Warning: These might hurt a little bit.
Have you ever shown your favorite movie to your favorite person?
You desperately want them to like it — LOVE it — like you do. You pretend to be sitting casually on the couch, when really, you are hyper-aware of their every reaction, laugh, tear, or impatient look at their watch.
Just me? Perhaps. The other night, I made my man watch Dirty Dancing. The movie that I’ve seen easily more than a hundred times. The movie that caused me and my best friend to fly across the country to see the stage premiere of Dirty Dancing — The Classic Story On Stage.
But while I was watching my man watch my favorite movie, I was suddenly more sensitive to all the mistakes in the film. “Come on, guys, you’re losing him! LIFT!” I yelled inside my head, while noticing plot hole after plot hole after plot hole, until I wasn’t even sure if I liked the movie any more.
(JUST KIDDING JOHNNY AND BABY I LOVE YOU FOREVER PLEASE ADOPT ME.)
Plot holes/problems I noticed while watching Dirty Dancing, but have chosen to ignore for the sake of love.
1. The opening line.
“That was the summer of 1963 when everybody called me Baby, and it didn’t occur to me to mind.”
Hang on. Baby was a feminist, Peace Corps-aspiring activist, and it “didn’t occur” to her to mind that she’d been given a ridiculous, demeaning nickname? Go back to your playpen, Baby.
2. Why is the Johnny-and-Baby love even forbidden?
Hotel owner Max Kellerman tells the waiters to “show the goddamn daughters a good time” at the resort. Presumably it’s because… he wants the girls to… no, I don’t know. So the young girls will fall in love and then want to come back? If that’s the case, WHY are Johnny and the other entertainment staff instructed to “keep their hands off”? WHAT’S WITH THE HIERARCHY BETWEEN A WAITER AND A DANCE TEACHER?
3. And yet, Johnny is allowed to sleep with the older women??
Max is all for Johnny sleeping with the “bungalow bunnies,” the older ladies with money. SO many double standards at Kellerman’s.
3. Baby lies about checking on her sister.
When the dorky Neil Kellerman takes Baby outside (“I love to watch your hair blowing in the breeze…” UGHH), she sees her sister stumble out of the woods with Robbie The Creep, crying, with her skirt tugged down, asking for an apology. There’s clearly been some kind of sexual assault, guys. Baby shrugs it off. Whatever, sister. Deal.
But then, when Neil takes Baby into the industrial kitchen and she sees Penny crying on the ground, she says to Neil, “I better go check on Lisa.” And then she runs to find Johnny so he can help Penny.
SO … Baby lied about helping her sister after she’d clearly been sexually assaulted, so she could help a stranger who was crying for a reason Baby didn’t know about yet. And then still doesn’t check on Lisa.
4. Why does Baby have to fill in anyway?
Baby has to learn how to dance with Johnny so that Penny can have an abortion. That’s the plot, and if you think about it too hard, it’s already kind of dodgy. But in the scene when Baby gets nominated to fill the Penny-shaped hole, she asks Johnny why one of the other dancers at the resort can’t fill in for Penny at the Sheldrake performance.
His response: “No, Miss Fix-it. Somebody else can’t. Maria has to work all day, she can’t learn the routines. And Janet has to fill in for Penny. Everybody works here.”
So Maria is busy. And Janet is covering for Penny’s dance classes. But what about the FIFTY OTHER WOMEN CURRENTLY DANCING BEHIND YOU, JOHNNY? They are literally standing in a room full of dancing staff, none of whom are currently working. And Johnny asked two people.
I mean, I’m glad he wasn’t very thorough, or there’d be no movie. But, jeez Johnny… maybe ask around a bit more?
5. When Lisa says, “Where is my beige iridescent lipstick?”
It’s not a plot hole. But it sounds like the shittest lipstick in the history of makeup. Classic Lisa.
6. Where did the bad doctor go?
So Penny gets a horrible abortion, as Billy graphically describes. They paid a “doctor” $250, but he turned out to be a crook: “The guy had a dirty knife and a folding table. I could hear her screaming in the hallway. I swear to God, I tried to get in. I tried.”
Every time I’d watched this movie, I only thought about poor Penny and her slashed vagina. But my lawyer boyfriend pointed out, quite rightly, “Uhhh… Did anyone track down the doctor? Shouldn’t he be charged…?”
Yes. Yes, he should. Billy or Penny clearly had some kind of phone number for him, and they had all seen his face. How about a quick call to the police, Billy?
7. Baby is obviously favored by both parents.
This isn’t much of a revelation, because Lisa actually comments on it. “You’re not Daddy’s girl any more.” But if you watch the movie and really concentrate on it, it’s actually pretty horrific. The dad openly favors Baby until she screws up. And then he begrudgingly has an actual conversation with his other daughter who has been hanging out in his house for the past 18 years, desperately awaiting the moment when her father will acknowledge her existence.
When Lisa gets up and sings her awful solo at the end, the parents are exchanging giggles at her shit-ness. And yet, when Baby interrupts the concert to dance with the man she’s been sleeping with behind her parents’ backs, they get all gooey and proud, with the mother even saying, “I think she gets this from me.”
It’s okay, Lisa. Someone will love you. Your therapist, maybe.
8. Why do they even let Johnny dance at the end?
They literally just fired this guy for sleeping with an underage guest. And then, when he casually walks into the hall and interrupts their prized final concert, Max Kellerman — the guy who spends half the movie yelling at Johnny — doesn’t even speak up. Johnny announces that he wants to dance, and everyone is just like “Meh, okay. Let’s clear the stage. The guy in the black leather jacket looks trustworthy. Let him dance.”
I mean, I’m SO GLAD they did… but you’d think at least that pain-in-the-ass Neil would try to stop him.
9. It wasn’t realllly a happy ending.
What now? Baby is still going home with her family tomorrow, and presumably (hopefully, for the sake of feminism), still going to Mount Holyoke College in the fall to study economics of underdeveloped countries and then join the Peace Corps.
Johnny is now unemployed, and he can’t rely on the women who were stuffing diamonds in his pockets any more, so he’ll be slumming it. He may have to crash with Baby’s family for a while. At least the Dad was starting to warm to him. Except…
10. Baby’s dad doesn’t actually apologize to Johnny.
“I know you weren’t the one who got Baby in trouble. When I’m wrong, I say I’m wrong,” says Jake Houseman to Johnny. But then doesn’t actually follow it with, “I was wrong. I’m sorry.” Jeeez, Jake. You only accused him of knocking up his best friend, carelessly getting her butchered with a knife, and then perversely targeting your daughter. A vague apology should do it.
11. BABY WASN’T EVEN IN THE CORNER.
So you’re right, Johnny. Nobody actually does put Baby in a corner.
Luckily, LUCKILY, my man loved the movie despite the plot holes that were suddenly crystal clear. I’m sorry guys. It’s still the best movie on the planet. And in the end, everything is worth it for the moment when Johnny kisses Baby on the nose, and then they do this.
Worth it. Every. Damn. Time.
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