When Disney Plus first launched, my only focus was on watching episodes of The Simpsons and devouring The Mandalorian as quickly as possible. Hearing of a TV show based on the High School Musical franchise, though, my interest was piqued.
And when I heard that it was a docu-drama style show about teenagers who go to the actual school where the movies were filmed and then decide to put on a production of the musical based off said movies and all of this called High School Musical: The Musical: The Series? Well it would be rude not to see what on earth that was all about, wouldn’t it?
I thought it was going to be terrible. The title alone should make that obvious. But it was so much better than it has any right to be. It’s tongue in cheek, it’s really funny, the references and meta callbacks to High School Musical lore are excellent, and actually the new songs stand up to the pop magic of the original ones.
The drama is overblown and not all of the kids are as strong actors as you might hope, but it’s so much fun.
And one of the best things about it is hearing people trying to deal with the ridiculous title. There’s a “Previously on High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” bit at the beginning which is hard to get through with a straight face. There’s a behind the scenes special that takes it one step further: “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series: The Special.” Director of the original trilogy Kenny Ortega appears in that special, and he struggles to even say the whole title, let alone do it without laughing.
And naturally there’s a soundtrack which falls along similar lines.
Even the Apple editors that write the album summaries have got in on the act!
Ultimately, it’s the kind of thing where nothing about it makes sense or should work, but then, somehow, out of nowhere, I kinda love it.