Darlings, for a limited time only, we’ll be resurrecting the one feature on this site for which we get the most requests to return to, MUSICAL MONDAYS. For the remaining Mondays in 2014, we’ll be taking a very T Lo look at some of the few musicals we never got to back in the halcyon days of 2007/8, when MM was going strong. So let’s get to it with the one musical practically everyone has seen at least once, that tribute to teenage sex and age-blind casting that we all love so well.
Yes, it’s Grease! The story of thirtysomething teenagers and their quest for sex, love and a reliable moisturizer in a version of the 1950s without ANY NON-WHITE PEOPLE WHATSOEVER!
Our story starts here, on a generic beach in a generic 1950s year, with our boy Danny making time with some generic Australian chick named Sandy. Together, they discover the joys of love on the beach and all that entails.
Like goofy picture-taking …
Learning about the tides the hard way…
Did we mention it was the fifties?
Sandy interrupts her assault to mention that she’ll be going home to Australia with her parents soon, presumably to help move them into assisted living and get their affairs in order. Danny tells her not to worry about the future and to live in the moment. Then he asks if he can just stick the tip in for a second.
After some hellaciously ugly and cheap-looking animation, we settle into Rydell High, a spirited 1950s southern California high school where no one under 25 is allowed and half the students inexplicably have north Jersey accents.
There we meet Danny’s “gang,” the T-Birds, which consists of Kenickie, who is obsessed with Danny and always trying to make out with him, as well as three losers who get to hang out with them in order to make them look better.
On the other side of Rydell’s seemingly massive campus, Sandy is being introduced to the Pink Ladies, a group of divorcees and widows who meet at the school occasionally for lunch.
Meanwhile, the T-Birds demonstrate their limited understanding of women. This, naturally, leads to singing about sex. Pretty much everything in this movie leads to singing about sex.
Later, it’s time for the kids to engage in that grand 1950s tradition – a LYNCHING!
Sandy, who has made the cheerleading squad simply by showing up (thin and blonde) …
It’s her FIRST DAY.
The Pink Ladies, taking a less-than-healthy interest in Sandy’s dating life, are appalled by her wanton ways and decide to teach her a lesson and re-introduce her to Danny, who she has somehow managed to miss, even though they both go to the same school and have a tendency to lead huge public sing-alongs at the drop of a hat.
He’s thrilled at the reunion, and immediately starts making plans for sandcastle-building and endless conversations about whether he can put the tip in. Kenickie is pissed because Danny never wants to do these things with him.
At first she’s all Overly Attached Girlfriend at the sight of him.
But then she realizes he hangs out with mouth-breathers and closeted gay men who are obsessed with him and she finds it all too tawdry and disappointing to bear. This is not the sophisticated, sensitive Danny who built sand castles with her and tried to force himself on her. This guy’s a dork.
Her illusions and dreams shattered at the tender age of 36, she turns to Frenchy, who knows exactly what a girl needs at a time like this.
To hang out with a bunch of women in their underwear and get drunk.
Can we just take a moment to recap the first day of school for Sandy, the “good” girl? She befriends the toughest, most popular girls in the school, makes the cheerleader squad, flirts with the school quarterback, meets up with her old boyfriend and tells him off, and then goes to a lesbian slumber party where she smokes, drinks and gets her ears pierced.
Sandy Olsson is a fucking BOSS at this whole high school thing.
The ladies let their obsession with her get out of control and they all wind up trying desperately to capture some of that Sandy magic.
But these aren’t the coolest lesbians you’ll ever meet and Sandy excuses herself to get some air and sing a generic ’70s pop song to some water.
The next day, Kenickie reveals that, because he thought you were supposed to sit on the back of the driver’s seat, he lost control of his car and, judging by the state of it, caused thousands of dollars’ worth of property damage. He also severely damaged his neck and can no longer face forward. The T-Birds laugh and sing a song at him, a song that will cause an entire generation of former children to have a collective light bulb go off over their heads decades later when they realize…
Rival gang The Scorpions are terrorizing the wholesome hangout where all the thirtysomethings meet. This is FORESHADOWING.
