* AlternateCharacterInterpretation: Rife with it.
** Cristal seems to blow off Nomi from the getgo, but quickly seeks her out again. The movie treats this as villainous behavior, but Nomi's overreactions are more striking in each scene, making Cristal look like an incredibly patient would-be love interest until she crosses her MoralEventHorizon.
** Nomi and Molly live together, call each other girlfriends, share everything, change clothes in front of each other, and Nomi frequently says she loves Molly... but if they're romantically linked, it's the only such relationship in the movie that's understated. The chemistry between the two actors helps sell this.
** While Al's portrayed as a manipulative sleaze who fucks all his clients, his speech to Hope at the beginning comes off as [[ChivalrousPervert genuinely concerned for her wellbeing]] until he gets to the suggestion that getting big tips means she should do whatever the client says... which itself may be suggesting something that prevents her from being beaten or killed.
** Tony Moss is crass and capricious in his opening scene, but is arguably engaging in ToughLove to weed out candidates from a demanding job. This is reinforced when every subsequent scene shows he bears Nomi no ill will, even covering up an embarrassing gaffe for her. While he doesn't think she's a good understudy to Cristal, he correctly calls out Zach for backing Nomi purely because Zach had sex with her.
* SugarWiki/AwesomeMusic:
** There's a couple of great Music/{{Prince}} songs on the soundtrack; "Ripopgodezippa" when James and Nomi dance together at his place, and "319" during Nomi's first stripping scene.
** When James and Nomi first meet, they dance to Music/DavidBowie's "I'm Afraid Of Americans," of all songs.
* BileFascination: It's an NC-17 movie that bombed in theaters. Some people definitely want to know why.
* CultClassic: Not ''quite'' at ''Film/TheRoom'' level, but it has a devoted following who consider it high {{Camp}} entertainment, and there are still screenings of the film in major cities today. Elizabeth Berkley herself [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tk8XR3U71D0 attended a Los Angeles screening in 2015]].
* DarknessInducedAudienceApathy: From the very beginning of the film, it's very clear that there are very few people to root for. With the exception of Molly, every character is either incredibly sleazy, villainous or both. Nomi finds herself being used and taken advantage of by virtually every male character in the film in some way, shape or form, all while the majority of the female characters lie to her face or act catty towards her. The GratuitousRape of Molly is the final straw.
* DesignatedHero: Nomi ''really'' didn't even try to be heroic. The HookerWithAHeartOfGold trope is attempted to be played with her job as a stripper/topless dancer, despite the fact that many of her actions in the movie come off as mildly amoral and a bit of a SympatheticSue. She gives what is apparently a lap-dance, but is just actual sex while he kept his pants on. She screwed her boss Zack Carey to get higher in the consideration to be [[PsychoLesbian Cristal Conners's]] understudy. Then she pushes Cristal down the stairs, which one character mentions resulted in injuries that would keep her out for up to a year. Sure Cristal was a bitch, but Nomi just stooped to the level of the bitchy dancer who purposely injured another dancer because she yelled at her kids. Even Molly is disgusted at Nomi for having done this... for a whole four minutes before she goes back to fangirling over Andrew Carver, who for some reason gang-rapes her. By the end, everybody forgives Nomi and treats her as some angelic force- the girl she pushed down the stairs, her boss, everybody. There's also the fact that her punishment of Andrew, to kick him in the face a few times, [[KarmaHoudini really did nothing to prevent him from raping again.]] Nomi leaves town at the end after threatening Andrew's life. Nomi was a Vegas star, did she think her disappearance would go unnoticed? What's stopping Andrew from attacking Molly again? Nothing.
** Pick any other character with more than two lines in the movie. Odds are good they'd make a better, more interesting protagonist.
* FoeYay: Nomi and Cristal mostly, although by the end of the film it's not even subtext anymore.
* FetishRetardant: For most people, and arguably the TropeCodifier.
* FridgeLogic: When discussing who to cast as the lead in "Goddess," a casino representative mentions [[SnarkBait LaToya Jackson]] but says they went with Cristal. After Cristal's sidelined, the producers discuss approaching Music/JanetJackson or Music/PaulaAbdul. Both these women were at the height of their fame during filming, suggesting that the "Goddess" act was lucrative enough and respectable enough to lure major pop stars from $80 million contracts that wouldn't have involved nudity. For comparison, the budget for ''Showgirls'' itself was $45 million. Even assuming the producers were lying through their teeth, they'd likely get sued for slander.
* HamAndCheese:
** Gina Gershon has claimed this of her performance, once she realized [[SoBadItsGood just what kind of film she was making]].
** TookTheBadFilmSeriously: However, reviewers (while they ''do'' generally acknowledge her performance as the best in the film) are usually left with the impression that she was fully committing to the material in a way that none of her co-stars could (or in some cases, simply didn't want to).
** It's clear that Robert Davi is [[LargeHam chewing the scenery]] as much as he can as Al, but he's the only character who gets a halfway-honest emotional scene in the film, even if ends with a hilariously-inappropriate line to Nomi.
* HarsherInHindsight:
** When the guy that drove Nomi to Vegas asks her "What, has no one ever been nice to you?", it becomes a little sad when you learn her past.
** Molly's fangirling over Andrew Carver is pretty cringeworthy on subsequent views.
* LesYay: Nomi and Molly. She even gives her a goodbye kiss.
* MemeticMutation:
** Thanks to WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick, "Man, everybody got AIDS and shit" and others are getting there. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUQXNldTp-Y Now a stupid statement mix!]]
