Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What Am I Doing Watching HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL???

I went to a wedding a week or so ago, and I had the chance to hang out with a good friend's kids: Elena is 10 and Ryan is 8. We explored San Francisco's Chinatown and North Beach, went to a great farmer's market where I bought fruit and Afghan food (and, what do you know--I just used this market for a scene in one of my books), and generally had a great time. During all the fun, Elena kept talking about HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL.

I'd heard about this phenom--how can you stick your head out of the door and not be aware of it? But in case you don't know, HSM was an original production from The Disney Channel, and Kenny Ortega (DIRTY DANCING--whoo!) directed and did some choreography. The plot had something to do with a basketball jock who really, really wants to try out for his high school musical, but he doesn't want to be made fun of by his friends and disappoint his basketball-coach dad. But his new pal--a darling female brainiac--gets him to gather his guts and try out.

It didn't sound like my thing, so while Elena talked about it, I was like, "Mm-hmm, mm-hmm..." But then Elena's mom said it was real cute--like a clean-cut GREASE, and I got curious.

Because...well, do you remember GREASE? I'm talking from the point of view of "my generation"--a girl just out of grade school who went to the movie theater because she had a crush on young, sleek, dancing-machine John Travolta. I looooooved GREASE, and I was too naive to be offended by the become-a-slut-and-win-your-man message. I also didn't get the dirty dialogue and constant, hardly subtle sexual innuendos. I just knew that it was a story about a hot (and kinda swishy?) greaser who wants to deviate from his "place" in school society to be with the gal he adores--sort of like the jock in HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL.

So I watched, and I thought HSM was pretty adorable. In fact, I was sort of awestruck by how such a sweet, seemingly genuine production had made it so big in this day and age. GREASE --my generation's HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL--was rated X in comparison, and we all know that we were so much more innocent in those days, because we weren't like those morons we see on THE REAL WORLD.

You know, we tend to think that the "younguns" of today are so depraved, watching their MTV, wearing their underpants outside of their jeans, etc. But we forget that most of them really do have true hearts. That's why HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL is so popular--the movie isn't so much a reflection of what high school is like today as much as a materialization of a pre-teen wish that high school will be like this: filled with cute, stand-up guys and eventually accepting of the people we want to become someday.

It was good to see that and, golly gee wilikers, I'm glad I watched.


Karmela said...

Remember: the sequel is out this Friday! I have my Tivo set already. Love this movie. I've memorized all the moves from all the dance routines.

"We're all in this together!" :clap: "Once we know that we are, we're all stars, and we see that...!"


Crystal Green's Blog said...

Gotcha, Karm! Locked and loaded for the sequel. What the heck.

I would *love* for you to explain your HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL love on your blog. It's an interesting reflection on society, as seen through the periscope of pop culture!

Celise said...

Loved it too. Saw the first one and watched the sequel too. So, whadja think?

BTW, saw on Yahoo headlines today that Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars) will be joining the cast of Heroes.

Karmela said...

Aw, you credit me with way too much deep and introspective thinking. I like it just cause I like the dance numbers. ANd that Zac Efron is cute. And I gotta show my support for half-Filipina Vanessa Hudgens. And that Corbin Bleu is absolutely adorable. That's it. No deept thinking, really. Although if you want a really good analysis of HSM vis-a-vis current pop culture, I read a really good article in TIME magazine about it.

Crystal Green's Blog said...

Hey, Celise! Okay, I did watch the sequel, LOL. I liked it and thought it was really smart to change the setting (to a "country club," nonetheless, sort of like Ortega's old DIRTY DANCING stomping grounds except with more sun). The movie felt familiar, yet different, with the characters growing as much as they could in two hours. I think Ashley Tisdale has got some charm and spunk, so I enjoyed seeing her getting more screen time. (Sorry--I find her more interesting than Gabriella, even though I like the character herself and Vanessa Hudgens.) What did you think, Celise?

And I'm a bit behind on the news (I'll tell you why in my next blog....), but I love that Kristen Bell will be back to my TV! I've been bemoaning the loss of VERONICA MARS, and Bell is supposed to be on at least 13 HEROES episodes, right? Drrrrrr-rah!

Karm, when you're a deep and introspective thinker, you automatically get that rap. :) That was an interesting article. I like how it doesn't take a condescendingly cynical view of Zac Efron's popularity--that would've been all too easy for TIME magazine, I think.