10 Best Grease References in Rise of the Pink Ladies

Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies tells the musical origin story of the titular girl gang a few years before the events of Grease. After a summer fling turns into a disaster, four misfits come together to change Rydell High for the better. Despite its premature cancellation, Rise of the Pink Ladies brought something new to the Grease franchise while making plenty of references to its predecessors.

From the episode titles to its revamped opening number, Rise of the Pink Ladies finds ways big and small to nod to both Grease and Grease 2. These are the best homages in Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies.

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10 Fun House Dance Number

Pink Ladies and Sandy & Danny dancing in front of the Shake Shack in Grease & Rise of the Pink Ladies

Both Grease and Rise of the Pink Ladies Season 1 end with a fun fair, complete with carnival games, rides and a fun house. “You’re the One That I Want” famously incorporated the fun house into its choreography as Danny and Sandy finally came together after so much turmoil.

While it mostly stays out of the fun house, “Think Pink” does take the Pink Ladies into the Shake Shack, one of the iconic places where Danny and Sandy danced. Rather than a couple finally getting together, Rise of the Pink Ladies has Hazel finally joining the group in this number after a season of being the misfit new girl.

9 The Origin of the Hand Jive

Olivia & Gil and Sandy & Danny doing the hand jive in Grease and Rise of the Pink Ladies

As an iconic ’50s dance move, the hand jive is heavily featured in Grease, particularly at the school dance. During “Born to Hand Jive,” the students, including Sandy, Danny, the rest of the T-Birds and the Pink Ladies, compete in a dancing contest live on television.

Rise of the Pink Ladies gives the dance a new origin story. After they’re rejected from the official school dance and relocate to the Frosty Palace, the students are so packed in that they have little room to dance. Luckily, Jane notices Hazel jiving her hands, and the Pink Ladies help teach it to the rest of the student body, setting up its later popularity.

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8 The Pink Ladies’ Pledge

The Pink Ladies in Grease 2 and Rise of the Pink Ladies

Grease 2 introduced a new group of Pink Ladies who followed a strict code and had an official pledge. As stated in the opening musical number, “Back to School Again,” the Pink Ladies’ pledge is “to act cool, to look cool, and to be cool. ‘Til death do us part, think pink.”

In Rise of the Pink Ladies, the girls come up with the pledge on the fly when they ask Hazel to join the group. They then incorporate it into the ensuing song, “Think Pink,” sounding much like their successors in Grease 2 as they expound on what it really means to be a Pink Lady.

7 The Drag Race

The Pink Ladies and the T-Birds in cars in Grease and Rise of the Pink Ladies

Grease famously features a drag race between the T-Birds and a rival gang, the Scorpions, at the Los Angeles River. Although Kenickie is meant to be the one racing, he’s accidentally injured, leaving Danny to step in and win the race.

While the setting is changed, Rise of the Pink Ladies also features a drag race between two people who were originally spectators: Jane and Susan. The show raises the stakes by having them race to decide whether Buddy or Richie will stay at Rydell after both are kicked out for fighting. Sadly, the T-Birds and Pink Ladies lose this race, but Buddy drops out anyway.

6 Frenchy & Betty

Rizzo and Frenchy in Grease and Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies

Frenchy and Betty, better known as Rizzo, are members of the Pink Ladies in Grease. However, Rise of the Pink Ladies fleshes out their backstories by introducing them in their middle school days. The two become friends after Betty defends Frenchy from bullies.

Beyond including the characters, who are perfectly captured by actors Madison Lagares and Emma Shannon, Rise of the Pink Ladies also puts Betty and Frenchy in a familiar situation. In the first episode, “We’re Gonna Rule the School,” Betty pierces Frenchy’s ears for her, just as Frenchy tries to do for Sandy in Grease.

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5 The Ipana Toothpaste Jingle

Jan and the Pink Ladies in Grease and Rise of the Pink Ladies

In Grease, Pink Lady Jan sings the Ipana toothpaste jingle during a sleepover at Frenchy’s house, chipmunk voice and all. It’s a brief but memorable moment for many fans, and Rise of the Pink Ladies brings it back in a creative way.

The Ipana commercial first comes up in Episode 6, ” Sloppy Seconds Ain’t My Style,” after Cynthia drops out of the school play. The girls come over to show their support, and since Cynthia doesn’t want to discuss why she left, they just watch TV together and sing along to the silly advertisement. The jingle returns in Episode 10, “Racing for Pinks,” when Olivia is thinking about her friends, turning the Ipana commercial into an emotional throughline.

4 Dot’s Transformation

Dot and Sandy post-makeover in Grease and Rise of the Pink Ladies

Sandy’s transformation in Grease is as controversial as it is iconic. After several fights and Zuko’s various attempts to change for her, Sandy asks Frenchy to give her a greaser makeover, and the pair finally get together for the last time.

Rise of the Pink Ladies gives its transformation to a surprising character: Dot, a soc, who is often the butt of jokes due to her short stature. When the high school dance comes around, Dot gets her own “Tell me about it, stud” moment, dazzling in a black and red dress. Unlike Sandy, however, Dot returns to her normal outfits after the dance.

3 Brutal Honesty

Rise of the Pink Ladies' Brutal Honesty and Grease's Beauty School Dropout

After a disastrous turn in beauty school, Frenchy is convinced to re-enroll at Rydell by the Teen Angel in a dream sequence at the Frosty Palace. His song in Grease, “Beauty School Dropout,” is a brutally honest evaluation of Frenchy’s skills delivered by a smooth crooner voice.

Likewise, Rise of the Pink Ladies‘ Nancy is persuaded not to drop out of Rydell by her very own Fashion Angel in the song “Brutal Honesty.” Despite the song title, the Fashion Angel isn’t quite as harsh as the Teen Angel, pointing out that Nancy is just running away from her problems rather than insulting her abilities or her dream to become a New York fashion designer.

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2 Grease Is the Word

Rise of the Pink Ladies'

One of Grease‘s most catchy songs is the animated opening number, “Grease.” The song was written and performed by Frankie Valli for the movie, and it plays over an animated sequence that introduces the main characters.

Although it doesn’t include any animation, Rise of the Pink Ladies opens with its own version of the song, “Grease is the Word.” This iteration has more of an upbeat pop feel and is sung by the cast at the drive-in, a key location in both the series and the original movie. Despite not being written for the series, each verse gives a little insight into the character singing it, making it more than a simple reference.

1 New Cool

Rise of the Pink Ladies'

“Greased Lightnin'” is one of Grease‘s most well-known numbers. In the movie, Danny sings the song to show the T-Birds what they can do with the hunk of junk car. It then goes into a memorable dream sequence with the gang fixing up the car.

Rise of the Pink Ladies delivers a similarly epic number with “New Cool.” In it, Cynthia tries to convince the T-Birds that they’re on their way up at Rydell and that she can help get the gang there if they let her join. Like “Greased Lightnin’,” it also starts off in the shop class and then transitions into an unforgettable dream sequence, where Cynthia is a full-fledged T-Bird.

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