!!The Film
* AcceptableTargets: Blondes. Elle does try to fight against these "blondes are dumb" stereotype once she gets in high gear, but her blonde sorority friends are air-headed through and through. She does have an air-headed brunette friend to balance things out a little.
* BigLippedAlligatorMoment: The second film has the scene where Elle discovers Bruiser's mother being tested on. She angrily knocks on the door and a man tells her he can't let her in since he doesn't have the key - because he swallowed the key once and it became a NeverLiveItDown moment for him. It's random, insignificant and is never referenced again.
* DesignatedHero: Elle starts out this way. She complains no one takes her seriously, but she went to Harvard just to win back a guy who dumped her because he didn't think her image would be useful to his career, and once she got in, she didn't do the required reading on the first day. Then, upon learning that Warner was engaged to another woman (who at that point had done nothing to Elle), Elle calls her horrible and set out to steal him from her. Then she complained that the woman whose fiancé she was trying to steal wasn't nice to her. And to top it all off, she thinks brunettes are inherently untrustworthy.
* FanonDiscontinuity: The third movie, and sometimes the second. The feminist message of the first goes from downplayed to non-existent and they're much less funny to most fans.
* HilariousInHindsight:
** [[http://www.elle.com/Pop-Culture/Reese-Witherspoon-February-2012-ELLE-Magazine-Cover/February-2012-Reese-Witherspoon?cid=obinsite Reese Witherspoon is on the cover of Elle magazine.]]
** Watching this film after you've seen ''Film/CruelIntentions'' is hilarious. There it's Selma Blair who's TheDitz, and Reese Witherspoon who's the preppy wholesome girl.
* HollywoodHomely:
** Chutney. She's played by Creator/LindaCardellini (although the frizzy perm and dour attitude didn't do her any favors). Though Elle does say she has good bone structure.
** Averted with Vivian, she's almost as pretty as Elle is and in most media her preppy wardrobe and bitchy personality (initially at least) would give her this. However in this movie, she is seen as pretty as she is Elle even says that while she could use cosmetics she definitely sees Warner's attraction to her.
* MemeticMutation: Elle's "What, like it's hard?" has taken off as a response to (imagined) surprise over an accomplishment, implying scorn toward those who are surprised or didn't think it was possible.
* RonTheDeathEater: Some assume that Brooke was actually conning people with her workouts, missing the part where Elle says they do work. Likely [[spoiler: Brooke's liposuction]] was brought on by paranoia at being married to a man who had a history of divorcing his wives.
* {{Sequelitis}}: The sequels are generally agreed to be far inferior to the original film.
* SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped: The film has a great feminist Aesop that isn't subtle, but still very powerful. Instead of going down the RealWomenDontWearDresses route, Elle's girliness and love of fashion are not shown as detrimental to her character in any way. She for example has a 4.0 grade average and gets only two points off the top score in her LSAT exam. She embraces her femininity at the end to become a top lawyer. And not only does she quickly abandon her shallow ambition to win Warner back, she and Vivian become good friends and learn to respect each other - rather than fighting over a man.
* UnintentionallyUnsympathetic:
** Some viewers find Brooke to be this, viewing her use of cosmetic surgery to be a bit unethical given her image.
** Elle herself in the first sequel. She essentially throws away her job at an established practice all because her dog's mother can't come to her wedding.
* ValuesResonance: Several years before casual homophobia would get proper attention in movies, Elle responds to a taunt from Enid (who accuses Elle of hypothetically calling her a dyke) with "I don't use ''that'' word."
* WhatAnIdiot:
** Warner taking out Elle at the beginning to a nice dinner, only to break up with her instead of proposing. He sent ''all'' the wrong kinds of signals for such a dramatic and heart-breaking occasion, especially in a public place, and only realizes his mistake when she starts crying, making a scene and asking WasItAllALie. Elle for good reason calls him a "bonehead" by the film's end.
** Chutney at the trial. On one hand, had she claimed to be ''literally anywhere else'', she probably would've gotten Brooke put in prison and gotten off scot-free herself. On the other hand, she had to give an alibi that could be backed up. She was obviously in the house at the time of the murder and had to come up with an excuse for why she didn't hear a gunshot. (Though, of course, listening to music and having headphones in would've been a perfectly believable excuse.)

