* FairForItsDay: Focuses on racial issues in a rather sympathetic light(for the 1930's), and Magnolia [[spoiler: becomes a career woman after Gaylord abandons her, and raises her daughter well independently.]]
* HarsherInHindsight: The subjects of racial prejudice, alcoholism, love and abandonment are already serious. However, in the late 90s during an Australian production, cast member Marlon Brand stabbed his then-wife and fellow cast member Rebecca Jackson Mendoza nearly to death. She miraculously survived a massive tear in the aorta and a subsequent stroke, but Brand committed suicide. It makes the themes much sadder.
* MemeticMutation: Ever heard the expression "Tote that barge, lift that bale?" It's from here.
* ValuesDissonance: Minstrel shows and a man telling his wife she shouldn't work and worry about the man's world. Considered pretty normal in the 1800's (and early 1900's) but rather shocking to a modern audience.
** The original production used the N-word many times, mostly by bigoted whites or by [[NWordPrivileges blacks]]. It's even in the ''very first line'' of the opening song. Possibly accurate for the setting, but shocking even when the show premiered -- and completely unacceptable today as originally written.
* TheWoobie: Magnolia and Julie. [[spoiler: Both of their husbands abandon them! Oh, and Julie ends up being alcoholic.]]