5 Things About Grease That Don't Make Any Sense

John Travolta as Danny Zuko in Grease

“Grease” may be the word, but is it one to be trusted? The iconic cinematic adaptation of Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey’s coming-of-age musical brought 1978 moviegoers back to the ’50s and made John Travolta and Olivia Newton John the ultimate onscreen power couple.

However, did you ever notice that there are few things about Grease that just don’t “go together?” Musicals have been historically dependent on suspension of disbelief, of course, so I can get past fantastically elaborate dance numbers, flying cars, and even Rydell High being filled with 30-year-olds who were held back a few too many years. Narratively, though, the film has a good handful of things that I am, at this moment, hopelessly devoted to making sense of.

There are worse things that the film could do, and actually already has if you include the creepiness of Vince Fontaine. Yet, just cannot get around some of the things about Grease that do not make much sense, such as these five head scratchers.

Olivia Newton-John as Sandy in Grease

Sandy’s Family Is Very Quick To Make The U.S. Their Permanent Home

Our journey into America’s lavish, 1950s heyday begins on a beach, where Danny Zuko (John Travolta) tries to make his tragically limited storybook romance with Sandy Olsson (Olivia Newton-John) last before she has to head back to Australia. Yet, the greaser is soon delighted to discover that his summer lover is spending her senior year at Rydell. Her explanation: “We had a change of plans.”

Wait a minute: you expect us to believe that after a season’s length vacation halfway across the globe, Sandy’s family has decided to uproot their lives and make themselves at home in the United States? In the introductory scene, the girl is visibly upset that summer is close to its end and she will soon have to leave California, yet, apparently, there was still enough time between then and now for her to register for classes, join the cheerleading team, and find a permanent residence all by a seemingly spontaneous decision? I wonder if there there is an unreleased deleted scene from Grease in which Sandy provides a better explanation for this “magic change.”

Stockard Channing as Rizzo in Grease

How Does Rizzo Eat Ice Cream And Use The Restroom At The Same Time?

There are plenty of memorable moments that take place at the Frosty Palace, the malt shop at which Rydell students frequent. Betty Rizzo (Stockard Channing), best known by her last name, is a special case in this instance, such as her epic milkshake toss in Kenickie’s (Jeff Conaway) face. However, there is another moment involving the Pink Ladies’ rebel leader and a dairy-based dessert product that I would rather talk about.

There is a moment in Grease in which Rizzo walks out of the ladies’ room, visibly holding a partially eaten vanilla ice cream cone in her hand: a sight that I cannot even begin to fathom the mechanics of. How and (the arguably more important question) WHY does she manage to use the restroom without discarding her point-tipped dessert item? The scene has since been interpreted as a representation of the character’s projected disregard for her peers’ perception of her, but there are certainly easier (and more sanitary) ways of pulling off a “don’t care” attitude.

Didi Conn as Frenchy in Grease

Why Does Frenchy Not Hide Her Pink Hair With One Of Her Many Wigs?

Another Pink Lady with an absorbing character arc is Francesca “Frenchy” Facciano (Didi Conn), a fun-loving everygal who makes the decision to drop out of Rydell to become a beautician. Unfortunately, beauty school proves to be not what she bargained, especially after she makes her curly, strawberry blonde locks a comically bright pink by accident. For as long as her bad hair day lasts, she keeps it conspicuously hidden underneath a scarf, but why does she settle on that option?

Earlier in Grease, we discover at a Pink Ladies sleepover party hosted at Frenchy’s house that she has a versatile collection of wigs (also for reasons that are unclear), yet she hides her pink ‘do with a scarf when she already has the perfect disguise her closet? Even if someone had noticed the difference from her natural style, she could have easily passed one of her faux hairpieces off as a successful application of her newly acquired skills from La Coiffure. In the end, perhaps we could just chalk it up as another instance of her lovably ditzy personality.

Eve Arden as Principla McGee in Grease

How Does Rydell Get Away With Such A Short School Year?

The central storyline of Grease kicks into gear on the first day at Rydell High following a decidedly memorable summer. However, as seemingly quick as the school year begins, the film concludes when the final bell before summer rings. Wait… you mean to tell me that the story of Danny and Sandy’s on-and-off romance lasted an entire school year?

On average, a school year lasts nine months and there is not a single clue throughout Grease to suggest such a length of time goes by, without even a montage to covers all the major holidays. If anything, the film feels like it takes place over the course of a month, which is as long as I wish my senior year could have lasted, but that is just not the way the United States educational system operates. On the other hand, I would be at least willing to accept this warped perception of time as a reflection of how our teenage years often feel like they are over before we know it.

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in Grease

Are Danny And Sandy A Healthy Couple To Root For?

Speaking of teenagers, everyone has that one early romance that seems to be the one that will stand the test of time. Unfortunately, it rarely works out that way, given how high school is transformative period in which one’s identity slowly comes to form. That is actually just one reason why I would argue that rooting for a couple like Danny and Sandy may not be the healthiest idea, especially when considering how their ways of savoring the romance are far from healthy.

Take it from IMDb’s plot description of Grease which states how the vastly different romantic leads “try to be like each other so they can be together,” a major focal point is that Sandy undergoes a complete transformation into a leather-clad rebel and Danny joins the track team in the hopes of impressing her. First of all, changing yourself for another person’s interests is one of the worst offenses in romance and, furthermore, was it not Sandy’s good girl persona that attracted Danny in the first place? A lot of people like to interpret the couple’s car ride into the sky as a metaphor for their demise, and I would say there is some truth to that - not that they are dead, but their relationship is destined to head that way.

Do these mysterious goofs gives you chills that are multiplying, or do you think I better shape up? Let us know in the comments and be sure to check back for more information related to Grease as well as more nonsensical facts about your favorite movies here on CinemaBlend.

Jason Wiese
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Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.