GREASE (1978)

With summer days drifting away, we're hopelessly devoting this episode to a campy cultural touchstone: the hit 1978 musical Grease. 

First, we're having a general discussion about the cycles (and recycling) of nostalgia, and how one generation's formative experiences inevitably become the next generation's pop-culture fluff.

Then, we're sitting down to discuss (notorious musical-theater fan) The Unenthusiastic Critic's first viewing of Grease, starring John Travolta, Olivia Newton John, Stockard Channing, Jeff Conaway, Sid Caesar, and Eve Arden. We're talking poodle skirts, pussy wagons, spandex pants, sexual repression, drag racing, slut shaming, log flogging, pregnancy scares, petrified prophylactics, and other things my generation learned about from seeing Grease in grade-school.


0:00: Musical Prologue: "You're the One That I Want" from Grease
1:07: Preliminary Conversation: Pop-Culture Nostalgia
25:01: Original Trailer for Grease
26:48: Cultural Osmosis: Pre-Viewing Discussion of Grease
37:11: Musical Interlude: "There Are Worse Things I Could Do" from Grease
37:55: The Verdict: Post-Viewing Discussion of Grease
1:28:48: Outro and Next Week's Movie
1:30:12: Outtake

Notes and Links

—Movie Reviewed: Grease (dir. Randal Kleiser, Paramount, 1978)
—Special thanks to our friend Erin for submitting her Grease-related memories. We encourage you to check out her blog at Little Miss Qaddafi.
—Articles Mentioned and Resources: "The original 'Grease' was born in Chicago, wild, funny, and new in 1971," Rick Kogan, Chicago Tribune; "From Chicago Raunchy to Hollywood Perky: The Evolution of Grease," JeriAnn Geller, Book Trib; "Grease Returns to its R-Rated Roots in New Chicago Production," Robert Simonson, Playbill; "Grease: Zeitgeist, Meet Anachronism," Judith Miller, Washington Post; "What Grease is Really About and How It Changed Hollywood," Tara McNamara, Social Moms; "It was panned on release – so why are we hopelessly devoted to Grease 40 years later?", Rebecca Nicolson, The Guardian. 
Read The Unenthusiastic Critic in prose form at
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—"Warm Duck Shuffle" by Arne Huseby is licensed under CC BY 3.0.

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