Inside the Frosty Palace things are even frostier than usual. Sandy is quite busy; first, in her attempt to corrupt the morals of a minor…
And then later when she insults Danny’s masculinity, which drives him (you’ll pardon the term) straight into the loving and accepting arms of his Rydell brothers:
Sandy, having had enough of Danny spending his time wearing short shorts and getting hugs from men demands that he save her from the horrors of having to talk to Lorenzo Lamas for any length of time and stop this foolishness right now.
By going to the only restaurant that’ll put up them.
Joan Blondell, who almost singlehandedly forced the creation of the Motion Picture Production Code in the thirties, has no time for these kids who think they invented sex. She serves them the stuff other diners left behind on their plates.
Later, the entire cast interrupts their date for some exposition and arguing, which might be understandable behavior if we were looking at a bunch of teenagers instead of people old enough to be the parents of teenagers.
Frenchy is stiffed with the bill and Joan informs her that she’ll be locking her in the restaurant for the night and expects spotless floors and a sparkling urinal in the Boys room when she lets her out tomorrow.
Instead, Frenchy drops some acid:
Later, the boys feel each other up in the school parking lot.
This looks like the VHS cover box of a thousand ’80s gay porn releases – except for the girl in the background.
Rizzo attempts being seductive in the way only a middle-aged woman can.
Which makes sense when you’re trying to get a 40-year-old to ask you to the school dance.
For his part, Kenickie brings Cha Cha DiGregorio, the best dancer from Saint Bernadette’s (Class of 1927) to the dance.
And as per usual, when you put a bunch of horny 35-year-olds in a powder keg situation like that, all hell is going to break loose:
To make up for his poor behavior at the dance, Danny takes Sandy to a romantic night out at the movies, which is sure to loosen her panties because what teenage girl doesn’t want to have sex the minute she hears Jerry Lewis’s voice?
Meanwhile, Rizzo chooses the most discreet and private place she can find to have a serious discussion about the possibility that she may be pregnant and what that means for a woman her age.
Danny, like most teenagers, can’t stop obsessively masturbating to the comic stylings of Martin & Lewis, forcing Sandy to give him the finger – just as soon as she figures out which one she’s supposed to use.
Danny sings about heartbreak while phallic imagery parades through his subconscious.
Kenickie and Danny reveal the next day that both of their girlfriends have dumped them.
And succumb to the inevitable.
Meanwhile, Rizzo gives the audience a chance to go to the bathroom or freshen their sodas while she sings about the likelihood of pregnancy complications due to her advanced maternal age:
Later, Cha Cha DiGregorio and her gang of pre-menopausal carnies challenge the boys to a drag race.
Danny and Kenickie stop making out long enough to decide that the more famous one should drive the car.
Things are pretty evenly matched on both sides. Crater Face has his band of doughy, surly homosexuals.
While Danny has Alice Ghostley.
Cha Cha DiGregorio, former suffragette, is IN HER GLORY.
Unfortunately, Crater Face lost the race because he got his car wet.
And speaking of getting wet, Sandy has made a very important decision; one that all young women must make if they ever want to find any meaning or purpose to their lives. It’s time for Sandy to throw away everything she believes in order to keep herself firmly attached to a man.
It’s graduation day at Rydell, where the school traditions are a little … different.
Like the ever-popular “Cream the Teacher.”
The pregnancy-testing Ferris Wheel.
The … freak show? With the 8-legged pig and the elephant skin dog?
And of course…
The annual makeover of a local 40-year-old vagrant for charity.
This, naturally, leads to more singing about sex.
And then, realizing that it’s been almost two hours and they’ve run out of plot, everyone launches immediately into a second song because there’s really nothing else left to say.
And finally, because absolutely no one involved in this coke-fueled fuckfest have figured out a way to end it, Sandy and Danny are abducted by aliens and never seen again.