Things About Dirty Dancing You Only Notice As An Adult

Who didn't love Dirty Dancing? If you spent the better part of your childhood pretending to do the iconic lift scene from Dirty Dancing, you're definitely not alone. At the lake, in the pool, off the sofa — countless '90s kids (and even younger generations) have risked limbs and collected bruises in pursuit of perfecting the classic moment between Baby Houseman and Johnny Castle. Nostalgia reigns supreme where this 1987 flick is concerned. 


A lot has happened since the film's debut, though. Society has changed; you've changed; the actors who brought those seminal characters to the big screen have changed. If you were to re-watch the movie, would it still strike you the same? Or would your added life perspective lead you to look at the movie in a new light? Lean into the latter by considering the following things you only notice about Dirty Dancing as an adult. 

Wait, is that Newman from Seinfeld in Dirty Dancing?

Can you even put a face to Stan, the resort greeter-slash-emcee? If it's been a minute since you watched Dirty Dancing, the answer is probably a hard no. But in re-watching, you might just yell out, "Hey, that's Wayne Knight!" Although Stan's role is minor with just a few scenes throughout the movie, Knight's face is easily recognizable to anyone who watched TV or movies in the '90s


Knight was just starting out when he snagged this bit part in Dirty Dancing, so of course we wouldn't know him yet. But in 1993, he was the bad guy in Jurassic Park (apologies in advance if that classically annoying "ah, ah, ah, you didn't say the magic word" computer hack is now stuck in your head). Then, from 1992 to 1998, Knight went on to star as the annoying mailman Newman in Seinfeld

Watching as an adult, with the context of his future iconic roles, you half expect Dirty Dancing's Stan to break out a can of shaving cream and start sneaking out the DNA of rich people or for Jerry Seinfeld to pop out and say, "Hello, Newman."

Billy stares at Lisa in Dirty Dancing like he wants to eat her soul

The funniest part of Dirty Dancing happens to be unintentional. The moment takes place when the Houseman family first arrives at Kellerman's. The owner, Max Kellerman, approaches the family with staff member Billy, who presumably came along to carry the luggage. And then it happens. 


There's a solid few minutes where Billy is staring at Lisa with the strangest look on his face. It's so awkward to watch you may not be able to stifle your laughter. Since these characters have very little interaction in the movie, it makes you wonder if there wasn't some tension between the actors. 

After all, Patrick Swayze admitted he was legitimately annoyed with Jennifer Grey during filming, revealing in his autobiography The Time of My Life (via The Telegraph), "She seemed particularly emotional, sometimes bursting into tears if someone criticized her. Other times, she slipped into silly moods, forcing us to do scenes over and over again after she'd start laughing." 

Why didn't Baby pick Billy in Dirty Dancing?

It's obviously hard to hold a candle to Patrick Swayze, and nobody envies the guy who has to stand next to him and try to seem cool, too. But Billy — the cousin of Swayze's Johnny Castle character in Dirty Dancing— didn't get the credit he deserves. This has little to do with his looks — though, to be clear, he was very handsome. The real reason Billy deserves more attention is because of how nice he was to Baby. In fact, they seemed to have natural chemistry from the moment they meet, when she helps him get luggage out of the car and sparks fly. 


Billy never treats Baby like, well, a baby. He is honest with her, always keeping her in the loop about what is going on. The movie even hints that perhaps Billy harbored some feelings for her, since he tells Johnny in the memorable "I carried a watermelon" scene that "she's with me." On the flip side, Swayze's Johnny Castle was a jerk to Baby for roughly half of the movie. 

The older you get, the more you appreciate the truly decent romantic interests over the dark and dangerous ones — thus being more prone to flights of fancy about Baby and Billy (they even sound good together).

That Dirty Dancing vacation cabin must have cost a small fortune

When you think of a getaway at a lake retreat, quaint images of log cabins and rustic accommodations usually come to mind. Unless, apparently, you're the Housemans. Granted, they were a wealthy family and would arguably have had a more luxurious definition of the standard family vacation. But, c'mon, they really Marie Antoinette'd the whole rustic cabin getaway vibe. 


Dirty Dancing makes it seem as though their cabin is the size of a moderate-sized family home in the suburbs, and they have it all to themselves. Did everyone have their own cabin? If so, who stayed in the palatial main house? How much do these digs cost? So many questions!

While there's no way to know those answers with 100 percent certainty, this much is known: The resort where the movie was filmed is called Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembroke, Virginia. The actual cabin Baby's family stayed in is called the Virginia Cottage and, yes, you can totally book it — but it'll set you back a cool $329 per night during the summer season.

They chose the most unsightly spot ever to hang the staff quarters sign in Dirty Dancing

This is an upscale resort, right? And ol' man Max Kellerman in Dirty Dancing is obviously pretty persnickety about appearances. He explicitly states throughout the movie how important it is to keep the guests happy, the water glasses clean and, in general, the guise of perfection. So why on Earth is there a gigantic red dumpster on the premises? In the scene when Baby goes wandering one evening and runs into Billy carrying the watermelons, she walks right past a massive construction-debris-style dumpster. On that dumpster is a simple black and white sign that reads "STAFF QUARTERS NO GUESTS PLEASE." 


