by Adam Miller
Ski resort on loan from Epcot.
I admit a bit of anxiety in posting this recap. It’s probably the only thing I’ve written for this site which has actually been anticipated by other people, and I guess means something. HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, it seems, has touched many hearts and minds, and that’s a fine thing. To be honest, the film is pretty harmless. It’s got a nice clean message of “appreciate people’s differences” set to catchy pop numbers and Paula Abdul dance moves. The film is likewise “bad” for the very same reasons. It’s message is so simplistic that the film has to find all kinds of ways to drag it out for 90 minutes resulting in a lot of redundantly episodic subplots which bog down the film’s second act. But structure aside, the film also is goofed up quite a bit its two faux-charismatic leads who have nice repertoire of about three or four facial expressions and dance moves. Frankly, the two protagonists are constantly upstaged in talent by their arch-nemeses who get all the best lines, laughs, and songs. But more on that later.
It’s New Year’s Eve at a ski resort. Gabriella (Gabby) Montez is a precocious nerd of a teen who would rather read a book than go to the New Year’s party with a bunch of cute teens. One such teen is Troy Bolton, a hunk who is playing some basketball with his dad. The parents of both teens force their offspring to go to the party and the plot is set in motion.
It’s a very Disney party, first of all; one in which the kids are happy to dance with themselves against a wood column and still look like they’re having a good time. This is also a Disney party because there are two plasma TVs behind the karaoke stage showing footage of… the karaoke stage. And if that’s not a textbook example of a mediated reality when then I don’t know what is.
Gabby (who is still reading her damn book!) and Troy are selected to sing karaoke for a song which, since it was written for the movie, has never been heard by either of them before. They both claim they can’t sing and then of course proceed to sing the song like almost-pros. They even know how to do it as a duet and harmonize perfectly!!! Troy, we can tell by his constantly shifting eyeballs, is pretty turned on by Gabby. The funny part is that no one else in the party is paying any attention to the pair as they rock their duet. Instead the two just keep glancing awkwardly at each other and nailing their respective falsettos. That is until Troy takes off his jacket and suddenly EVERYONE is paying attention. Prompting the ghost of Mae West to admonish: “Oh Troy, if you were any cuter I’d raise you in my coo… coo…” Oh sorry there’s a pigeon outside my window… WHAT DID I JUST WRITE???
Anyway the song is about the “start of something new” which seems almost too fitting considering it is indeed the start of something new for the two people randomly singing it, but I’m sure this same coincidence happens in reality all the time.
Oh and just by the by, Troy is wearing a big ass ring and starts rocking out with the mic like I’m sure he’s seen others do in the movies. The other kids starting clapping their hands and juking all over the place. Troy then pushes Gabby off the stage or something like that… and they stopped reading the words half way through the song… and oh let’s just move on to the balcony scene…
The two new friends walk outside and start congratulating each other on how awesome they are at singing in a manner which I cannot help but feel is analogous to other, uh, “first time” conversations:
Gabby: Well that was the first time I’ve done something like that. I mean that was so cool.
Troy: I know! Completely!
Gabby: Well you sound like you’d done a lot of singing too.
Troy: Yeah my shower thinks I’m very nice.
You see, and you thought my Mae West line was completely inappropriate! Aaaa…
aaaaand countdown to midnight. Will Troy and Gabriellla kiss? OF COURSE NOT TOOL, THIS IS A DISNEY MOVIE!!! Importantly, Gabby breaks away first… hehe. They instead exchange cell phone photos and numbers and I am reminded once again how old I am as I would never think to do this. Do these things really have flashes on them now? Sheesh!
One week later…
Albuquerque, NM at East High School. Chad, a basketball player with an Insane Bob hair cut is dribbling around a cheer leader (dribbling a basketball, you creep!) Surprise, surprise, Gabby is a new student at East High and is complaining to her mom about her stomach. Just what the hell DID happen at the party? The school principle has kind words to say: “I am sure your light will shine very brightly here at East High.” What? Gabby is worried about being freaky genius girl again and I’m worried about seeing a very clichéd plot arc in this movie again. Well, at least one of us will have her fears absolved. (Hint: I am a “he”).
