Warning: Possible spoilers ahead!
It’s difficult to say what most fans were expecting from ABC’s Dirty Dancing reboot. After all, the original film with Patrick Swayze as Johnny Castle and Jennifer Grey as Baby Houseman was such a phenomenal hit that it remains fresh in our collective memories today, almost 30 years later. While a made-for-television reboot certainly can’t replace the passion and talent behind that feature film, fans of that original Dirty Dancing were probably expecting something a little more thrilling than the lackluster performances delivered in the ABC special event.
Dirty Dancing Disappoints With Abigail Breslin
Puns about putting Baby (Abigail Breslin) in a corner are aplenty on the internet tonight, as reactions to the ABC reboot of Dirty Dancing flood the online community. As The Daily Beast shares in its contribution to the amassing collection of hate for the reboot, it becomes clear that there was little redeemable about this new version of Dirty Dancing. In fact, it’s suggested that the ABC reboot was so bad that Breslin is really cowering in a corner somewhere, fearing a backlash that’s sure to involve the hurling of fruit in her general direction.
It isn’t just that America is growing weary of the torrential flood of remakes. It goes deeper than that. For one, Patrick Swayze was Johnny Castle in every way that matters. To throw just any actor (Colt Pratte) into that role and expect him to outshine Mr. Swayze is one glaring error that viewers just couldn’t overcome.
Abigail Breslin wasn’t much better in taking over the Baby Houseman role from Jennifer Grey. While Breslin does have a long list of acting credits backing up her name, she’s hardly the kind of entertainer capable of taking choreographed numbers and making them seem natural and spontaneous.
Clearly, the Dirty Dancing casting director missed Abigail’s lethargic Scream Queens scenes.
Elsewhere in the Dirty Dancing line-up is Nicole Scherzinger as Penny, the little-seen dancer in need of an abortion. Some argue that Scherzinger’s performance is the best thing Dirty Dancing has going for it.
Debra Messing plays Baby’s frustrated and neglected mother. Meanwhile, Sarah Hyland of Modern Family plays Baby’s sister Lisa, but don’t expect to hear Hyland’s rendition of “Hula Hana.” Much like the passion of the original, the ABC version of Dirty Dancing forgoes that unforgettable scene from the original film.
Dirty Dancing Does Have That Twist Going For It
While there were a few deviations from the original 1987 Dirty Dancing, the ABC reboot was largely a clone of that previous hit, though lacking the key ingredients to make it anywhere near as thrilling. Glamour reports that, while much of the ABC reboot left viewers feeling cheated, the ending is almost enough to make up for it all. Almost.
So, you’re a hardcore Dirty Dancing fan and you know everything about Dirty Dancing, Jennifer Grey, Patrick Swayze, and the film’s hit soundtrack? You still couldn’t have expected this twist.
ABC’s Dirty Dancing comes to the same end as the 1987 film, but, as Colt Pratte shared, the credits don’t start rolling when expected. Instead, there’s more.
“It was like, ‘Oh my gosh, what’s happening?! It’s still going!'” Pratte says. “I felt a little bit like a kid with a secret [when I initially read that part in the script]. I was so excited like, ‘I know something no one else knows!’ [But it wasn’t done] for shock value or a stunt.”
The ending of the new Dirty Dancing reunites Johnny and Baby 10 years later in 1975 at Kellerman’s. In the intervening years, Johnny has turned his life at Kellerman’s into a hit Broadway musical, while Baby, who now goes by Frances, has become a wife, mother, and homemaker. Frances (Breslin) hasn’t completely given up on her creative side, however. She writes books and takes salsa lessons at a local Jewish community center back home.
During their reunion, Johnny tells Frances that she was his inspiration for writing that Broadway musical.
Jessica Sharzer, who wrote the Dirty Dancing reboot, says she included that surprise ending, because she wanted to answer the one question that the original film left open. Fans have always wanted to know what happened to Baby and Johnny, after the events of Dirty Dancing. This add-on sequence answers that.
The Dirty Dancing writer says she doesn’t think it was ever suggested that Johnny and Baby had a future together. Even in the 1987 Dirty Dancing film, the story was more about how that summer changed both of their lives.
“I don’t think it’s going to particularly shock audiences, but I hope it’s satisfying to just answer that question and to see that this first love—for her—was sort of awkward and geeky, [and] that it led her somewhere in her life.”
[Featured Image by ABC]