Movie Night: Grease 2

by cara and vanessa

Welcome to Movie Night! Where we choose a movie based on any number of variables and feelings, create a themed menu and some decoration ideas to match, then spend the night eating these foods and watching these movies! It’s an uncomplicated but promising plan.

Tonight we are watching Grease 2, the lesser-known sequel to the John Travolta/Olivia Newton-John classic that spawned a million theme parties and karaoke performances. Grease 2 has more terrible puns, more surprise dance numbers, and more ketchup-based flirtations than its older sibling. It also has about twelve times the camp, and Michelle Pfeiffer. You’re sold, right?

The Movie

Grease 2

[buy it here / stream it here]


Synopsis (from IMDB):

“Return to rockin’ Rydell High for a whole new term! It’s 1961, two years after the original Grease gang graduated, and there’s a new crop of seniors – and new members of the coolest cliques on campus, the Pink Ladies and T-Birds. Michael Carrington is the new kid in school – but he’s been branded a brainiac. Can he fix up an old motorcycle, don a leather jacket, avoid a rumble with the leader of the T-Birds, and win the heart of Pink Lady Stephanie Zinone? He’s surely going to try!”

Cara: Vanessa only likes five movies and this is one of them. In fact, she likes this movie so much that one time she got into an argument with some complete strangers in a pizza shop about whether or not it is superior to The Original Grease. The argument went something like this:

Vanessa: “Grease 2 is better than Grease 1.”
Strangers: “We strongly disagree, as does most of the rest of the world.”
Vanessa: “Hmm. Are you lesbians?”
Strangers: “No.”
Vanessa: “Ah, that explains it. That is the only way you could not be completely drawn in by the pure, heartwrenching sexiness that is Michelle Pfeiffer popping her collar in front of a school bus.”



Strangers (after conferring briefly): “Our artistic preferences are legitimate. We don’t appreciate you demeaning them by attributing them to our sexuality, which is irrelevant; you, of all people, should understand how problematic, NAY, oppressive, this tendency —”
Vanessa: “Oh don’t even. I will end you all. Cara let go of me.”

At this point I removed us from the pizza shop. A few months later I woke up on the floor of my kitchen surrounded by various ingredients and with a shiny DVD dangling before my eyes. Thus this movie night was born.

Vanessa: This movie is the greatest. Seriously, if you tell me you prefer Grease to Grease 2 I am going to judge you and question our friendship. Cara is also telling the truth, I hate most movies, which makes my love for this particular one all the more poignant. I first saw it as a small child in the ’90s, and as this was a time before Googling the lyrics of your favorite soundtrack was a thing, I sat patiently in front of my television set with a notebook, pencil, and the TV remote. I’d pause the movie dutifully every few lines of a new song so I could scribble the lyrics down in full. Neither of my parents thought it was weird that I was singing about reproduction, doing it for my country, or holding on tight to a cool rider. I dunno. I still have that notebook somewhere.

Also I only came out as a gay lady at age 19, but upon re-watching this movie with Cara and gasping or moaning every time Michelle Pfeiffer appeared on screen it has become apparent that she is in fact my root, and I probably should’ve been barging out of the closet at age 10 when I first saw this film. Oops. But better late than never, and we’re all here now, so let’s…

Set the Mood

TM, ¨ & Copyright © 1998 by Paramount Pictures.  All Rights Reserved.

C: If you’re having a party or a Fun Date, a cool thing to do is to refuse to allow your guests entrance unless they enter on a motorcycle or, failing that, approximate a motorcycle sound when you answer the door.

V: Alternatively, guests can wear before/after outfits for Michael (dorky grandpa sweaters vs. cool leather jackets), sexy pink jackets, Calendar Girl outfits (dibs on the Christmas tree, obviously), or bowling shoes.

The Menu

Cool Sliders
T-Birds (aka Black & White Milkshakes)
Pink Ladies (aka Strawberry Milkshakes)

Cool Sliders

(Adapted from How Sweet It Is)

One of the more memorable Grease 2 scenes is a number called “Cool Rider,” in which Stephanie, Michelle Pfeiffer’s character, sings about how she’ll only date a badass with a motorcycle. The song goes something like this:

“I want a whole lot more than the boy next door,” Stephanie explains later. “I want hell on wheels.” This is how I feel about these tiny barbecue mushroom burgers. When you taste them, I think you’ll agree.

Stephanie autostraddles a ladder, Vanessa realizes she's a big dyke.


+ baby portabella mushrooms (go for large-ish ones if you can)
+ slider buns/small rolls (as many as you have mushrooms)
+ 1 red onion
+ 1 avocado
+ your favorite cheese (we used gouda)
+ olive oil
+ smoked paprika
+ onion powder
+ chili powder
+ black pepper
+ barbecue sauce/other condiments

1. Slice up your red onion and sautee it in some olive oil for 8-10 minutes, till it gets soft. While it’s sauteeing, wash and de-stem your mushrooms! If you’re quick, this is also a good opportunity to cut up your avocado and arrange it beautifully on a plate.


2. Mix all your spices together. The amount you use will depend on your number of mushrooms and whether you like things to, as Stephanie describes, “burn you through and through.” But as a general rule, use about twice as much smoked paprika and onion powder as you do chili powder and black pepper.

3. Brush each mushroom with olive oil and rub it in the spice mix. Put all your spice-dusted ‘shrooms in a pan and cook them on medium heat until they start to brown (about 5 minutes). Flip them over and cook them for 5 more minutes on the other side.


4. While they’re browning away, slice your buns in half and your cheese into mushroom-sized squares.

5. Flip the mushrooms over one more time, so the round sides face up. Top each with a square of cheese and keep your pan on the heat until the cheese melts. (If it’s a rebellious, authority-bucking cheese that refuses to melt, stick a pot lid over your pan — the steam will do the trick.)


6. Put your sliders together! Don’t forget the barbecue sauce or Michelle Pfeiffer will yell at you. On second thought, maybe do forget the barbecue sauce, if you’re into that.



T-Birds & Pink Ladies

What’s an early-60s themed movie night without some milkshakes and gender essentializing? As vices go, these milkshakes are both tastier and, dare we say, cooler-looking than cigarettes. They’ll also wipe off your leather jacket really easily after you do a spit-take during the film’s surprising and emotional dream sequence. Warning: these will be really hard to make without a blender.


The T-Bird: Vanilla ice cream. Milk. Chocolate sauce. Optional embellishments (cocoa dust, malt powder, Milky Ways, etc.)
The Pink Lady: Strawberry ice cream. Milk. Optional embellishments (strawberries, whipped cream, tiny umbrellas, etc.)
1. Put ice cream in your blender (~1 cup per milkshake). Splash in milk — more if you want a liquidy milkshake; less if you’d like it to be more like a Wendy’s Frosty. If you’re making a T-Bird, add about a 10-second squeeze of chocolate sauce and the candy bar if you want.


3. Pour into your coolest glassware. Add accoutrements if desired. Toast to true, real, everlasting high school love, and/or Michelle Pfeiffer’s true, real, everlasting smirk.


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Cara is a writing reading bicycling fiend and a lab mouse to the world. Sometimes she's also Hat Benatar. She lives in Jamaica Plain with five cool roommates and an ice cream machine, and is generally thinking about gender, words, sustainable biodiversity, and/or electric guitars. You can follow her on twitter @cjgiaimo if you want.

Cara has written 113 articles for us.


  1. Thumb up 1

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    My best friend shares your love for this movie Vanessa; she used to play the songs nonstop in her car – which means I know the lyrics to all of them – and they are terrible!!! But also really catchy.

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      omg they are not terrible you take that back right now!

      jk they are kind of awful but in a really fucking wonderful way, right? …RIGHT?!?!