Gabby arrives in home room—hosted by Ms. Darbus, the school’s drama teacher—and Troy instantly sees Gabby and gets a look of surprise and excitement on his face (a generous description). Well that’s convenient! Meanwhile he is briefly hit on by “evil blonde bitch-queen of the drama department” and my second favorite character, Sharpay. Frankly she seems a bit out of her league, but whatever. The drama teacher starts yapping about her Winter Musicale. You apparently can only audition for the lead roles in pairs—so like if it were Romeo and Juliet you’d have to audition with the person you wanted to play your vice versa. What’s weird about this, we learn, is that Sharpay always auditions with her brother, Ryan, for these lead roles which are, generally speaking, romantic. So… I guess that means that Ryan and Sharpay have a very comfortable and loving brother-sister relationship. How nice!
We also learn that Ms. Darbus really really hates cell phones, so naturally Troy’s, Sharpay’s, Ryan’s, and Gabby’s all go off and Darbus gives them all detention. Nice.
After homeroom in the hallway we get treated to another conversextion between the reunited Gabby and Troy:
G: I don’t…
T: Believe it…
T: Me neither!
Apparently Troy wants to keep the karaoke singing thing from New Year’s under wraps and Gabby ignores him completely. Instead she claims she wants to get to know the school before signing up for anything like, saaaay, THE HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL! Just as she says this Sharpay pops out from behind the musicale audition sheets and insults Gabby and Troy. Okay, she’s not a nice person. Got it.
We find ourselves at basketball mid-afternoon basketball practice (I guess it’s like gym or something). Chad chides Troy for having thoughts about thinking about trying out for the HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL with the curious argument:“Do you think Shaquille O’Neal ever tried out for his high school’s musical?” Chad then shows off his really hairy armpits and proceeds to reveal a veiled homophobia by shuddering at the thought of show tunes, costumes, make-up and “ooh, it’s frightening.”
But, oh, Chad baby, then why do you proceed to perform in a musical number about basketball which is frankly the most homoerotic scene in the entire film?
We start with two players twisting their torsos back and forth so they can hand the ball off to one another. Then another player starts dribbling in a catchily percussive way while another boy passes the ball back and forth to himself (a key in-game skill, I’m sure). Troy then starts singing in that digitalized way that seems so popular these days. Lyrics begin: “You gotta shoot the outside J / You gotta get your head in the game” meanwhile the other players form a chorus line echoing “You gotta gotta gotta get your head in the game”. And all I’m saying is, if we were to put that chorus into the present tense it would read “I am getting getting getting getting head in the game.” Take it as you will, Chad.
I got my head in the game AND in my hands!
The team then do the three man weave and continually pass the ball to themselves. Troy then opines “We gotta make sure we get the rebound / Cuz when we get it then the crowd will go wild” and who the hell is writing this? This is terrible lyricism. Will the crowd really go wild EVERY TIME you get a damn rebound? Well, of course if you get the rebound you get a second chance so you better “grab it and go / maybe this time we’ll hit the right notes” and ok what? So is this supposed to be an indication that Troy is both a baller and wants to be a singer? Because I have never heard making a basket be compared to hitting the right notes, unless, of course, it’s not a song about basketball…
BUT WAIT! Actually, believe it or not, that IS the point of this song. Troy keeps thinking about singing when he should be “getting his head in the game.” Get it? Of course, that’s pretty hard to do when your entire practice has turned into a musical number.
The rest of the players then form a circle around Troy and start dancing to the music until: FREEZE. Lights down, spot light up on Troy who whines: “What’s wrong? My head’s in the game but my heart’s in the song!” He then decides he better “Shake this, yikes!” and we see him proceed to dribble in the middle of the circle while the team dances around him in what must be one of the dumbest choreographed dance interludes of all time. We then jump cut to Troy who spins towards the camera with the full team behind him and breaks into a Thriller-but-about-basketball dance while repeating the chorus. The song ends and the team walks away and we’re left to wonder: WAS THAT FOR FUCKING REAL? I mean seriously? Was it all in Troy’s mind or what? Or does Chad just have a definition of “dancing and singing” that I’m not familiar with?
The film never answers as we cut to chemistry class where Sharpay is interrogating Gabby on her feelings towards Troy. Gabby ignores her and calls out the teacher for writing an equation on the board incorrectly:
G: Shouldn’t it be 16 over pi?
Teach: That’s quite impossible [nervously checks textbook] I stand corrected!
This gives the president of the chemistry club, Taylor, the idea that Gabby might do great on the academic team; boy is that going to turn into an unnecessary subplot!
Troy is meanwhile sneaking around the auditions sign up, but chickens out. He’s spied upon by Ryan who grabs Sharpay and they both get suspicious. Sharpay then Googles Gabby and finds out that she’s, believe it or not, the number one hit on Google. This is, frankly, amusing, as the actor who plays Gabby would also later become the number one hit on google, but for faaaaar different reasons. In the movie though, Gabby is only recognized for her great big beautiful mind. Sharpay concocts a plan that will get Gabby out of her way: convince Taylor to force gabby to join the academic team!
We then cut to backstage of the school’s theater and are greeted with my FAVORITE line of the film. The evil drama teacher commands a student making a costume:
Darbus: Gold! More gold!
And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, well… JEEZ!
Ok, the real plot however is that Taylor has received word (via Sharpay) that Gabby is a super genius and thus insists that Gabby join the academic team which meets almost every day after school. Conflict much?
At basketball practice, Troy and Chad are of course absent because they’re in detention which I just realized means they are back stage too helping Ms. Darbus construct sets for THE HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL. Which is frankly hilarious. So basically this woman just thinks of reasons to give people detention so they are forced into working on her sets. Well, she’s not the first one to think of the concept of forced labor… Troy’s dad (the high school basketball coach) comes and bails the boys out.
We then cut to yet another incredibly fascist basketball practice which consists of Troy’s dad giving the team a pep talk about the big championship game. This prompts Chad to really freak me out by stretching out his arms a la Willem Dafoe a la Christ at the end of PLATOON and shouting: “We’re what team??? (WILDCATS)!!! WHAT TEAM??? (WILDCATS!!!)”
Cut to Gabby strolling the grounds with Taylor as the latter tries to get super genius to join the academic team. Gabby declines saying “I want to focus on my studies and help my mom get the house together… but what do you know about Troy Bolton?” Ah, so subtle transitioning of conversation topics is not one of Gabby’s strengths. Apparently cheerleaders (who only practice on the stairs) all want to strip Troy naked and squeal at him. There’s then some discussion about historic nail beds… wha? Sorry I can’t keep up sometimes with the female lingo.
The next day in dramaland students files in and Troy and Gabby stare at each other across the room and do this little head bobbing thing. Ms. Darbus announces that the musicale auditions are that day… oh boy!!! Outside Chad (wearing a shirt which reads “I come with my own background music”) wants to hang out with Troy, but Troy declines as he has some homework to catch up on. Troy blows him off and walks into a classroom. Chad trails him and then asks himself “What’s he doing?” Some other kid comes out of nowhere and randomly shakes Chad’s hand and then goes into the classroom too. During this time, apparently Troy magically escaped the classroom and is now running down the stairs. Chad stays in hot pursuit. This is truly riveting. A cat and mouse game through high school. I’ll give Troy credit, he’d make one of hell an escape artist as he manages to disappear noiselessly down 50 foot long alleyways with no visible exits.
That is, until he starts using the idea of hiding behind a janitor’s cart to spy on the musicale auditions. Ah, you see, Troy is still torn between auditioning and maintaining his normalcy!
