3 Iconic “Grease” Characters Pop Up in the Early Episodes of “Rise of the Pink Ladies”

Paramount Plus’s new series “Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies” serves as a prequel to the hit 1978 film. The musical follows Jane, Olivia, Cynthia, Nancy, and Hazel as they form the girl gang the Pink Ladies in 1954. In “Grease,” which is set in 1958, Sandy (played by the late Olivia Newton-John) is befriended by the Pink Ladies clique when she becomes a student at Rydell, though Betty Rizzo, Frenchy, Jan, and Marty are all different levels of welcoming toward her.

So how does “Rise of the Pink Ladies” connect to the original “Grease”? Of course, the new Pink Ladies and T-Birds attend the same high school the original characters do, Rydell High. In the movie, the school is run by Principal McGee, played by the late Eve Arden. In “Rise of the Pink Ladies,” she’s Assistant Principal McGee, and she’s played pitch perfectly by comedic icon Jackie Hoffman. The Frosty Palace is one of the main hangout spots for the teens in “Grease,” and it also appears in the series. Nancy’s parents run it, and she works there as a waitress. The first episode also features a scene at the drive-in movie theater that plays a pivotal role in “Grease.”

But perhaps the biggest connection to the movie comes in the form of Jane Facciano, the show’s main character. Jane’s family recently moved to California from New York, and she’s had a hard time fitting in; same with her sister, a preteen in middle school. In the early episodes, Jane’s mother complains that she has a new nickname from her friend Betty — “Frenchy.” Jane’s little sister is the first movie’s Frenchy, and Betty, who gave her that nickname, is Rizzo. Preteen Rizzo briefly appears in a scene with Frenchy.

Still, despite these similarities, “Rise of the Pink Ladies” is able to establish itself as its own thing. The cast is more diverse, and the show often serves as a bubbly critique of the culture of sexism and masculine bravado that permeates the original film.

Fans will have to wait and see if the show makes even more connections. And for those wondering: so far, the show doesn’t seem to have any major connections to “Grease 2,” the cult classic sequel to the original film, besides the return to Rydell.

New episodes of “Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies” stream Thursdays on Paramount+.

Image Source: Paramount Plus

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