Guy D’Alema/ABC

Does Baby Have A Kid In The Original 'Dirty Dancing"?

by Megan Walsh

The end of the ABC remake of Dirty Dancing took a trip to the 1970s, where Baby Houseman was a married lady settling in for a Broadway show choreographed by (and starring) her ex-boyfriend Johnny Castle. Conveniently, the show was also called Dirty Dancing and it was inspired by their long-ago summer romance. As Baby and Johnny caught up after the encore, a little girl ran up to join the conversation. She was Baby's daughter, as it turned out, and she seemed to be there just to reassure Johnny that her mom was still dancing even though so much time had passed. Fans of the 1987 movie might have been a little lost at this point. Did Baby have a kid in the original Dirty Dancing?

Don't worry, you're not remembering wrong: Baby did not have a kid in the original film. That was an addition of the remake, as was the entire framing device of Baby reminiscing while watching a show that depicted her last summer before college. The original film didn't dive into the future at all; it kept all the action contained within that one summer and ended when the vacation did. It never revealed if Baby got married, had kids, joined the Peace Corps, or took in Broadway shows in her spare time. It left the future undefined.

Johnny had anxieties throughout the film about the fact that he didn't have the status symbols other people working at the resort did: he was poor, he wasn't going to an Ivy League school, and he didn't have a great career as a doctor awaiting him in the future. Meanwhile, Baby was a feminist who was repeatedly prodded throughout the remake to understand where her super-feminine, husband-seeking sister was coming from. She was even subjected to an entire dance number with Penny to make her understand that she had to "let the man lead" (to which there seemed to be deeper implications). It seems like the epilogue was there to address both of those things. Johnny gets a good job and makes something of himself. Baby becomes a wife and mother. But what does that really add to the story?

Perhaps some fans will be comforted by the knowledge that the lead characters ended up living out average lives where they were probably happy, but at best the addition is a footnote nobody needed. Everyone can assume that Baby and Johnny will be fine at the end of the movie. It doesn't need to be spelled out. At worst, the addition diminishes the impact of the story the rest of the film was telling: one of a moment in time that meant everything to the characters living it, even if it was temporary.

The original film may have finished with an open ending, but the ABC remake decided to tie up all those loose ends, answering every question fans may have had – and even some they didn't.