- "Mean Girls" hit theaters in 2004, but some fans still might not have caught these fun details.
- There are a few spelling errors and fitting quotes on the chalkboards in Cady's classes.
- Hoop earrings become an important status symbol throughout the film.
Cady is almost hit by a bus when her parents send her off for her first day of school, which seems to foreshadow Regina's unfortunate bus accident toward the end of the film.
Cady also describes the feeling of seeing Aaron Samuels for the first time as getting hit by "a big yellow school bus."
The fictional school has a clearly defined mascot (the lions) and colors (blue and yellow), which can be seen on posters, gym uniforms, and letterman jackets throughout the movie.
The mascot fits nicely with Cady's frequent metaphors about the similarities between high school and the African savanna, seeing as lions are the kings of the animal kingdom.
When Cady bumps into Ms. Norbury on the first day of school, it causes the teacher to spill her drink and fumble a box of doughnuts.
When the drink spills on her, she's clearly wearing brown pants. But by the time she gets her soaked sweater off, her pants have magically turned black.
Additionally, while Principal Duvall is introducing Cady, doughnuts suddenly appear and disappear on top of the box Ms. Norbury set down on her desk.
While Mr. Duvall is in Ms. Norbury's class, he says that his carpal tunnel flared up over the summer and lifts up his casted arm as proof.
Per ScreenRant, Tim Meadows, who played the principal, actually broke his hand right before they started shooting, so they quickly added the line to explain away the cast.
When Cady asks to use the bathroom in her science class, the chalkboard behind her teacher shows a list of elements.
One of the elements, silicon, is spelled wrong. But this may have been a purposeful error given that silicone (as it's written on the board) is a common material used in plastic surgery, and the school's queen bees call themselves the Plastics.
During the montage on Cady's first day of school, she's shown being yelled at by a teacher in German. But she later tells Damian that she's taking a Spanish class.
There are Dasani, Coca-Cola, Red Bull, Gatorade, and Doritos products on the tables she passes.
Later on, when the sales clerk at a fictional store tells Regina she can't fit into her size-five dress, she tells her to try the real-life department store Sears instead.
When Janis and Damian first decide to befriend Cady, they're both wearing statement tees.
Janis' says "Rubbish," and Damian's says "I see ugly people."
The shirts make them stand out from their fashion-forward classmates and further cement their outsider status at the school.
To help acclimate Cady to North Shore High, Janis draws her a very detailed map with a cross-section of the lunchroom.
It labels the different tables where the school's many cliques sit, and there are even arrows showing which parts of the lunch line sell different varieties of sad cafeteria food.
She also included a little "you are here" marking next to the football field in the spot where Janis, Damian, and Cady sat on the first day.
And next to a row of trees she wrote, "Make-out zone warning! There is sexual activity in these woods."
When Ms. Norbury runs into Cady, Damian, and Janis at the mall before her bartending job, she's wearing a well-decorated vest that the high schoolers make fun of before they realize who's wearing it.
The vest is adorned with many pins, which include slogans like "Never Stop Learning" and "Say What?" There's also a patch of a vintage-looking clown.
When Cady visits Regina's house for the first time, Mrs. George greets them wearing a baby-pink velour tracksuit.
Throughout the film, we learn more about the mom's affinity for staying young and hanging with the high schoolers, but this is the first glimpse we get at Mrs. Geroge trying to be a member of the Plastics.
As we learned when the girls told Cady the rules of the clique, on Wednesdays, they wear pink — and apparently, Mrs. George follows those rules, too.
When Cady scares Janis and Damian on Halloween by walking in on them in her "ex-wife" costume, they appear to be watching "Friday the 13th: Part 2," based on the VHS box sitting on top of the TV.
But there are also a few other visible VHS boxes close by, including one for "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets."
But a flyer in the girls' bathroom says that the event takes place on November 27, 2003.
Not only is that a little early for a wintery holiday theme, but also it was the date of Thanksgiving that year, so it's unlikely there would've been a school event that day.
