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Some movies are truly a product of their time, which means that they’re destined to raise the same issues on a recurring basis. The 1978 musical classic Grease is a perfect example of a movie that will never catch a break, due to its subject matter and a slew of outdated social mores. But in the most recent round of flak against the John Travolta/Olivia Newton-John pop culture hit, there’s a rather interesting catch, as criticisms made by viewers on the internet have the BBC considering a ban on airing the film altogether. And you thought the fan theory on the film’s ending was as dark as things could get.
It all started when Grease ended up running on one of the BBC’s stations on Boxing Day. Meant to be a holiday treat for everyone to enjoy, the decision felt like a natural fit, as the holiday season is when classics tend to come out to play. But as Express reported, the internet exploded with comments about how the perceived sexism, misogyny and lack of consent in situations throughout Grease have made director Randal Kleiser’s movie downright unwatchable in the eyes of some.
The usual suspects resurfaced with this new wave of examining the problematic side of Grease. In particular, the scene where John Travolta’s Danny tries to make moves on Olivia Newton-John’s Sandy to a rather uncomfortable degree came up in various comments. Taken into context alongside some of the responses that went harder in the paint against the film, that’s located at the lighter end of the spectrum. In case you'd like a refresher, the scene in question is provided in the clip below:
The debate over the watchability of Grease is nothing new, but it’s also something that does have a bearing on current events. This is thanks to the fact that the there’s a prequel tale to the series in the works, as Summer Nights is promising a “full-on musical” tale that shows us those fateful days in the sun before Danny and Sandy embarked on their adventures in the halls of Rydell High. While that film will want to try and match the tone of Grease as much as it can, there’s obviously going to be a cap on how far the project can go in that respect.
As long as Grease is the word, there’s going to be audiences who love it for the nostalgic and bawdy trip it is, as well as those who criticize those very factors through a more modern lens. For better or worse, that’s the fate of any mega hit that endures through the decades, while fully embodying the era of its origin. But at least Grease has one thing going for it: it's not Grease 2, a.k.a. the movie with a song literally called "Let's Do It For Our Country."
Summer Nights is currently without a release date, so we’ll have to wait to hear more on the still-in-development project. Of course, if you’re one of those fans who wants to watch Grease again at the mere mention of its name, you can either head to Prime Video or Tubi to get your fill. Though if you head to Prime, you’ll also be able to watch Grease 2; a movie that seems to grow more popular as time goes on.