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Grease: Live Is Keeping THIS Controversial Lyric

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Photo: Tommy Garcia/FOX.
Grease: Live, airing this Sunday, promises pop stars and a hefty dose of nostalgia — for the '50s or '70s: take your pick. But the show is also keeping in an implied reference to date rape.

The Fox extravaganza will feature the line "did she put up a fight?" in "Summer Nights." You know, the one that suggests Kenickie would be totally okay with disregarding consent. At the Television Critics Association Press Tour earlier this month, Carlos PenaVega, who is playing the role, said that the line is "still in there," the Los Angeles Times reported.

The show's Danny Zuko, Aaron Tveit, offered up a defense of the choice, saying they are "trying to just have fun with it, as opposed to suggesting that it's something darker," according to Adweek. "Hopefully, it comes through that way," he adds. It will probably still come off sounding pretty much like rape.

Salon critic Sonia Saraiya criticized Tveit's comments and suggested some replacement lyrics for "Summer Nights" on Twitter, writing "certainly there is some other rhyme somewhere, right, that has some vague sexual innuendo?" Others, including the New Yorker's Emily Nussbaum joined in with amusing options. Claire Napier's included: "'did you think that she might' 'did she clutch your dick right' 'did you worry she'd bite' 'did you match up by height.'"

And all of this isn't to say the show is being preserved in metaphorical amber.

According to Adweek, in "Greased Lightnin'" Danny now sings "the chicks'll scream" instead of "the chicks'll cream" and calls the car a "dream wagon" rather than a "pussy wagon." As Zap2it's Andrea Reiher put it when reporting from TCA, Grease: Live "has to edit out the dirty stuff, but not the date rape-y stuff."

The show aims to be "family friendly" with an "appropriate edge," producer Marc Platt told Adweek. But that definition of "appropriate" is frustrating if "did she put up a fight" remains. We're not arguing that the show shouldn't address teen pregnancy, but if smoking is passé and a casual allusion to date rape is not, something is up.

Grease will never send out a great message to impressionable young people, but it doesn't make the lyric any more palatable or acceptable in 2016.
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