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As a Whole
- Anti-Villain: All of them, in their own way. See their separate character folders for details.
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: After Cady enters, and especially after Regina leaves.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Cady (phlegmatic), Regina (choleric), Gretchen (melancholic), and Karen (sanguine).
- Girl Posse: They're the titular mean girls that rule the school.
- Large and in Charge: The two dominant members (Cady and Regina) are noticeably taller than the two followers (Gretchen and Karen.)
- Pink Means Feminine: The Plastics have these rules surrounding the color pink, which they must wear every Wednesday.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: They have no qualms about branding Janis a "dyke," and Regina uses the word "retarded" casually in her first on-screen conversation.
- Popular Is Dumb: Played straight with Gretchen and especially Karen. Zig-zagged with Regina who despite being able to manipulate most of the female half of the school into becoming her pawns, frequently shows herself to be rather Book Dumb. Discussed and justified over the course of the movie - Cady, during her evolution into the Alpha Bitch, begins dumbing herself down so a boy will like her. They also state joining academic clubs like the Math Club (or "Mathletes") is "social suicide".
- Sexy Santa Dress: In their "Jingle Bell Rock" routine that they do for the Winter Talent Show (which, according to Damian, they do every year).
- Slapstick Knows No Gender: There's a lot of slapstick comedy: Gretchen getting hit in the head by a ball, Cady tripping and falling into the garbage can, Regina getting hit by a bus, Karen alone trying to catch Gretchen when she was throwing herself into the crowd etc.
- With Friends Like These...: Except for Gretchen and Karen, towards one another.
Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan)
- Cady: Calling somebody else fat won't make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn't make you any smarter. And ruining Regina George's life definitely didn't make me any happier. All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you.
- Adorkable: Before taking a level in jerkass, this, alongside her math skills, are her main personality traits.
- Anti-Villain: Even after she becomes the new Alpha Bitch, she's still a good person at heart, and is horrified to realize how mean she's become. She gets better.
- Alpha Bitch: After Becoming the Mask
- Becoming the Mask: She pretends to be an Alpha Bitch to get on Regina's good side. Then she really becomes one.
- Beneath the Mask: She's just as capable of being a bitch as anyone.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Regina and Janis claim Cady was acting like this, due to the latter "acting like she's so innocent."
- Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: The "word vomit" is a recurring problem for her.
- Digging Yourself Deeper: Cady refers to this as "word vomit" and can't help herself once it starts.
- Eating Lunch Alone: On her first day at school, she ends up eating lunch in a bathroom stall because she doesn't know anyone. After everything blows up in her face, she eats lunch in the bathroom again because everyone knows her, and they hate her.
- Fiery Redhead: Mostly after she Took a Level in Jerkass. She has a nasty temper and is willing to turn it on people.
- Fish out of Water: To the point where Regina describes her as both "like a Martian" and "socially retarded and weird."
- From Nobody to Nightmare: From an awkward Naïve Newcomer to the school's Alpha Bitch.
- Good with Numbers: Math is her favorite subject.
- Heel–Face Revolving Door: Over the course of the film, the friendly and good-hearted Cady usurps Regina's position and becomes the mean-spirited Alpha Bitch of the school. She goes through a subsequent Heel–Face Turn when she's confronted with her actions.
- He Who Fights Monsters: After a while, Cady is no longer pretending to be like the plastics, she's genuinely acting like one.
- Home Schooled Kids: Until the beginning of the movie, Cady had never gone to a regular school and had been homeschooled since she was around four years old.
- The Mole: Janis convinces her to infiltrate the Plastics so she can spy on Regina and take petty revenges on her.
- My God, What Have I Done?: When she realizes she's become just as cruel and horrible as the other Plastics.
- Naïve Newcomer: She has no clue how to function or fit into the social climbs of highscool. She's taken under Janis's wing, and then Regina's.
- Nerds Are Sexy: Zigzagged. Kevin hits on her because of her looks and her math skills (though he later claims he prefers more "exotic" ladies). Regina and Damian both tell her joining the Mathletes is social suicide and she dumbs herself down to impress Aaron (although Aaron likes her just fine, math skills and all).
