Attention must be paid to Gretchen Wieners, the oft-overlooked middle member (and token Jewish girl) of the Plastics, the titular quartet of Mean Girls, Tina Fey’s teen classic, which turns 10 this month. Regina George, the meanest of the mean, has become a byword for a certain kind of feminine tyranny and catapulted her portrayer, Rachel McAdams to stardom. Amanda Seyfried, as the dimwitted Karen Smith, whose psychic breasts could tell when it’s raining, has also become a major star. Lindsay Lohan, as audience stand-in and protagonist Cady Heron, has become…whatever Lindsay Lohan has become.
But what of Gretchen, who suffered so many indignities at the hands of her so-called friends? Gretchen Wieners, who was not allowed to wear hoop earrings because Regina said they were her thing and when her parents gave her a pair of “really expensive white-gold hoops for Hanukkah” had to pretend she didn’t even like them? Gretchen Wieners, who fell to the gym floor with a painful thud during the school-wide trust exercise even though she can’t help it if she’s popular! Whatever became of Gretchen Wieners?
Lacey Chabert, who brought Gretchen to such vivid life (and who hasn’t received quite the same subsequent career accolades and/or notoriety of her colleagues) has her own idea of what might have happened to Gretchen in the subsequent years: she’d be raising lots of babies and feeding them a vast array of the flaky breakfast pastries her father, the inventor of Toaster Strudels, made famous.
I don’t dispute that marrying a suitably high-status guy and producing a ream of photogenic and creatively but not too creatively named children suitable of parading on Facebook would be high on Gretchen’s priority list. But let’s not forget, if Gretchen Wieners was a real person (and isn’t she?), she’d only be about 27 years old. Given todays mores, it’s unusual that even the most assiduous J-Dater would be so firmly on the mommy track at such a young age.
In my opinion, which is right, Gretchen Wieners today would be partying it up at her job as a fashion blogger in the city, living with her Maltese puppy—who is “like her child” and regularly wears tiaras—in a luxury condo still partially paid for by her parents, while she plots how to turn her life and the life of her friends into Bravo’s newest reality series. There will be plenty of time for screaming at the salesladies in the Nordstrom’s children’s department while carrying on a simultaneous conversation on her Bluetooth (and checking out her ass in her Lululemon yoga pants in one of the nearby columns) some day, but for now, Gretchen Wieners should still be spreading her wings. Not every Jewish girl—not even most—is such a nice Jewish girl anymore. The JAP—ugly as the stereotype has always been—has evolved into a career girl (even if she’s not always a totally self-supporting one. These days, who is?) The heiress to the Toaster Strudel fortune deserves no less.