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YMMV / Dear Evan Hansen

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Is Jared gay? It's never explored in-universe, but with all the gay jokes he keeps writing into the letters between Evan and Connor, it's hard not to wonder. It's likely just that—a joke—but some fans interpret this as Jared testing the waters with Evan about his own potential homosexuality since it's shown time and time again that Jared deals with just about everything through humor. Original Jared actor Will Roland has even supported this interpretation.
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    • Zoe's part in "Requiem." Does she really not miss Connor and truly hate him, or is she going through denial—the first stage of grief? It's true that her relationship with Connor was very troubled and she's absolutely right that his death doesn't erase his actions, but she still sounds upset even while she insists she won't grieve for Connor.
      • Confronted with the idea that Connor was "not the monster that [she] knew" but a complicated person in a lot of pain, she's possibly grappling with a lot of conflicting emotions - guilt for not reaching out to her brother, anger and resentment that he was capable of being vulnerable and kind around Evan but not her - and has no idea anymore how she's supposed to feel about her brother.
    • Was Imaginary!Connor really just Evan's Imaginary Friend, or was he a legitimate Spirit Advisor? It seems like it could go either way—for what it's worth, in the novel we do get some chapters from the perspective of Connor's spirit, and while he doesn't interact with Evan as much as in the musical, he does get a Not Too Dead to Save the Day moment.
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  • Awesome Music: Has its own page.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Evan himself. Specifically, the fanbase is split on whether he deserves sympathy or forgiveness after what he did. Part of the fanbase thinks that while what he did was wrong, he's still sympathetic and redeems himself in the end, citing his anxiety, depression, and mostly good intentions (not to mention in the novel it's made clearer that he tries to tell them in the first place, but doesn't want to break their hearts when they practically plead that Connor wrote the letter). Another part believes that what he did is simply too manipulative and cruel (however unintentionally) to the Murphys to be forgiven. (Of course, this doesn't factor in the mercifully small faction that doesn't think he did anything wrong at all.)
  • Broken Base:
    • Heidi's outbursts before and during "Good for You". Was she completely overreacting towards Evan seeing the Murphys as a Parental Substitute, and is the one at fault due to her little time spent with her son? Or is her anger completely in-character and justified, due to Evan secretly choosing the Murphys instead of actually talking to her about his problems?
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    • The novel and its canonicity to the musical. Particularly the backstory and character it gives Connor and the existence of Miguel.
  • Die for Our Ship: Mostly averted in regards to Zoe. Connor/Evan surpasses Zoe/Evan in popularity by far, but most fans of the show like Zoe enough to leave her alone, or pair her off with another person (usually Alana).
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • Connor's not evil, but a lot of fans seem to forget that he was abusive towards Zoe, not to mention a huge jerk to everyone else (though his Heel Realization in the novel allows him to get better). He's deserving of sympathy, sure, and he definitely had some issues, but he was no saint.
    • Somehow, the fact that Evan spends the entire musical manipulating everyone around him (albeit for understandable and sympathetic reasons) for his own gain is usually overlooked, and he's generally characterized as a Pure Cinnamon Roll.
    • Jared, to a downplayed extent. People do acknowledge his Jerkass tendencies, but it's often defended as a front for his loneliness, even though he was still unnecessarily provocative towards Evan and Connor and highly complicit in the manipulation process.
  • Ending Aversion: Some people have ignored the ending where Zoe forgives Evan for lying to her and her family, believing that apology was undeserved, and that Evan got away easily with his manipulations.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Both Jared and Alana are really popular among fans, despite them being secondary characters. Ghost!Connor also has a lot of fans.
  • Expy: The show has many parallels with the musical Next to Normal, and the characters are very similar:
    • Connor/Gabe
    • Evan/He could be seen as both Diana and Henry
    • Zoe/Natalie
    • Larry/Dan
  • Fanon:
    • Connor being gay or bisexual is agreed on by at least 80% of the fandom, especially on Tumblr. This is confirmed in the novel, but the canonicity of that adaptation is still hotly debated.