  2. Thumb up 2

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    I just saved this to my “recipe” folder and I just know in like four months I’m going to look at the title and be like “why is this in RECIPES was I drunk?” and be confused until I click it. But no seriously those sliders look amazing.

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    OMG. Like Vanessa, I should have known I was a lesbian when at 9 or 10 years old, I would rewind my VHS over and over to Michelle Pfeiffer doing the Cool Rider dance and could care less about the guy in the movie.
    That was the beginning of my Michelle Pfeiffer obsession and i begged my mom to buy me a leather jacket like she wore in Dangerous Minds a few years later. She was such a bad ass and I loved it

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      I have such a soft spot for Michelle Pfeiffer- I realized I was queer when I was a whee little thing sitting on orange shag carpet and I saw her as Catwoman- and I KNEW it. I didn’t have the words for it- I was like, seven- but I just knew. I’m pretty sure Michelle Pfeiffer is a queer gateway drug.

  4. Thumb up 1

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    SO obsessed with this movie as a pre-teen. One of my earliest camp influences. Also, I used to mute the TV whenever “Reproduction” or “Score Tonight” came on so my parents wouldn’t hear…even though, looking back, my mom would have found them pretty funny.

  5. Thumb up 2

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    I knew Vanessa had class now she has just climbed even higher on that class ladder. Because this is one of my top three movies EVER!!! I actually bought the album after seeing the movie at the theater.

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    I saw Grease 2 when I was 10 or so, and thought that Maxwell Caulfield was, like, the hottest guy ever, which I think should have been a sign that I wasn’t really into men.

  7. Thumb up 2

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    Vanessa, four words: Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman.

    Also, I love you guys.

    Also, this is my very first comment and a testament to how great Grease 2 really is. I mean, I STILL want to be Michael, you know? Just your average nerdy guy turned dreamboat on a motorcycle…

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      MAZEL TOV ON YOUR FIRST COMMENT, CHRISSIE. the only nerd cooooooler than michael is seth cohen, so i totally understand where you’re coming from with regard to that desire.

  8. Thumb up 1

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    I’m forming an army of people who understand that Grease 2 is superior – not just to Grease – but to most things. So this is now probably my fave post on Autostraddle.

  9. Thumb up 5

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    i have contributed a lot of words to this website, but never have i been part of a post that feels so important, so groundbreaking, so vital for the queer community. i am so proud to be a part of the team that made this happen. you’re all so very welcome.

    ps check out this coooooool extra video i took of cara:

  10. Thumb up 0

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    Well, now I’m sad because I apparently can’t ever be friends with Vanessa due to my preference for Grease over Grease 2 (I’m old, I don’t like “new” things, okay??), but that food looks delish!

  11. Thumb up 1

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    I love everything about this post, most importantly you two beautiful perfect humans.

    The strangers could have been won over if we stayed a few minutes more imo

  12. Thumb up 2

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    It is because of this movie that I started doing that flip the cigarette into my mouth move. Thankfully, I eventually ditched the cigs and moved on to tying cherry stems with my tongue instead.

  13. Thumb up 1

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    I LOVE GREASE 2 WAY MORE THAN GREASE 1 WHICH WAS ALSO EXCELLENT BUT IT DOESN’T EVEN MATTER. I would never admit it in public because obviously I would get totally made fun of. Cool Rider is my JAM. It’s my go-to shower song. Oh my GOD I can’t even believe that this is an article on autostraddle YES. GAWD.

  14. Thumb up 6

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    I am TOTALLY FLOORED by 95% of these comments. I had no idea that Grease 2 even existed, and now it turns out to be some intense, charged uber-root for this entire community? How is it that every time Vanessa likes a ridiculous thing, every single other queer person in the world ALSO secretly loves it? V, are you magic? Are you not telling me something? Does this mean I also have to watch Now and Then?

