Monday, May 23, 2016

Character Sketch: Kenickie

     He’s handsome and charming as well as arrogant and reckless. Seventeen year old T-Bird greaser Kenickie holds the title of the most popular guy at Rydell High in the mid 1950’s. Every girl wants him and every guy wants to be him. Now in his senior year of high school, life is great for Kenickie. All he has to worry about is getting his dream car ready for the race at thunder road against the rival greaser gang, the Scorpions.

      Then along came Rizzo, the sassy brazen leader of the Pink Lady’s, who doesn’t waste time in getting into the back seat of Kenickie’s car. Soon, they become an item, until Kenickie insults her on a date (“A hickey from Kenickie is like a Hallmark card”) and Rizzo calls of the relationship. No hard loss for Kenickie though. He can just pick the next girl that’s dreaming to be with him.

      However, Kenickie’s teenage dream lifestyle comes to a screeching halt when he gets the news that Rizzo might be pregnant...with his child. By this point in the story we have gathered that Kenickie is an arrogant and self-centered teenager who lives off of adrenaline and sex. So, one would think that upon hearing this news, Kenickie would wave it off, deny that he’s possibly the father and tell Rizzo that she should deal with it. However, Kenickie does just the opposite. When he confronts Rizzo, he immediately offers to help her, even after she tells him that he may not be the father.

      And that’s when everything gets personal with Kenickie from that point on. After Kenickie and Rizzo broke up, Rizzo get back at him by going as his rival’s date to the Rydell dance. So now, this baby may be his, but it may also be the baby of his rival who Kenickie knows is a terrible person and never cared about Rizzo at all. Conflicted with guilt for leaving Rizzo and also with a sense of responsibility, Kenickie goes through an incredible coming of age story arch that isn’t seen in any of the other characters.

      By the time the story ends and out characters have graduated, Kenickie is a very different person. His hard hit with reality of how his reckless behavior wakes him up and made him realize that it’s not all about him. He goes from boy to man with an agenda to help Rizzo whether she wants it or not. Now while Rizzo holds her own share of the blame and doesn’t demand anything from her X, she feels that her own stand-offish nature and inability to see the good in others are her greatest downfalls.

      Although Rizzo’s pregnancy ends up being false alarm, the shock and fear of becoming teenage parents as well as not knowing who the father is, really molded Kenickie and Rizzo into admirable characters. Kenickie, especially as a greaser with a reputation to protect, was willing to risk everything to help a troubled girl that he had hurt. Although his story arch is a small one that gets lost in the film, there is no denying that Kenickie (more than Danny) really ended up as an unexpected hero when he took responsibility for his actions and began to live in the adult world.


  1. LOVE! I didnt realize how great Kenickie was until the last time I watched Grease a few weeks ago. hes actually probably my favorite guy in that musical. so much character development!

    Great post!:)

    1. Thank you! Same for me too. I was watching it about a year ago and really was surprised at how I missed his character development before. He is the best character in the story!

  2. This is so neat! I hadn't seen Grease in a long time, but was watching part of it on TV the other day, and then we watched Grease Live off Netflix and I couldn't even remember his name but was realizing how good he and Rizzo's story line is. Definitely better and more full of character than the two lead's. ;) I totally agree. :D Awesome post, Ivy!


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