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.