- No Social Skills: Being homeschooled on a different continent makes for a serious lack of understanding how high school politics work.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: She pretends to be terrible at math so that she can study with Aaron.
- The Pawn: For Janis to use to ruin Regina George's life.
- Single Girl Seeks Most Popular Guy: She develops a crush on Aaron, one of the most popular and handsome guys in the school.
- The Starscream: To Regina.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: The more she spends time with the Plastics. Could also count as Corrupt the Cutie.
- Tragic Hero: Actually manages to be a near-textbook example.
- Unkempt Beauty: Downplayed. While she clearly fits the bill as her original, Adorkable self (Lindsay Lohan at her peak is one regulation hottie, people), opinions about her questionably Unnecessary Makeover are split.
- Vengeance Feels Empty: Reaches this conclusion at the end. Ruining Regina's life did not give her any real happiness, nor did it solve any of her problems.
- What the Hell, Hero?: As Cady becomes more and more Plastic, more and more of her actions veer into "What a bitch" territory.
Regina George (Rachel McAdams)
- Janis: And evil takes a human form in Regina George. Don't be fooled because she may seem like your typical selfish, back-stabbing slut faced ho-bag, but in reality, she's so much more than that.Damian: She's the queen bee - the star, those other two are just her little workers.
- Alpha Bitch: The leader of the Plastics.
- Anti-Villain: She's definitely a bitch, and is easily the worst of the Plastics, but she's also a teenager with her own issues. By the end of the movie, she seems to be working through them, and is both happier and a better person for it.
- Big Bad: Presented as one by Janis. Turns out she's just one of many mean girls around, including Janis. She just simply knew how to work the system to be at the top.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Although she doesn't bother with it for long, she can seem nice enough at first if she wants to.
- Book Dumb: She doesn't appear to do too well in school and comes off as somewhat vapid. But when it comes to social standing, manipulation, cliques, and popularity, Regina is practically a genius.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Imagine all she could achieve if she put as much effort into her schoolwork and learning as she does in controlling the student body.
- Butt Monkey: Regina George, the butt of all of Cady's tricks and pranks. She probably deserves it, though.
- The Chessmaster: Comes up with her plan to get revenge on Cady and throw the entire school into chaos in the course of one screaming car ride home.
- Crocodile Tears: Regina sheds these to Principal Duvall when she turns in the Burn Book and shows him what the other girls "wrote" about her and the female student body.
- Even the Girls Want Her: Some of the devotion showed by other girls borders on Les Yay. She starts a rumor (albeit an untrue one) that Janis had a huge crush on her.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Regina becomes this to the other Plastics before getting kicked out.
- Heel–Face Turn: At the end. The Plastics are disbanded, and Regina joins the field hockey team — and seems to be much happier for it. Helps that the other girls aren't afraid of her.
- Hidden Depths: Oddly enough, she seemed genuinely surprised and hurt when she realizes how much her schoolmates and even her teachers dislike her.
- Jerkass: In the beginning to the middle of the movie. She then becomes a...
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: At the near end of the film.
- Large Ham: Rachel McAdams was clearly having fun playing the attention-loving, loud, evil Regina.
- Laser-Guided Karma: She later gets hit by a bus for her bad behavior throughout the movie.
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: Post-Heel–Face Turn (made much more apparent in the original script.)
- Manipulative Bitch: She's extremely skilled at twisting people's words and actions to get what she wants, or even just a cheap laugh.
- Meaningful Name: "Regina" means "queen".
- Narcissist: Regina shows many traits of narcissism such as: seeing herself as superior to her classmates (when really, nobody liked her), treating others like crap to make it to the top (backstabbing the other Plastics), valuing her appearance a lot, and lacking empathy for others (except herself, of course).
- Pet the Dog: A couple times, she does things that are oddly nice, given her character... in her own, manipulative Alpha Bitch way. When she first meets Cady, she rescues her from a creepy guy that's making a rather lecherous joke (albeit by insulting him), and when Gretchen sees her crush interacting with another girl and is obviously really torn up about it, Regina gets the girl out of the way by calling the girl's mother and pretending to be a Planned Parenthood doctor for no other apparent reason than to make Gretchen feel better.
