In enough ways to fill Harvey Fierstein’s bosom, NBC’s production of Hairspray Live! was the joyous celebration of love and acceptance that an uneasy culture craved, and perhaps needed.

The camera choreography was as intricate as the dance choreography, but from the first “Oh, oh, oh” of “Good Morning, Baltimore,” the outing was as faithful an homage to the material’s original Broadway production as these live musical events have managed to come.

Vanity Fair’s Katey Rich said it best, tweeting: “So NBC started the live musical awkwardly, FOX perfected it with Grease Live, and now NBC is shamelessly copying it.” One might go a step further and say that with Hairspray Live, NBC is actually perfecting it.

For all the laborious effort past live productions have made to attract new audiences to musical theatre or shoehorn iconic shows to fit more modern or hipper crowds, that’s something that’s been somewhat ignored.

As good as Hairspray Live was, the absent crackling energy of an audience that laughs and cries and applauds will forever be these productions’ biggest detriments.

Hairspray takes place in the ’60s, became a movie in the ’80s, a Broadway hit in the early ’00s, a Hollywood success in 2007, and, nearly, 10 years later and at a moment of weariness, fear, and even anger, is now a live TV event.