Almost 20 years after the release of the film and less than a month before the U.S. Presidential election in November, the cast of Mean Girls reunited via videoconference to encourage people to get out the vote. Organized by journalist, TV host, and author Katie Couric, the reunion brought together Tina Fey, Lindsay Lohan Lacey Chabert, Amanda Seyfried, and Tim Meadows, among others. They talked about the film, teased the possibility of a follow-up, and of course, drove home the importance of participatory democracy in a country where voter turnout is fairly low. The Mean Girls video is one of a number of voter-awareness stunts launched by the pro-voting nonprofit Headcount.org in recent weeks.
The U.S. trails most developed countries in voter turnout, with only about 55% of the voting-age population turning out to vote in the 2016 Presidential election. Off-cycle elections (when the presidency is not on the ballot) tend to draw even fewer voters. Comparably, the U.S. ranks 25th out of 35 nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
There are common institutional barriers to voting, including campaigns by major political parties to disenfranchise voters seen as more likely to vote against them, that mean the number of votes counted in the U.S. is also typically smaller than the number of votes cast. Potential solutions, aimed to increasing turnout and driving faith in the electoral process, tend to be proposed around the time of an election or shortly after, when the issue is in the zeitgeist, but forgotten soon after as Democrats and Republicans fail to come to terms on how such policies would be implemented.
As such, it falls to non-profit organizations (and sometimes celebrities) to try to drive turnout in creative ways.
You can see the video below.
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Something fun for this tumultuous time. Thanks to all of you, we reached our goal with @headcountorg to get over 5,000 voter activations! To celebrate that - Tina Fey and I got the whole gang back together for a Mean Girls Reunion! Happy #MeanGirlsDay 😃 PS: It’s exactly 1 month from election day so please please make sure you are registered and have a plan to #vote on November 3rd - it’s so important! We can still keep the momentum going - head over to the link in my bio to learn more. @lindsaylohan @mingey @thereallacey @anagasteyer @whatsupdanny @jonathandbennett @rajivsurendra @headcountorg @meangirls @meangirlsbway
Mean Girls -- which earned $130 million globally on a $17 million budget and helped make Tiny Fey a household name in the years just prior to the launch of 30 Rock -- was an immediate cult classic. The movie has achieved that status where even those who haven't seen it, know at least a handful of the jokes from ubiquitous internet memes.
"It would be fun to play Regina George later in her life and see where life took her," the film's antagonist, Rachel McAdams, said during a recent Q&A session as part of the Heroes of Health: COVID-19 Stream-A-Thon.
In Mean Girls, Lohan's Cady was a new girl at school who found herself singled out for harassment by the Plastics -- a clique often compared to the Heathers from Heathers. The film was partially based on Rosalind Wiseman's 2002 self-help book, Queen Bees and Wannabes, which dug into the sociology and psychology of high school cliques and the damaging impacts they can have on girls and young women.
There actually was a sequel to Mean Girls -- made in 2011 and released on ABC Family before heading to DVD. The film felt almost like a remake of the original, with different characters but basically the same personalities populating the high school -- which itself could be a commentary on cliques and high school life, if you wanted to take it that way. The only direct tie the film had to the original (besides calling the popular girls "Plastics") was Saturday Night Live veteran Tim Meadows, who reprised his role as Principal Ron Duvall. In 2018, there was a musical adaptation of the film.