Grease from 1978 became a cult classic musical/romance movie that helped skyrocket John Travolta to stardom. The movie is often tagged as being one the greatest as it was an adaptation of its original musical from 1971. It was the story of a greaser T-Bird who falls in love with a wholesome exchange student.
The franchise continued in 1982 with Grease 2. However, this time there was a different set of characters attending Rydell High. The movie was a flop by all means but became a sensational classic years later. If fans of the original decide to rewatch both movies, then they will realize there are certain charming qualities to admire in both.
9 Grease 2: Changed Story Tropes
Grease followed a typical romance storyline as Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) fell in love with the perfect guy over the summer but had to part ways at the start of the school year. She soon meets her summer love, Danny (Travolta) at Rydell but soon realizes he isn’t the clean-cut boy she fell for.
Grease 2 flipped the “bad boy” trope and instead had Sandy’s cousin, Michael (Maxwell Caulfield) as the lead romance. Michael’s arc and characterization followed a similar path to Sandy as he also falls in love with the leader of the Pink Ladies.
8 Grease: Much More Dominant Pink Ladies & T-Birds
Back in the late 70s to 80s, greaser culture was a huge factor in the original movie. Danny was the leader of Rydell’s bad boy group and greasers, the T-Birds. The sequel continued the T-Birds but they didn’t live up to their predecessors. Danny and Kenickie (Jeff Conaway) held their own as the leaders and looked the part.
In the sequel, the T-Birds are a joke who care much more for their comical antics and good looks that don’t intimidate anyone. The same can be said for the original Pink Ladies, led by the famed Rizzo (Stockard Channing). The new Pink Ladies in the sequel don’t have the same air of dominance as the originals.
7 Grease 2: The Lone Rider
What made Grease 2 so enjoyable was the lone rider that added an air of mystery. Michael falls head over heels with Stephanie (Michelle Pfeiffer), the leader of the Pink Ladies after she kisses him at the bowling alley. But Michael is well aware that there are rules and a Pink Lady can’t date anyone but a T-Bird or a rider.
In order to date Stephanie, Michael becomes a mysterious rider, who appears out of the blue. Clad in all leather and unaware of his identity has Stephanie attracted to him. The lone rider soon clashes with the T-Birds as he takes their limelight and Stephanie’s attention.
6 Grease: The Side Characters Stories
One thing that Grease did better than its sequel was the inclusion of the side characters’ own stories. Fans became more attached to Frenchie (Didi Conn), Kenickie, and Rizzo, and the others’ small stories. Their stories added to the bigger picture while the sequel used them for some fun laughs.
Fans got to see Kenickie and Rizzo’s relationship explored in more depth as they find themselves involved in a romantic quadrangle. They also saw Kenickie have his own redemption story as he fixes up his car to enter a race against the T-Birds sworn enemy. Fans came to especially love Frenchie’s personal journey.
5 Grease 2: The Songs
It’s a hard call on which movie had the better songs that stuck with fans. It’s a 50/50 shot as Grease became famous for its certain musical numbers like Sandy and Danny’s ballad, “Summer Nights” or “Greased Lightnin’.” Fans can agree that over time, Grease 2’s songs also grew on them in a way the original didn’t.
The sequel’s songs had a much more rocker vibe. A prime example is Stephnie’s solo song, “Cool Rider” as she wore an all-black ensemble and dreams of being swept away by a cool and mysterious guy. The same can be said for “Who’s That Guy,” as the lone rider fights off a rival crew.
4 Grease: A Better Frenchie Story
When the sequel was announced, not many of the original cast returned. The only main star that fans were somewhat happy about was Frenchie. The sweet, bubbly Pink Lady member who wanted to pursue cosmetics. The sequel didn’t do much for the character. She was used more as a guide for Michael’s story as she helped him at Rydell since he was Sandy’s cousin.
The original movie did much better at giving Frenchie her own voice. Frenchie wants to do hair and makeup and even drops out of Rydell to go to school. But she struggles in finding her way and even has her own musical number after accidentally dying her hair pink. Frenchie is uplifted and realizes she can’t give up but it will take time.
3 Grease 2: A Better Love Story
That’s right, Grease 2 has the better love story, and here’s why. Grease was all about the good girl who falls for a bad boy. Taking a closer look, Danny was often embarrassed by Sandy’s goody-two-shoes behavior and didn’t respect her boundaries. He even refused to acknowledge their summer fling and his alter ego. At the school dance, he didn’t stop to go and find Sandy after she was pushed away. Not to mention, she changes who she is for him.
Grease 2 broke the mold as Michael was an all-around swell guy, who wanted to appeal to his leading lady and it suited him well. Stephanie liked Michael even before knowing he was the lone rider as he treated her as much more than her Pink Lady image. Stephanie was also independent and didn’t want to rely on a man. She held her own and so did Michael against the T-Birds. Their ‘opposites attract’ story was more believable.
2 Grease: Rizzo VS Paulette
The sequel tried to mimic some of the main characters’ qualities from the first movie. There was the second leader of the Pink Ladies, Paulette (Lorna Luft). Paulette was a different version of Rizzo but Rizzo won 100%. Paulette had a Marilyn Monroe aesthetic who pinned after Johnny. However, Rizzo’s bad-girl character was slut-shamed for her possibly being pregnant.
Rizzo’s story arc and lament song gave the character a better meaning than Paulette. The song ‘There Are Worse Things I Could Do” broke down Rizzo’s tough exterior. She’s shamed by other girls and cast aside by Kenickie. It was an emotionally raw song that allowed fans to see beyond the facade and the walls she put up.
1 Grease 2: A Strong Female Icon
Stephanie Zinone broke the female lead mold set up by Sandy in Grease. Stephanie wasn’t prim and proper and was the leader of the Pink Ladies who liked to defy the rules. Above all, she didn’t compromise for any man. In the movie, she becomes tired of being known as “someone’s chick.”
She becomes fed up with the rules of her group and the T-Birds and being forced to try and continue her relationship with Johnny (Adrian Zmed). Stephanie became a feminist icon as she knew her life wouldn’t be dictated by a man with her famous lines, “I ain’t no-one’s trophy” and “I kiss who I want when I want.” The character had an individualist mentality who wanted something more for herself.
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