- Rich Bitch: Huge house, endless wardrobe, cute convertible.
- Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: Regina's a specific example. She could rattle off several mostly-illegal weight loss drugs (most of which either were expensive before being banned or would be expensive to ship from countries where they're still legal). Yet, she didn't know enough about health and nutrition to know whether or not butter is a carb. This is most likely a jab at the stereotype of American teenage girls wanting to get thin or in shape the fast and unhealthy way than through actual healthy living.
- Shrouded in Myth: An interview montage with other students and even some faculty highlights the silliest myths and rumors about how cool/mean Regina is.
- Smug Snake: Regina is damn proud of every little manipulation that she pulls off.
- Spoiled Brat: She regularly tells her mother to shut up or leave her alone. She also has the master suite in her house because she forced her parents to switch rooms with her.
- Token Evil Teammate: The only one of the titular Mean Girls who is a true Mean Girl. Gretchen and Karen aren't that bad, and Cady's bitchy behaviour is mostly the result of Regina's Toxic Friend Influence but she is still a good person at heart and gets better after her Heel Realization.
- Twisting the Words:Regina: "You're, like, really pretty."Cady: "Thanks."Regina: "So you agree?"Cady: "What?"Regina: "You think you're really pretty?"
- Villainous Breakdown: Two significant ones towards the end:
- When she realizes that Cady deliberately made her gain weight. But then she recovers almost immediately and turns right back into The Chessmaster.
- After Janis humiliates her in front of the school by revealing her ploy with Cady, Regina viciously snaps at Cady when the latter tries to apologize. This time, it is cut short by a school bus.
- Weight Woe: She wants to lose a few pounds, despite the fact that she's a) gorgeous, and b) rather thin already. Cady exploits the hell out of this.
Gretchen Wieners (Lacey Chabert)
- Janis: Gretchen Wieners knows everybody's business, she knows everything about everyone.Damian: That's why her hair is so big, it's full of secrets.
- Anti-Villain: She's a Plastic, but she seems to be more shallow, desperate for attention and affection, and incredibly insecure than actually mean.
- Attention Whore: She just wants people to like her as much as they like Regina.
- Bare Your Midriff: Most of her tops show off her belly button. How she gets away with this at school is anyone's guess.
- Beta Bitch: She appears to be this to Regina initially.
- Catch Phrase: She desperately wants to start one: "That is so fetch!"
- Everyone Is Christian At Christmas: Despite the fact that Gretchen's Jewish, she performs Jingle Bell Rock, which is a Christmas song, with the other Plastics every year for the Winter Talent Show. This makes perfect sense, though. Gretchen practically kowtows to Regina — if Regina wants her to dance to a Christmas song, then Gretchen will dance to a Christmas song.
- Extreme Doormat: She is extremely submissive and lives to do Regina's bidding. Even after the breakup of the Plastics, she doesn't seem to be able to function without someone to tell her what to do, and finds another queen bee to serve.
- Forced Meme: Fetch just isn't going to happen.
- Gossipy Hens: She's the gossip queen, see the quote above.
- Heel–Face Turn: At the end. Sort of. She joins another Girl Posse, but without Regina around, she's not particularly mean.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Karen.
- Hidden Depths: She confesses to Cady that she's secretly miserable as Regina's friend and has to pretend to like and not like certain things in order to gain Regina's approval.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: She comes off as vain, but most of her problems stem from being incredibly insecure.
- Informed Judaism: At one point, she mentions receiving Hanukkah presents from her parents.
- Jewish American Princess: Not just any JAP - her father invented toaster strudel.
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: She's only really mean when doing Regina's bidding, or when she's getting back at Regina for hurting her feelings. She's a genuinely good and sweet friend to Karen, and is fairly nice to Cady for the most part. Mostly, she just seems to be desperate for attention and for people to like her, and more neurotic and cripplingly insecure than anything.
