Yesterday, comic Michael Showalter posted a seemingly innocuous touch upon Twitter:
Maybe to his personal shock, Showalter was nearly instantly besieged by testimonials agreeing that, not solely does Grease 2 maintain up, it even surpasses the unique. So right here’s the think-piece he requested.
First, there’s the easy undeniable fact that many people grew up with the 1982 sequel on a cable loop, typically working greater than the illustrious Grease. In consequence, a few of us know “Cool Rider” higher than “Summer season Nights.” However there’s one other side that explains the sequel’s intense fandom: Within the 1978 film, idol-on-the-rise John Travolta performs the greaser Danny, whereas Australian pop singer Olivia Newton-John is the strait-laced Sandy. Theirs is a love story about attempting to vary identities to slot in with who they assume the opposite needs them to be. And whereas Danny halfheartedly tries being a jock, ultimately it’s Sandy who undergoes the most important makeover, ditching her cardigans for skin-tight leather-based pants and completely morphing into Danny’s splendid, leaving her actual self far behind.
Grease 2 supplied a gender swap: Stephanie, performed by then-unknown Michelle Pfeiffer, is a feminine greaser Pink Woman, whereas Maxwell Caulfield (Rex Manning himself) performs Sandy’s nerdy but hunky Australian cousin, Michael. Stephanie affords a a lot better feminine position mannequin than the mousy, cheerleading Sandy, as June Diane Raphael identified to Showalter:
She’s so cool, actually, that Stephanie has two guys chasing after her—Michael and her ex, Johnny (performed by Adrian Zmed)—and she or he attracts them each with out altering a hair on her attractive head. Not like Grease’s “cool” Rizzo (Stockard Channing), Stephanie doesn’t must be imply to anybody who doesn’t match into her Pink Woman normal. She’s simply cool, interval.
Additionally, let’s face it, Grease 2 has some nice songs—and mirroring its refreshingly equal-rights sexual frankness, there’s nothing so egregious as that “Did she put up a combat?” line in “Summer season Nights.” As a substitute, the Grease 2 youngsters go all in on their hormones collectively in “Replica,” simply one of many songs that surpasses a few of the authentic’s tunes.
It’s not a shock that the musical numbers would shine, seeing as Grease 2 was directed by Patricia Birch, the Grease choreographer who understandably centered on her robust factors for her first (and, nonetheless, solely) function movie. So whereas “Rating Tonight (Let’s Bowl)” lacks quite a bit within the lyrics (“Let’s bowl, let’s bowl, let’s / Rock ’n’ roll”), it makes up for it with its energetic bowling alley dance quantity. The character-establishing “Again To College Once more” is an all-hands-on-deck extravaganza worthy of Busby Berkeley. The T-Birds’ epic, “Prowlin’,” ably led by Zmed, has a refined warmth that “Greased Lightning” would roll proper over. The women’ quantity, “Lady For All Seasons,” is a beautiful composition exhibiting off Pfeiffer’s stunning pipes (and the less-surprising ones of Judy Garland’s daughter Lorna Luft). After which there’s the aforementioned “Cool Rider,” the film’s finest musical second, and a showcase for Pfeiffer’s Travolta-rivaling charisma.
Away from the musical numbers, Pfeiffer’s simple chemistry with Caulfield—most notably in a research session at a burger restaurant—often is the closest the Grease films ever got here to precise charming banter. She’s additionally obtained a much more subtle tackle love: Ultimately, Stephanie goes off with Michael not (simply) as a result of he has a badass motorbike, however as a result of she is aware of he’s a wise, candy man who actually likes her.
Let’s be clear, Grease 2 will not be excellent (Exhibit A: “Let’s Do It For Our Nation,” wherein a boy tries to seduce a woman in a bomb shelter. Exhibit B: A very, actually unlucky musical dream sequence with horrible dialogue. Stephanie: “Simply when I discovered you, I misplaced you!” Michael: “That doesn’t matter now.” Exhibit C: Bullshit Pink Woman code as plot contrivance). However then, neither was Grease. However, Grease was such a blockbuster that Grease 2’s relative crucial and business failure has earned it a legacy as one in all movie’s worst sequels. It’s undeserved. Nobody ought to be stunned that some individuals really choose it. These individuals know a cool rider once they see one.