The first “Mean Girls” was a perfect storm of pop culture goodness.
Writer Tina Fey was transitioning from that woman on “Saturday Night Live” to the national icon she is today, and star Lindsay Lohan was riding a wave of “It” girl status that has since washed back out to sea. (2004 was a much simpler time, on many levels.)
It can certainly never be duplicated. But that’s not going to stop anyone from trying.
ABC Family airs the long-delayed sequel, “Mean Girls 2,” on Jan. 23, no doubt hoping that its predecessor’s box office success and cult status will translate to the made-for-TV arena.
That’s impossible. “2,” for all it’s teen cattiness and unrealistically dressed high school students, cannot transcend guilty pleasure territory. Frankly, it’s hard to even enjoy it for that, given the expectations accompanying the title.
And the network seems to be inviting these unfavorable comparisons, airing the premiere after a broadcast of the original. A good lead-in, yes, but it raises the bar impossibly high. The intelligence, relevance and excitement of “Mean Girls” are conspicuously absent here.
If you do hunker down for a screening of “2” — and we really wouldn’t blame you — just make sure your expectations are adequately adjusted and you’ll probably enjoy yourself.
Better yet, put the original out of your mind completely, and give the sequel a personalized title, like “Eerily Familiar Way to Kill Two Hours” or “Children Who Wear Whore Makeup: A Cautionary Tale.”