Guy D’Alema/ABC

How Does The Original 'Dirty Dancing' End?

by Megan Walsh

The ABC remake of Dirty Dancing made more than a few changes to the classic story: scenes were shifted around, musical interludes were added, and characterization was tweaked (I don't recall Lisa being that adorable, personally). But the biggest change was probably the ending. A flashforward to Baby and Johnny's future revealed him to be a Broadway star in a show based on their summer romance, while Baby was a married mom. They weren't together anymore and it seemed like they hadn't seen each other in years. For fans of the original, it was definitely unfamiliar, but those who haven't seen the 1987 movie in a while might be wondering: how does the original Dirty Dancing end?

The original film is known for its open ending. After Johnny appears at the end-of-season talent show and takes Baby for a spin on the dance floor, the entire room erupts into choreography. It's a joyful ending that sees every character letting loose and having fun despite their differences and past problems. The movie ends there without delving into what happens after the summer is over. It doesn't answer any questions about whether or not Baby and Johnny stay together or what they do with their separate futures. It allows fans to finish the story for themselves.

Over the years, fans may have debated what happened to Baby and Johnny after the credits rolled, but part of the point was that it didn't really matter. Dirty Dancing was a coming-of-age story about one magical summer in Baby's life, so it made sense for the film to start and end in that summer without following up later. The important thing was that Baby and Johnny both changed for the good because of their love for one another. Does it really enhance the story to know that he got a good job and she settled down?

A deleted scene from the original film makes it clear that the movie did intend to leave things on a more definite note, though it didn't go far into the future to do so. In the scene, Baby and Johnny have a conversation about their future during the final dance. She confesses her anxieties about the trouble they'll have staying together in the future and he reassures her that they'll fight to be with one another no matter what. The scene confirms that they'll try to stay together instead of parting ways after the summer, but considering it was deleted without the final film suffering for it, it doesn't seem like it was necessary.

Much of the ABC remake of Dirty Dancing embellished and elaborated on things that didn't really need the added clarification. Finding out where the future took Baby and Johnny is fine, but it kind of misses the point.