Tina Fey Slams "Narcissistic" Millennials for Response to New "Mean Girls" Movie

Fans of the original complained about a line in the trailer.

Twenty years after the original movie premiered, a new musical version of Mean Girls is hitting theaters on Jan. 12. The 2004 version is a beloved classic today, especially for millennials who were around the same age as the characters in the film when it was released. So, when the tagline for the new movie, "This isn't your mother's Mean Girls," was revealed in a trailer, it caused everything from confusion to outrage amongst the generation, who now range in age from 28 to 43. In a recent interview, writer Tina Fey slammed the millennial reaction to the new Mean Girls, saying it was evidence of the age group's "narcissism."

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"That was the Paramount marketing department and then the millennials were so butthurt," Fey told USA Today of the tagline. "It was like, yes, you guys are getting old! It did expose a little millennial narcissism: When you went, there were other people in the theater too! And some of them may have been older than you! It was so centering themselves in the story."

Many millennials complained that the tagline made them feel old and irrelevant. Others pointed out that they do not have children old enough to be the age that they were when they first saw the 2004 Mean Girls, so the "not your mother's Mean Girls" sentiment didn't apply. For example, one X (formerly Twitter) user posted, "Is Mean Girls trolling me with 'this isn't your mother's Mean Girls'?? How old am I???" Another wrote, "lol how old do they think we were when we saw mean girls."

Fey's two children are members of Gen Z at ages 12 and 18. She told USA Today that she asked their opinion about updating or getting rid of certain aspects of the original movie, including the Burn Book, in which members of Regina's clique write mean notes about other students.

"I do sometimes run things by my kids," Fey said. "Early on, there was conversation of, 'Would the Burn Book still be a physical book or should it be a private Instagram?' I knew what my instinct was, but I ran it by my kids. And my older daughter was like, 'Yeah, no. Don't let those millennials overthink it!'" So, the Burn Book remained in its original form. Star Angourie Rice—who plays Cady, the role that Lindsay Lohan played in 2004—said of Fey's decision, "She's correct. It all still felt timeless. Nothing felt like, 'Oh, we're doing this because it's trendy.'"

In the same interview, Fey pointed out that 2004 movie has fans of all generations now, which is why it made sense to first do the Broadway musical adaptation, which premiered in 2018, and now the new movie, based on the musical. "Because (the movie) was always on TBS, it felt like it was a net that would just catch people as they turned 11, 12, or 13," she said. "I guess we have cable TV to thank, really."

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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