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YMMV / Spring Awakening

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Despite her actions ultimately leading to Wendla's unplanned pregnancy and death from a botched abortion, it's a lot harder to not feel sorry for Wendla's mother once you keep in mind that she herself is a woman in the 19th century, and women then were regarded as more or less naive children their whole lives. Her unhelpful non-answers to Wendla's questions about where babies come from are probably exactly what she herself was told at Wendla's age, and all she felt allowed to tell Wendla.
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    • In the original play, Melchior actually does rape Wendla, and in the early workshop versions of "I Believe", we actually heard Wendla scream at the end. However, in the finished version, it is a lot less controversial as Wendla actually somewhat complies. And doesn't scream.
    • Some have regarded Melchior as everything from a Well-Intentioned Extremist to a jerkass throughout the show. Yes the community's tight lipped policy about growing up is handled badly, but his own attempt at bringing his peer's liberation only managed to kill his best friend, the woman he had the hots for and his unborn child. Really, Melchior is as much an extremist as the town's moral guardians, if not more so in that his actions are often violent are forceful in nature.
    • Others have different thoughts on how much Moritz's suicide can be blamed on Melchior, given that much of it stems from his teachers' falsifying his grades so that he did not pass his midterm exams and his father's subsequent rage over it, neither of which are Melchior's fault.
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    • In a translation of a play, at Moritz's funeral, Moritz's father is rather blatantly affirming how much he loathed his son, not even when he was little all while sobbing. Whether its from the shame of his son's suicide or that he's genuinely mourning his son but can't bring himself to voice against social approval is ambiguous.
    • The Brazilian production strongly implies Hanschen is only taking advantage of Ernst, and that once he grows up, he'll marry a girl, put on a regular front, and will either discard Ernst or keep him as a VERY secret lover merely for sexual fulfillment.
  • Award Snub: Some fans believe the revival was subjected to this. It was nominated for three Tonys, but won none (Best Director, Best Revival of a Musical, and Best Lighting Design). Spencer Liff's choreography, incorporating American Sign Language and adding multiple layers of meaning on top of the original, did not even get a nod. Adding insult to injury, when the nominees were shown onscreen, Christopher Fitzgerald of Waitress was mistakenly shown instead of Michael Arden. The actors themselves, though (Andy Mientus in particular), have emphasized that getting even one nomination was a privilege for the show. It led to the achievements of the first person to present a Tony performance in ASL (Marlee Matlin), and the first cast featuring Deaf/HOH actors, along with the first Broadway actress in a wheelchair (Ali Stroker) being featured on the stage of the Tonys.
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  • Base-Breaking Character: Melchior. He's either a troubled and morally ambiguous but ultimately good person who's just as much a victim of the town's horrible adults as any of the kids or a pretentious, Holier Than Thou faux-intellectual who treats his girlfriend like crap. An additional faction chooses "both," and this group tends to like him for this complexity.
  • Best Known for the Fanservice: The musical tends to get overhyped for featuring "real on-stage frontal nudity!" As if there'd be an entire song and dance number with everyone completely naked. But all we see is one guy pulls his pants down and we can see the side of his ass, and the girl unbuttons the top of her dress. Plus they're in the missionary position so we can't really get a good look at any naughty bits anyways, so it's sort of ridiculous.
    • Hanschen does turn around and pull his shorts down in the revival during Totally Fucked, though.
  • Broken Base:
    • When Glee began, there were those who watched simply to see Lea Michele (Wendla) and instantly loved the show. However, there were those who detested the show for exposing the girl, or perhaps feelings that she had "sold out".
    • A lot of people prefer Steffi D, others prefer Lauren Pritchard. Both had very different interpretations of the character.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Hanschen. Handsome, blond, suave, and espousing a rather appealing personal philosophy. It was inevitable that his very present negative traits get downplayed by fans.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Skylar Astin as Georg, mostly for his belting solos during a few of the numbers.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Hänschen/Ernst have the distinction of being the most popular ship by a long shot, no doubt due to being the most emotionally healthy canon pairing in the show (admittedly, not a very high bar to cross). Many fans also prefer the Ship Mates of Melchior/Moritz and Ilse/Wendla rather than the dubiously consensual Melchior/Wendla. Melchior and Moritz spend more time onstage alone together than any other two characters in the show, and depending on the production Melchior can get pretty handsy as he guides Moritz through sexuality lessons in "Touch Me." Melchior's Grief Song is also about Moritz:
    Melchior: Can't help the itch to touch, to kiss
    • Ilse and Wendla do not share as much stage time together, but their childhood friendship is alluded to in "Blue Wind."
    • Some fans like the idea of Martha and Moritz together, and in some fan works they form somewhat of a relationship after they bond over the abuse they experience at home.
  • Fanon: At least on Tumblr, there is a common idea of Hanschen and Thea being siblings (this extends to Melitta, too, in the revival).
  • Genius Bonus: The Latin the chorus chants during "All That's Known" is from the beginning of The Aeneid. (It is also quite appropriate, since part of the introduction is telling the reader how much the protagonist suffers.)
  • He's Just Hiding!: There are a good number of fanfics that reveal Wendla's death was actually faked, which is fairly easy to do as the audience doesn't actually see her die. The culprit behind the ruse varies from story to story, but the most common are her mother (to keep Melchior away from her) and Ilsa (to keep her mother, and sometimes also Melchior, away from her).
  • Jerkass Woobie: Moritz's father may count as one. His actions and lack of affection for his son is inexcusable, but is hard to not feel badly for him when he griefs over Moritz's suicide.
  • Narm: How frantic Melchior sounds in the revival's I Believe. Sounds less like "Have sex with me, Wendla," and more like "GOD I NEED TO GET LAID IMMEDIATELY OR I'M GONNA DIE."
  • Retro Active Recognition: Many of the main cast/understudies of different casts became Broadway regulars, and went to star in TV shows and movies.
  • Signature Song: "The Bitch of Living".
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: The musical is very popular with teens and reportedly has been produced by numerous high school drama groups, despite the adult content in the play, including a key musical number that incorporates a sex scene. A story arc early in the first season of Glee involves the high school-aged students producing Spring Awakening, with concerns about the musical's sex scene being discussed in dialogue, reflecting real-world concerns over its appropriateness for young audiences.
  • The Woobie: Most of the characters, especially Moritz, Wendla, and Ilse.


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