Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.


Tearjerker / Shrek: The Musical

Go To

  • Who I'd Be, which has been called the Defying Gravity of Shrek.
    An ogre always hides,
    an ogre's fate is known.
    An ogre always stays in the dark
    and all alone!
    • It gets worse with the second use of that line, which also serves as The Reveal for the five people that didn't know about Fiona's secret.
    Shrek: A big, bright beautiful world! ...But not for me.
    Fiona: An ogre always hides, an ogre's fate is known...
    Fiona and Shrek: An ogre always stays in the dark.
    Donkey: You're all alone...
  • The Act One finale where the eponymous Deadpan Snarker reveals in the span of two minutes that he's adventurous, poetic, sentimental, desperately lonely, and aching to be one of the heroes he's read about. Describing his fantasy rescue of the maiden of his dreams, only to end in a moment of silence when he gets to showing his face, is like a gut punch.
    • That song is a gut punch of an Act 1 Finale. And then when Fiona joins in, and she's in her ogre form singing about how she still believes the stories she's read despite everything wrong that's happened so far...oh, the pain. Heartbreaking.
    • It's more subtle, but there's a fridge moment for Donkey in that song. When all three of them start singing their I Want reprises, Donkey sings his lines "Don't Let Me Go," When he sung them the first time, it's lighthearted and friendly. But here it's more despondent and given the context of the song itself, it shows that deep down, Donkey is desperately lonely and terrified that Shrek will abandon him when he gets his swamp back.
  • Advertisement:
  • It's played as Black Comedy and an Establishing Character Moment, but "Big Bright Beautiful World" is awfully sad, too.
    And so, the little ogre found a muddy patch of swampland far, far away from the world that despised him. And there he stayed, tucked away and all alone... which was just the way he liked it!
  • The song "I Know it's Today" counts as one. It's beautiful and it ends with the three actresses playing Fiona singing in harmony and is probably the perfect establishing character song, but let's step back and think about this for a moment. Both young Fiona's are describing their rescuer, but when we reach adult Fiona she doesn't care who gets her out. SHE JUST WANTS OUT. Not just that, let's break down the numbers. The youngest Fiona (age 7) has been there 23 days, the next (age 9?)had been there about 2 and 1/2 years, and adult Fiona has been locked in that tower for over 23 YEARS! And as for the trio at the end- how much do you want to bet that this song is something Fiona has sung to herself during her whole stay to help keep sanity and hope?
    • Youngest and Young Fiona also skipped the bits of a "torturous existence" and "seven shorties on the scene" for Rapunzel and Snow White respectively, having faith in the happy endings and satisfied with flipping the pages. Adult Fiona RIPS out the pages of her fairytale books because she's tired of how everyone else is living happily except for her. Then on doing it she laments how the prince will know that she's a vandal.
    • Some Ascended Fridge Horror. Why didn't Fiona simply leave her tower when she realized no one was coming, as what happened in Shrek Forever After? Because she was left as a child in the tower, and told to wait. And wait. And wait. By the time she's an adult she can probably escape the dragon, but has been conditioned to wait.
    • Advertisement:
    • Emphasized when right before Shrek calls for her, she's singing a soft reprise of the song, banging a tambourine without much feeling. On hearing his voice, she does a little Happy Dance, hides the tambourine and a dangling bra, and pretends to sleep.
  • "Forever" explains why Donkey's desperate attempt at complimenting Dragon worked, and adds more tragedy to her character into the bargain. She's sick of being Fiona's babysitter and waiting for a prince to come for her. When Donkey tells her Fiona isn't his type and he prefers big women, she disbelievingly whispers that he wants her, even if she's not a princess or a conventional beauty. Then Shrek comes to "rescue" Donkey and shuts her on the other side of the gate. Dragon just stands behind the bars and sings mournfully that she'll love him forever.
  • Advertisement:
  • The song "I've Got You Beat" especially some of Shrek's lines.
    As they tried to rip me asunder
    I had to stop and wonder
    Would an ogre go to heaven
    Did I mention I was seven?
  • While "When Words Fail" is fairly funny and heartwarming, the chorus and a few lyrics near the end remind the listener how lonely Shrek's life has been to this point, as he wonders whether he even has any chance with Fiona and describes his effort to confess to her as going from stuck in the mud to out on a limb.
  • Build A Wall basically takes the place of the Hallelujah scene in the film. The whole song is pretty sad, but there's one moment in particular that really hurts.
    What a fool to think she might love me.
    I opened my heart and let her walk through
    She wanted Prince Charming,
    I wanted my home back,
    How lucky, both our wishes came true.
    • The whole song is basically Shrek smacking himself in the head for becoming close to others, only to find out they are no different than anyone else. So he has decided he will go back home and never allow himself to fall in love again or have a friend.
    • It also goes into more detail than the movie did to make sure you know that he's hurt by Donkey's perceived betrayal, not just Fiona's. "I thought those two might be different."
  • The dialogue preceding "Freak Flag" shows that Fiona's not the only one who was conditioned to wait—all fairy tale creatures have to do that, to the point that Pinocchio implies that he doesn't know any other way to fix his problems. Eventually, he finally just spills that he wants to be real and is angry and saddened that he still hasn't gotten that yet.
    (Everyone looks at him silently; Pinocchio moves a bit away from them)
    Pinocchio: (forlornly) Why can't I be a real boy?

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: