The movies provide examples of:
- Awesome Music: A given.
- "Dogs in the Yard" and "I Sing The Body Electric" from the original, "Hold Your Dream" from the remake.
- "Is It OK If I Call You Mine" is also very heartfelt.
- Heartwarming in Hindsight: Paul McCrane would again play his heartfelt song, "Is It OK If I Call You Mine", 30 years later during a guest appearance on the TV show Harry's Law, and the performance contributed to him winning a Primetime Emmy Award.
- Memetic Mutation: The title song was used for the 2001 Flash animation "The MAME Song".
- So Okay, It's Average: How most critics have felt about the remake, especially compared to the original with its stronger social commentary.
The musical version provides examples of:
- Awesome Music: "Fame", clearly. The full version of "Bring on Tomorrow" is another.
- Ear Worm: "FAME! I'm gonna live forever, I'm gonna learn how to fly!"
- Fridge Logic: Wait, a performing arts high school, and not ONE gay kid?!
- Hollywood Pudgy: Mabel, depending on the actress. She can be any size, but the point is, she's fat for a dancer.
- Ho Yay: "Can't Keep it Down" is full of it. In some productions, Nick and Joe Vegas Ho Yay it up during the Romeo and Juliet scene with Serena.
"You'll probably go off to New Haven and meet some guy and forget all about me!"
- Not to mention that Serena is half-convinced Nick is gay.
- Tear Jerker:
- "In L.A" for Carmen.
- "These Are My Children" for Ms. Sherman.
- The full version of "Bring on Tomorrow" when Schlomo dedicates the performance to Carmen, who's just died of a drug overdose.
The series version provides examples of:
- Awesome Music: "Life Is A Celebration" is a good place to start.
- Bizarro Episode: The Wizard of Oz episode. Ironically, the show's renditions of the classic songs seem to be how people discover the show on Youtube.
- Ear Worm: All over the place. That many of the original songs were written by Michael Cruz, who also wrote original songs for fellow MGM musical series Kids Incorporated should tip you in, one of which was actually sung on BOTH shows in the same year.
- Family-Unfriendly Aesop: The very first episode has Lori Singer's character, Julie Miller, learn that she's supposed to dress differently to fit in at a new school, rather than expect other students not to pick on her for trivial things. Only Bruno points out that picking on her for being different is unfair. To make matters worse, part of the reason she changes school is because her parents divorced, not because she really wants to go to that performing arts school in particular.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The series proved far more popular in Europe and especially the United Kingdom (including multiple chart hits) that it did in its native USA; to the point that it played a role in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and LBS Communications partnering to continue production in first-run syndication after the series was canceled by NBC in 1983.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: The Season 5 episode "Self Defense" (focusing on several of the girls wanting to learn karate after the School of the Arts is repeatedly vandalized) becomes this to a degree considering Nia Peeples' next major role saw her get plenty of opportunity to use her karate skills on Walker, Texas Ranger.
- Narm : On occasion. Some episodes are available on YouTube. Some of the actors veer into Large Ham territory, and on occasion the vocal performances are cringe-worthy. Granted, it was The '80s.
- Real-Life Relative: Debbie Allen's husband, then-San Diego (now Los Angeles) Clippers guard Norm Nixon, appeared in the Season 3 episode "Heritage").
- Retroactive Recognition/You Look Familiar: Nia Peeples appeared in Season 2's "Sunshine Again" in a minor role before joining the cast for Season 4 as Nicole Chapman.
- Tear Jerker: Many entire episodes, examples include "Help from My Friends" and "Who Am I Really".
For the rest of your life, he'll be the first one to hear every song you write.
- "Go Softly Into The Morning" might be the biggest as it deals with a heavy subject matter (drunk driving) and a prominent character is killed off as a result. The song "See Your Face Again" from that same episode also falls into this territory after the passing of its vocalist, Carrie Hamilton.
- The song "Come What May" (not that one, an original song composed for the show) in particular is also heartbreakingly gorgeous.
- The death of Bruno's father in Season 3.
- "Tough Act to Follow", even moreso when you consider that the actor playing Mr. Crandall had just died.