** "It must be weird, not having anybody cum on you."
** "I used to love doggy chow."
** The bizarre sex scene in the swimming pool has also achieved some degree of infamy, given it looks like Nomi is having some kind of seizure.
* MoralEventHorizon:
** When Nomi pushes Cristal down the stairs.
*** Or before that, when she sleeps with Zack behind Cristal's back.
** For Andrew Carver, it's absolutely when he rapes Molly, which he had no reason to do since she intended to have sex with him anyway.
** Cristal and Zack conspire to trick Nomi into prostitution at the boat show. Nomi quickly picks up on this with Cristal, but never quite figures out that Zack was involved, too.
* {{Narm}}: There's a lot.
** Nomi's tantrums in general. Especially near the beginning when she flips out at her french fries.
** Also near the beginning: she meets Molly in a big slap-fight, and then [[VomitIndiscretionShot vomits]] for no real reason.
** There's a dramatic pause in a conversation about brown rice and vegetables. That's before Nomi and Cristal start talking about eating dog food and rubbing their snacks together in some sort of odd, ritualistic blood oath.
** Nomi tells Andrew to be quiet at knifepoint, and then screams like a crazy person while kicking the crap out of him(?).
** The EditedForSyndication version! The great majority of it, from the mismatched voices to the scenes deleted or chopped down to the point that [[BigLippedAlligatorMoment it doesn't connect to anything else in the film]] to, most infamously, [[SpecialEffectsFailure the digital bras and even clothing put on the women.]] It almost transforms it onto a [[NarmCharm different type of film.]]
** See also the MemeticMutation entries, which all qualify, especially Nomi's seizure-gasm.
** There's now [[https://youtu.be/Gn1CG-XDwPs a video that reimagines the film as a sitcom.]]
* NightmareFuel: The rape scene is absolutely brutal and difficult to watch without trying to cover your eyes. Also afterwards when a badly injured Molly staggers back into the room.
* SoBadItsGood:
** The 2004 DVD release came with shot glasses and a list of possible Drinking Games for the movie.
** Just having a drink every time Crystal says "darlin'" is enough for most people.
* {{Squick}}:
** Nomi licking a stripper pole. Mm, tetanus and other bodily fluids that might be there.
** "My period." "Yeah, right." "Check."
* TearJerker: Nomi saying goodbye to Molly right before she runs away again.
* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodPlot: ''Series/SiskelAndEbert'' tore into the film for completely wasting a chance to show that the NC-17 rating wasn't just a way to slip porn into regular theaters. ''Especially'' since this was the first, and to date the ''only'', NC-17 film to have a wide release in the US.
* TookTheBadFilmSeriously: Several cast members take their roles seriously, which contributed greatly to its cheesy reputation in the intervening years.
** Creator/GinaGershon comes close to [[SoBadItsGood salvaging]] the film. She's clearly trying her hardest to be emotionally sincere during the hospital scene at the end, and gives the closest thing the film has to a TearJerker.
** ElizabethBerkley could be said to have taken ''Showgirls'' too seriously. This is why she received the majority of the backlash from it. At least everyone else gave the impression that they were trying to distance themselves from it.
** Creator/KyleMacLachlan was rumored to have stormed out of a screening because he was told by Creator/PaulVerhoeven that they were making a serious art film and not... well, ''Showgirls''. [=MacLachlan=] himself claims no such event took place.
** If you watch the "Making Of" featurette included in the DVD, it seems like EVERYONE involved the film took it way too seriously. It's downright surreal, hearing people go on about "complex emotional bonds" and making serious attempts at character interpretation for a movie that turned out to be... ''[[SoBadItsGood Showgirls]]''. Meanwhile, Robert Davi is camping it up for all he's worth as the sleazy owner of the Alligator Club, clearly aware that the material couldn't rise beyond its narrow aspirations.
* TrueArtIsAngsty: ''Showgirls'' was originally supposed to be a pro-feminist commentary about women who work as strippers. Some suspect the movie's [[DarkerAndEdgier dark tone]] is a result of the writers and producers invoking this trope. Part and parcel of why this movie is a CultClassic or filled with BileFascination is that there is SOMETHING this movie wants to say, but it has no idea what stance it wants to take nor does it know how or what it really wants to say. For every point the movie makes, there's about three fingers against why that stance is a bad one/hypocritical/naive.
* UnintentionallyUnsympathetic: Nomi is supposed to be a sympathetic character but already comes across as being a pretty abrasive, scheming person before getting corrupted by the glitz and glamour of Vegas. At best she's a JerkassWoobie, and just a plain {{Jerkass}} at worst.
* WhatAnIdiot: Andrew Carver is too cruel for his own good when it came to Molly, who was a big fan and was excited to have sex with him.
** '''You'd Expect''': If Carver had some sort of rape fetish, he'd inform Molly, and make sure the whole thing was SafeSaneAndConsensual before going to town.
** '''Instead''': He calls his guards, punches her in the nose, and gang-rapes her like a monster. Needless to say, he got his comeuppance for this part, but this was arguably a WhatAnIdiot moment for Joe Eszterhas, who wrote this scene, since the film helped [[CreatorKiller destroy his career.]][[note]] On a side note, when WebVideo/CinemaSins did this film, they gave '''69 million sins''' for this scene since it was unnecessary, brutal and managed to hit the website's BerserkButton. [[/note]]
* TheWoobie: Molly. To most audience members, she's the only character that's not a total dunce despite having it just as rough as Nomi.
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