Well we’re treated to Ms. Darbus kibitz through an extended auditions scene in which various kids deliver terrible auditions. These kids are pretty terrible which is not terribly pretty, nor funny. One girl clearly tries to hit on Ms. Darbus… Another is a faux opera singer showing a lot of cleavage… Then there’s a kid who just runs on stage and does some ballet moves and then runs off stage… Then there’s two kids who do an interpretive poem/dance to the song. This actually prompts Darbus to say “Well, that was very disturbing; go see a counselor… ugghhh!” which I admit is pretty charming in its brutality.
Stare at this still photograph for about 10 minutes and you will have basically experience the totality of Kelsey's performance.
Meanwhile in serendipity land (what is this, CENTER STAGE?) Gabby just happens to walk up behind Troy. The two then have yet another sexversation (note how I’m constantly changing the syllable in which I insert the word sex, eh? Eh?) about auditioning. And let me just take this moment to explain what a sexversation is between two pubescent actors. Basically, they hesitate halfway through every sentence to make it clear that their mind is working overtime to make sure they don’t betray their feelings for the other person in the act of talking (as in a Freudian slip). Apparently your mate will find it attractive when you say “uh” and pause all the time.
Anyway, Sharpay and Ryan finally strut/audition their stuff in one of my favorite scenes of the film. You see, they have a full recording of the audition song already completed on CD and, frankly, it’s awesome: an upbeat Bob Fosse version of an otherwise snooze of a pop ballad. The two start out by stealing the “glowing hands” routine from Fosse’s PIPPIN before busting out the silliest Broadway choreography this side of Twinkletown. Frankly, it’s a brilliant parody of the very musical crap that Disney used to pump out for so many years before starting to move into somewhat decent pop with Lizzy McGuire and now “Hannah Montana.” The two actors absolutely nail the scene. Sharpay perfectly captures this mix of sexiness and yet sexual incompetence in the way she struts about the stage while Ryan’s voice is arguably the strongest in the film and his self-pleasure in his own dancing precision is totally endearing. The song ends and Ryan gets the best damn line (and best damn delivery of the movie)
Sharpay: I told you not to do the jazz squares.
Ryan: (beaming) It’s a crowd favorite. Everybody love a good jazz square.
Priceless, can't we just watch a movie about these people?
Anyway, as expected Troy and Gabby aaaaaalmost audition but alas, don’t. They do however practice with Kelsey who composed all the songs for the musical (once again our duo magically learn the melodies, harmonies, and lyrics in about 15 seconds) and Troy and Gabby do a by-the-book pop ballad interpretation of the song, which, admittedly, is a by-the-book pop ballad. Just their luck, however, that Darbus overhears them and gives them a call back. Hooray!!! Oh, yeah, and they keep looking at each other with those sex eyes the whole way through.
Kelsey then reveals how little of a life she has by inviting them to her house for breakfast to practice… yeah, don’t worry Kelsey, I’ll nourish your talents…
Ryan and Sharpay flip a shit once they find out Troy and Gabby got call backs. Chad finds out to, and suddenly everybody’s got a problem. This leads to our next big number, “Status Quo.” The song is set in the cafeteria and we learn all sorts of secrets about people. Like, one basketball player who likes to bake scones and the perfect crème brulé. The next girl claims she has “intelligence beyond compare” (and an ego to boot) but then reveals all she wants to do is dance hip-hop. A kid asks her “Is that even legal?” The hell? Then we get the skater dude who plays the cello, and thank god, because his singing voice is terrible. Nothing like Disney’s attempt at pot humor.
It becomes painfully apparent that all of these kids are the ones who tried out for the film’s lead parts and were reduced to “cafeteria chorus” status. It’s admittedly a fun big “dance” scene in which once again Chad starts dancing like Michael Jackson thus contradicting his own character’s asserted revulsion of music and dancing.
Finally Sharpay starts ranting about how something is really, really, wrong and how things need to be put back where they belong. Sharpay then comes down the stairs to accost Gabby who in turn spills her lunch on Sharpay’s jacket. Sharpay tries to turn this into some kind of conspiracy theory, but nothing comes of it.
