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The Scroll

No. 91: Dirty Dancing

Who’s Baby’s daddy?

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1987, dir. Emile Ardolino. Baby Houseman’s daddy issues lack subtlety in this coming-of-age ode to midcentury summers in the mountains, the “procedure” plot is rickety, the lost-world thing is as overcooked as a resort’s steaks. Doesn’t matter. Baby and her family were a crucial part of both the Jewish-American story and the American one. After her, it became a lot more difficult to put an entire half of the population in the corner: a conclusion as corny as the movie, and as true.

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We all know who Baby’s Daddy is and even though he tried, he wasn’t able to keep ‘baby’ in the corner. To me, this was a story about a young, Jewish girl who falls in love with an employee at a summer resort. Daddy didn’t approve, but he eventually came around. The dancing in this movie was great; it made the entire film worth watching over and over again!

This was a terrific and very Jewish film. Baby was a girl with character, a seeker of justice, a questioner, a challenger of the status quo. And most refreshingly, the explicitly Jewish character who wins the love of the blonde hottie is a female.

This movie played for a solid year in Fayetteville, AR when it came out. Sorority girls from the echt-shiksa MRS factory that was the University of AR then kept in theaters. Imagine being trapped in a really bad Groundhog Day. I guess it speaks to the aspiration of bourgeois women from all census-approved ethnicities.

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No. 91: Dirty Dancing

Who’s Baby’s daddy?

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