- Minion with an F in Evil: Not as much as Karen, but still rather incompetent in bitchiness and actually seems fairly nice.
- Mixed Ancestry: She's Jewish, but joins the Cool Asians at the end of the movie.
- Neologizer: Primarily in the form of "fetch". Which will never catch on.
- Proud Beauty: She acknowledges her beauty when she "apologizes" to the other girls for her behavior.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Gretchen's ticket into the Plastics is that she's rich. When they get called to the principal's office for the burn book, she specifically tries to use her money and her father's notoriety to get out of trouble.
- So Beautiful, It's a Curse: "I'm sorry that people are so jealous of me. But I can't help it that I'm popular."
- Stepford Smiler: Gretchen seems to be happy as Regina's second in command, but as Cady begins to chip away her facade we see a nervous mess that is just one more slight away from a full breakdown.
- Villainous Breakdown: "WE SHOULD TOTALLY JUST STAB CAESAR!!!"
- Villainous Friendship: She's best friends with Karen, and actually genuinely likes her, not just fear her like she does Regina. She also seems to like Cady as a friend, confiding in her at one point and for the most part being nice to her. Though maybe this isn't that surprising, given that Gretchen's a Minion with an F in Evil.
- Yes-Man: At first to Regina, then Cady, and finally finds a new Queen Bee at the end of the movie, Trang Pak.
Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried)
- Janis: That one there, that's Karen Smith. She is one of the dumbest girls you will ever meet. Damian sat next to her in English last year.Damian: She asked me how to spell orange.
- Advertised Extra: Karen doesn't have that large of a part (especially compared to the other three plastics) and has little impact on the plot, but is featured in all of the advertisements because she is a Plastic and thus one of the Mean Girls.
- Anti-Villain: She's barely a villain at all — she's a member of the Plastics and does what Regina (and later Cady) tells her to do, but she's kind, sweet, and optimistic.
- Brainless Beauty: One of the iconic examples!
- Cloudcuckoolander: She's convinced she has psychic powers... you know, a fifth sense? ESPN? Well, at least her boobs do. They can predict when it's going to rain... well when it is raining.
- The Ditz: Stands in the rain, feeling her breasts (see Informed Ability below), and declares that "there's a 30% chance that it's already raining!" With complete sincerity.
- Dumb Blonde: A classic example with shades of old Marilyn Monroe roles where she's just as sweet as she is dumb.
- Dumb Is Good: She's the nicer members of the Plastics but also the dumbest.
- Good Bad Girl: See Really Gets Around.
- Heel–Face Turn: At the end.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Gretchen.
- Informed Ability: Apparently, her breasts can tell when it's going to rain. Or at least, when it's already raining. And even then, she's not completely sure, even if she's actually OUTSIDE in the rain.
- Kind Hearted Simpleton: While she's not the smartest, she's made up from being the nicest even before her Heel–Face Turn.
- Kissing Cousins: Gretchen is highly disturbed when Karen boasts about what a good kisser her own cousin is.Karen: You know who's looking fine tonight? Seth Mosakowski.Gretchen: Okay, you did not just say that.Karen: What? He's a good kisser.Gretchen: He's your cousin.Karen: Yeah, but he's my first cousin.Gretchen: Right.Karen: So, you have your cousins, and then you have your first cousins, and then you have your second cousins...Gretchen: No, honey, uh-uh.Karen: That's not right, is it?Gretchen: That is so not right.
- Minion with an F in Evil: There doesn't see to be a mean bone in her body. When she does unkind things, she's usually just following the lead of one of the other girls.
- Perpetual Smiler: Moments she isn't smiling are incredibly short lived.
- The Pollyanna: As well as being the least malicious Plastic she's easily the happiest too, lacking Regina's rage, Gretchen's crippling neurose, or Cady's need to fit in. She's even aware of (and comfortable with) the knowledge she's not very bright.
- Really Gets Around: Somewhat of an Informed Flaw, but she has a reputation and is perfectly willing to hook up with her cousin.
- Satellite Character: She's not as fleshed out a character as the other Plastics, she mostly just rounds out the Power Trio and provides comic relief.
