Culture/Movies

Recapping the Dirty Dancing remake

May 25, 2017

Let's just say, it wasn't the time of our lives.

So, if you haven’t seen Twitter’s response to #DirtyDancing, here’s the gist: last night, a remake of the original 1987 film aired, and for the most part people have been really grinding it—like put baby in the corner for life, grinding.

Now, in all fairness, did anyone really think that this made-for-TV remake (and ABC’s first television musical) was going to outshine the original? No. Did we think the casting was a bit peculiar? Maybe. But, did we really give it a shot? I did.

The remake places Chanel No. 5 Abigail Breslin as Baby Houseman alongside Katey Sagal (Sons of Anarchy), Sarah Hyland (Modern Family), Nicole Scherzinger (Pussycat Dolls), Debra Messing (Will & Grace), Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek), and newcomer Colt Prattes as the iconic Johnny Castle.  The production is said to be more of a “re-imagining” of the original, with added musical elements. And there was certainly a lot of singing. It was like watching Glee all over again.

Now, let’s breakdown what we watched, with these monumental highlights that we’ll totally remember forever.

Unlike the original, the remake starts off in New York City, 1975, where Baby is setting up to watch the Broadway musical of Dirty Dancing. Baby’s all grown up (sort of) and stressing that a song can bring back so many memories, which then takes us back in time to Kellerman’s Resort in 1963.

Dialogue-wise, the first five minutes or so pretty much mirror the original Dirty Dancing, except Baby is presented as a bookworm who wants to be a doctor rather than a member of the Peace Corps.

Wait, is that…

Is that J.Lo’s former squeeze, Casper Smart, playing Johnny’s cousin Billy? Yes, yes it is. He also has a couple of zingers like “You better change your name kid, ‘cause you’re not baby anymore” after Baby sees Johnny and Penny tearing up the floor together.

But then Johnny (who sings!) and Baby share their first canoodle on the dance floor, giving us a look at Baby’s dance moves, or lack thereof.

The Wigs…

Just like in the original, there’s an odd scene where the ladies try on wigs, but instead of comparisons to Cleopatra, Penny says Baby should try on the blonde wig because she’ll look like Marilyn Monroe.

You can be the judge on that one.

Bungalow Bunny…

Vivian (a.k.a. the Bungalow Bunny) is much more in your face this time around. She dances and ropes Johnny around while performing a pretty sexed-up rendition of “Fever” to the crowd (FYI: that’s Johnny sprawled out snow-angel style).

Dirty Dancing got us like…

The Houseman family sums up what it was like to sit through this production.

Dance it out…

Penny’s abortion is still a huge concern, but this time Baby requires dance lessons from Johnny in return for the money. This leads to their opening “getting to know each other” dance sequences, complete with some cute quirk moments, funny quips like “Look into my eyes…um…not like that,” and Ace of Base sign movements, naturally.

Friends this time…

While the original did see Baby and Penny helping one another, this version really stepped up the female friendship between them. Penny and Baby dance, laugh, grab, gawk, and strut around together for what feels like ten minutes with not a man in sight. At the beginning of the scene, Penny even asks Baby if she’s disappointed Johnny isn’t there to teach her (um, you’re Nicole Scherzinger, of course she isn’t).

The lift…

Don’t worry though, there’s plenty of Johnny-Baby dancing action, including the quintessential water lift scene. “Don’t think, trust!”

(And here’s our favourite Twitter responses)

The differences…

A major difference between the remake and the original is the relationship between Jake. and Marjorie Houseman (Bruce Greenwood and Debra Messing). This time, the divorce and dissatisfaction are explored, with Marjorie finally taking a stand (literally) and singing Billie Holiday’s “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” in a very, very sullen way.

Their relationship is in turmoil, and throughout the film we hear the dismay that Marjorie feels (“I don’t need a hobby, I need a husband”) as she plans on seeing a divorce lawyer. It’s quite sad, yet endearing; especially when Dr. Jake takes his wife on a canoe ride to rekindle their youthful romance. This happens after he belts out “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” while playing piano in the dark. Sigh.

The plot…

After Johnny gets accused of stealing a watch he’s taken away in a cop car as doe-eyed Baby watches the car slowly, ever so slowly, drive away. She ends up going to the police station to make sure EVERYONE knows she was with him last night, meaning he didn’t steal anything (except her heart, bah!). Daddy isn’t happy, Johnny ends up getting free but kicked out of Letterman’s, Baby is heartbroken, Lisa paints her nails to make her feel better… the end?

NO! Would this be Dirty Dancing if Johnny didn’t come back to grab Baby for their final, signature dance?

And just when you think the two will live happily ever after, this happens:

Yes folks, that’s Baby “grown up” with a kid and a husband that’s NOT JOHNNY.

(P.S. in case you want to catch it yourself, you can watch the remake here.)

Exclusive videos, interviews, contests & more.

sign up for the a.side newsletter

sign up