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:

Dirty Dancing

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?

Me: “What’s wrong?”

Me: “I’m going to need you to walk me through your thought process, Mama.”

Me: “I KNEW IT!”
Mama: “SO DID I!”

Mama and I have very strong feelings about Patrick Swayze.

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.
  • 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!

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May 25, 2017 11:00 am

Ohhhhhhh dear. I was afraid of this–especially after I saw the preview on DWTS. Nicole looked like she was bored with the whole thing. I’m sorry, but I’m one of those that thinks you don’t mess with a reboot of the original. Those movies are iconic for a reason. Patrick Swayze’s memory is definitely in the dumpster. Preach it, Lincee’s mama!

Lindsay B
Lindsay B
May 25, 2017 11:20 am

“Whoever is singing “She’s like the Wind” should be put in timeout and forced to watch this movie one hundred times in a row. Hahaha, best ever. The highlight of my night was reading what the twitterverse was saying about this atrocity. All of your observations were completely on point. I knew the original couldn’t be touched, but this was truly a horrific attempt.

Annie B
Annie B
May 25, 2017 12:02 pm

ACK. SO glad I didn’t get near this mess. Reading your recap was cringe-worthy enough. Thank you SO MUCH for the palate cleansing clips. It really helped!

May 25, 2017 12:07 pm

I couldn’t watch the whole thing straight through. I kept switching over the HGTV and “Wedding Crashers” to cleanse my palate! I hated the parent’s relationship story line, I hated that Baby looked 12, I hated how short Johnny was, I hated all the knotty pine decor, and most of all, I hated the fact that when Johnny said, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” that they weren’t actually sitting in a corner. Stupid. The whole entire thing was stupid. I was crying for the tarnish they left on my heart because the original was SO DAMN GOOD!

Other than that, I completed loved your stream of consciousness recap, Lincee! I always look forward to hearing what you think! (I am mostly thinking the same thing, but it’s not as funny in my head!)

May 25, 2017 12:17 pm

I didn’t even watch it and based on all the feedback it seems like I made the right decision. What I don’t understand is why no one at the network said “This is HORRIBLE, we can’t do this”. It seems clear that everyone thought the same thing, so how did they not realize it?

Thanks for taking one for the team and recapping. I’m tempted to watch just so I can follow along with this recap. This was entertaining al the same.

May 25, 2017 12:31 pm

At the beginning, I understood why Baby looked like she couldn’t dance. But after supposedly taking a whole summer of dance lessons, and she never actually…..DANCED!!

Like you said, Lincee, why mess with a classic!? My brain does not comprehend.

Liz Farris
Liz Farris
May 25, 2017 1:06 pm


May 25, 2017 2:05 pm

Completely agree with you, Lincee! The two actors playing Johnny and Baby had zero chemistry which made the whole premise of the movie very difficult to believe. Also, absolutely hated the “La La Land” type of ending. Why oh why?!?!?!?

May 25, 2017 5:12 pm
Reply to  HtownGirl

Ugh. That is so true. The ending did nothing to improve the story. And she looked good at the end as an older Baby–why did they have to make her so aggressively frumpy when she was only 18?

May 25, 2017 3:18 pm

Baby is supposed to dance to WipeOut on a wooden bridge in high waisted cutoffs and an orange bodysuit.

Why was Baby sore after her first dancing lesson? She didn’t dance. She barely moved.

They played “In the Still of the Night” during the wrong part of the movie. That is one of Johnny and Baby’s songs.

I legit thought that Deborah Messing an Katey Segall were going to become a couple by the end.

Lisa is supposed to sing that Hawaiian song and it’s supposed to be terrible. (That being said, I really liked the duet song, it just wasn’t supposed to be in the movie)

Was The Feminine Mystique an unofficial sponsor of this remake? They mentioned it about 37 times.

And oh my goodness my tweet made it to your website. This made my day!

May 25, 2017 7:07 pm

I thought it had some good moments. I didn’t like johnny at first but then he really really grew on me and by the end, I was kind of crushing. My favorite scene was when she went to bang on his door crying and accusing him of being too cool for school (which I could have done without) but I loved it when he couldn’t resist anymore and came rushing out and grabbed her and started kissing her like he couldn’t live without her.
Also I think she’s a decent actress and all, but she is the complete opposite of a dancer, and you would have thought they would have cast someone who has the potential at least. She was so awkward it was difficult to watch her try to dance.

May 26, 2017 4:06 pm
Reply to  Jackie

The romantic in me loved that scene too. “Johnny’s abs were my favorite part of the whole movie.

May 25, 2017 7:29 pm

I pulled a Mesnick watching this

Jennifer Caddenhead Hardy
Jennifer Caddenhead Hardy
May 25, 2017 8:51 pm

My daughter and I, (we are Dirty Dancing super fans!) limped through the remake…I yelled out to the Tv several times…it never helped!
We kept watching just so we could continue to make snide remarks!
Everyone involved in this remake should be fired!
RIP Patrick Swayze

May 25, 2017 8:53 pm

The minute they announced this remake, I knew I wouldn’t be watching. Never mess with something so iconic. I felt like it was disrespectful to Patrick Swayze’s memory and every other actor/actress in the original movie. From everything I read here, anywhere else and heard on TV I am pretty certain I made the correct choice

May 25, 2017 9:10 pm

I watched a 4 -minute clip of Time of My Life and I couldn’t handle it. I can’t watch this! If I want to see Dirty Dancing again, I’ll just put on the original. Or maybe even Channing Tatum’s parody. That was certainly better than this!

May 25, 2017 10:19 pm

Nothing competes with the original. I was so disappointed with this remake last night. Watched the whole thing with a pillow over my face……… thanks for this recap, beautifully done, as always!!

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