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Making “Grease” into the latest tween sensation, minus the smoking.

Making “Grease” into the latest tween sensation, minus the smoking. (photo)

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It’s the 32nd anniversary of “Grease”! I know you’re excited! To celebrate, the movie will re-open in “select cities” in a new sing-along version. The Guardian‘s Stuart Heritage describes it best:

“Grease Sing-A-Long” is a brand new print of the John Travolta musical that displays all the lyrics onscreen, ensuring that you and your best pals can spend an evening wearing fancy dress and belting out all your favourite numbers together while everyone else gets a quiet night off from you and your awful friends.

Heritage goes on to point out numerous other changes that have been made to the film: John Travolta’s cigarette has been digitally erased (as has Olivia Newton-John’s at the end), lyrics now read “the chicks’ll scream” rather than “cream.” There’s almost certainly more where that came from; how many changes Paramount made to the film when no one was paying attention is unknown.

This kind of practice is generally frowned upon, for obvious reasons. Certainly when Steven Spielberg went back and took out guns and a reference to “terrorists” from “E.T.,” no one was very pleased. But that, at least, was his decision — who knows to what extent “Grease” director Randal Kleiser was involved in the musicalization of his movie?

(Fascinatingly, according to his website, in recent years Kleiser has been busy taking the technology from Disney World’s “Honey, I Shrunk The Audience” attraction and using it — at the government’s request — “to develop a 360 degree hi-def simulator to train soldiers to deal with Improvised Explosive Devices in the current war in Afghanistan.” The Army’s being trained by the director of “The Blue Lagoon”!)

06022010_high.jpgYou’ll note that these aren’t the old, follow-the-bouncing-ball song lyrics of yore; they’re blue and pink, popping and weaving, sometimes scratched into the background, upstaging the yeomen-esque visuals easily. In a smart, cynical bit of advertising, the titles inform us that this is “the original High School Musical.”

And indeed, the whole point of this project — from Travolta’s cleaner bill of health to the de-sexualized lyrics — seems to be to update a durable brand name for a new generation, giving them a hyperactively pastelized version of a movie that wasn’t all that special to begin with. The ’50s are the ’70s are the teens.

It’s also worth noting that the end of the trailer has some instructions for you. If you’re not in one of those select cities? Use “Demand It” — now a registered phrase — to get it to you, the same way “Paranormal Activity” grew. And please, go on Twitter and spread the “grease” hash-tag. So not only is Paramount actively using an old property to court a large tween audience (thereby saving themselves a passel in production costs), they’re outsourcing as much of the marketing cost as possible to them in the process. But will the kids buy it?

[Photos: De-cigaretted Travolta and Newton-John from “Grease,” Paramount, 1978; “High School Musical,” Disney, 2006]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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