- Token Good Teammate: She is the only one who isn't mean-spirited and did things out of naivete rather than malice.
- Villainous Friendship: She and Gretchen are best friends and clearly care a lot for one another. Though they barely even count as villains, anyway.
Janis Ian (Lizzy Caplan)
- Cady: You know what? You're the one who made me like this so you could use me for your 8th grade revenge!Janis: God! See, at least me and Regina George know we're mean! You try to act so innocent like, "Oh, I use to live in Africa with all the little birdies, and the little monkeys! [...] you are a mean girl! You're a bitch!
- Ambiguously Gay: Is Janis Ian a lesbian? Damn hard to say. It's proven she's not a lesbian when she starts dating Kevin at the end of the movie.
- At Least I Admit It: As the character quote above shows, Janis knows she's just as manipulative and mean as Regina and doesn't try to hide that.
- The Bad Guy Wins: Whether she can be considered bad or not is debatable, she does get back at Regina in the end and does it spectacularly.
- Brainy Brunette: She's smart, quick-witted, and cunning enough to be a better Magnificent Bitch than Regina.
- Berserk Button: Bringing up that she's a lesbian.
- The Chessmaster: Janis masterminded a plan to ruin Regina George's life using Cady as The Pawn to do so.
- Cool Loser: Justified. She's good looking, smart, and funny but her reputation was destroyed by a rumor and she now willingly embraces outsiderdom. The producers were actually reluctant to cast Lizzy Kaplan as Janis because they thought she was too pretty for the role but settled by giving her a goth/alternative look that would justify the popular girls avoiding her.
- Deadpan Snarker: And how! Everything she says is snarky.
- Fallen Princess: Janis used to be popular, but her reputation was destroyed by a rumor and she now willingly embraces outsiderdom.
- Former Friend of Alpha Bitch: She was good friends with Regina in middle school, until Regina started dating and they began fighting.
- Heel–Face Turn: At the end.
- Important Haircut: Offscreen. After Regina spread the rumor in middle school that Janis was a lesbian, Janis dropped out of school for the rest of the year; when she returned in the fall, "all her hair was cut off, and she was totally weird."
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She can be just as spiteful, petty and cruel as Regina herself. However, she's also a genuinely loyal friend and will help you when you need it.
- Karma Houdini: Janis, despite influencing and encouraging Cady to join the Plastics specifically to damage Regina, gets zero comeuppance when she reveals it to the entire crowd of girls following the revelation of the Burn Book.
- Manipulative Bitch: Janis convinces Cady to join the Plastics just so she can get information from them.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Masculine Girl to Damian's Feminine Boy.
- Never My Fault: Cady does call Janis out for using her in her personal vendetta. Janis doesn't really own up to it.
- Not So Different: Aside from her Jerk with a Heart of Gold tendencies and her justified vendetta against Regina, she's just as spiteful and manipulative as she is when it comes to Cady.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: Her plan to take down Regina consists of this.
- Platonic Life Partners: With Damian.
- The Snark Knight: No one is safe from her razor sharp snark, not even her BFF Damian.
- Tough Love: Her speech to Cady about the latter Becoming the Mask is arguably this. While it was pretty harsh for Janis to call Cady a bitch, Janis telling Cady about herself is what helped Cady see the error of her ways and revert back to her old self.
- Villainous Breakdown: When she realizes that Cady has become the mask.
Damian (Daniel Franzese)
- Damian: "Too gay to function?"Janis: Hey! That's only OK when I say it.
- Camp Gay: Damian is "too gay to function," though to be fair he's only mildly flamboyant.
- Deadpan Snarker: He's a typical, snakry, gay best friend.
- The Dragon: To Janis.
- Gay Best Friend: To Janis and later, Cady.
- Have I Mentioned I am Gay?: Too gay to function, to be specific. However, it's only funny when Janis says it.
- Large Ham: "AND I WANT MY PINK SHIRT BACK!!" And there's his proud and determined performance of "Beautiful".
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Feminine Boy to Janis' Masculine Girl.
- Nice Guy: He's one of the few genuinely nice people in this movie (though he can let out a sassy line).
