“The internet told me that this past week was the ten year anniversary of High School Musical. Whaaaat? Geez, make me feel old, interwebz, why dontcha.
My love of HSM started out as an ironic love. Let’s go back ten years, to when I was still in college and very much obsessed with musical theatre (that part didn’t really change). A really good friend of mine, who was prolly the biggest theatre geek of the group, found out about HSM and was making a huge deal about it. I wasn’t able to go to the screening party she threw, so I waited for the DVD to watch it. I was not impressed. Turns out, she was excited for its existence and how bad it looked like it’d be. I watched it again later with more of a Rocky Horror type mentality and you know what, it grew on me. I still never quite took it seriously, but I had fun pretending to be caught up in the hype. We’d buy whatever memorabilia we could find that was either very cheap or very random. (I think my favorite was the cereal for its sheer WTF factor).
At some point, I realized that regardless of how cheesy and tv movie quality it was, it had it’s merits. I genuinely liked (and still do) Breaking Free. Each sequel also had at least one song that I truly loved.
Anyways, when I was seeing Zac Efron in Dirty Grandpa, I was thinking more about HSM (esp since Grandpa featured Efron singing karaoke). It took me a long time to admit to being a fan. He may only be two years younger than me (wait what, srsly only 2?) but it was hard not to see him as high school Troy Bolton. I think Neighbors is what finally changed the game for me. Anyways, I digress. My original plan was to stick around after Grandpa to see The Boy, but the combination of a wait for the movie time and a list of errands to run before the impending snow (even though I knew we were gonna be on the ligher side of the big blizzard), made me rethink that. I decided to take the opportunity to rewatch HSM and see how (likely poorly) it held up.
Yeeeah, that was a little tough to get thru. The bad over the top acting, the high school stereotypes, the infectious music. Although, I think my biggest problem all along was the way that they held their auditions and callbacks. The emotions around them are very real (almost too real, inducing some pretty panicked flashbacks) but the logistics are all wrong. And it bugs me. But you know what, I still sang along to Breaking Free. I recognized the dance moves I stole from “”We’re All in This Together”” for the production of Bat Boy I choreographed. I swooned over Troy (in a not creepy way, picturing present day Zac). I also hadn’t previously fully appreciated the multi-ethnic cast. You’d think that wouldn’t be so revelatory today, but sadly it still is.
If this movie’s existence prompted some young’uns to get into theatre, then it was all worth it. It also gave us a crop of good young actors, who went on to careers of varying success and DWTS appearances. I think the reason it became such a phenomenon is because the generation it was made for needed their own musical expression. I grew up in the second golden age of Disney, so I had a slew of musical masterpieces to grow up with. The next set of kids needed something of their own, besides borrowing ours. And being able to fill that void is a pretty good legacy for this series.”