This is not what I want. This is not what I planned.
I’m writing this on Aug. 23, 2019, the day “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” (what a pain in the butt to type) dropped their first trailer. And I just gotta say, I do not understand.
The “High School Musical” franchise means a ton to me. Like many kids my age, I giggled at Sharpay’s brutally fabulous antics and watched in awe as the characters took their final graduation jump. As I joined community theatre productions and became a West Ranch Wildcat, I felt more connected than ever to this beloved series.
But now, Disney breaks the fourth wall, drops the bomb, releases the trailer and confirms in the first 20 seconds that in the current Disney universe, “High School Musical,” the original movie franchise is, in fact, a movie.
That’s right. It means that Troy, Gabby, and the entirety of East High as we know it never existed. It was all just a movie inside of a bigger, crueller picture. One that involves dropping a (censored) curse word immediately after this huge plot twist.
“Who do they think they are?” sophomore Emily Doi questioned indignantly. “Censoring a curse word instead of NOT using it?”
Though one curse word isn’t a huge deal in the big picture, revealing that our favorite characters aren’t even canonically real and using an unnecessary expletive immediately after feels like alcohol to a wound.
The trailer is only a minute and 41 seconds long, but it seems to be chock-full of questionable elements. The strategically friendly-looking, guitar-playing “nice guy” Ricky only auditions to be Troy because his ex-girlfriend, Nini, is gunning to be Gabriella.
Yikes. Especially when it’s revealed that HE broke off the relationship, it seems oddly obsessive, if not selfish, to invade and taint Nini’s experience in a musical when she’s already moved on to dating someone else. Troy and Gabriella would never.
West Ranch students don’t seem too enthusiastic about the new series either. As junior Alissa Cutler told the Paw Print, “I don’t plan on watching it because it personally just doesn’t look interesting to me.” Jake Poblete, a sophomore, summed his feelings up more bluntly in a simple hashtag: “#notmyhighschoolmusical.”
I’d venture to say the dancing looks to be a positive, as high kicks and pirouettes shown in the trailer definitely showcase the young performers’ strengths. I wonder, however, are the creators going to pay homage to Kenny Ortega, the iconic choreographer of all three HSM classics? Or are they going to stray further from the original and break out moves of their own?
The acting doesn’t look too shabby either. In fact, one thing we aren’t going to do is slander the actors. “High School Musical” (the original, not this abomination) is about taking risks and seizing opportunities, especially as a performer, and it doesn’t seem fair that young actors take the fall for the creative team’s mistakes.
What we really need to focus our energy on as a community is Disney’s blatant ignorance of what the public wants. If Disney doesn’t see that we are actively in opposition of this new movement of remakes–and that it’s hurting their checkbook when we don’t watch–they’ll probably make more because they’re too lazy to come up with new plotlines.
As for me, I’ll probably just keep being angry. Not only did Disney “mess with the flow,” they messed with my childhood. And that’s not okay.