Why I Think Everyone Is Wrong About Grease

Olivia Newton-John in Grease
(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Here we go – I don’t like Grease

I know, it almost feels sacrilegious to say something like that as someone who truly does love the hell out of musicals. I love classic movie musicals and the best modern musicals. I will tell literally anyone to go and check out the original Hamilton cast, or musical-filled shows such as the Apple TV+ original, Schmigadoon!, but one musical I just can’t get behind is Grease. 

I’ve watched it countless times. Several with my mother or father, who are both musicians. Multiple times with friends. Even a few times by myself, and to this day, I just don’t get it. Everyone is wrong about this movie. I understand the significance, but as someone who just doesn’t like it, I need to talk about it a little. Let’s get into it. 

John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John in Grease

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Okay, Let’s Start Here – The Ending Is Ridiculous

Out of everything, I think both Grease fans and haters can agree that the ending is absolutely ridiculous. 

I would be completely alright with Sandy and Danny flying off to who the hell knows where if I had gone into this musical thinking that it was some weird, musical fantasy movie. We’ve had that before, so it wouldn’t be that shocking. But, that moment just throws off the whole movie and it makes me want to just roll my eyes and turn off the television before I even get to the credits. 

Some people I’ve talked to have even said it’s like ‘oh, it’s Sandy imagining her happy ending with Danny’ or some utter nonsense like that, but I can’t see it. It’s stupid and I refuse to stand by the scene. 

Olivia Newton-John as Sandy in Grease

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

The Love Plots Are Pretty Cliché 

I can’t stand the love plots in this. 

Obviously we have the good girl/bad boy trope that we see in probably every freaking  show, from Gilmore Girls to the CW show, Riverdale. Here’s the thing – it can be done well. I’ve seen it happen before, and I’ve eaten it up every time it is done well. But the way it’s done in Grease, where it almost feels like an afterthought, is just depressing. 

I don’t even want to get into Rizzo and Kenickie. The possible unplanned pregnancy trope is obviously something that is used in both dramatic movies and series – with one of the most recent usages of it, in the Netflix show, Emily in Paris, making me want to pull my hair out. Grease, however, barely dealt with it and resolved that in seconds. Even then, Kenickie and Rizzo were so uninteresting together I didn’t believe their strange love story for a second. 

Everything just feels very cliché, and while I do know that this movie came out in the late 1970s, there were other romantic movies at the time that had love stories that were so much more full of life and fun, such as A Star is Born or Summer of ‘42. 

The Pink Ladies in Greese

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

And Obviously No One Looks Like Teenagers, Whatsoever 

This has been an issue in Hollywood for a long time. Even in the past several years there have been plenty of teen dramedies that feature actors who look nothing like high schoolers, like, again, Riverdale, or even the fantasy series, Vampire Diaries. You can’t really believe that anyone thinks they look as if they’re supposed to be in high school.

However, it seems like Grease took it to another level of unbelievable. If we’re being honest, the only person that sort of looked close to being a high schooler was the late Olivia Newton-John – and she was 29 when she filmed Grease, according to Insider. John Travolta, who is younger than her, was also obviously well beyond high school. No one looked as if they were teens – and don’t even get me started on Rizzo, as Stockard Channing was 33 when she filmed the movie.

Olivia Newton-John in Grease.

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

It Pushes Negative Gender Stereotypes

This is the major thing for me. I won’t say that I’m above mushy, gushy romance movies. I love The Notebook, I like some of the most ridiculous teen movies out there, and I enjoy even the bad ones on occasion. But, most of those never feature a girl changing for a guy. Ever. No one should ever feel forced to change themselves just so they can stay with a man (or a woman if that’s the case). 

In Grease, that is basically thrown out the window. The ending features Sandy all dressed up with the hair curled to hell and in a tight black leather suit all to show Danny that she can be edgy, too, when in reality, that’s not who she is. Whatsoever. But because she’s so in love with Danny she changes herself for him. 

No. Absolutely not. This is not the portrayal of a relationship that we want to be displaying to young children or teenagers. If anything, we should be pushing people to change themselves because they want to, not because they feel pressured to do so, and Sandy is the complete opposite of that. 

In reality, there is not a chance that this romantic relationship would last longer than maybe a few months. Their personalities are too drastically different and they just don’t click. We don’t do that here. 

Olivia Newton-John in Grease

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

The Music Is Decent – But Not The Amazing Soundtrack People Make It Out To Be

Look, I get it. The soundtrack can be catchy, but I’m so tired of people putting Grease up on a pedestal when it comes to its music. 

There are maybe a few songs in there that I can see myself listening to over and over again without getting annoyed by them. Hopelessly Devoted To You” is one of them, as it is a great love song even if I don’t agree with who Sandy is singing it about. There Are Worse Things I Could Do” is another great example – both very powerful ballads from the main women of the movie. 

But man, everything else is so overplayed. I’m so sick of them. 

“You’re The One That I Want” is catchy at first but upon multiple listens, it just sounds so generic. “Greased Lightnin’” is a fun guy song, but I’ve heard it done by so many people now it’s lost its sparkle. “Summer Nights” is boring. I said it – boring. It also feels really perverted at certain points with how the guys ask Danny how his and Sandy’s night went (“did she put up a fight?”). 

I don’t know. Maybe this is just me being a little dramatic, but I just don’t get the movie. I don’t understand why so many people are obsessed with it and call it a comfort movie when there are plenty of superior musicals out there, both modern day and older ones – and plenty of other great love stories, as well, that are featured in musicals, like Mamma Mia, Beauty and the Beast – heck, even West Side Story. 

I know that people will like what they like, and maybe I’ll get hate for this, but Grease just never did it for me. But, if it does for other people out there, then good for you. And, if you are into it, be sure to check out Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies. However, I’ll pass for now.

Alexandra Ramos
Content Producer

Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!