We’re all in this together
once we know that we are
we’re all stars and we see that
In this article of Problematic Childhood Faves Deconstructed, we’re breaking down the High School Musical movies.
If you’re not afraid to revisit the horribly cringey memory of fetus Zac Efron attempting to sing, read on. You’ve been warned.
Get your head in the game
Back when this movie was released, we all fantasized about going to high school one day. Friends, singing, and happiness galore! Nevermind work, everything will turn out fine in the end. Well, as sleep-deprived and overly stressed seniors, we know better.
Disney gladly sacrificed the reality of high school life for the convenience of their clichéd modern day, kid-friendly Romeo and Juliet remake. Troy and Gabriella, each from polar opposite cliques of their school, meet by chance through their love of singing. While they have no previous background in musicals like Sharpay and her brother, Ryan, in the end, they both get the starring roles. Sharpay and Ryan are left with the short end of the stick as sore losers, despite the fact that they are the only characters who genuinely put time and effort into their talent (and also to show up to rehearsals on time). Instead they are written off as the evil sabotaging pair who only thwart the protagonists’ ‘rightful’ claim to the main roles of the school’s musical. In the end, not only are Troy and Gabriella the winners of the starring roles, but they also win the basketball championship and the scholastic decathlon competition.
To the tween target audience of this wildly popular film, the message that strong work ethic is not required for one’s success is detrimental. Troy and Gabriella, with their highly glorified lives, can hardly be seen as regular high schoolers, much less role models. With their poor work ethic, it’s amazing they even graduated at all - and even more miraculous is the fact that Gabriella made it into Stanford.
For the majority of the movie, interactions between students of different social circles are depicted as unacceptable situations that one should try hard to avoid. The movie sets unrealistic expectations for tweens transitioning to high school. They’ll travel to high school thinking that social hierarchies are an actual real thing that students worship and respect. We, as experienced high school students, know that the segregated clique system is neither sacred nor universal. I mean, if you don’t branch out and meet new people, how else will you make friends? You don’t want to spend your entire high school experience alone trying to appease the stereotypical high school movie tradition while everyone else is peacefully getting along with their peers.
The Future of the Franchise
Shortly after the release of the third movie, High School Musical 3: Senior Year, there was speculation of another addition to the successful series. However, the dreams for a fourth film shared by many thousands of desperate young tweens were crushed, as Disney never set the plans into production. Now, nearly nine years after the premiere of the third installment, Disney has announced that a fourth movie will be made. The next film is supposedly titled High School Musical 4: East Meets West and will be directed by Jeffrey Hornaday who also directed Teen Beach Movie, another one of Disney’s successful films. Although plotlines and characters have not been officially announced, it is widely believed that the story will involve a group of new East High students and students of their rival school, West High. Casting for the movie has already begun, but the question that everyone wants to know is whether or not Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens and other old cast members will reprise their previous roles. Will you be waiting diligently for the next installement to the popular, albeit cringe-worthy, tween romance/comedy/drama series?