This afternoon, Bobby Finger said, “Oh, Grease pics,” prompting a flurry of quiet conversation about who was starring in Fox’s January attempt at a live musical event. I don’t like these musical events; I’ve never watched one in its entirety. So why did I feel the blood drain from my face and an acute pang in my stomach when I couldn’t find the pictures for myself?

“Umm will someone send me the grease pics i wld like to look at them,” I wrote into the abyss of a dysfunctional Slack room. “Pls.”

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I googled “Grease pictures,” “Julianne Hough,” “Julianne Hough Grease,” “Grease NBC pictures,” (forgetting on which network the musical catastrophe would air). I knew these photos contained my emotional destiny—my heartache, my hope, my longing.

But why?

I’m not sure. All I know is that since I started watching Dancing With the Stars this season, I’ve become attached to Julianne Hough, especially in her role as the authority in ballroom dancing, in a deep, inexplicable way. Seeing her (and the rest of the Grease: Live! cast) vulnerable in the production’s costumes would be similar to seeing a parent having sex, or a high school crush with mayonnaise on his face: a grotesque taboo, a car crash at which I was compelled to rubberneck.

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An agonizing eight minutes later, my coworkers sent me the photos. Seeing Hough as Sandy, Aaron Tveit as a hyper-masc Danny, Vanessa Hudgens as a through-the-looking-glass Rizzo, was to drink a cocktail of dread and desire.

Now I am full and more empty than ever.


Contact the author at joanna@jezebel.com.

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