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You know High School Musical, right? The wildly popular Disney Channel Original Movie from 2006 that went on to launch an even bigger franchise? It consisted of three movies, the last opening in theaters, a live tour, and a Broadway musical. Now, it’s inspired a series on Disney+ that’s meta as hell. It’s about kids performing the musical at the same high school it’s set in. While it is just a movie — a Disney Channel one at that — an old theory on Reddit explains why there really aren’t any laws in the film. 

The cast of 'High School Musical' — Vanessa Hudgens, Monique Coleman, Ashley Tisdale, Corbin Bleu, Lucas Grabeel, and Zac Efron — at a Q&A session for the film on May 4, 2006.
The cast of ‘High School Musical’ — Vanessa Hudgens, Monique Coleman, Ashley Tisdale, Corbin Bleu, Lucas Grabeel, and Zac Efron — at a Q&A session for the film on May 4, 2006 | David Livingston/Getty Images

A Reddit theory comes up with a reason why ‘HSM’ doesn’t have any explicit content (other than it being Disney)

So, yes, it is a kid’s film about high schoolers breaking out in song and dance about how they don’t dance and sing, but if you wanted to really get philosophical with it, the lack of laws is astounding. And if you’re like Reddit user u/SkyWasTheRobot, that simple “it’s just a movie” answer won’t cut it. They set out to find an “in-universe” explanation to this, and the result is wild. 

In a now-archived Reddit post from 2015, u/SkyWasTheRobot said that critic Kevin Carr said “the filmmakers were just trying to tell a story. Sex, drugs and violence just didn’t factor into that equation.” But that wasn’t enough for the user. To explain why those three things didn’t exist, they came up with a reason. “High School Musical is set in an alternate history without laws. That is, a world where crime doesn’t exist as we see it. A world where you can murder, steal, and destroy without any legal repercussions.”

Let that sink in for a second. But not too long, because they go on to explain how the concept of the Social Contract explains society’s law system. It’s “an agreement between you and everyone around you to restrict some of your rights and privileges in exchange for a more fulfilling life.” A legal system enforces this. 

Now, this High School Musical theory suggests that the Social Contract and legal system don’t exist and never came into play. This allows people to just do whatever they want and there aren’t repercussions. They summed it up with: “So it’s kinda like The Purge, except with more basketball and better story.” 

The characters break basic rules and even laws, yet no real consequences happen

Alright, so this might a little over-the-top when, again, it’s a DCOM. However, if you really think about it, it makes sense. The evidence the user gives consists of the kids trashing the school in High School Musical 2 and Mr. Fulton making the kids’ lives a living hell at Lava Springs. Not to mention that kitchen? No sanitary laws exist. Also, when Ms. Darbus applies to Julliard for Troy in High School Musical 3, no one mentions how that’s forgery and definitely against the law. 

The theory also points out that the final song in HSM2, “All For One,” sends the message that “you’re only supposed to look out for yourself. Of course, in this universe, that’s what it’s like. Your only priority is looking out for number one.” Not to mention, the theory suggests all the musical numbers are results of LSD trips. Interesting. 

Bad or outlawed things aren’t a big deal because they’re commonplace

So why don’t these characters ever mention the lawlessness? It’s because it’s just a part of the society they live in. We don’t mention smartphones, the internet, or stop signs; they just exist and we know what to do with them.

Why don’t they fear for their life, if crimes aren’t outlawed? It’s a similar answer: they’ve always lived in this world, so it’s normal and not a big deal. The user wrote, 

The answer is actually a deep introspection of our relationship with the Social Contract: without any restrictions on people’s rights and freedoms, nobody is ever sad. You can have whatever you want, whenever you want.

Of course, they do get sad or feel pressure in their personal lives. If things don’t go as they want or their feelings are hurt, then they feel sadness or wistfulness. But in the grand scheme of life in this society, crime doesn’t frighten them. 

The theory does skim over the fact that the kids do receive detention in the first film, and Mr. Fulton has strict rules in the second one. But that might be chalked up to individual teachers or businesses, not the whole society.

“What the High School Musical movies are trying to say is that, while it’s probably for the greater good that laws exist — if we didn’t have any laws — we would become instantly happier with our lives,” the writer of this rollercoaster of a theory concludes. “Freedom and liberty may not be synonymous… but maybe that’s for the best.”

You can do with this information what you will. But what it does prove is that the mind is truly a magical thing when you get your head in the game.