Here we have another traditional bad parent setup tuned on its head.
Edna's daughter and our hero, Tracy Turnblad, wants to be a dancer. She knows it's what she's meant for and can't wait to get home every day and practice to the dance TV show she someday wants to be on.
Edna insists that Tracy's destiny is her to take over her laundry business.
Well... no. Not exactly.
What happens is way better.
We find out that Edna is severely agoraphobic and self-conscious about her weight, and she's afraid of Tracy being hurt the way she has been by people, because Tracy is also heavy.
Sure, she's still wrong to try to stop her daughter from chasing her dream even out of the best intentions, but people and characters are wrong sometimes, without being evil.
Tracy's dad steps in and encourages Tracy to audition anyway, which she does and, as most of us do the first time out of the gate chasing our dreams, falls flat.
Tracy is not easily crushed, however, and continues practicing until she's finally spotted by the host of the show dancing at a school event and gets her break.
Know who's more excited for her than anyone else? Edna.
All she wants is for Tracy to be happy, and as soon as Tracy proves to her that there's a better way than the hiding technique Edna's used all her own life, she's Tracy's biggest supporter and feels awful for standing in her way.
So it's a story about a girl proving she can do better than her shortsighted mother thought she could and finally winning her blessing?
Wait, there's still more.
Tracy's not angry with her mom or even desperate for her approval. She wants to help her.
At the point in the story where she would normally break out of her mother's world and strike out on her own, Tracy drags Edna along for the ride, finally coaxing her out of the house, getting her a makeover, and showing her how the world has begun to change from the one she remembers.
She wants one more victory before she's caught, though, and both her parents support her crusade and help her sneak into the TV studio to dance in the final episode of the season which determines the show's new lineup.
The play ends on my vote for the most uplifting musical number ever, even accounting for the fact that almost everyone in it was probably arrested immediately afterward, "You Can't Stop the Beat," in which the show is integrated through a well-exploited loophole and both Tracy and Edna take the stage and dance for respect and self-acceptance to wild applause.