!!The Musical
* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation: More like "Alternate Staging Interpretation". In the Broadway production, during the song "Legally Blonde" Elle sings the first half in the court room before returning to her room, where Emmett is waiting for her. Elle tells Emmett she's leaving and goes into her room. Emmett, out of earshot, realizes he's in love with Elle and then begins begging for her to stay from the other side of the door (this can be seen in the Broadway recording). In productions after that, the song never leaves the courtroom and so Emmett tells Elle face to face that he's in love with her which causes Elle to run away. The change probably happened in order to cut down on costs and an unnecessary scene change and aside from a couple of Emmett's lines the song stays the same. However, Elle hearing the confession completely changes their dynamic for the rest of the show and also changes the moment from a LoveEpiphany to an AnguishedDeclarationOfLove.
* AuthorsSavingThrow: Several to fix plot issues from the film:
** Elle no longer impersonates a lawyer to get Paulette's dog back. Emmett, an actual lawyer, is there to back her up and she merely claims they're a legal team.
** Instead of shoes, Nikos is shown to be gay (and not straight or presumably bi) because he does not react to the Bend and Snap which has all the straight guys and Enid looking.
* [[BetterThanItSounds/{{Theater}} Better Than It Sounds: Theater]]: Under the candy-colored fluffapalooza is a surprisingly strong feminist message with genuine character development and believable romance.
* BigLippedAlligatorMoment: In the TriumphantReprise of the titular song, there's a random moment in which everyone river dances over an instrumental version of Paulette's song, "Ireland".
* CrossesTheLineTwice: The song "There! Right There!" also known as "Gay or European?".
* EarWorm: ''several''.
** "Omigod, omigod, you guys!"
** "What you want is right in front of you, front of you!"
** "Seeing my name up on that list, that beats the first time that we kissed..."
** "There! Right there! Look at that tanned, well-tended skin..."
** "Get back in the game, back on the case! Take a good look at my face..."
* {{Flanderization}}: A few of the characters are less three-dimensional and instead have certain character traits amplified. Enid is a particularly egregious example.
* HarsherInHindsight: In-universe, the entirety of "So Much Better" becomes this when it emerges that Callahan only chose Elle as an intern because of her looks.
* HilariousInHindsight: The fake legal case discussed during "Chip On My Shoulder" was recently turned into a (satirical) bill in a state legislature.
* HollywoodHomely: The supposedly plain Vivienne was played on Broadway by ''Miss America 1998'' Kate Shindle.
* [[HoYay Les Yay]]:
** Hinted at between Elle and Vivienne in the salon, but just barely. Also, Brooke and Elle are rather touchy-feely with each other...
** In the touring production, at the end of the dance break in Positive, Margot has her hand on one of Elle's boobs.
** Likewise in the London production, albeit it's Serena rather than Margot who's fondling Elle during the freeze. Clearly they're all at it.
* LGBTFanbase: Between "Whipped Into Shape," the "bend and snap," and the character of [[ButchLesbian Enid]], this is a ''really'' good show for lesbians. Or straight men. Or the bisexual. ''Especially'' the bisexuals.
* MemeticMutation: It's becoming ''increasingly'' popular on YouTube to make characters from other franchises sing ''There! Right There!'' about one of their own (eg Jack Morrison of ''VideoGame/{{Overwatch}}'').
* MoralEventHorizon: Callahan crosses it when he sexually harasses Elle, and then ''fires her'' for refusing him.
* StrawmanHasAPoint: When Callahan sings "Gay, or European?" in the musical in order to illustrate that Nikos being effeminate and flamboyant does NOT automatically equal that Nikos is gay. Callahan eventually became one of the bad guys for sexually harassing Elle...but he still was right in making the distinction between effeminacy and homosexuality.
** Although Elle's original case for him being gay was that he didn't respond to the 'Bend and Snap'. The effeminacy was just supporting her claim. As to that, Warner himself has a point, in that Elle can't simply base her assumption on the 'bend and snap' - "we need a defence, not a dance move!"
* TheyChangedItNowItSucks: There are actually two versions of "Ireland" floating around - one that's used normally, and one that was written specifically for English productions, though some American productions still use it. Fans of the original lyrics (or those that just heard the original first) find the difference quite jarring, and don't like it much.
* TheWoobie: Paulette. Abusive ex-boyfriend? Check. Cripplingly low self-esteem stemming from said abuse? Check. Dreams of a better life that she's convinced she'll never have? Check.
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