Chad meanwhile confronts Troy about his audition and how it has sparked off a revolution among the students. “Suddenly people think they can do other stuff,” Chad complains, and, I mean that does sound pretty awful. In other words, Chad is once again clearly a fascist who, like most fascists, can cut up a rug like no other.
The film kind of lulls at this point as it reminds the viewer of all the different conflicts set to be put into motion while waxing philosophical on its central theme of everyone breaking out of the status quo. Case in point, Zeke (the basketball player who loves to bake) invites Sharpay to one of his basketball games but Sharpay declines saying “Evaporate tall person.” Whether this is a racist comment or not, well, she’s not a senator so who cares?
Gabby and Troy meanwhile meet in a greenhouse atop the school and we get yet more awkward consexsation (moved it again!) about absolutely nothing… Troy is worried about his reputation, so is Gabby, blah blah. Troy doesn’t want to be “the basketball guy.” We then get some Chomskian philosophizing on how we make friends in kindergarten instantly but now we don’t when we’re older and la dee da they agree to do call backs. Next!
That means they have to practice for the callback, but this is the weirdest damn practice montage I have ever seen, or rather heard. In the background is this mysterious choir chanting HARRY POTTER-esque melodies while Troy and Gabby practice with Kelsey, and Sharpay and Ryan continually try to spy on them. Amusingly, we see a piece of sheet music which Troy is reading off of and he’s clearly not doing the note count correctly. But hey, he’s an artist. If there’s tension in any of these scenes I’m not sure where it’s supposed to come from. Just what exactly WILL happen if Sharpay catches Gabby and Troy practicing? I mean, what is she going to do to them, exactly? The best scene comes, however, when Troy and Gabby are working on the set back stage and staring at each other while rocking back and forth and smiling in what is unmistakably a case of air sex. I’m not kidding, fast forward to minute 52:00 and you’ll see exactly what I mean.
Well of course things slowly starting coming to a head. Troy is missing practice. Dad is getting pissed. Team is lost without their leader. Chemistry club needs its star, Sharpay is flipping a shit (in other words, all the conflicts we know exist and all the philosophical resolutions we know will come to fruition are rehashed again and again).
Somehow the plot shifts to it all being Gabby’s fault and how she is this temptress who’s getting Troy to basically be gay by joining the musical. Chad threatens Troy with the idea of running around in leotards (which is of course way gayer than getting naked with a bunch of guys in a locker room).
Chad then plots away to ensure that Troy and Gabby break up. The basketball team (wearing red) holds an intervention on Troy (wearing blue) about the historic basketball “legends” (riiiiight) of East High School. And how he will betray the greatest legend of all, his dad, if he bails on the team.
Meanwhile Taylor creates a powerpoint for Gabby about how Troy is an awful “aggressor” athlete who contributes nothing but slam dunks and touchdowns to civilization. Instead, Taylor opines, Gabby should follow the great women of the world like Eleanor Roosevelt and Frida and Sandra Day O’Connor and Oprah Winfrey (shoutout!).
And let me just say that this is yet more hetero/homo conflict going on. Troy is confronted by a bunch of men telling him to revere (and thus be like) all these male basketball players while Taylor tells Gabby to be like all these female thinkers. Heterosexuality be damned!!!
It’s actually all a trap, you see, as the basketball team is actually filming Troy on a webcam (?) and sending it to Gabby who then sees Troy say he’s just doing the singing thing to keep his nerves down and that Gabby is unimportant to him. This makes Gabby cry and join the chemistry team. Who knew bringing someone to tears was such a successful recruitment method?
Well it’s the day of the big game (I assume) seeing as how cheerleaders are outside dancing on the steps… oh wait, they always do that here at East High, so who knows maybe it’s just another Tuesday. Gabby then solos some heartbreak song while standing in front of a window and furrowing her brow. It’s amazing how little she moves her face or mouth when singing. She eventually starts getting into it, swinging around on banisters and pointing at the ceiling to indicate “shooting stars.”
Aaaah! Help! Attack of the Incredible Hunk!
Troy then comes up to Gabriella to talk to her about the final call backs but she cuts him short saying, “You’ve got your boys, Troy.” I’ll save the comments for you to imagine.
