How Mean Girls' October 3rd Meme Became an Enduring Obsession

While the iconic film came out on April 30, October 3rd has since become "Mean Girls Day" thanks to one throwaway line that took on a life of its own

By Tierney Bricker Oct 03, 2019 10:00 AMTags
Watch: Blast From Interviews Past: "Mean Girls"

"On October 3rd, he asked me what day it was."

While Mean Girls came out on April 30, 2004, one seemingly throw-away line in the middle of the beloved movie has inadvertently turned into the film's new anniversary date and has since become a national holiday on social media: October 3rd. 

At the height of her infautation with Aaron Samuels (Jonathan Bennett), Cady Herron (Lindsay Lohan) clings to every interaction with the , especially when he asked her what day it was on October 3rd. "It's October 3rd." And that is how one of the Internet's favorite meme-inspired holidays came to fruition, much in the same way May 4th became Star Wars' Day and Justin Timberlake has become the symbol for April 30th  thanks to the enduring "It's gonna be May" meme

Like Timberlake, who has leaned into his accidental holiday over the years, Mean Girls' stars and writer, Tina Fey, have embraced October 3rd as their own in the 15 years since the film's release. In fact, Fey, who also penned the Broadway musical based on the classic teen drama, is hosting the ultimate viewing party on Facebook Live to celebrate "Mean Girls Day." 

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At 8 p.m. ET, Fey will co-host the fetch event with Busy Philipps, a self-proclaimed Mean Girls super-fan, during which they will answer fan questions, give away prizes and play trivia before the screening begins.

On October 3rd, Mean Girls fans often wear pink and eat cheese fries, Regina's (Rachel McAdams) lunch side of choice despite really wanting to lose three pounds ("Whatever, I'm getting cheese fries!"), which Fey even passed out to fans in New York on Mean Girls Day in 2017.

Plus, the Broadway musical even picked October 3rd as the first day of ticket sales that same year.

OK, so it's not a real holiday—ask your parents and they likely won't be able to tell you the significance of October 3rd because they are just regular moms, not cool moms—but on Twitter, the day now belongs to the basic b--ches who still quote the movie endlessly; it's damn near impossible to go on social media without seeing the meme in action. Even if you don't immediately associate the day with the movie, your timeline will make damn sure t remind you. 

And while it's a day of excitement for the cast members, it is a lot pressure for one in particular: Aaron Samuels himself, the asker of arguably one of the most important questions in film history. 

"I feel like the Times Square ball on October 3rd, because the entire world is like, ‘Ask us what day it is! Ask us what day it is!' " Bennett joked to People in 2018. "And I'm like 'Fine, I'll ask you what day it is.' It's so much fun being a part of this crazy holiday that all of a sudden became a thing."

But Bennett, the host of Cake Wars on Food Network, knows the power of the holiday, releasing his cookbook, The Burn Cookbook: Real Recipes to Feed Your Inner Plastic, on Oct. 2, 2018, just in time for the big day.

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Lohan has also been known to get in on the festive fun. Last year, The Masked Singer Australia judge posted a video to her Instagram of her friend asking her what day it was, along with her giving Cady's answer, "It's October 3rd." Obvi, she captioned the video, "#OnWednesdaysWeWearPink."

Each year, #MeanGirlsDay and #October3rd become worldwide trending topics on Twitter all day; noted celeb fans like Mariah Carey and Sarah Michelle Gellar celebrate the holiday; former president Barack Obama's campaign used the meme to promote the first presidential debate back in 2012; even star Lacey Chabert's nephew was born on the historic day. 

Moviestore Collection/Shutterstock/E! Illustration

"My new nephew was born on October 3rd," Gretchen Wieners, the heiress to the Toaster Strudel empire herself, told EW in 2014 as part of their 10-year anniversary reunion. "My brother came home from work and goes, 'Everyone at work keeps going, 'Oh, your baby is so lucky! Your baby is born on Mean Girls Day!' " He goes, 'What is that? Can you explain that to me?'"

That year really seemed to spark the Internet's obsession with the meme, with Lohan admitting she  was confused when a fan had approached her about it. 

"I was leaving the playhouse [in London] the other day These kids were outside, and someone said, 'Do you know what day it is?' and someone said, 'It's October 3rd!'" she recalled, "I was like, 'What? I don't understand!' I didn't know what they meant. Then I realized it! [Laughs]

But by the following year, Lohan had fully recognizing and embracing it on social media, even using to to throw out a sequel idea: "Next Step: #MEANMOMS."

2015 also seemed to kick-start Bennett's ownership of the meme, beginning on Oct. 2. 

Despite Mean Girls' enduring hold on pop culture, don't expect to see it take over another day, as Fey shot down the idea of doing a sequel, feeling like the time for it has passed⁠—even if Lohan has campaigned for a follow-up many times

"At the time we did want to start the conversation about the sequel, and for whatever reason I was like, 'No!!! We shouldn't do that!'" Fey admitted to EW. "Now I look back and I'm like, ‘Why?' But now, no—it's too late."

Still, she made October 3rd happen. 

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