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        THANK YOU KATHRYN. cara is really cruel and got my hopes up with her original comment, AND THEN when we were gchatting .2 seconds later she said the following:

        “i just read the wikipedia summary of that movie and i don’t know if i can [watch it]…i just don’t know. i thought i could, but…”

        it’s like after i proved my incredible (five) movie tastes with grease 2 you’d THINK she would trust me, but nooooo, again with the doubt. sigh. your loss, cara. your loss.

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      yes i am magic, ps. also i resent you calling grease 2 “a ridiculous thing.” also genuinely hurt that you would LIE TO ME and pretend to consider watching now and then and then seconds later cruelly remove that possibility from the table. considering i am magic you should be very afraid of upsetting me, i think. just sayin’. #witchyfemme

  15. Thumb up 6

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    as someone who was not a fan of grease and has never seen grease 2, i find this post edifying and inspiring. i have one humble request:

    someone (riese?) do this, but with sister act 2 please


  16. Thumb up 1

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    I LOOOOVE this movie! I always saw it as a lot more fun loving than the original movie. The songs are great and Stephanie is the baddest pink lady ever.

    BUT… my interest in the movie always dwindles ny the middle of the movie. By the time they think the cool rider is dead I almost always turn it of. So I’ve probably seen the beginning 20 times and the end 3. Am I terrible?

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      do you mean to tell me you switch it off before the talent show montage with stephanie dressed as a xmas tree followed by the weird black and white dream sequence? because if so i feel like i need to tell you that you are truly missing out.

  17. Thumb up 2

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    Oh hell to the no you didn’t just publish THIS?

  18. Thumb up 3

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    I have to come in as the Debbie Downer and defend the original Grease. I mean, it’s pretty awesome that everyone calls him “Cool Rider” and that he rides his motorcycle into the gym. I will also admit that there are two good songs and they scored with Pfieffer. I remember watching it when I was younger and being really creeped out by a rapey scene where they try to get a girl in some lighthouse dungeon or something (OKAY I don’t remember it that well!) and also I am always mad in movies when the “unattractive” “nerdy” character changes their shirt or something and are suddenly considered hot. HELLO? They were always hot, Sandy included.

    I am also partial because I was Danny Zuko for Halloween and I always sing Rizzo’s song every time I karaoke. However, the admiration I am seeing here is inspiring. I vow now and forever to never be that guy that argues for Grease. I will respect others opinions and try very hard not to judge them negatively for said opinions.

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      i like this comment a lot. it has inspired me to be more accepting of other people’s movie preferences and i promise i will never yell at straight girls in a pizza place ever again (well, at least not about grease 2…)

      also: i think the rapey scene you’re talking about is when louis tries to get sharon to have sex with him in the bomb shelter by pretending a war has started? louis is definitely a creep, but the thing that salvaged it for me is that A. you know his plan is gonna fail, i never once was scared for sharon’s safety, B. it is SO campy and allows for the great misunderstanding where sharon thinks louis is getting ready to be a soldier and louis thinks they’re getting ready to have sex and they’re both weirdly excited about medical gauze, and C. the plan does fail, louis is the punchline and not sharon or “girls who won’t have sex”, and no sex actually occurs. i dunno probably someone could argue this with me and win, but i just feel like it’s important to point out that my favorite movie doesn’t actually have a rape scene!

  19. Thumb up 4

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    i really appreciate the seriousness with which everyone is debating the issue of grease vs. grease 2. it is an Important Issue Of Our Time and while some of you are clearly making the wrong choice, i respect your dedication to the cause. also i changed my mind i like you all a lot and want to be friends even if you like grease better than grease 2. what can i say, if michael can change into a cool rider, i can change into a more accepting human being when it comes to movie choices. the world is a magical place.

  20. Thumb up 3

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    V I just need you to know that “Reproduction” was my favorite musical number for quite some time. Maybe including now.

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