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12 Life Lessons from the Movie Grease 2

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In 1982, the movie gods bestowed upon the world one of the greatest films in cinematic history, the musical phenomenon, Grease 2. Unlike the original blockbuster starring Olivia Newton John and John Travolta, the much-anticipated sequel was generally panned by critics, failed at the box office, and tarnished – and in some cases ended- the careers of many of the film’s stars. But, as the generation that coveted feathered bangs, OP shorts and Members-Only jackets began to embrace a lifestyle of camp, the sadly underrated Grease 2 slowly began to obtain a much-deserved cult following that still exists to this day.

Though many may be able to hum a few bars of “Let’s bowl. Let’s bowl. Let’s rock and roll,” what a lot of people may not realize is that Grease 2 is not just a jaunty rock and roll romp, but is actually a masterful expression of the human experience. A cinematic Buddha of sorts, the film that launched the career of a young Michelle Pfeiffer (or, more accurately, failed in its attempts to hold her back), is actually a treasure trove of spiritual and practical knowledge that any open-minded viewer can apply to his or her own life.

That being said, you may not exactly be convinced of Grease 2’s subtle brilliance so let me take the chance to spell it out for you…

Here are 12 Life Lessons Learned From the Movie Grease 2

1. Feminism

Long before Kelly Clarkson released her break out hit, “Miss Independent,” Stephanie Zinone (Pfeiffer) scoffed at the Pink Lady code and refused to kiss Johnny (Adrian Zmed) as the prize for his bowling victory; therefore showing young women that, even in 1961, you don’t have to be controlled or defined by your man. “I ain’t no one’s trophy, Goose.” And indeed she wasn’t.

2. Entrepreneurialism

To become the man of Stephanie’s dreams, Michael Carrington (Maxwell Caulfield) needed money to buy a motorcycle. By writing term papers for the T-Birds for cash, he ended up bankrolling the bike that would eventually become the catalyst to show up his financier’s mediocre riding skills and steal their women, ta boot. So, by showing the viewer how Michael uses his intellectual assets to grow a lucrative business, Grease 2 teaches us the value of ingenuity…and irony.

3. Sexual Education

12 life lessons from the movie grease 2: #3 Sexual Education“Can’t a girl just do that thing in a book where she adds up the days of her… uh… what do you call it? Mental-struation?” No, they can’t, Johnny. Because the rhythm method doesn’t work. So pay attention when Mr. Stuart (Tab Hunter) explains the birds, the bees and the facts of life in his song, actually titled “Reproduction,” because you just might learn something. Where DOES the pollen go? Well, now you know. Something else Tab Hunter taught us? All the good ones are gay.

4. The Art of War

“Nuclear war is like football. The Russians throw the ball and all we have to do is jump up, intercept it, and then ram it down their end zone. It’s like life. Somebody throws something at you, just throw it back.” – Coach Calhoun (Sid Caesar)

5. International Relations

Michael is an exchange student from England staying with his aunt (pronounced awwwww-nt) and uncle. Because he is a foreigner from a strange land, he’s shunned by the T-Birds and labeled as different. It wasn’t until he conformed to their greaser, rebellious ways that they accepted him for who he really was. Had they given him a chance from the get-go, maybe let him join their game at the Bowl-a-rama (“howdy fellas’, let’s bowl some balls,”), they could have had Michael’s tea and crumpets all year long.

6. Shakespeare

According to Stephanie’s English paper from Miss Mason’s class, “Hamlet went totally nuts when he saw his mother doing it in the sack with his uncle.” Michael may have changed it to “Hamlet was tormented by his mother’s incestuous relationship with his uncle,” but, either way, you learned something.

7. Confidence Counts

12 life lessons from the movie grease 2: #7 Confidence CountsJohnny was essentially dwarfed by Lewis and Goose (Shooter McGavin) but man, did he own it! The self-proclaimed burden on society was the alpha male, the leader of the pack, and those girls at the grocery store just ate him up! Despite the fact that the film’s costumers probably had him wearing lifts, nobody was a bigger presence than Johnny Nogerelli. And yes, technically Davey was the shortest, but nobody cared about poor Davey.

8. Motorcycle Maintenance

12 life lessons from the movie grease 2: #8 Motorcycle MaintenanceApparently it only takes a few bucks, some red spray paint, a field and a couple of days and you, too, can master a chopper; and I’m talking a skill level so exemplary that you make Dead Man’s Curve look like a pothole. Jumping over cop cars in the bowling alley parking lot will become mere child’s play after a week of Michael Carrington-style training. And don’t forget your coveralls. You’re gonna need them.

9. Patriotism

12 life lessons from the movie grease 2: #9 PatriotismNuclear alarms sound outside the fallout shelter and (bam!) Lewis and Sharon suit up in a helmet and nurse’s cap; ready to do absolutely anything for their country! Together they will defend the New York Yankees! The Grand Canyon! Disneyland! So let’s take a cue from this patriotic pair and do it for our country! Oh wait, I just got it. Nevermind. (And that’s what she said.)

Still not feeling patriotic? Here’s a bonus quote:

Michael: “I was wondering if you’re free after school today?”

Stephanie: “I’m free every day. It’s in the Constitution.”

10. Be Yourself

Michael was living a lie. He soulfully croons about his “Charade;” playing the character of Cool Rider to win the woman he loves but like any true superhero, hiding his true identity from the world. However, what actually begins to catch Stephanie’s eye is his knowledge of the Bard and a “few big words that impress English teachers.” She even offers him double ketchup for his efforts. Had he been honest with her about his feelings all along, maybe he could have spent the term paper money on more sweater vests.

11. Time Travel is Possible

How does the yearbook have photos of the future? Did Marty McFly go to Rydell?

12. Keep On Dreaming

12 life lessons from the movie grease 2: #12 Keep On DreamingLike any fairytale princess, Stephanie wished for a “dream on a mean machine, with hell in his eyes” and (after a week of intensive cycle training,) she got her wish in Michael, who magically turned out to be her prince in disguise. So, probably the most important lesson you can learn from the whole of Grease 2? Don’t give up on your dreams, kids, because dreams can come true.

So, I hope this list has convinced you to give Grease 2 another try. I assure you, watch it with an open mind and it will rock-a-hula into your heart.

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Holly Herndon

Holly Herndon

Holly has been covering arts & entertainment in the Temecula Valley for as long as she has been a part of the community. She loves San Diego sports almost as much as she loves her family.

3 Comments

  1. Edie
    August 27, 2015 at 8:26 am — Reply

    I enjoyed your article about Grease 2 very much. I have LOVED this movie almost as much as the first all along. I remember seeing it at the movies back in high school.

  2. June 1, 2016 at 7:04 pm — Reply

    Grease 2 is without a doubt my absolute most beloved movie. It was one of the few movies we’d bothered to tape onto VHS, and whenever I watch it these days I know exactly when the ads cut in on that tape.

    Great article! It’s nice to know there are like-minded Grease 2 lovers out there 🙂

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