Talking to the Television
When ABC announced that they were going to air an original Dirty Dancing TV event, I was intrigued. Notice I didn’t use the words “excited” or “elated” or “planned to schedule my entire evening around the blessed affair.” I’ve been burned before with the live musical trend. I’m looking at you Sound of Music, Peter Pan, and The Wiz.
To be fair, I can’t forget that one time I was shockingly surprised by a TV musical. Grease is the word and it was pretty good.
I remember rolling my eyes, wondering why the network would choose to reimagine the 1987 film. I understand that Dirty Dancing is now a Broadway musical. (Even that sentence gives me pause.) I admit that I have never seen the stage performance, so I have no reference of its soundtrack. With that said, my brain has trouble computing why any director or actor would want to touch this sacred piece of iconic pop culture history.
It takes a bold person to step into the shoes of Johnny Castle.
So there I was a few months ago, scratching my head over the casting choices, mentally making a note to set my DVR for May 24, assuming full well that the performance was going to be permanent resident on the Hot Mess Express. I received two pieces of information last night, confirming my suspicions:
I also received a phone call from my mother. Her face pop up when I was between big group and small group time at Bible study. She knows I teach on Wednesday nights, so I took the call during my walk from one room to another, thinking something was wrong.
Something was wrong.
Mama: “ARE YOU WATCHING THIS?” [She was very upset, hence the all caps.]
Me: “No, Mama. I’m at Bible study.”
I paused waiting for her to apologize or offer to call me back later. Silence.
Me: “Mama? Are you there? Is everything okay?
Mama: “NO. EVERYTHING IS NOT OKAY.”
Me: “What’s wrong?”
Mama: “IT’S AWFUL. IT’S SO DISRESPECTFUL.”
Me: “I’m going to need you to walk me through your thought process, Mama.”
Mama: “HOW COULD THEY DO THIS TO PATRICK SWAYZE? IT’S LIKE THEY PUT HIM IN A TRASH DUMPSTER! IT’S AWFUL, LINCEE. JUST AWFUL!”
Me: “I KNEW IT!”
Mama: “SO DID I!”
When I got home from Bible study, I reluctantly sat down to watch with my friend Stephanie.
1.) Thank goodness for the fast forward button.
2.) Durning the entire THREE HOUR EXTRAVAGANZA all I did was talk to my television like a fool and ask Stephanie to look facts up on the Google.
As a gift to you, I’ve included my train of thought here, because even I, a seasoned recapper, can’t figure out how to cobble all of these thoughts into one cohesive blog.
Proceed with caution.
- Why is it 1975? Everyone who has the opening monologue memorized knows “That was the summer of 1963, when everyone called me Baby and it didn’t occur to me to mind.” Why does Baby have Farrah Fawcett hair? Is this part of the sacrilege Broadway show? (Read: It was a flash forward.)
- What does “live musical trend” mean and will Johnny take his shirt off?
- It’s Grace! Steph, did you know that Will & Grace is back on NBC this fall?
- It’s Hayley! From Modern Family!
- Can you please IMDB Abigail Breslin’s age and the dude playing Johnny’s age? Why is she fifteen and he’s thirty-five?
- It’s weird watching Abigail Breslin play a teenager who experiments in amorous activities. I still see her like this:
- Nicole Scherzinger is no Penny. Also, Penny would never wear black panties under her coral dress while showing off with Johnny on the dance floor.
- Johnny would NEVER wear a shiny suit. Or have high hair. Johnny would also not look like he’s angry at the world. Why so gruff, guy named Colt who’s playing Johnny?
- I’m glad she carried a watermelon. I’m not happy the line was, “I carried his watermelon.” Seriously, script writer? Why mess with an iconic line? Next thing you’re going to tell me is, “Nobody puts Baby in a ninety-degree angle.”
- Dancing dirty in 1987, portraying dancing dirty in 1963 actually seemed like dirty dancing. Dancing dirty in 2017, portraying dancing dirty in 1963 was more of a humping the floor type situation. It was straight up gross.
- I don’t understand. Are they supposed to be singing the songs? Or are they singing along with the radio?
- I’m glad the wardrobe department committed to the undergarments of the era. Baby’s boobs are very pointy.
- Look! It’s Peggy Bundy as the lady who cheats on her husband with Johnny. Wait. Is she a guest or an employee? I’m confused.
- Abigail’s costumes are horrible compared to Grace and Haley’s. I assume that was on purpose?
- Baby wants to hire Johnny for dance lessons so she can compete in the end-of-the-year talent show. I guess I’ll allow it.
- This dance compilation is P-A-I-N-F-U-L. Especially when this is what you’re going for:
- Johnny is so much cuter when he smiles.
- It was a smart move not to include the armpit tickle bit. I salute you, writers.
- NONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONO. [Dancing on the log scene.]
- My eyes! MY EYES! [Water scene.]
- Now why did they make Abigail wear that? And let’s choose another camera angle next time.
- Johnny rides a motorcycle now.
- Why do we care about the state of Baby’s parents’ marriage?
- Oh! That’s a thing. They want us to care about the state of Baby’s parents’ marriage.
- Johnny’s abs are my life. Way to go Actor Colt.
- Nicole’s song is unfortunate.
- I wish Lisa was dorkier like the Lisa in the movie. I bet she dumps Robbie and gets with the piano guy. (Spoiler: She does.)
- SSSSTTTTTOOOOOOOOPPPPPPPPPPP. [The “dance with me” scene in Johnny’s room.]
- Johnny’s abs are still my life. They are in a close competition with Johnny’s back. This does not make me feel weird, because he’s practically my age.
- I do not like what he’s doing to the young girl. Is this the first time Abigail has kissed anyone?
- Oh look! It’s Baby’s full-coverage 18-hour bra. I feel uncomfortable.
- Did she just say, “You think you are too cool for school?”
- Mickey and Sylvia’s song is ruined for me right now. I need a palate cleanse.
- Baby is acting HARD.
- Lisa is acting HARD.
- Whoever singing “She’s Like the Wind” should be put in timeout and forced to watch this movie one hundred times in a row.
- Why isn’t Lisa playing her ukulele song? BLASPHEMY.
- Nobody puts Baby in a corner. It made it!
- Oh Lord. Johnny is singing “Time of My Life.” I’m glad he isn’t wearing head-to-toe black like Patrick Swayze, whose memory is currently in a dumpster.
- I wish Abigail would do something with her arms.
- Now she’s singing! Jesus take the wheel.
- Now her dad is singing? With her mom? Heaven help me.
- Wow! We watched that in under two hours!
We haven’t seen the last of the TV musical. According to Variety, ABC is going to tackle The Little Mermaid in 2018. NBC is prepping Bye Bye Birdie, along with Jesus Christ Superstar. FOX, the network I trust the most, has plans for a live version of Rent and A Christmas Story. I don’t know if my nerves can handle it.
What did you think of the Dirty Dancing TV event? Were you pleasantly surprised or mortified? Do you think Patrick Swayze’s memory is in a dumpster? I’d love to hear your thoughts!