Grease -- Why I Prefer Kenickie and Rizzo

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I know Danny and Sandy are supposed to be the big Grease couple, but there’s a lot about their relationship that doesn’t sit well with me. Like Sandy turning herself into Sexed-Up Sandy just to get him. Danny fell for her just as she was, but she seemed to think unless she totally changed herself she wouldn’t be able to hang on to him. The ironic thing is Danny dumped girls like Cha-Cha and disrespected them after he was through with them like the way he treated Rizzo who he also had something going with. So for Sandy to turn herself from virgin to sexed-up tart left a really bad taste in my mouth. When all is said and done, I found I preferred Kenickie and Rizzo to them.

Danny and Sandy meet at the beach and have a nice romance, but after that it falls apart when they meet again in high school. He’s a different Danny when he gets around his friends. He lies about their relationship. When they meet again he acts like a jerk to keep his credo in front of his friends. In short, he’s nothing like the boy she met at the beach. He tries to hide when he takes her out to the gang’s hang-out Frosty’s when he morphs back into Beach Danny, not wanting his friends to see them. When they do it’s back to T-Bird Danny acting like a jerk to her, again. He deserts her at a dance and she runs off, as he dances with one of his exes instead of going after her. When he gives her his ring to go steady she throws it back in his face when he wants her to put out. Then she thinks if she becomes Sexed-Up Sandy that will be the answer to all their problems. The odds of these two making it for the long haul aren’t good. They seem more like a summertime romance that just needed to play itself out.

Rizzo and Kenickie get together in the back of his car at the local teen make-out spot, but Kenickie seems to be different than the other boys for Rizzo, since she asks him to call her by her first name. She picks a fight with him and throws a milk shake in his face, telling him he’s a pig because of the way he’s acting. They both go with other people to the dance and are obviously jealous. When Kenickie hears Rizzo might be pregnant, he offers to make an honest woman of her if she is pregnant, but she lies to him that if there is a baby it isn’t his. Even after that Kenickie doesn’t give up on her and when she tells him she’s not pregnant, it sounds like her proposes to her. That’s not to say these two don’t have their bad moments like Danny and Sandy, but, ultimately, neither Rizzo nor Kenickie turned themselves into someone they’re not just to try to make the relationship work. They accept each other just as they are and like each other.

I think the songs Sandy and Rizzo sang about Danny and Kenickie really sets the relationships apart. Sandy is singing how she’s hopelessly devoted to Danny even though at this point he’s been a total jerk to her. Rizzo is singing about how Kenickie is just like her and she lied to him out of jealousy and spite, but she feels the worst thing she could do is to let him see her cry. Rizzo’s song is more about finding a soul mate, while Sandy’s is more about a teen in the throes of her first crush. It’s kind of real love vs. puppy love.

Danny isn’t any more mature in his and Sandy’s relationship than she is. Danny thinks because Sandy pretended to be interested in a high school jock he’ll get her if he wins a letterman’s sweater. He didn’t seem to get that all he had to be is the guy she met at the beach, but he couldn’t do that because he cared more about how the T-Birds viewed him than having Sandy. He wanted his cake and to eat it, too. Keep his rep with his friends and have Sandy, as well. And when Sandy became Sexed-Up Sandy to fit in with the friends he hangs around with he got it. Still, how long would she really be able to keep up this act? Would she finally put out for Danny and once she did how long would things really last between them? He seemed to fall for her because she was different from the other girls he knew. When she became just like them, how long would he really stay interested in her?

At the graduation carnival Kenickie was still interested in Rizzo even though she made him think she might be pregnant with another guy’s baby. He sought her out when she was on the Ferris wheel with Frenchie. And when she told him she wasn’t pregnant [she still hadn’t told him she lied about being with another guy] he still wanted her and offered to make an honest woman of her with no baby being involved. That sounds like real love, still loving someone and accepting them even though you think they cheated on you, and loving them enough to get past it and still wanting to be with them.

Seriously, if I had a choice between which relationship I would want for myself, I’d pick Kenickie and Rizzo’s in a second. Any relationship that you feel you have to turn yourself into someone who is polar opposite to who you really are is not a relationship I’d want to have. If you can’t be yourself with someone, then they’re not someone you should be with or even want to be with.

While it’s true when you fall in love with someone you do change. You both change and evolve through your love and relationship. You don’t change the way Sandy made herself change just so she could be with Danny. Hopefully when she grows more mature she’ll realize that and have more respect for herself. She’ll realize when it’s the right person you don’t have to change yourself into someone you’re not just to be with them and fit in with the crowd they hang with.

Anyway, that’s why I prefer Rizzo and Kenickie to Danny and Sandy. They accept each other as they are. Kenickie even accepted and still wanted Rizzo when she lied about being pregnant by another guy because she was jealous he took Cha-Cha to the dance. He even blew off his friends to be with Rizzo. We also didn’t see Kenickie bragging to his friends about how he scored with Rizzo the way Danny did with Sandy. To me it’s just a far better relationship than what Danny and Sandy had. Even though on the surface it didn’t have the romantic quality that Danny and Sandy appeared to have it had something better: it was real.

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Comments 6 comments

Michelle 14 months ago

This is a great insight. Never thought about it that way. One thing I disagree with is I think Danny changed himself to be with Sandy just as much as she changed herself to be with him. So they both changed in the end. But you're right, he did her dirty throughout the movie, while Kenickie was better to Rizzo. I can see them lasting. As for Danny and Sandy, their relationship is shallow so....who knows.

anonmyous 12 months ago

I disagree.. Rizzo and Kinickie didn't change for each other because they didn't have to. Rizzo was already sexed up and putting out. On the other hand Sandy was around these people 24/7 and how they say your persona is affected by the influences you have. So Sandy had bad influences. Also the movie writers had said that at the end they decided to make Sandy change. Because during that time it was always the men who changed in the movies and became good, etc. So he had said that nobody likes that kind of ending. So he decided to make Sandy different.

Fran Rodgers 8 months ago

Rizzo and Kenickie were totally the most to say the least.

Ro'isin 7 months ago

I completely agree. I related to Rizzo the most out of all the characters, the Kenickie/Rizzo pairing really was the best dynamic in the musical. Loved this post! xo

maria 5 months ago

I completely agree! I was always intrigued by the Rizzo Kenicke dynamic. I finally understand why. Youre absolutely right. It's real. That makes all the difference. :) great piece!

Kate 2 months ago

Thanks for that article. I have the same opinion.

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