The Iconic ‘Mean Girls’ ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ Dance Was Originally Considered Too Sexy

The Mean Girls “Jingle Bell Rock” dance choreography has that well-known “thigh slap,” which actually came about after the original choreography was deemed too sexy. Find out why the director said the original moves were just “too much.”

'Mean Girls' stars Lacey Chabert, Rachel McAdams, Lindsay Lohan, and Amanda Seyfried
‘Mean Girls’ stars Lacey Chabert, Rachel McAdams, Lindsay Lohan, and Amanda Seyfried | CBS via Getty Images

This ‘Mean Girls’ scene might have been more sexual

In an interview with EW, Mean Girls director Mark Waters recalled how they came up with the choreography for the now legendary dance the main characters do to “Jingle Bell Rock” at the Winter Talent Show. The choreography was going to be a lot more sexual originally, but they made some tweaks to the moves.

“The moment written in the script but we couldn’t figure out how to do was ‘They do some sexually embarrassing dance move,'” Waters explained. “It was a lot of effort coming up with, ‘How do we do that?'”

The original moves were a little more risqué than the final dance. “They were going to turn and stick their posteriors up in the air,” Waters shared. “And then they showed it to me, and I was like, ‘Whoa, that’s too much! Go with something else.'”

The choreography was modified to include the “thigh slap” move. “That’s how we got this idea of, ‘Let’s do this stripper thigh slap simultaneously,’ and it just germinated out of the rehearsals organically, which ended up being the funniest part of the scene,” Waters said.

He added, “And Neil Flynn’s shot!” Flynn, who played Lindsay Lohan’s character’s dad, was seen looking shocked in the audience as he watched the girls perform the stripper move.

Flynn’s reaction, as well as Amy Poehler’s hilarious turn as Regina’s mom in the audience, were both improvised, according to Waters.

“That was one of the amazing things about the movie, I got to work with all of these black belt ninja adult comedy stars like Neil Flynn and Tim Meadows and Amy Poehler, all of them,” he explained. “The young actors were obviously the core of the story but every time one of those guys would come in, they would just destroy.”

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Lindsay Lohan’s age factored into the dance choreography, too

Water shared that Lohan’s age when they filmed Mean Girls added a challenge for the talent show choreography as well.

“Because Lindsay was a minor at the time we actually had a real struggle finding time to choreograph the thing,” the director revealed. “We hired a choreographer; it was going to be a much more elaborate dance. And then, because we couldn’t book the time with her, it ended up being a little more roughshod and a little messier than we were intending, but that ended up being the greatest thing.”

He added, “We’re actually able to do this for real and have it feel messy like it should [for high school teens]. That worked for the movie.”

They didn’t originally want to use ‘Jingle Bell Rock’

Another fun behind-the-scenes fact about the talent show dance is that “Jingle Bell Rock” wasn’t their first choice. Their other options were shot down because of licensing.

“You’d be surprised how hard it is to license Christmas songs,” Waters explained. “I don’t even know how many things we tried before we got the rights to ‘Jingle Bell Rock.’ We were just happy to have anybody say yes.”

Can you imagine the dance done to anything but “Jingle Bell Rock” though?