Since there is no reference in the movie to any remodeling, construction, or the like being done on the premises, it seems like a jerk move for Kellerman to place the dumpster right outside the staff cabins and, especially, to hang the staff quarters sign there. 

What kind of person just tosses expensive outerwear on the floor?

Dirty Dancing establishes upfront that Johnny is part of the dance crew. However, you don't learn until later that he offers private dance lessons — a fact that becomes evident when the Housemans watch Johnny dancing with a woman named Vivian. Mr. Kellerman explains that the staff call women like her "bungalow bunnies," because they tend to book a lot of *ahem* private lessons when their husbands are busy playing poker. 


As if all of that wasn't shocking enough, Vivian the cougar shrugs off her fur stole mid-dance and tosses it on the floor. The floor. What kind of fresh privileged nonsense is this? That's, like, a down payment on a Toyota Corolla. Coupled with the fact that Vivian later gets Johnny fired, you spend most of the movie hoping she gets her karmic comeuppance in the next life. 

TBH, Dirty Dancing's Johnny and Penny make it impossible not to 'ship them

Just as Baby seems better suited to Billy in Dirty Dancing, Johnny seems better suited to his ex-turned-BFF, Penny. You can't watch the movie and not secretly hope these two will wind up together in the end. Johnny is just so tender and sweet with Penny, always taking care of her. Naturally, the affection is mutual, with Penny being fiercely protective of Johnny. Billy tells Baby the two haven't been together romantically since they were all kids, but does anyone really buy that? For the record, no one dances with their ex like that — unless it is closely followed by sex with an ex.


Patrick Swayze himself admitted in his memoir, The Time of My Life, that he, too, felt strongly about these characters' connection. "I felt all along that Johnny should ultimately end up with Penny, as they were so much alike and a more realistic couple than Johnny and Baby," Swayze said (via Entertainment Weekly).

Dirty Dancing's Johnny owes his sweet ride a serious apology

Vivian the cougar isn't the only character to make a move that displays a blatant disregard for valuable items in Dirty Dancing. Our jaws dropped when Vivian threw her fur stole to the floor, but we quickly realize it actually isn't that surprising — she is exorbitantly wealthy and entitled, so making such a potentially costly move doesn't faze her. However, Johnny Castle hasn't lived a life of privilege. He knows what it means to struggle for a dollar, which makes it particularly baffling when he busts out his car window without so much as a second thought. 


Really, what reasonable person decides that's the best course of action upon locking your keys in the car? Johnny, man, c'mon! If you're enterprising enough to get women to drop their room keys in your pocket multiple times a day, you can troubleshoot a locked car door.

They clearly didn't think through the whole log-dancing thing in Dirty Dancing

After hours upon hours of frustrating dance rehearsals in Johnny Castle's studio — or sweat lodge, judging by the pair's visible perspiration — Johnny finally springs Baby for a bit of fresh air. Yet, instead of taking her somewhere easy to practice like, say, an open field, Johnny drags her to a remote part of the forest. 


Baby was a beginner at this point, so of course Johnny would take her to dance on a narrow log precariously balanced high above what appears to be shallow water filled with big rocks and other deadly instruments of Mother Nature. Yep, that's completely responsible. 

Patrick Swayze, who played Johnny, knew better than anyone the perils of such endeavors. According to Time, the Dirty Dancing log-balance dance scene aggravated a previous knee injury to the point it almost derailed the iconic lift scene. Stick to the dance studio, kids!

This is why Baby's mom in Dirty Dancing looks so familiar

The first thing you notice about Baby's mother, Marjorie Houseman, is an overwhelming sense of deja vu. Where have you seen her before? Why does her face look so familiar? Spoiler alert: There's a good reason. 


It takes a minute to register since she was so much younger in Dirty Dancing, but the actress playing Baby's mom is none other than Kelly Bishop. Ringing any bells? 'Cause it should be. Bishop brought to life the inimitable (and equally rich and privileged — she wears that look well) character Emily Gilmore on Gilmore Girls.

In addition to Gilmore Girls, Bishop's post-Dirty Dancing days include work on One Life to Live, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Bunheads and The Good Wife.

Dirty Dancing star Patrick Swayze is gone but not forgotten

After watching Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing (or Point Break, Fatherhood, Ghost, and every other role after that), it's difficult to imagine a world without him in it. Johnny Castle will forever be the effortlessly cool guy you dreamed of delivering you from the proverbial corner. 


Sadly, though, Swayze passed away in 2009 after a waging a heroic effort in his 20-month-long fight against pancreatic cancer. Among the countless people who lamented his death and offered support to Swayze's widow, Lisa Niemi, was his Dirty Dancing co-star Jennifer Grey. Speaking to People, she fondly described Swayze as "a real cowboy with a tender heart," adding, "it was not surprising to me that the war he waged on cancer was so courageous and dignified." 

Even as the years continue to creep by, seeing Swayze dance onscreen and hearing his voice singing "She's Like the Wind" (I'm not crying; you are), the actor's legacy clearly lives on.