Stand By Him
Out of our four main characters—Danny, Sandy, Rizzo, and Kenickie—Kenickie is the least complicated. In fact, his name is the most complicated thing about him. Is it short for something? Is his name actually Kenick, and Kenickie is a diminutive term of endearment like Dan and Danny?
We have no clue. But his name is also simple. We're never told his last name…if he has one.
It's through Kenickie that we learn about the T-Birds. They are not rich kids, as we see from this comment.
KENICKIE: I was working, which is more than any of youse kids can say. […] I'm saving up to get me some wheels.
Kenickie is honest and hardworking. (We'll get back to the honesty part later.) For now, we're thinking about Kenickie's place among the T-Birds. Danny may appear to be the de facto leader of the T-Birds, but Kenickie is the ultimate T-Bird. All the boys talk about sex all the time, but Kenickie actually gets it on with Rizzo. All the T-Birds talk about cars, but Kenickie is the one whose car is spruced up into Greased Lightin'.
At their most basic level, the T-Birds are concerned with being manly men, which comes down to defending their machismo. That is what Kenickie does when he plans to race Leo at Thunder Road.
Leo delivers one of Grease's biggest dual-meaning line:
LEO: We're racin' for pinks.
Pink slips are ownership papers for cars, but the hidden meaning here is "Pink Ladies." If Kenickie loses this race, he could lose Rizzo too. Kenickie ends up not even participating, rendering the whole situation moot. But it's the thought that counts, right?
Kenickie's Sticky Situation
Kenickie's makes a mistake by having unprotected sex with Rizzo, and he assumes he gets her pregnant. He does what a good man would do in this situation, telling her:
KENICKIE: I don't run away from my mistakes.
Rizzo, though, is determined to hurt Kenickie. So she tells him it's "someone else's mistake," even though she probably doesn't know for sure. However, after Rizzo's "mistake" is taken care of, Kenickie still says he'll be good to her, despite how hard she's tried to hurt him.
KENICKIE: I'll make an honest woman out of ya.
That Kenickie is either a pushover or a real stand-up guy. Because this movie is a romance, we choose to think the latter.