- Paper-Thin Disguise: A Running Gag.
- Platonic Life Partners: With Janis.
- Satellite Character: He's really only ever seen with Janis, and most of his character tropes are centered on the fact that he's her friend.
Aaron Samuels (Jonathan Bennett)
- Big Man on Campus: He's reasonably popular himself and is a nice guy.
- Book Dumb: In contrast to Cady, Aaron is actually terrible at math, but he doesn't act like a Brainless Beauty or Dumb Jock and actually seems to be a fairly level-headed person.
- Lovable Jock: He's on the swim team.
- Love Interest: Cady's of course!
- Mr. Fanservice: Cady and Regina certainly think so.
- Nice Guy: One of the few genuinely nice people in North Shore High. Though he is definitely not a doormat.
- Only Sane Man: Refuses to get caught up in most of the drama, and is turned off by Cady's transformation into a Regina clone.
- Pretty Boy: Cady can't help but gush over how cute he is.
- Satellite Love Interest: All we know about him is that he's cute, sucks at math, used to date Regina, and "all he cares about is school and his mom and his friends". He gets fleshed out a little more in the original screenplay, which has a scene with him and Cady where he does the laundry, and explains that he helps out because it's just him and his mom.
Ms Sharon Norbury
Ms. Sharon Norbury (Tina Fey)
- Ms. Norbury: I know having a boyfriend might seem like the only thing important to you right now, but you don't have to dumb yourself down in order for a guy to like you.
- Brainy Brunette: She's the school's math teacher.
- Broken Bird: She's fresh off a divorce and you can see she's still fragile from it.
- Cool Teacher: She's young and genuinely cares about her students. Once Cady stops being a plastic, she starts realizing how cool Ms. Norbury actually is.Cady: (stating why she can't go to the dance) "I'm grounded."Norbury: "You're already out."
- Clear My Name: During the intervention, she confronts Cady and asks if there's anything specific she would like to confess. Cady refuses. Ms. Norbury ends up the subject of a police investigation as a consequence.
- Disappointed In You: Says this word-for-word when Cady initially refuses to admit she wrote the "drug pusher" page in the Burn Book.
- Dropped Glasses: Happens after someone bumps her while she's trying to break up the fights where they inevitably get stepped on.
- Creator Cameo: Played by writer Tina Fey.
- Hot Teacher: Young and attractive, she's obviously caught Principal Duvall's eye.
- Meganekko: Comes with being played by Tina Fey.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: She's a fountain of good advice for the students (even though they rarely listen to her) and she genuinely cares about both their grades, and their worth as human beings.
Principal Duvall (Tim Meadows)
- Principal Duvall: I just wanted to say that you're all winners. And that I couldn't be happier the school year is ending.
- Batter Up: When he discovers the students are fighting, he grabs his baseball bat before going out and breaking up the commotion.
- Beware the Nice Ones: He looks like he can handle himself in a fight and it's suggested he grew up a rough neighborhood."Aw hell no, I did not leave the Southside for this!"
- Butt Monkey: He's the head of a school that's the ground for a war between the Plastics and Janis. Naturally, he takes a lot of shit.
- Cool Teacher: The students may not think so, but he's a very nice guy, and he breaks up the infamous hallway brawl single-handed, armed only with a baseball bat, which would've sent many other teachers running for the hills.
- Deadpan Snarker: He's the principal of a school that contains the likes of Regina, Gretchen, Karen, Cady, and Janis. Sarcasm is his only hope for survival.
- Let's Get Dangerous: He normally appears to be an easygoing guy, but when an all-out brawl breaks out in the hallway, he grabs a baseball bat and goes out into the thick of it to break it up himself, pulling a fire alarm and ordering all the girls into the gym. Needless to say, no one argues.
- Nice Guy: He's a reasonable, friendly guy that genuinely wants the best for his students. He still has his limits, though.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He cares about his students, he just can't do the squishy girly things.
- Ship Tease: Has a fairly obvious crush on Miss Norbury.
- Tranquil Fury: When he starts talking loud and authoritative, everyone listens up.