    • It's pretty much unanimously agreed (again, especially on Tumblr) that Jared is gay.
  • Fanfic Fuel: How Connor and Evan's friendship might have been. Many pieces of fanart, writing, etc., have Evan palling around with Connor, whether Connor's alive or a ghost.
    • Relating to this, how might things have gone if the play had a more supernatural take, with more of a focus on Connor's ghost bonding with Evan due to Evan being the only one he can interact with?
    • Since Evan's not actually singing In-Universe, we don't really know what he said in that five minute speech that turned him into a national hero. There are multiple fanfics that are literally just personal interpretations on what Evan might have really said.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Connor/Evan. Having Evan hastily clarify that they weren't gay in "Sincerely, Me" only added fuel to the fire. Also: Evan/Jared, Evan/Connor/Jared, and Zoe/Alana. Every possible pairing that is not canon is far more popular among the fandom than the canon Zoe/Evan.
    • However, unlike other examples of this, Die for Our Ship isn't really invoked for the most part; many AU fanfics have Zoe as a supportive sister/friend to the other characters as they form a relationship of their own.
  • Fandom Rivalry: With Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, due to Dear Evan Hansen's Tony sweep snubbing Great Comet in the eyes of many fans, and arguably kicking off the chain of events that led to Great Comet's closure.
    • Despite the Friendly Fandoms listed below, some Be More Chill fans clash with Dear Evan Hansen fans due to how both shows tackle similar themes, but Hansen received critical praise and a Tony sweep that's led to a fairly long Broadway run while Chill only got one Tony nomination and only lasted five months on Broadway. Common points of contention are which show tackles mental health better, which has the better love story, and whether it's better to tackle these heavy subjects with Hansen's heavy realism or Chill's comedic tone.
  • Friendly Fandoms: With Heathers, due to both being quirky musicals revolving around a suicide. Also with Be More Chill due to both revolving around a blue-clad teen who goes from awkward loser to schoolwide sensation through unusual means, while abandoning their unpopular main friend in the process. (This also goes for why they're friendly with the Heathers fandom.)
  • He Really Can Act: Previously, Ben Platt was best known for Pitch Perfect. There's a reason he became one of the youngest people ever to win the Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for Dear Evan Hansen—his work in it is heartwrenching.
    • Neil Patrick Harris was one of many to comment on how physically strenuous Platt's performance was, that it's almost technically impossible to sing clearly enough to fill a live theater while actually sobbing and crying the way he does in "Words Fail", and he pulled it off consistently in performance after performance.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: One part of "Sincerely, Me" has Connor and Evan sing that they aren't gay. As it turns out, Ben Platt, who played Evan in the original run, actually is gay.
    • The humor has escalated with the news that four of the actors who've played Evan are dating each other — Ben Platt is dating his successor in the Broadway cast, Noah Galvin, and the third Broadway Evan, Taylor Trensch, is dating the first Evan from the touring cast, Ben Levi Ross.
  • Idiosyncratic Ship Naming: Applies to most of the fandom's ships, with a few exceptions—most notably Kleinsen (Evan/Jared).
    • Tree Bros (also spelled Treebros): Evan/Connor
    • Sincerely Three: Evan/Connor/Jared
    • Galaxy Gals: Zoe/Alana
  • Jerkass Woobie: Connor Murphy. He's shown to be a pretty big jerk, but he obviously had some unchecked emotional issues.
  • Memetic Mutation: Jared's "kinky" in "Sincerely, Me" has gotten a lot of mileage.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Alana crosses it when she publishes Connor’s “suicide note” after Evan shared it with her in confidence and then begged her to delete it, causing the internet to react in uproar and begin to belittle and threaten the Murphys. She then stopped answering Evan’s calls, leaving him and the Murphys to handle the fallout as they held out in their house, terrified out of their minds that someone was going to try to kill them.
