TV scriptwriter and social media maven Nina Bargiel is completely mystified by what our elected leaders are up to these days.
Still, she’s hoping to crack the code by utilizing what appears to be a near universal translator for modern politics: “Mean Girls.”
Yep, the cult comedy about vindictive high schoolers that’s sparked thousands — nay, millions! — of BuzzFeed contributions continues to find new life in the battle to better comprehend the day-to-day lunacy that transpires on Capitol Hill.
Bargiel — who said said she originally envisioned applying her love of language to speech-writing, only to be lured by the bright lights of Hollywood (she's helped pen several hit kids’ shows including the Disney Channel’ s “Lizzie McGuire,” Nickelodeon’s “Romeo!” and Cartoon Network’s “Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy”), launched her Mean GOP platform shortly after the new year.
Her fascination with our fractured government, however, has been a long time coming.
“I’ve become incredibly interested in politics since the George W. Bush presidency on,” she said of the psychosocial shock and awe she experienced during the previous decade.
“Things have gotten incredibly strange over the past five years,” Bargiel asserted.
The hyper-partisan posturing that’s become the de facto position for all policy discussions prompted her to learn more about what her ideological opposites — “I am a pinko-commie-liberal, all the way,” she openly admitted — were up to.
So she started mixing Fox News into her information-gathering routine, followed conservative plaintiffs down online rabbit holes and just generally tried to keep an open mind about the issues of the day.
“Being informed about the issues makes comedy better,” Bargiel said of the ultimately craft-honing-exercise.
She may not have come out the other side a full-fledged convert, but Bargiel maintains she’s now at least more aware of why the opposition is always up in arms. “I understand them better,” she said, while still reserving the right to strenuously object to 99.9 percent of everything the far right stands for.
The experience did, however, help her sympathize with the modern Republican party.
“Regina George reminded me of the tea party,” Bargiel said, drawing parallels between the spiteful head of the flick’s central clique with the hardcore conservatives who often openly defy party leaders. “It’s just a couple of people who have a hold of the entire Congress.”
Once she realized the “Plastics” were running the show in D.C., Bargiel said the social commentary virtually began writing itself.
Per Bargiel, one need not be a diehard fan of the movie or a devout C-SPAN junkie to get many of the punch lines, but firmly occupying either camp definitely helps.
“I don’t like to get too inside baseball,” she told HOH. That said, Bargiel admitted that her inner geek routinely agonizes over faithfully marrying screen shots of pivotal moments to the corresponding quotes for fear that purists will gloss right over the jokes and instead nitpick about continuity issues.
Then again, she tries to not over-think every little thing.
“I’ve never had a creative project that takes so little time,” Bargiel shared, noting that once the idea crystallizes in her brain, blasting it out into the online ether takes all of about 15 minutes.
Of course, she’s interested in upping her game.
“I would love to work with Lizz Winstead,” Bargiel said of the women’s rights campaign being orchestrated by Team Lady Parts Justice. “I think informed political comedy is kind of an amazing thing.”
Until then, Bargiel plans to continue poking fun at pols with her ripped-from-the-headlines heckling.
“I don’t think that this is going to change anybody’s mind,” she conceded. “It just makes me laugh.”