YMMV / Hairspray

  • Adaptation Displacement: Does anyone really remember the original 1988 film these days?
    • Thanks to Divine and Pink Flamingos, the answer is yes. The remake is far more popular, though.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The musical takes what worked in the original John Waters film, removes alot of unnecessary aspects, and generally alters the story in a positive way, making characters like Tracy, Edna, Link, and even the Von Tussles more likable.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Corny Collins in the 2007 movie. Is he genuine about supporting integration like the others, or is he simply a media mogul who knows that he has to move with the times to survive, and is thus a cynical stab at how rights movements are able to make progress? Note his line 'This is the future' to Velma in the movie - he could well just be a benign version of the MC from Cabaret who plays to his audience.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: In the original, when running from the police Tracy, Penny, Link and Seaweed run into a couple of beatnicks who invite them to get naked and smoke weed, and offer to iron the girls' hair. Our clean cut heroes naturally are freaked out and run away.
    • However, Tracy and Penny using a clothing iron to straighten their hair becomes a Running Gag.
  • Designated Hero: Tracy, Edna and Maybelle in the original 1988 movie can often be as mean-spirited as the people they oppose, and in the climax they resort to flat-out hostage-taking and terrorism of the governor to get what they want.
  • Ear Worm: Velma might be a racist, conniving Rich Bitch, but her solo will get in your head. "Front step, cha-cha-cha..." Actually, most of the songs are so catchy and upbeat, they'll stay in your head for days.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Tracy and Seaweed, particularly due to the 2007 film, where Link's role of actually helping Tracy is cut and it's generally felt he did nothing to earn Tracy in the end other than feel sorry about his actions.
  • Foe Yay: A deleted number before the finale in the musical, "It Ain't Over 'Til The Fat Lady Sings", is Tracy singing a challenging song toward Amber whose lyrics not only get increasingly absurd as it goes on, but several of them begin sounding like double-entrades and terms of endearment ("Good luck, baby", "It's been great fun but it was just one of those things", "I'll put you in a trance and dance you right off-stage", etc.)
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: "I get Julius Caesar, I just don't get the Ideas of March. How can a month have an idea?"
    • Seaweed's song repeating the line "Run and tell that."
      • And then later he climbs in Penny's window to steal her...
    • Christopher Walken woud follow in John Travolta's footsteps when he accepted the award for Harvard University's Hasty Pudding Club's "Man of the Year"... in drag.
    • Amanda Bynes, who played Penny in the 2007 version, admitting her preference for black men.
      • This may be more of a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment considering that her preference for black men went to extremes during her meltdown. Including asking one to "murder [her] vagina".
    • Try watching James Marsden's epic wide smiles in the 2007 version nowadays without thinking that he must be an ancestor of Caesar Flickerman.
  • Hollywood Homely: The driving point of the movie, considering that Tracy is still a very attractive young woman who just so happens to be fat (her weight seems to be treated "as is" by everyone but the villains; this has been lauded by a number of people, stating that Hairspray has one of the most positive depictions of fat girls in any form of media.)
  • Hollywood Pudgy: Averted, especially in the 2007 version. Nikki Blonsky, while extremely pretty, is also obviously overweight.
    • According to the casting director of the 2007 version, they strongly emphasized that they were looking for a girl that was fat and beautiful, they made sure to let it be known that they were not hiring any girl that was "just chubby" or slim.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Amber in some points, particularly at the end of the 2007 movie.
    • In the 1988 film, the girl is practically tortured by her parents.
  • Love to Hate: The Von Tussles in the musical, particularly Velma since Amber's so awkward that it's difficult to hate her. The songwriters said they actually removed more mean-spirited lyrics at Tracy's expense in early drafts of "Miss Baltimore Crabs" since they wanted the audience to enjoy Velma as opposed to just despising her.
    • Of course this doesn't apply to Amber in the 2007 film because it's easy to see that she would be much better off without Velma and the fact that it's impossible to hate Brittany Snow.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Crossed by Prudy in every incarnation, and always with the "permanently punished" scene. The original film has her impose a Cool and Unusual Punishment on Penny (force her to wear a giant letter P on her blouse every day), and the stage musical has her change her attitude in the end, but the 2007 film makes her much worse.
  • Newer Than They Think: In the earliest classroom scene of the musical film, the chalkboard shows the height of Mount Everest as 29035 feet. This figure has only been attested since a 1999 GPS measurement of the summit. Before this, the common measurement (and still the official measurement accepted by Nepal and the People's Republic of China) is 8848 meters (approximately 29029 feet).
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: It's easy to feel sorry for Amber in the 2007 movie's finale. She falls off the set hard enough to hurt her ankle (you can see her limping a little afterwards), loses her boyfriend and award, and her mother's televised fall from grace happens right after Amber accepts defeat with unexpected maturity. Then again, it's debatable whether this sympathy was unintentional here.
    • Of course, Amber doesn't seem to really care much about her mother's fall from grace (she seems to laugh at it!), since really, nobody's going to think any less of her for something only her mother did. She just goes off and dances with a black guy, alluding to a Heel–Face Turn (something which she, along with Velma, unambigiously underwent in the stage show, and also, without Velma, in a deleted scene.)
    • A better example is Amber from the original movie. While she lacks the Jerkass Woobie / Jerkass Façade elements from the musical and doesn't get a Heel–Face Turn, she still doesn't do all that much to deserve the constant crap she receives. It doesn't help that Tracy really isn't any better in this movie and is much a jerk to Amber as Amber is to her; a far cry from the sweet Pollyanna of the musical.
    • It's arguable that the original Amber does have some Jerkass Woobie points, considering that an early scene with her and her parents have them forcing her to practice dancing while threatening to send her to a convent if she doesn't comply, while other scenes have them seemingly spoil her and call her cutesy child names, which gives off some emotionally abusive vibes.
  • Values Dissonance: Parodied. When Tracy and Edna are on their way to the clothing store, they pass a bar where a group of visibly pregnant women are smoking and making a toast "to the future."
  • The Woobie: Edna in the musical and 2007 film, if you feel sorry for her being insecure with her size and being agoraphobic at first.

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