I was looking back and I realized I hadn’t actually discussed this before, and I think it’s definitely worth doing. Using the same Playbill.com list as before.
1. Beauty and the Beast by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, and Linda Woolverton. Yes and no. I’ve seen people accuse Belle of suffering from Stockholm syndrome, because she falls in love with the person keeping her captive; I’ve seen people joke about bestiality, for obvious reasons. To both of these I say, reasonable concerns, but… not quite? Belle doesn’t start to care for the Beast until he stops treating her like a prisoner and starts treating her like a person. This doesn’t entirely invalidate the first, but it helps. And they didn’t do any more than dance until the Beast was a person. And they loved each other’s insides more, anyway. And… well, it’s not perfect. But it’s hardly the worst.
2. Seussical by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. A bird and an elephant fall in love. I’ll leave it up to you to decide this one.
3. Grease by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. In short: ugh. Grease has the most terrible moral message of all time: you have to change yourself to fit in with the person you love. Danny tries to become “cool” and “normal” by joining an athletic team, which isn’t focused on that much; Sandy tries to become “rebellious” and “cool” by… wearing tight clothing? Now, if Sandy was just dressing like that because she wanted to, because she was into it, I’d say go for it. That’s her choice. But stepping outside of yourself and essentially putting on an act because you think it will make you more sexually attractive to someone is just not a good idea.
4. Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim. Most of the usual fairy tale problems ensue. By the end, Cinderella’s prince sleeps with the Baker’s Wife, and she realizes that she shouldn’t have done that right before being killed by a giant. Which, again, up to you to analyze. Cinderella tells off her prince for being a cheating d-bag, so good for her.
5. Footloose by a whole bunch of people, including Tom Snow, Dean Pitchford, Kenny Loggins, and Walter Bobbie. I’m not familiar with it, so I couldn’t say; I do know the song “Holding Out For a Hero,” which is… not really super-functional, nope.
6. The Wizard of Oz by John Kane, Howard Arlen, E. Y. Harburg, Herbert Stothart, Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson, and Edgar Allen Woolf. Not really applicable.
7. You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown by Clark Gesner. Again, largely not applicable.
8. The Music Man by Meredith Wilson. Well, Harold lies to Marian from the get-go. Marian’s whole white knight thing is problematic. A lot of the minor subplots aren’t super-functional. Also, let’s just look at the lyrics to one of the songs, “Shipoopi” (which is the most ridiculous song ever anyway):
Well a woman who’ll kiss on the very first date
Is usually a hussy.
And a woman who’ll kiss on the second time out
Is anything but fussy.
But a woman who waits ’til the third time around,
Head in the clouds, feet on the ground!
She’s the girl he’s glad he’s found–she’s his
Shipoopi! Shipoopi! Shipoopi! Shipoopi!
A) What on Earth is a shipoopi anyway? B) Seriously, what is the difference between one or two dates and three dates? C) Slut shaming, please go away, I understand this was from a different time but it’s still really gross.
9. Once Upon a Mattress by Mary Rodgers, Marshall Barer, Jay Thompson, and Dean Fuller. Yeeeah. Not so much with the functional. Dauntless is so gullible that any princess seems great and Winnifred seems extra-great because she stands up to his mom. That’s not really love. The King and Queen, well. Ha. Larken and Harry, they’re in love, maybe they’ve been together a while, but if they’re threatening to break up forever over stupid mistakes, that’s maybe not good. You argue about said stupid things, sure, but you don’t run away forever without listening to the other person. And everyone in the kingdom is so hideously desperate for sex that they can’t make appropriate decisions, anyway.
10. Thoroughly Modern Millie by Jeanine Tesori, Dick Scanlan, and Richard Morris. Not initially, because Millie’s “I’ll marry for money!” plan isn’t that modern, really. She goes to be a working girl to… make a rich husband. Icky. She eventually finds true love with Jimmy, after some failings in logic, and it’s okay that he has money but it was okay when he was poor, too, so she learns. Miss Dorothy has a fly-by-night infatuation with Mr. Trevor, but she winds up with Ching Ho, which doesn’t really make a lot of sense either, but I guess go for it? Not super-functional as a whole, either.
–your fangirl heroine.