Darphne Merkin wrote in in 2005 at the time of Sandra Dee’s death:

This scene also shows us another aspect of 50s teen culture, the Basement Party. Grace Palladino writes in , "If their parents could afford it, they followed the experts’ advice to fix up party rooms to keep young teenagers safe at home . . . complete with a television set, soft drink bar, and plenty of room for dancing." Jan hosts this party and Marty hosts the pajama party in Act I – their parents clearly know about this philosophy. But the scene is important dramatically because it’s the first time we see both Rizzo and Kenickie grapple with real, serious emotions, revealing a vulnerability that is uncomfortable for both of them.

Rizzo’s pretty great at choosing metaphors…

Sock Hop Baby, Roll Up Your Crazy Jeans!

I have never heard that song before,

But the song also tells us that Kenickie doesn’t really know much about drag racing or about customizing cars. A true drag racing enthusiast knows that the accessories Kenickie dreams of don’t all make sense together. For example, the "four-barrel quads" refers to a carburetor, but a car with fuel injection (as in his "fuel injection cut-off") doesn’t have a carburetor – those two things would not be on the same car. And no one would chrome-plate connecting rods; chrome-plating was just for show and nobody can see connecting rods on a car. And though palomino leather was popular for car interiors, no one would put palomino leather on a dashboard. Finally, a kid in 1959 would make his car look good go fast; no kid had the money to do both (although you could argue that this just a fantasy). In fact, a drag car that looked good was the sure sign of a driver who wasn’t really serious about racing. It’s safe to assume that Kenickie probably knows very little about cars or drag racing, which gives this lyric far more complexity, humor, and character detail than it seems.

But if I don’t hear it anymore,

The next song, "Freddy My Love" is the show’s female doo-wop number, with a lead melody and rich harmonic back-up, closely based on "Eddie My Love" by The Tea Queens, while also slyly parodying The Shirelles’ "I Met Him on a Sunday" and Ronnie Spector’s "Be My Baby," reinforcing old female stereotypes while also undermining and revising them. The driving triplet accompaniment here was a common beat in early rock and roll, invented by Fats Domino for "Every Night About This Time." They’re living in the 1950s, but these are women of the 60s. The idea of the other girls becoming back up singers for Marty shows us how much they love the girl doo-wop groups, an entirely new phenomenon at that moment that would become huge in the 60s. The Ronettes were the first "slutty" girl group to make it big singing rock and roll. They were what the girls wanted to be (to get the guys) and what the guys dreamed about getting. "Freddy, My Love" is a song about early feminism, about women being sexual and aggressive. But it’s also about the materialism of the 1950s, a mindset in which money is better than sex, and gifts are the only true expression of love. And the idea of Marty singing to a guy stationed in Korea references the fact that Elvis was still in the Army overseas at this point, a sad fact for many teenagers.

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A melody that’s calling your name

Feingold wrote in his introduction:

And many American girls took Sandra Dee as a role model – but not the Sandra Dee, the cheery Sandra Dee, confusing her onscreen persona with her real life. Millions of Americans in postwar America were trying to live an American Dream that was pure fiction, particularly for the working class; and that fiction is symbolized by Sandra Dee, a fiction at the heart of Sandy’s arc in . But on another level, the metaphor gets even deeper – and this demonstrates the craftsmanship of this script – because Sandy’s relationship with Danny mirrors Sandra Dee’s difficult real life relationship with Bobby Darin. As Rizzo taunts Sandy with "Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee," she doesn’t really know how dark that dark underbelly really is…

Something more than what they see.

Can’t they see the tears in my smile?

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But notice the lyric that Sandy sings:

Oh baby, take it slow and don’t complain…

In 1951, J.D. Salinger’s controversial had been published and became an instant, lasting hit among teenagers, with its profanity and frank discussions of teenage angst and sexuality. Then, just as these kids were hitting puberty, America was hit with in 1953, starring Marlon Brando, the movie that started the whole leather jacket "greaser" thing as well as the "teen exploitation" film genre. The central relationship in between Danny and Sandy is a goofier imitation of the central relationship in between Johnny and Kathie.