YMMV / Bye Bye Birdie

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Conrad Birdie himself, especially in the movie; entitled celebrity Jerk Ass, or just psychotically determined to cram in as much fun as he can before he's sent off to get shot at? "Got A Lot of Livin' To Do" hints at the latter.
  • Author's Saving Throw: When NBC hired Harvey Fierstein to update the script for their telecast, he updated some details of Albert's, Rosie's, and Birdie's backstories, to try and make it seem less sexist. Instead of just a secretary romantically involved with her boss, Rosie became Birdie's music teacher, who helped him get discovered by suggesting he record a song Albert wrote.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Everyone in the movie melting at the end of "Telephone Hour."
  • Broken Base:
    • Does the movie's retooled script ruin the musical, or does the movie feel entertaining enough in its own right?
    • The 1995 TV special followed the play more closely than the movie did, but some viewers still found reason to like it less, such as calling its new songs Padding.
  • Ear Worm: "We Love You Conrad", as transcribed in the page quote. The movie adds an alt version sung by the guys: "We hate you Conrad, oh yes we do / There's no-one that we hate more than you / Your singing makes us say "P.U." / Oh Conrad, we hate you."
  • First Installment Wins: The 1981 sequel, Bring Back Birdie, only lasted 4 performances on Broadway.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: ABC and NBC have gone from trying to compete with Ed Sullivan (whose program aired on CBS) to updating a musical about the excitement of appearing on his show.
  • Les Yay: There is an... interesting scene in the movie where Rosie walks into Kim's bedroom and casually undresses. Kim helps lace her into a sexy flamenco outfit and the scene culminates with Rosie kissing her on the forehead.
  • Narm: Any time Kim claims to be a grown woman becomes this in the 1995 TV special, which cast 27-year old Chynna Phillips in the role — despite her being five years older than Susan Watson and Ann-Margaret were when they played Kim, and 12 years older than what the script lists as 15-year old Kim's age.
  • Signature Scene: The movie has Kim (Ann-Margret) singing the title song while wearing a yellow dress and strolling on a treadmill in front of a blue background.
  • Values Dissonance: Though Albert's mother is not a particularly sympathetic character, her casual racism towards (the Hispanic) Rosie—Played for Laughs, even—can be jarring to modern audiences. Modern scripts for the play include alternative lines that soften her dialogue a tad.
    • The 1963 movie notably avoids this. Mrs. Peterson still hates Rosie, but it's because she is upset that Rosie will take her "baby," Albert, from her. In fact, Rosie's "Hispanic-ness" is barely even mentioned.
    • The lyrics of 'How Lovely To Be A Woman' can be cringe inducing and manages to load in multiple sexist stereotypes against both genders:
      'How lovely to be a woman/and have one job to do/to pick out a boy and train him/and then when you are through/you make him the man you want him to be...'
    • As can Hugo's possessiveness of Kim, Kim's eagerness to be told what to do by what is a comparatively new boyfriend... it doesn't always sit well with the feminists.
    • Granted, one should take into account that this is a teenage girl singing this, the age group that Twilight appeals to. The song actually shows to demonstrate how much she only thinks she's a woman.
  • The Weird Al Effect: Hollins University, an all-women's college in Roanoke, VA, has the particular tradition of singing the girls' verse of "We Love You Conrad" as an expression of affection ("We love you [Hollins/seniors/insert thing to be celebrated here], oh yes we do, we love you [X], and we'll be true! When you're not with us, we're blue! Oh, [X], we love you!"). A not-insignificant portion of the student body aren't aware that it's from this musical.
    • For that matter, there's probably a not-insignificant group of people who have only heard the tune as a The Beatles fan song.