‘Ganda ka?’ Behind the success of Filipino-dubbed ‘Mean Girls’ videos

April 10, 2018 - 11:44 AM
Macoy Averilla made 'Mean Girls' relevant once again when he dubbed some clips of it in Filipino. (Uela Badayos)

More than a decade has passed and yet the 2004 teen comedy “Mean Girls” is still fondly remembered—this time, in viral memes and dubbed clips.

One Facebook funny man—not to mention a “Mean Girls” fan—decided to make the Lindsay Lohan starrer relevant to a new generation of viewers.

Mark “Macoy” Averilla told Interaksyon that he created the videos in November 2017 with a dubbed version of “The Devil Wears Prada.” He inflected the memes with “beki” lines and bouts of Filipino pop culture.

Eventually, he decided to change wheels and started to dub snippets from “Mean Girls,” believing the film much more entertaining.

He then released a dubbed version of the Jingle Bell Rock scene where Cady and The Plastics rendered their own version of the song. The timing of the video’s release was perfect, since companies were distributing bonuses at that time.

Soon, he watched in amazement how the viewership of his videos rose.

More “Mean Girls”-related dubs followed, with each one arguably funnier than the last. By the end of 2017, Averilla had already released three “Mean Girls” dubs on Facebook.

It entered mainstream consciousness, as people started using expressions from his videos such as “Ganda ka?” (roughly translated “Are you pretty?” with sarcasm) and “Shelemet” (a colloquialism of the Filipino translation of “Thank you”).

‘That’s so fetch!’

The “fetch” phenomenon started when “Mean Girls” scriptwriter Tina Fey got inspired by Rosalind Wiseman’s self-help book “Queen Bees and Wannabes.”

In an interview with The New York Times, Fey revealed that her real-life high school experiences were also helpful.

She said, “I revisited high school behaviors of my own — futile, poisonous, bitter behaviors that served no purpose.”

Regina George (Rachel McAdams) talking to Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan), the new girl. (Facebook/Mean Girls)

“That thing of someone saying ‘You’re really pretty’ and then, when the other person thanks them, saying, ‘Oh, so you agree? You think you’re pretty?’ That happened in my school. That was a bear trap,” she continued.

Rachel McAdams (who played Regina George) believed that Fey had struck a “nerve.”

She said, “Tina hit a nerve about girl politics, but in a nonconfrontational way.”

Regina George is real 

University of South Florida sociologist Dawn Cecil explained that the concept of “relational aggression” has led to these types of films to be popular.

The Journal of Abnormal Psychology defines relational aggression as “attacking others via malicious social exclusion and/or the spreading of negative information about others with the goal of harming their status/social relationships.”

In the film, Regina initiates the attack by bullying her schoolmates.

Regina George and her posse (Lacey Chabert and Amanda Seyfried) with Aaron Samuels (Jonathan Bennett) walking on a school corridor. (Facebook/Mean Girls)

People could relate to bullying but quirkiness is added through slapstick comedy. This makes the film less serious with silly situations and campy dialogues — hence, the appeal.

When Averilla incorporated Filipino pop culture into his dubbed versions, it became more relevant.

He said, “I am sure that during our high school days, we have set of friends and classmates who are mean, haha! And sa tingin ko maraming makaka-relate.”

“Mean Girls’ stereotype is present outside school. Why? Because even in the real world you get to see ‘Mean Girls’ characters, and they exist to make our lives more meaningful,” he continued. — Artwork by Uela Altar-Badayos