Baby’s coming back to Mount Holyoke

Graphic by Casey Linenberg '19

Graphic by Casey Linenberg '19

BY ELEANOR HARRIS '20 

Over the past few years, classic movies like “Grease” and “Hairspray” have received the TV-movie makeover — so it’s not a big surprise that ABC is recasting and reproducing “Dirty Dancing,” to premiere May 24. But “Dirty Dancing” isn’t just another movie. For Mount Holyoke students, there is an understandable emotional connection to the film, as Baby Houseman, the main character, is “going to Mount Holyoke in the fall.”

According to IMDb, the remake will star Abigail Breslin as Baby and Broadway dancer Colt Prattes as Johnny. Other notable roles: Nicole Scherzinger will play Penny and Modern Family’s Sarah Hyland will play Baby’s older sister Lisa.

I don’t just love “Dirty Dancing” because of, well, the dirty dancing. Baby Houseman embodies the unique Mount Holyoke ethos. She is young and nerdy and talks back to boys; she is idealistic and romantic and, in the film, reconciles that idealism with the “real world.” I have a lot invested in this movie, and when ABC recently released several stills from the remake, I got a little stressed. Here are my top five questions about the remake — and the answer to the most important one of all.'

Q: Why extend the story? 

According to People Magazine, the remake will continue the original plot beyond the summer. Just thinking about that makes me stressed.

Q: Why does everyone look so clean?

Okay, this is a super specific detail...but why does everyone look so professionally made up? There’s a certain TV-movie aesthetic; if you’ve seen any ABC Family show ever, you’ll know what I mean. In the stills from the upcoming “Dirty Dancing,” every character is perfectly made up, wearing perfectly clean clothes, and acting around perfectly clean sets. That is not the Kellermans I know and love.

Q: Will ABC be able to pull off a remake set in the original time period?

Let’s be honest: ABC would have an easier time pulling off a remake if they updated the setting, because viewers wouldn’t be comparing every detail to the last movie. (Well, dedicated viewers like me.) Plus, a remake could provide an opportunity to make the cast more diverse. In the new version, Penny Johnson will be Penny Rivera. Why not make more changes?

Q: Why isn’t Baby in the corner?

In a still released by ABC, we see the new version of the only line more relevant than “Baby’s going to Mount Holyoke in the fall.” (More on that later.) It’s the moment when Johnny confronts Baby’s parents with the perfect line, “Nobody puts baby in the corner.” In the still, Baby isn’t even in the corner. Enough said.

Q: Most importantly ... will Baby go to Mount Holyoke in the fall?

This is the kind of question that keeps a Moho up at night. I reached out to ABC publicity director Patrick Preblick, who confirmed that the remake stays faithful to the original Mount Holyoke storyline. Whatever changes occur in the remake, Baby will still head to Mount Holyoke in the fall. So, while I may be a little concerned, I’m absolutely going to be watching it.

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