A lot was confusing about the new Dirty Dancing reboot (remake? I can't keep track), which aired last night on ABC. Was all that singing really necessary? Did we really need a cover of "Hungry Eyes"? Does Colt Prattes have any actual facial expressions? And can someone please explain why Vivian Pressman (Katey Sagal) was joking about giving things up for Lent? Is Kellerman's no longer a Jewish resort in the Catskills?
But the craziest thing about this, let's face it, completely unnecessary and vastly inferior imposter of a film, is the ending. Here's a little refresher: The original Dirty Dancing ends on a high note, with Johnny (Patrick Swayze) telling Dr. Houseman (Jerry Orbach) that "nobody puts Baby in a corner," before sweeping said Baby (Jennifer Grey) into their epic final dance number. The final scene shows everyone at Kellerman's dancing, happy in the moment. We don't know what the future holds, and we don't care. Because for now, there's only summer and dancing — they literally had the time of their lives.
Let's all relive it together:
Now, let's talk about the new ending. We got a little foreshadowing at the start of the movie when Baby (Abigail Breslin) walks into a New York theater advertising a show called Dirty Dancing circa 1975. But for some reason, this completely slipped my mind until the final minutes, when Baby and Johnny (Colt Prattes) fade away, locked in their final embrace... and the movie doesn't end.
Instead of the delightful, sweaty, pull-at-your-heartstrings finale, we get...La La Land? I'm not kidding. I am convinced that someone at ABC went to see the Oscar-winning movie, came back, and said "We're doing that." The lights go up in the theater and there's Baby, all grown up, clapping. As people start to file out of the theater, she remains (duh). And then, Johnny emerges from backstage. His James Dean pompadour has flattened out into something that kind of looks like a dead badger, and he apparently choreographed this production, based on Baby's memoir. And because this film does not deal in subtleties, he explicitly lets her know that he would never have thought about Broadway before meeting her. She inspired him to be all that he could be. Okay, cool. But then, a little girl bursts out of nowhere, yelling for her "Mommy," with another man (presumably her father, and Baby's husband) trailing behind her, and I literally had to double check what movie I was watching. Just like Emma Stone in La La Land, Baby has come to see what could have been, and she's fine with the life she chose, thank you very much.
(If I really want to get deep into conspiracy theories, I could point out that Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone have a very real connection to Dirty Dancing. Remember this?)
This worked in La La Land. It was poignant, it was real. In Dirty Dancing however, seeing what comes after just ruins the magic. It makes me think of that time Johnny went to see Baby at Mount Holyoke and she was too busy to see him, or flirting with a budding philosopher who likes to smoke pot and recite poetry. Or, that time Baby needed Johnny and he wasn't there for her because, let's face it, he's not the most responsible guy. Or, the moment when Baby realized that Johnny was a small-time hunk who was great for a summer fling, but definitely not the love of her life. It all breaks the illusion. And in Dirty Dancing, that's almost as bad as having spaghetti arms.
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