  • Pair the Spares: Probably the reason for Zoe/Alana, along with keeping Zoe away from Evan.
  • The Scrappy: Downplayed with Larry. While he's not outright hated and has some fans, he doesn't get nearly as much attention as the rest of the cast.
    • Miguel from the book has a rather gathered a rather tepid reaction from the fanbase for feeling tacked on to the story, since the musical didn't mention him at all and also for getting in the way of the popular Connor/Evan ship, since it's implied that Connor and Miguel were dating.
  • Signature Song: "Waving Through a Window." To a lesser extent, "You Will Be Found."
  • Superfluous Solo: Possibly "To Break In A Glove", which doesn't relate directly to the main plot and exists mainly to give a solo and character development to Larry Murphy, who otherwise would come off as just a side character (since the primary conflict between Evan's and Zoe's family is between Heidi and Cynthia, who are set up as Foils in "Does Anybody Have A Map?") People who defend this song's importance point out that not only does it give us another window at what may have gone wrong with Connor's childhood and Larry's misfortune that he was very poorly suited to parent a kid like Connor, it also highlights Evan's insecurity about growing up without a father and how this has been a major unstated source of tension with Heidi.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • At one point in Act One, Alana sings a reprise of "Waving Through a Window", hinting that she may be facing the same scenario as Evan. Sure, it gets acknowledged in Act Two when she questions Evan's fake friendship with Connor and reveals that the only reason she was invested in Connor was because of their mutual "invisibility" in society, but that plot line is dropped after that, just to focus on Evan's oscillating decision whether or not to reveal his lie.
    • The song "Requiem" has a neat idea for Zoe: she doesn't want to grieve for Connor, as he was an irredeemable monster in her eyes. And the next song after that squanders this unique apathy, where she immediately accepts Evan's lies about Connor having so many unsaid, nice things to say about her, though it's understandable that she would want to believe good things about her dead brother.
    • What would have happened if everyone found out that Evan lied about being friends with Connor? How would people react to discovering that the entire Connor project was based on a lie?
    • The novel that came out later essentially gave Connor his own Barred from the Afterlife / Unfinished Business character arc, with him only able to move on after he not only realized how bad he had been but also preventing Evan from meeting the same fate as him. While it can be argued that this angle simply wasn't thought of when the musical came out, one might wonder if the novel's angle or a combination of the two would have made the story better.
  • The Woobie: Evan. He has no friends, severe social anxiety, and just wants to be accepted and loved.
    • Stoic Woobie: Zoe. The opening has her dealing with her brother's nasty attitude fairly well, but as "Requiem" shows, she had a lot of issues with Connor.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Downplayed with Evan; it may be hard for the viewer look past the part where his plan essentially revolves around plots using Connor's suicide for his own gain, but they're eventually framed in a darker light and the truth behind his broken arm fully explains his desperation.
    • Also, Jared when he lashes out at Evan. Yes, it's implied that he's lonely, too, but he still acts like a massive prick to Evan for the entire show. It's hard to really blame Evan for distancing himself from him and for calling Jared out on how complicit he is in the lie when Jared tries to wriggle out of it.
    • Heidi can come off this way to some, since her comments to Evan in "Anybody Have A Map?" come off as kind of passive-aggressive and backhanded, and her outbursts in "Good For You" seem pretty harsh, especially as Evan points out, she's never home.
    • Alana as well, since her lines in "Good For You" where she says she also knows what it's like to be invisible and forgotten are clearly there to chalk up Woobie points, but she's just as guilty as using Connor's memory to stay relevant as Evan is and Evan isn't wrong when he points out she treats his death like a publicity stunt, yet she deals with none of the fallout that Evan does towards the end of the musical, even after being personally responsible for publishing Connor's suicide letter online and directing a lot of hate and accusations are the Murphys.
    • The entire cast can be completely unsympathetic at times.

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