stewart and Celine Dion. Following Saturday Night Live and Mean Girls, Gasteyer re-teamed with Fey and Poehler in the 2019 Netflix comedy, Wine Country.
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