HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE SERIES Is Not Suitable for Younger Audiences
By Trevor Jones, Contributing Writer
HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE MUSICAL: THE SERIES is an original drama musical series on Disney+.
The first season of HSM: THE SERIES is stuffed with effective acting, catchy songs, and grounded portrayal of teenage anxieties. At the same time, it features some heavy material for its TV-PG audience. Divorce, romantic breakup, and homosexual characters are on the forefront.
HSM: THE SERIES takes place at East High School in Salt Lake City, Utah, where the film trilogy was shot. The series follows eight teenagers as they navigate their complicated relationships with each other.
Miss Jenn (Kate Reinders), a failed background cast member of the original movie, arrives at school as their new drama teacher and decides to stage a production of the original HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL movie.
The show primarily follows Nini (Olivia Rodrigo), musical actor with an independent spirit, and Ricky (Joshua Bassett), a guitarist with parental issues.
In the previous school year, Nini and Ricky dated each other, but Ricky tells her he wants to take a break from their relationship. Dissatisfied, Nini dates EJ (Matt Cornett) during summer break. The love triangle, and at times a love square with fellow classmate Gina (Sofia Wylie), heat up as they’re all are cast in the musical.
HSM: THE SERIES has a strong romantic worldview that showcases being true to yourself. However, the show extols positive themes of admitting one’s frustrations, asking for help when you need it and friendship.
The show lacks any mention of violence, nudity, sex, drugs, or alcohol. It includes miscellaneous immoral elements including utilitarianism, deception, some backstabbing and a few homosexual relationships.
The series follows the progressive trend of incorporating homosexual characters. Nini has two mothers, while two other classmates of hers are homosexual boys. One of the boys auditions for the role of Sharpay in the musical and receives that part.
However, all of these homosexual relationships serve as a footnote amidst the high school drama and are not the focus of the show.
Along with these aspects, there are two kisses in the show between two couples that are interested in one another.
HSM: THE SERIES is an enjoyable series with impressive acting, a great soundtrack, and an earnest exploration of teenage anxieties, while respecting the legacy of the original trilogy.
However, the program is more suitable to young adults or fans of the original movies as it deals with heavy topics such as divorce, deception, and admitting one’s true feelings for another.
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