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Baby and Johnny Got Married

Baby and Johnny.

Rachel and Frank.

Napoleon and Deb.

I've seen "Dirty Dancing" no less than 3,765 times yet watched it again last night. I'm glad I did. The ending reminded me of other books I've read or movies I've seen that kind of leave the characters' futures wide open to interpretation. For example, at the end of "Dirty Dancing," we don't know if Baby went on to college at Mount Holyoke and joined the Peace Corps, or if she and Johnny ran off and started their own dance school. Or, maybe Max Kellerman realized his mountain resort needed some coolness factor to retain customers next summer and hired Johnny to overhaul his entertainment, and Baby just visited Johnny on the weekends. These are things I am curious about.

At the end of "The Bodyguard," Frank finds Rachel another bodyguard because he can't protect someone he loves, but Rachel stops her plane, jumps off, and embraces Frank. So did she stay behind with him because she had a new bodyguard and Frank had a new client to protect, therefore it could work out? We also have to consider the lyrics to I Will Always Love You that say: we both know I'm not what you need. Ugh, the agony here of not knowing for sure, yet the beauty of being able to determine the ending you want.

And then there's "Napoleon Dynamite." Napoleon caught Deb a delicious bass and then beat her at tetherball. Did they start dating after that?

Some movies keep going and have parts two, three, and beyond. But what about those really good movies that ended after one and you felt like so much business was unfinished?

A good story may not always tie up the ending into a nice neat bow. While an author may choose to end her story without you knowing the future of her characters, I can say I always have a vision of where those characters' stories go beyond the ending. I can't say as a reader or viewer which I prefer more: knowing their fates or getting to choose what I think happens next.

Probably I'd choose being able to decide my own ending.

So, here it goes. Baby goes on to Mount Holyoke as planned. She and Johnny keep dating. Max Kellerman apologizes to Johnny and offers him a new job to revamp entertainment at his resort, but Johnny declines. He opens his own dance studio and sees Baby on the weekends. Baby pledges a sorority and Johnny obviously steals the show at her formal dances. Their relationship perseveres until Baby graduates and Johnny proposes. She becomes an advocate for orphans and Johnny builds confidence in bad dancers with no rhythm. They live happily ever after.

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