In the movie Dirty Dancing, Penny is saved by Dr. Houseman, after her botched abortion. He asks “Who’s responsible for this girl”. Johnny replies “I am”. Then at the end of the movie, Johnny goes to the families cabin to say goodbye. He is met at the door by Dr. Houseman who is disgusted and says he only sees him as some guy who sent his partner off to some butcher, while moving on to an innocent young girl like his daughter (Baby). Johnny replies sarcastically “I guess that IS what you would see”

I don’t understand why he’s confused or upset by his anger, when he DID say he was the father earlier (even though he wasn’t) Why did he even say he was “responsible “ for her pregnancy in the 1st place?


1 Answer 1


I always thought it was a misunderstanding, responsible can mean many things. Besides meaning who is the father, it can mean who is next-of-kin, or who is the closest person to Penny available at the scene. This was a life-threatening condition.

Initially, the doctor is in doctor mode, he isn't looking for blame, he wants to save a life. He may need to know some medical history, and if Penny can't answer, who is the best person to help. Later, the doctor erroneously jumps to the conclusion that Johnny means both, that he can help, and that he is the father.

Johnny may have realized that his answer would cause the doctor to come to the conclusion that he was the father, but he didn't really care at this point, he would have said anything to help his dear friend Penny. And since he knows that the doctor dislikes him, he knows that to try to explain the situation then or later is hopeless, the doctor would only think that he was lying.

  • This makes sense! I never knew “responsible “ could have meant those other things within that context! Thank you!
    – Melissa G
    Jun 17, 2019 at 4:08

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