Growing up, watching Grease at sleepovers with your girlfriends was a right of passage. We’d giggle, dance, laugh, and sing along to our favorite songs. We’d pick which character we related to most, and which characters we had a crush on. As we get older, we can see the problematic moments of the film that went over our heads as children and wonder what would happen if a story like this was created today. That’s where Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies comes in.
In the film, there are two “gangs”, the boys are the T-Birds, and the girl is the Pink Ladies. At first, it seems like they’re best childhood friends who were the outcasts from the popular crowd. However, as the film goes on you learn they are so much more than that. This is where Rise of the Pink Ladies gets it so right.
The new Paramount+ Series takes place a few years before the events of the film. So, we’re able to have nods to the original, meet future cast members, and see how these incredible women came together and support each other.
THERE’S A PINK LADY FOR EVERYONE TO RELATE TO
One of my favorite things about the film is the differences between the women. Not all young women are the same, and neither should all the characters be. Rise of the Pink Ladies makes sure to do the same. We first meet brainy Jane Facciano (Marisa Davila) who seems to have had the summer of her life! She’s somehow been secretly dating the most popular boy in school, Buddy (Jason Schmidt), who wants to make it official into the school year. The two are both running to be President of the school which adds an interesting dynamic to the new relationship.
Olivia (Cheyenne Isabel Wells) is the “sex pot” of the group. Her brother runs the T-Birds and has become a pariah of the school after her rumored affair with a teacher. She embraces the philosophy that if you can’t beat the rumor feed it with fire. Cynthia (Ari Notartomaso) is the “tomboy” who is desperate to join the T-Birds but is constantly rejected by the notion. Then there’s my favorite, Nancy (Tricia Fukuhara), she doesn’t understand the obsession with boys because she has larger aspirations. She wants to become an infamous fashion designer.
Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies is full of high school drama, with rumors about, reputations burned, status quo breaking, and embracing of who you truly are. It also does a good job of tackling larger tougher subjects like racism, the queer community, and even ethnicity erasure that’s relevant even today. As adults, we want to pretend that these scenarios are only relatable to teens. But, if we’re honest with ourselves, a lot of us still deal with workplaces, home lives, etc that are just like high school. I think it would be a mistake to dismiss this series and its themes because you’re grown.
WHAT ABOUT THE MUSIC?
At this point, I’ve only seen the first few episodes of Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies. Every episode is jam-packed with songs and incredible choreography that are performed by the actors with their full hearts and souls. That said, at this point, I couldn’t tell you a single song, or hum one of the tunes.
I can’t imagine having to write 30 songs for 10 episodes of a series, but Grammy Winner Justin Tranter did it. That had to be incredibly tough, and they can’t all be winners. So far, though, I’ve been underwhelmed by the music. I’m still waiting on 2 or 3 bangers. The ones that you need to sing at the top of your lungs while driving in your car.
Overall, I found Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies to be a fun watch and definitely worth your time. The series premieres Thursday, April 6 on Paramount+, with new episodes rolling out each Thursday after that.