Last week, we reminisced about our favorite John Hughes heroines. But some of our favorite teen movie characters are the villains: the bitchy high school queens who rule the hallways. But which legendary clique truly deserves the mean girl crown?
I decided to find out by comparing the two reigning cliques of the teen comedy genre: The Heathers, from 1989's Heathers, and The Plastics, from 2004's Mean Girls. So which clique is the bitchiest of them all? Let's find out!
- Style: The Heathers
- Everything at Westerberg High was big: oversized blazers, boxy shoulder pads, and big hair. (We'd later learn, via Mean Girls, that big hair is where bitchy high school girls hide their secrets.) The Heathers had a uniformity about them: if you were one of them, you dressed the part. However, a mix of plaids, solids, and opaque tights allowed each Heather to express her bitchy ol' self whilst still remaining a very obvious member of the clique.
- Style: The Plastics
- The Plastics weren't as uniformly dressed as The Heathers, which is weird, considering that they had a billion rules about how one was supposed to dress in order to be accepted as a member of the clique: you can only wear pink on Wednesdays, only jeans or track pants on Fridays, you can't wear a tank top two days in a row, you can only wear your hair in a ponytail once a week, and only Regina George is allowed to wear gold hoop earrings.
- Advantage: The Heathers: They're able to establish a group identity while still maintaining a level of individuality...without a million stupid rules to remember. And only wearing your hair in a ponytail once a week?! Sorry, Plastics. You can't sit with us.
- Social Life: The Heathers
- They always find time for a game of croquet before they motor to a party of sorts, Heather Chandler can get you into a Remington party, but it's best to not pay her in puke. Other activities include murder, faking suicides in order to continue committing murder, and making out with boyfriends in cars following said faked suicide murders.
- Social Life: The Plastics
- Trips to the mall to maintain high beauty and fashion standards, high school style, manipulating and humiliating fellow classmates, ruining lives, attending sexy Halloween parties, making out in the projection room, performing "Jingle Bell Rock" at the school Christmas concert every year, writing nasty things about you in their Burn Book as Regina George's insane mother dances around in the background.
- Advantage: The Plastics: I might be wrong, but shopping, dancing, and parties sounds like a slightly better time than croquet and murder. But that might just be me.
- Lingo: The Heathers
- The Heathers popularized everything from "gotta motor" to "lick it up" to "what's your damage," and about a million other hilarious/disgusting phrases. Heatherisms are still thrown about today, 20 years after the film's release. And if you don't like it, you can transfer to Washington. Transfer to Jefferson. No one at Westerberg is going to let you play their reindeer games.
- Lingo: The Plastics
- I'm pretty sure not a day goes by on this site without someone quoting Mean Girls in the comments. The Plastics have some great lines, but in terms of creating their own specific set of Plasticisms, I'm not sure they got that far. I mean, they couldn't even make fetch happen. It's NOT going to happen.
Advantage: The Heathers: Pay attention, Regina George. You want to fuck with the eagles, you have to learn to fly.
- Overall Mean Girl Analysis: The Heathers
- The Heathers were so bloody mean that they actually ended up killing each other, or attempting to kill each other, and thanking God at their leader Heather Chandler's funeral for her death. The clique self-destructed under the weight of the cruelty: if it didn't, they'd all be dead due to their own demons and desire for power—or, in Veronica Sawyer's case, a desire to escape the clutches of the Heathers once and for all. The Heathers were the type of girls who would spit in your face and then somehow manipulate you into apologizing to them for it. As far as mean girls go, it's hard to imagine any clique being meaner.
- Overall Mean Girl Analysis: The Plastics
- There is perhaps no greater single mean girl than Regina George; though the Heathers' Heather Chandler was crueler, she was also taken down by one of her own, while Regina George was able to turn the tables back in her favor, proving that she is the master manipulator of the mean girl genre. However, her clique wasn't nearly as ruthless as the Heathers: Karen was just an idiot, and Gretchen Weiners was always on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Cady Heron eventually steered the group to a happy, sweet resolution, "sucking the poison" out of the Plastics completely. They ended up being nice girls. The Heathers would have destroyed them...and Regina probably would have traded cafeteria tables and changed her name to Heather George in 2.4 seconds. She's no idiot.
- Winner: The Heathers
- It's not even a contest: the Plastics may have caused a riot with their burn books and Regina George may be a life-ruiner, but the Heathers' teenage angst-bullshit had a body count. Lick it up, baby. Lick it up.
Disagree? Want to try to make fetch happen? Feel free to battle it out in the comments.