When relaying a story about sharing Grease 2 with someone only familiar with the first, my brother responded, “There’s a Grease 1?” Apparently the countless hours he spent forced to watch Michelle Pfeiffer’s introductory film on a loop, left him not only less enamored than I, but far more sarcastic.
Focusing on sex, relationships and knowing one’s place in the present society, the basic premise of both movies plays the same. An attractive, seemingly intelligent, foreign exchange student falls for a popular teen in an American high school, only to discover that the customary rules of conduct prevent engaging in such a romance.
I mean no disrespect toward the original Grease. As a fan of musicals, I believe it has earned its place among the classics. For all their similarities, a major difference exists between the two films and for my money, that difference places Grease 2 in front as the more enjoyable storyline.
Unlike its predecessor, where the plot revolves around a pretty girl willing to change who she is to be with a boy,
…Grease 2 revolves around Stephanie Zinone, a strong, beautiful heroine, tired of the status quo of early 1960s chauvinism. Despite much protest from her friends, most notably her ex, she is changing for herself.
The power of Pfeiffer’s charisma had me, a solid tomboy at the time, willing to wear pink, even if only on the inside liner of a reversible leather jacket. Mesmerized by her beauty and spirit, I didn’t just want to watch her; I wanted to be her. I knew every lyric to every song, something I still haven’t accomplished for Grease.
Tired of being “someone’s chick,” Stephanie breaks protocol with her peers, announcing she is “no one’s trophy,” and taking her own path – a difficult task for a teenager with a leading role in a well established clique. Most girls couldn’t walk away from a cutie like Johnny Nogerelli.
Here Adrian Zmed showcases his amazing, yet underappreciated talents.
In Grease 2, it is the male who changes for the pleasure of the female, ultimately wishing to assimilate both personas, rather than completely abandoning his former self for his heart’s desire.
No, my hero will not be the girl who takes up drinking and smoking to please a boy who would not commit to her for fear of his friends’ razzing. I’ll follow the tough beauty, who lands the brainy badass British biker babe.
By the end of the film, Stephanie has decided that if she cannot be true to herself, then she does not need to be a Pink Lady. Her friends will not dictate her life, which ultimately makes her of stronger character than both Danny and Sandy. Zinone makes her choice and is rewarded by the unmasking of her presumed dead, cool rider in the form of one, very much alive, Michael Carrington.
So, you can see, as an unconventional little girl, growing up in a sexist world, I had no choice but to fall in love with a story like this. Grease never had a chance in comparison because I could not relate to Sandy’s abandonment of her own personality. No boy is worth that.
Michelle Pfeiffer, on the other hand,
What do you think? For what other reasons is Grease 2 more enjoyable than the original? Let me know in the comments.