Published on Thursday, October 6, 2016 by Payton McKeehan
In January of 2006, children tuned into the Disney Channel to watch the new movie, High School Musical, as an afternoon distraction. Unbeknownst to them, they were witnessing the premiere of a classic. High School Musical took over their everyday lives with its sweet, sing-along lyrics and lovable cliche story line.
High School Musical is about the labels that high school puts on students based on what they are involved in and what friends they associate with. The self-believed to be ‘Queen Bee’ of this story, Sharpay Evans, is determined to make sure that no one messes with the flow and sticks to the status quo. She makes sure that “nerds” stay interested in only homework, that “skaters” aren’t intrigued by sophisticated activities, and that “jocks” stay popular but, most importantly, her main priority is to protect her spotlight on the high school on stage from anyone who poses a threat.
When I first watched the movie, I had a love-hate relationship with Sharpay because I wanted to be her, but it was extremely frustrating when she would try to obstruct “Troyiella’s” plans. I admired her self confidence, and determination to achieve her goals throughout the movie series. Though her efforts are seen as evil, she goes to any measure in order to fulfill her desires.
New girl, Gabriella Montez, obstructs this absurd idea of Sharpay’s social stratification and challenges Sharpay’s on stage. Her connection with typical jock Troy Bolton, through a fateful encounter during the holiday break, only adds to Gabriella’s defiance against the typical social high school rules. Gabriella is like a flower in a field of weeds, an East High game changer. She helps students find courage and helps them breakaway from the typical teenage cliques. The fact that Gabriella has the influence to empower people makes her gentle character fierce. She gives quite and shy girls, like herself, the grit to step up and be themselves freely, which is a remarkable action for a young girl.
Star basketball player Troy Bolton has talent and a plan to pursue his goals until Gabriella comes along and brings out the real Troy, pushing him to explore his inner-self and break the status quo by defying the social boundaries and auditioning with Gabriella in the school’s musical. Troy’s dad finds it ridiculous that he is spending time experimenting in the arts when he should be focusing on basketball. Troy has all eyes on him, all the time, so his close connection with Gabriella helps bring the rebellion together. There’s something about Troy, possibly his athletic side, or his soft-hearted voice that brings every girl to their knees, me included. Troy is a role model for young boys and for young girls to look for in a companion, I certainly did. Troy is cool and outstanding in sports which catches the boys’ attention, giving him the ability to influence a generation.
Other cast members help exemplify the typical peers that give the mindset of staying within limits and not adventuring outside of cliques. These characters try to restrain Troy and Gabriella from finding their true identities, which many teenagers may relate to as they also traverse the high school hallways. Troy and Gabriella reset the social standards of high school by encouraging others to do the same thing they do, and follow their passion.
Watching the film again as a high school student, I was able to see the way the movie influenced society. Relating to any high school in the United States, High School Musical projects a not-so-hypothetical solution to social boundaries. Friends of Troy and Gabriella, Taylor and Chad, try to refrain them from thinking outside the box which most teens are presented with in high school. The courage that Troy and Gabriella have to overcome these restraints may give teenagers across the globe the same courage.
It was one of my favorite movies growing up, and a decade later it still holds that title to me. Troy was my fairy tale Prince Charming in today’s era who occupied many daydreams. Movies that have this type of effect on people are the movies that make the classics.