The Plastics' performance of "Jingle Bell Rock" in sexy Santa outfits is one of the most iconic parts of the film.
The skirts they're all wearing are clearly made of shiny plastic material, which may have been an allusion to the name of their clique.
During the scene where Damian hands out candy canes and delivers the memorable line, "Four for you Glen Coco. You go, Glen Coco," there's a quote on the board behind him from "The Two Noble Kinsmen."
The play, which is jointly attributed to William Shakespeare and John Fletcher, features three queens seeking revenge — not unlike the queen bees in "Mean Girls."
After winter break, Cady gets a math test back from October 14, which seems like a rather long time to wait for a score, especially since the test would've been from the previous semester.
The Plastics wear fashionable outfits throughout the movie that have since become iconic.
Since they have so many rules about what they wear, it wouldn't be a stretch to assume they're against outfit repeating. But Gretchen rewears her argyle sweater from the first day of school when she's comforting Regina after her breakup with Aaron.
Throughout the movie, Cady embraces becoming a Plastic and slowly transforms into a copycat Regina George.
Regina's room is massive — she says she stole it from her parents — and it's decorated with rich reds and pinks.
Despite her grown-up tastes, there are a few stuffed animals scattered around her room, including a Hello Kitty on her dresser.
When Cady first gets Gretchen to "crack," Gretchen tells her that Regina doesn't let any of them wear hoop earrings because they're her "thing." She couldn't even wear the white-gold hoops her parents got her for Hanukkah.
Later in the film, after the Plastics kick Regina out of the group, Cady cements her position as the new ultimate queen bee by wearing pink hoops at her house party.
When Aaron is looking through the pictures in Cady's room during her party, he comes across one of her riding an elephant as a kid in Africa, where she grew up.
But based on the size and shape of the elephant's ears, it seems to be an Asian species, not African.
Janis submits a painting to her art show of herself, Damian, and Cady.
The painting shows Cady as she looked at the beginning of the school year before her makeover — especially her hair, which is in the same style of ponytail that she wore on the first day of school.
At the beginning of the movie, Cady mentions that her family moved to Illinois for her mother's new job at Northwestern University, which is located in Evanston, just outside of Chicago.
There are also visible Illinois license plates throughout the film, and the Mathletes compete at the Illinois High School State Championship to further cement the Midwest setting.
Coach Carr is a questionable sex-ed teacher at best, and during the second health-class scene, he even misspells one of the common sexually transmitted infections.
As he writes the list on the chalkboard, he starts spelling chlamydia with a "K."
When the girls are called into the principal's office to discuss the Burn Book, there's an authentic Northwestern Wildcats pennant hanging in the background.
Given the high school's proximity to the university, Northwestern may be Mr. Duvall's alma mater.
After being crowned Spring Fling Queen, Cady uses her speech to denounce the title and breaks her crown into pieces to toss to the other nominees and students.
It's a sweet and memorable gesture, but there's no way the plastic crown was big enough for her to hand out as many pieces as she did and still have a big piece left for herself.
During the Spring Fling, Mr. Duvall announces that the students crowned king and queen will receive two gift certificates to the Walker Brother's Pancake House.
The restaurant, also known as the Original Pancake House, is a real chain in Illinois.
Toward the beginning of the movie, Damian insinuates that Regina stopped being friends with Janis because she thought she was a lesbian, and Regina explicitly confirms this later on.
Janis hastily stops the conversation whenever someone brings it up, but a short scene at the end of the film seems to serve as the punchline to this joke.
When Kevin grabs Janis for a dance at the Spring Fling, he asks her if she's Puerto Rican, and she responds that she's Lebanese — possibly implying that Regina just didn't know the difference between lesbian and Lebanese.
Throughout the movie, Gretchen follows Regina's rule about not wearing hoop earrings.
But at the end of the film, when Cady is narrating where everyone ended up, the shot pans to Gretchen in the lunchroom, and she's finally wearing her beloved hoops.
This story was originally published on April 30, 2021, and most recently updated on October 3, 2023.