So, you’re an adult and you’re not really sure if High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is for you? Well, if you were a fan of the original movies, then yes, it is. While the series premiered on Disney+ and features high school-aged characters, the storylines and writing are actually pretty engaging for older audiences, as well as younger ones. Not to mention the fact that the series is a massive homage to High School Musical. Because of that, the entire series was literally made for those that grew up with the original movies.
The series takes the best parts of the first movie — its songs — and uses them perfectly
The High School Musical movies had a lot going on. They were about kids in a very clique-based high school (which is relatable) with songs sprinkled throughout (not relatable). You had the cute teen heartthrob for the 13-year-olds to plaster on their walls and the shy, nerdy girl who stole his heart. It was made for sleepovers and breakout choreographed danced, way before Tik Tok dancing was even a thing.
But it’s not known for broad social discourse or even good writing, as we probably all remember. However, the biggest takeaway was its songs, which have lived on to this very day. You can’t say the words, “get your head in the game,” without someone screaming “What team!? Wildcats!” And that’s where this series soars.
While you might wonder or worry that it’ll feel like a karaoke session throughout the series, it doesn’t. High School Musical: The Musical: The Series uses the songs in its musical, of course, since the whole premise is about the high school the movie was filmed at putting on HSM.
But even outside of rehearsals, the songs are ways to move the story along and add to different arcs. Not to mention, there are quite a few original songs that might even be better than some of the original ones. Don’t tell Sharpay we said this, but “All I Want” might have “I Want it All” running for the hills. Just saying!
While ‘High School Musical’ wasn’t known for complex storylines, the series excels in that department
As stated above, we didn’t come to High School Musical for the writing. Or, at least, we know it’s not great writing now as we’ve grown wiser. If the show’s writing was on the same level as the movies, this piece wouldn’t exist, because those that grew up with the movies wouldn’t be able to stay engaged with new content on that same level.
The dialogue wouldn’t be digestible for those of us that were 10 through 14 at the time are now well over 21. So the series is actually a step up for us because the writing is so good. The characters hit on hilarious comic timing akin to Glee (but isn’t as cringey) and the serious aspects hit on divorce, family issues, lost love, and work instability.
Even a high school romance like Nini and Ricky’s hits hard for millennials. Many 20-year-olds know the devastating realization that you might have pushed someone away or that you have to leave the partner you love to choose what’s best for you. And then that subsequent journey navigating that failed relationship, wondering if you made a major mistake. That’s why the payoff is so damn good in the end.
The character types of the first film made great molds for the show’s characters
From teeny-bopper heartthrobs to girls that don’t fit in, High School Musical really hit every major high school trope and stereotype. They do try and overcome them with the narrative that not everyone is just 2-dimensional (“Stick to The Status Quo” anyone?). But High School Musical: The Musical: The Series takes this to a whole new level.
Every character is layered. The jock, aka E.J., is the jerk but he’s also troubled and tries to earn reconciliation for his wrongdoings. You have the shy friend/sidekick with Red, but he also has so many hidden talents like vast knowledge of the musical and killer tap dancing skills. And then you have the “mean” girl in Gina. But she’s actually very hurt and uses aggression and getting top spot as a way to mask her unhappiness. So while the series does play into some stereotypes, it also carries that same message as the original film that no one is what they seem from the get-go.
While not all fans of the original High School Musical movies will love the series, it certainly was made with them in mind.