Screen shot 2010-11-24 at 8.51.42 AM.pngI know I’ve been a bit fanatical this season with my love of “Dancing with the Stars.” To be perfectly honest, in past seasons, I really wasn’t that interested in the show. That is, until I found out that one of my favorite film stars was competing. I first fell in love with Jennifer Grey when she played Baby in “Dirty Dancing.” I was a junior in high school and remember seeing it the first time with my friend Julie who I now see from time to time on Facebook but have not actually connected with her IRL in more than two decades (but that’s a whole different story).
Since that nostalgic moment in that dilapidated theater that shut down a few years after we saw the film, I think I’ve seen “Dirty Dancing” at least 50 times. I can recite the lines. I remember vividly the scene when Baby dances up the steps or when Johnny raises her over his head while they’re in the lake. I remember when I bought the soundtrack and played those songs over and over again on my walkman (yes, walkman). I remember buying denim shorts. And I remember getting Baby’s adorable haircut.
So imagine my thrill to find out that Baby was back! And she looked absolutely gorgeous. You would never guess that Jennifer Grey is now 50 years old. It’s as if she hasn’t aged a day since the film. But now, more than two decades later, she’s now a wife and mother who put her own career on hold while battling a host of back problems (she was in a serious car accident with Matthew Broderick prior to the release of “Dirty Dancing” and never quite recovered from it). Thankfully, Jennifer finally decided to re-ignite her passion for dancing and made her fans fall in love with her all over again.
During the competition, her entire family (including famous Broadway dad Joel Grey) was front and center cheering her on. And during the finale, her friends Jamie Lee Curtis and Melanie Griffith could be seen hooting and hollering too.
It was so great to see how Jennifer embraced her “Dirty Dancing” fan base. While I would have loved to have seen her re-create “I’ve Had the Time Of My Life,” I did enjoy the homage to the film with “Do You Love Me?” She wore a 1950’s inspired dress while carrying a watermelon (a throwback to the film) and then whipped off the dress and wore a sparkly fuschia number that lit up as she danced her heart out on stage and on top of the judges desk.
The next evening during the finals, we learned that Jennifer had ruptured a disc in her back and despite the pain, she managed to pull two more performances out of the hat and won that mirror ball trophy.
Today, as I sat watching Jennifer and the finalists on “Good Morning America” wearing a “Dirty Dancing” inspired dress, all I can say is kudos to this inspiring wife, mother and daughter. It was truly a thrill to watch her perform and every time she stepped out on that stage, she brought me back to the time when I first watched her fly into Patrick Swayze’s arms. No matter how old she gets, Jennifer Grey will always hold a special place in the hearts of women like me. And as we get ready to take a few days off from our incredibly hectic lives, I’m thinking it’s time to kick back and watch one of the best feel good dance films of all time.
Congratulations Jennifer Grey – you are the ultimate Role Mommy! And for the sentimental moms out there, take a look at this blast from the past!