Mean Girls: The Musical (2024) Ending Explained – What message can we take from the movie?

Mean Girls: The Musical

The remake of Mean Girls, adapted from the Broadway musical (yes, this remake is a musical), hit theaters recently. Tina Fey’s original from 2004 was a side-splitting teen romp starring Lindsay Lohan and Rachel McAdams. This sassy, colorful update does not stray far from the cult classic film. Despite being 15 minutes longer, the new musical flies through a thick plot. While the events are fairly straightforward, let’s take a look at the end, and see if we can’t glean some of that fabulous feminism we were given by the original.

What’s the hot gossip?

Cady Heron, a brilliant teen raised in Africa, comes to North Shore High (near Chicago) to assimilate into youth culture. She quickly finds that life as a girl in high school is not unlike a wild, African safari. Before long, she finds friends in Janis and Damian, who show her the strict lines of cliques. Their school is ruled by the popular girls, called ‘the plastics.’ The plastics take a liking to Cady and give her a soft welcome into their group.

After Cady falls in love with ‘queen bee’ Regina’s ex-boyfriend, Aaron, Regina manipulates him back into a relationship. Cady returns to Janis and Damian with a newly shattered heart. Together, the three of them concoct a revenge plan against Regina. Things spiral out of control fast, and Cady ends up replacing Regina as the queen bee. This includes adopting her selfish, conniving ways. She deliberately starts failing calculus to win Aaron’s affections and blows off Janis’s art show to throw a party.

When Regina leaks a book of insults made by the plastics around the school, all hell breaks loose. In order to ‘stop the poison from spreading,’ Cady takes the blame, focuses back on her grades, and joins the mathletes.

How does the movie end?

During the final round of a big mathlete competition, against a girl uglier than her, a revelation dawns on Cady. She realizes that looks, social status, and fashion don’t matter as much as the literal problem in front of them. Therefore, why do people put so much focus on those external things that specifically put women at each other’s throats? With a newly cleared head, Cady answers the calculus question to win the competition (“the limit does not exist”).

Cady makes it to the school dance in her letterman jacket just in time to be crowned ‘spring fling’ queen. With gasps from the crowd, she shares her revelation with the whole school, apologizing for the role she played in the toxicity. She breaks the queen’s tiara into multiple pieces and gives them to multiple girls, including Regina and Janis. With relationships repaired, and Aaron feeling free to finally get to know the real Cady, the dance resumes, and all’s right with the world.

What does it all mean?

Based on the plot alone, it would be impossible to distinguish the 2024 musical from the original film. Indeed, the remake does little to add to the story beyond some killer song and dance numbers. There are also smartphones, updated fashion, and jokes edited to be more current (and a little less offensive). The main events, as well as the overarching themes, remain the same.

The social issues women face can feel magnified in high school. What’s even tougher, many of the socially imposed restrictions are often perpetuated and even weaponized by girls, against girls. The film is a call to end that practice. We see Cady slowly become hypnotized by the glow of Western beauty standards and emotional manipulation. Janis becomes consumed by the desire for revenge. Regina proves that the bigger you are, the harder you fall.

Ultimately, the story is a call to action: women should be kinder to each other! They face too much adversity and intense scrutiny to use it against one another. This simple, beautiful lesson is why Fey’s script did so well in 2004. The message of acceptance and inclusion is why a Broadway musical felt appropriate, and why it’s still popular enough to get a film based on the musical- that’s based on the movie. While pretty straightforward, the message behind all the glitz and glamor of Mean Girls is worth heartfelt contemplation.


Read More: Mean Girls: The Musical Review

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