So everyone is fitting into the “status quo.” Troy is upset by all this which we know because he misses every shot at basketball practices and starts groaning constantly. We know Gabriella is upset because she stands on her patio staring at a tree. When they pass each other in the cafeteria they just ignore each other and look depressed. Everyone seems so miserable. Gee, that’s sad. Well Taylor and Chad finally realize the error of their ways and right wrongs, and you know what that means: RESOLUTION TIME!!!
Troy swings by Gabby’s to apologize for his earlier remarks and tries to convince her to sing with him in the call backs by bringing her a present: himself! Actually, himself singing on her balcony through the window. Troy sings this without accompaniment which makes me really appreciate accompaniment, but nevertheless it’s enough to woo Gabby back.
The movie then goes up tempo with a heavy drum beat and some electric guitar in the background. We start cutting between basketball practice and chemistry, uh, practice. Gabby and Troy both fly out of their respective commitments to rush off to practice for their auditions and all I can say is do they really need to practice all that much? It seems like they nailed the song the first damn time they sang it.
As usual Ryan and Sharpay spy on them (haven’t they been doing this for the past half hour of film time). Ryan states the obvious: “Wow, they sound pretty good.” Only then does Sharpay say “We have to do something.” Uhm, okay, yeah I’d say it’s about time you actually DO something about your main competition for the play. I might recommend practicing, but I’m guessing that’s not Sharpay’s style.
Instead Sharpay notes that Gabby’s chemistry competition and Troy’s basketball championship are at the same time and gee, wouldn’t it suck if the HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL callbacks were also moved to the same date and time? Such is the plan hatched, and success soon finded.
Well that’s the challenge set up for the dynamic duo of chemistry Club + basketball team. Just in case you have lost track of just how much conflict there is in the plot, the film gives you a handy-dandy text overlay to clear things up (see image).
Yup, the entire plot of this movie can summed up in about eight words.
Zeke bakes Gabby and Taylor a Pi pie and meanwhile the girls have made a poster that says Go Wildcats and throw a bunch of stuffed balls at them. The basketball teamsters meanwhile have all donned shirts which spell out “GO DRAMA CLUB!” and display them proudly for Darbus, Sharpay, and Ryan. When I first saw this a thought to myself: “Funny, if you couldn’t read you might accidentally see this as “GOD RAM A CLUB!” Ryan, I immediately found out, in fact can’t read as he stutters to himself “Gaw Gaw Go Gaw Dream?” Well good to know everyone has time for an education outside of their extra-curricular activities here at East High School.
The bell rings and everyone is getting psyched up for the big game. We get a money shot of a topless Troy tying his shoelaces. Dad then gives Troy an all too familiar “I just want you to have fun… the time of your life… you give me that, and I’ll sleep with a smile on my face no matter how the score comes out.” Huh… and we’ll leave it at that.
Meanwhile, and this is perhaps the most preposterous part of the movie, the chemistry/scholastic team actually has an AUDIENCE cheering for their competition. What? Anyway, this competition consists of writing formulas on a dry erase board as quickly as possible.
Cut to the call backs where Kelsey is now wearing an Al Jolson like get-up and Sharpay and Ryan are doing trust exercises in their dressing room. Darbus gives a little speech about soaring together to Kelsey and a young Asian-American boy (I guess he’s a freshman). I thought to myself, because stereotypically the Asian population in high school drama departments is a bit on the non-existent, “Awesome, movie,” for breaking that stereotype. That’s what I thought, anyway, until the kid then whips out a camera and takes a picture of Darbus and Kelsey. Well at least he’s not wearing a Hello Kitty T-shirt…
Little did anyone known this young man is building an FBI case against Darbus questionable use of child labor in her set productions.
Sharpay and Ryan then bust out their call back audition in which they do a tango complete with “Arrrribaaaaas” and shit. Is the song they’re doing from the musical? Where did it come from? Well if you’re curious about the song, just ask yourself where the hell they got a gold-glitter coated ladder and a dangling disco ball.
