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How to be a (well-liked) mean girl, according to Meredith Davis

Thursday’s series premiere of Bad Teacher introduced viewers to Meredith Davis (Ari Graynor), a beautiful but financially challenged young divorcée looking to find her way to another rich husband. A seemingly shallow sexpot, Meredith charms audiences as the champion for a group of unpopular girls; relating to their feelings as outcasts, she tells the story of how she was “kicked out of my life” after her husband cheated on her and left her with nothing.

This is how Meredith illustrates the evolution of the new mean girl: With a gorgeous face and “bikini-ready body,” she is aspirational to some women, but as a victim of a douchey ex-husband, she is instantly relatable to all jessica rabbitwomen. Think Jessica Rabbit meets Liz Lemon. She’s got moxy and hustle as she schemes to get back on top, with the help of a middle school and its population of weekend dads. As charismatic as she is sharp, Meredith represents an emerging female character who can capitalize on her sexuality and sort out her own messes, without taking anything from anyone. She is the face of the new (and better liked) mean girl, giving them a better rep and challenging viewers to rethink the stereotype. liz lemonMaybe it isn’t so bad after all.

Here are a few tips for rocking that mean-girl vibe, without actually becoming a mean girl at heart:

  • Know your worth.

handsupMeredith has a lot of problems, but confidence isn’t one of them. She swings instead of walks, poses instead of sits, and has perfected the flirty hair flip. Her confidence draws people to her. Within minutes of arriving at Richard M. Nixon Middle school, Principal Carl (David Alan Grier) is beguiled, Irene (Sarah Gilbert) is completely smitten, Coach Kotsky has a crush and Jenny (Kristin Davis) is her sworn enemy, mostly out of jealousy. When she is repeatedly told she is pretty, she responds, “I know. I am also very photogenic.” We should all start answering this way after receiving a compliment.

  • Always tell the truth.

MerIreneVestEven though her message is sometimes difficult to hear, Meredith doesn’t shy away from the hard conversations. Teeth need whitening? Need more deodorant? She’s your go-to girl when you need some hard truths. But what sets her apart from bitchy female characters is that Meredith’s truth is not meant as malicious or hurtful — she thinks you need to hear it. And you probably do. She gives the girls a bit of hard advice after a run-in with the popular girls she’s dubbed “Water Bra” and “Panty Lines.” She tells them, “It gets better, but not right away. And truthfully, it will probably only get better for one of you.” Face it: She’s right.

  • Find a cause and fight for it.

PilotThis is why we love her: Meredith sticks up for folks who can’t stick up for themselves. When Lily (Sara Rodier) and her friends are being bullied, she makes it her business to keep the real mean girls in line. She confronts them, insults them and all around puts them in their place. If you’ve ever been bullied (or ever felt personally victimized by your very own Regina George), then the cafeteria scene from the pilot episode, “Divorced Dudes,” will make you cheer. As a pep talk to the girls, Meredith tells them,“I may be blessed with a perfect rack and a great face, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know how you’re feeling … You got to fake it ’til you make it.” Amen, sister.

  • Don’t back down.

kristin davisEvery mean girl has to have an adversary, and Meredith has found hers in the uptight, prudish Jenny (Kristin Davis). A perfectionist and stickler for the rules, Jenny sets out to sabotage Meredith and expose the lies on her résumé. Meredith doesn’t shy away from her challenges and flaunts the rules anyway. When confronted about stealing Career Day from Jenny, Meredith defiantly retorts, “I’ve already made the fliers.” And we all know what that means.

  • Be yourself.

stepping off the busMeredith has fallen quite a few rungs down the social latter, to say the least. But that doesn’t stop her from being unashamed about her agenda. Riding a school bus to school has no effect on her; she struts down those steps like she’s in a White Snake video, and she puts up no falsities as she gets to know the other teachers (and they still love her). Irene (Sara Gilbert) is so infatuated with her that she is willing to take Meredith up on this reply to a lunch invitation: “I nap at lunch, but feel free to give me the cash equivalent.” Sounds good to me.


So let your mean flag fly, just as long as you’re following the rules according to Meredith Davis. In her honor, I’ve compiled a list of other (well-liked) mean girls from over the years (in no particular order):

Wanna know if you’re a bad teacher — or a well-liked mean girl, for that matter? Take this quiz at CBS to find out.

Tweet me the mean girls you love to love and leave a comment below.

For more of what I think about stuff, visit my blog, Honest Reviews Corner.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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