ABC’s ‘Dirty Dancing’ Remake Became Cringey Real Fast

The Dirty Dancing remake on ABC, which aired Wednesday night, was perhaps doomed from the start. Why mess with a classic? (Seriously, though: Why?) Early promos did little to dispelthe fear that the remake was a hot mess waiting to happen; reviews that came in right before the specials airtime didnt help, either.

The new version wasnt totally reprehensible Sarah Hyland, Debra Messing and Nicole Scherzinger are all charming, and J. Quinton Johnson of Broadways Hamilton is a talented but underutilized new face. Still, the original Dirty Dancing with its memorable lines and delightful rom-com trappings remains the girl ABC told its iteration not to worry about. Try as the network might, the Dirty Dancing remake failed to capture the poignancy and heart of the original, preferring to whack its audience over the head with character exposition and the feminism that felt so fresh and subversive in the original film.

As with all one-time-only TV events these days, Twitter showed up to watch the glorious trainwreck firsthand. Lets recap some of the cringe-ier moments.


All the out-of-place singing numbers

Johnny sang. Baby sang. Lisa sang. Dr. and Mrs. Houseman sang! Seriously everyone sang, presumably to flesh out the program so it would take up a full three-hour television block, and hardly any of it was memorable. Grease: Live! this was not.

The unexpected drama with the Housemans marriage

Jerry Orbachs and Kelly Bishops characters never offered any indication in the original film that behind their picture-book marriage was a dried-up sex life and the threat of divorce, but thats what Babys parents were up to this time around. The resolution at the end they decide to stay together, nearly get caught by their kids while having sex, and even join in (singing!!!) the iconic final dance number. While it was nice to get a little more shading in of these characters, this plotline felt rushed.


The lack of chemistry between Baby and Johnny

Pretty much all of the Twitter commentary seemed to agree on one thing: Abigail Breslin and Colt Prattes did not steam up the dance floor.

The missing Schumachers, the wallet-stealing elderly couple

Their whole part in the plot was subbed in with Katey Sagals character, a bungalow bunny, framing Johnny for stealing her Rolex. The Schumachers were robbed (pun absolutely intentional).


The lackluster dance moves

In the original, dancing was everything. In this version, Breslin although she tried just wasnt hitting those mambo steps with the same gusto Jennifer Grey did.

The remaking of classic songs …

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Hungry Eyes and Shes Like the Wind should not be messed with.

… and the mishandling of the original films iconic lines

How do you make an unexpectedly delightful line about a watermelon so forced? How?!

The awkward Baby-as-adult framing

Because nothing is sacred, the whole remake was framed around a 1980s Baby, now a grown-up, seeing Dirty Dancing: The Musical on Broadway and reminiscing about the summer that changed everything. At the end surprise! she encounters Johnny Castle, who directed the production. Then, Babys kid and husband make an appearance, to show Johnny that shes all grown up and cool now. Exit the theater, zoom in on Breslins face, and finish on a classic freeze frame shot.

It all begged the question: But why?

Alas, even with the industrys current thirst for remakes, on Wednesday night we all learned some things are better left alone.

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