The chemistry team, meanwhile, sets their plan into action to get Gabby and Troy to callbacks on time. Firs they hack into the school’s circuitry system (I guess??) and “Send Code” that disrupts the basketball game by screwing with the score board. “For safety reasons,” everyone needs to evacuated the gym. Meanwhile, the chemistry team ALSO causes some chemical reaction to go off and so everyone needs to evacuate the… chemistry room, or wherever they hold such things. So you know what that means: Gabby and Troy are free to their thang.
They both get to the callbacks a bit on the late side but after some sixty seconds of huffing and puffing they are allowed to perform. Meanwhile the ENTIRE student body of East High School files into to see the audition because… well because this is HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL damnit!
In the moment we all have been forced to wait for, Gabby and Troy finally perform at their callback audition. Well, almost, Gabby gets a dash of stage fright and starts to run away. Troy reassures her “Hey hey hey come here, look right at me, right at me, like the first time we sang together.” And, if you like, think back to my theory on just what that “first time together” from the beginning of the movie was analogous to. Got that image? Okay, good, now picture Kelsey wearing her Al Jolson wanna be costume playing the piano and bugging her eyes out meanwhile the entire student body plus Troy’s dad watches Troy and Gabby “relive their first time together” in front of a blue city-scape background (which literally descends out of the ceiling which means there’s also a stage manager back their somewhere) and you will have visualized the climax to HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL perfectly. “Can you feel it building like a wave the ocean just can’t control?” Oh yeah baby. Admittedly it’s all pretty euphoric and reminds us that pop music really can bring the bourgeoisie together like nothing else.
Well the two wrap up the song staring into each other’s eyes with chests heaving while the crowd goes wild. Kelsey takes a bow, but no one pays her any mind. (And yes, by the way, there IS a stage manager back there.)
Cut back to the basketball game where Troy, of course, makes the winning shot. Final score 68-67. SIXTY-EIGHT to SIXTY-SEVEN??? Most college games don’t score that high. Just who the hell are these people??? Chad meanwhile goes back to fascist mode shouting “WHAT TEAM??? (WILDCATS!!!)” per usual. The film then resolves pretty much every loose end in arguably the best choreographed (yet still dumb) part of the movie. It’s one extended take of people basically working everything out. Troy is nominated game MVP. Gabby, we learn, won the science competition. Chad asks Taylor out. Sharpay congratulates Gabby but then rebuffs Zeke’s cookie advances; Ryan, however is more than happy to chat it up with Zeke… nice. Chelsea is suddenly wearing a one strap halter top and is screwed from behind by a random basketball player (hey, if you’ve been watching this movie as long as I have, you’d be thinking the same damn thing).
Finally we learn just what the cheerleaders have been working on all this time: the song “We’re All in This Together” in which everyone just boogies down in the middle of the basketball court. It’s funny when they talk about everyone being special in their own way while everyone is wearing the color red. Well, I guess to be fair even some of the West High kids are joining in, I guess they don’t mind losing and then dancing with the other team, even when the song breaks into “Wildcats in the house… wildcats everywhere.” That’s a gracious loser right there, I can tell you.
And the credits role while hip-hop genius girl (remember her?) does her thing. Darbus dances with the team mascot and then the Asian camera kid… and then BACK to the mascot who leads everyone in a conga line. Finally there’s Zeke, all alone in the gym, Sharpay runs in shouting “These cookies are genius, the best things I’ve ever tasted. Will you make some more for me Zeke?” He replies, “I might even make you a crème brulé” Sharpay squeals in delight as Zeke sticks his tongue out at the camera.
Now, I’m not one to read sexual innuendo into a scene for no reason. Maybe those two really are going off to bake together, but that closing shot is immediately followed by a graphic for “Salty Pictures” and I mean… come on. I MEAN COME ON??? WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME PEOPLE???
Is it just me, or does this icon look suspiciously like an Ecstasy tablet? Not that I'd know about such things of course…
Screw it, I gotta go get me some head… in the game that is.