Entertainment doesn’t have to be substantial. The word itself doesn’t even attempt to convey any sort of weight.
But when entertainment is substantial — and let’s not even get into the “but is it art” thing, OK? — it’s imbued with the opportunity to turn into something more, to transcend “entertainment” (not that there’s anything at all wrong with “entertainment”) and become an important part of the shared cultural conversation. And usually, it’s a resonance with what it means to be human that creates that elevation.
The five-Tony-winning musical Fun Home — the first, by the way, to feature a lesbian lead — is fucking important, maybe the most important Broadway work since Angels in America. It’s a simultaneously beautiful, brutal and often hilarious look at familial relations and coming to terms with one’s own identity. It’s an empathy machine, one that forces viewers to deal with the fact that not everyone is perfect, and not everyone is the same — but that everyone is human, and everyone can (and should) relate.