Monday, January 08, 2007

Grease - YTOTIW: It's Electrifying!

Last night, NBC debuted the eagerly-anticipated (by me, at least) show Grease: You're the One That I Want, which is essentially an extended audition for the roles of Sandy and Danny in a Broadway revival of Grease. As someone who has always enjoyed cruelly mocking American Idol contestants, but wished they sung more songs from musicals (yes, I love musicals) and made the uncoordinated people dance, Grease: YTOTIW is very appealing to me. To the other 99% of America, maybe not so much. I mean, even I was sick of hearing the bridge of "Hopelessly Devoted to You" by the end of the episode.

The show does have legitimacy on its side, partly because the judges have a personal stake in the outcome, which I appreciate. David Ian, mean British guy, is actually producing the revival. Jim Jacobs, potential Paula Abdul, co-wrote the original Grease. Finally, Kathleen Marshall is a fantastic, Tony-winning Broadway director/choreographer, and it seems like she'll be directing and/or choreographing the Grease revival. I've seen four of her productions ("The Pajama Game," "Wonderful Town," "Little Shop of Horrors," and "Kiss Me Kate"), and she's the real deal. I'm honestly pretty surprised that she's attached her name to this show.

Not on Grease: YTOTIW's side is originality. The show is basically American Idol with two co-hosts and dancing. Oh, and the "prestigious" "Grease Academy," where the 50 semi-finalists will be sent to learn all things Grease.

Type-casting will be an interesting issue as the weeks go by. They put a couple of overweight girls through to the second day of auditions (dancing), but neither made it to Grease Academy. Interestingly, one of those girls was actually a very strong dancer, so one would assume that if she was good enough to get into the dancing round, she should have been good enough to make it out. And the judges would never be cynical enough as to make those contestants go through the second round to quell criticism that no heavy girls were considered, only to cut them immediately after. ...Right?

Oh, and while apparently Sandy can't be overweight (which I can kind of understand, if they're not trying to be radically different from previous incarnations of Grease), it's totally cool for Danny to be 42 years old. Because that guy made it through to Grease Academy. I guess a middle-aged Danny and a teenage Sandy would add a whole new element to the show.

Grease: YTOTIW will totally be this year's American Idol for me, but if you aren't a fan of musicals, don't have a leather jacket/greasy hair fetish, and don't want to watch multiple talent reality shows, I see no reason why you wouldn't watch American Idol instead. Making fun of Paula Abdul's drunken ramblings is a hard habit to kick, after all.


vance said...

I so wanted to love this show but it lost me with 42-year old dude. That and the possible pairing with a 17 year old is just creepy. I hope they find some better people in the next few cities cause I'm giving it one more chance.

Liz said...

Yeah, that 42-year-old guy is SO Sylvester Stallone trying to play Rocky again. Just sad.

And what was with those guys who were average-looking to start with, and then with slicked-back hair and a leather jacket became unbelievably hideous? Hopefully New York will yield better contestants...