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Jason Riggs: Blog

The Misunderstood Masterpiece

Posted on March 14, 2010
First, I would like to thank everyone that came out to my show last week at Saxby’s!  You guys are great.  
I hope you had a good time.
Second, I must acknowledge Hayley from Salt Lake City.  She won the ‘reply' contest.  She was the fifth 
person to respond to last week's BINGO Recordings Newsletter.  Consequently, this post is dedicated to 
Now, what I am about to say here will cause some waves.  Some people are going to be incensed.  I am 
fully prepared for a wild eyed, torch bearing mob to come after me.  Nonetheless, I must do what I think is
right.  I must speak up for some of us that just do not go with the status quo.
Are you ready?  Got your hounds on the leash and your pitch forks ready?
I am just going to say it.
Grease 2 is superior to Grease 1.
There.  I said it.
Okay now.  Everyone take a breath.  I shall back up my statement.
I am not saying either film is better than “Citizen Kane” or “Casablanca” or even “Planet of the Apes.”  
But, 2 rules!  
In the 80’s, for reasons unknown, Grease 2 was on TV everyday after school.  My sister and I must have 
seen it 72 times before my Dad got rid of cable.  Roger Jameson and I once blew off a final project in 
college opting instead to watch Grease 2 and eat tacos.  (We soon dropped out.)
But, sentimentality and warm childhood memories aside, I humbly submit my reasoning.
In the prequel, the teenage characters are played by actors in their 30's.  In Grease 2, the teenage 
characters are played by actors in their late 20's.  This creates a much more realistic depiction of the 
American high school experience.
In the prequel, the T-Bird Gang arms themselves with squirt guns and don't even have their shit together 
enough to afford a car.
In Grease 2, the T-Birds have a comb stiletto and each member has his own motorcycle.  
(Except that one guy who has to ride in the side car.)
Social Relevance
In the prequel, the worst catastrophe than can befall a teenager is either a 'click' identity crisis, or 
possibly, Rizzo’s false alarm.  Who wants to hear the blues of spoiled, privileged youth?
In Grease 2, the gang has REAL problems.  Louis DiMucci is trying to convince Sharon to come to terms 
with 'nucleoid war!'  2 takes place in the early sixties.  The T-Birds aren't dealing with an identity crisis; 
they are dealing with the Cuban Missile Crisis.  The Bay of Pigs invasion is weighing down hard on these 
kids, yo!
The prequel is a simple high school musical.  End of story.  But, Grease 2 has deeper meaning.  
Michael Carrington is not just trying go ‘jock’ to please a Pink Lady, the dude is going through some 
serious existential charades.  It is Shakespearean in it’s scope.  To thy own self be true.  But, who is he?
Is he the studious, British foreign exchange student or is he the Cool Rider, scourge of the Scorpions?  
Is he the nice guy who plays piano for the weird twins or is the leather clad mystery man who only comes
out at night?  (His struggle is something that I particularly related to at many a dayjob.)
Okay, okay.  The music from the prequel is now iconic in the pop culture realm.  In a contest of musical 
performance, Grease 2 is hopelessly outgunned.  Every high school in America has tormented us with 
“Summer Lovin’” and “Greased Lightning.”
But, I will trade you any of the prequel’s songs for one minute of “Reproduction.”  Not only is 
“Reproduction” catchy in a brain invasion way, it teaches us so much.   Thanks to Grease 2, I didn’t need 
sex-ed in High School.  I already knew what a photo periodic reaction was and I knew how life can be 
turned into a circus of debauchery.
Final Arguments
Ladies and Gentlemen of the guilty pleasure jury, you have heard the evidence. Perhaps our society is 
too prejudiced from the charm of a young Travolta and the innocence of Newton-John to ever accept 2.
Perhaps, a Grease lacking the Broadway legacy will never find honor in celluloid.  But, before I let this 
polemic rest, I submit one closing shot.
The prequel may have Stockard Channing singing “There Are Worse Things I Could Do.”  
The prequel may have Frankie Avalon’s immortal “Beauty School Drop Out.”  And, yes, the prequel may showcase Travolta lament of loss
“Stranded at the Drive In.”
Any of these examples alone could make a case for the Prequel’s supremacy in motion picture history.
Do you get the picture?
Check mate.  Jason out.
Not many people know this, but “Reproduction” and “Cool Rider” were both written by Dennis Linde.  
Linde wrote songs for Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, and many others.  Most notably, he wrote 
“Burnin’ Love” for Elvis and “Goodbye Earle” for the Dixie Chicks.