Made for TV Movie: High School Musical (2006)

High School Musical is a made for TV movie that aired on Disney Channel in 2006. High School Musical is a movie that revolves around Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez (played by Zac Efron and Vanessa Anne Hudgens.) The High School Musical had great success during its run, eventually leading to the creation of High School Musical 2 and 3. Troy Bolton is East High School’s basketball star player whose father is the basketball team coach. Gabriella is a chemistry genius, who wants to start anew, that just transferred to East High because of her mom. The two first meet at a New Year’s Eve party where they sang together. Conflicts arise when Troy and Gabriella are both faced with the choice of choosing to pursue their passion for singing (a duet in the school’s Winter Musical) or to stick with their own “status quos.”

The movie opens up a series of anomalous categories that meddle with the “balance” that prevails within the halls of East High. The conflict begins when Troy and Gabriella audition, and get called back for the Winter Musicale that is supposedly meant for Sharpay and Ryan (East High’s broadway/drama club stars.) The high school students then sing “Stick to the Status Quo” which introduces different characters who are empowered to come out of their own cliques because they were inspired by Troy’s bravery in showing everyone that he was also interested in singing. Gabriella then goes on saying, “did you ever feel like there’s this whole other person inside of you just looking for a way to come out?” The movie is filled with these anomalous categories of breaking the boundaries of the status quo and blurring the distinctions between being athletic, smart, and musically inclined. Somehow, in the beginning of the story, the characters are set on only becoming excellent in just one field and belonging to only one clique of the school. However, the “balance” is resolved when the characters finally realize that there is no need to choose only basketball, the scholastic decathlon team, or the drama club, because Troy and Gabriella proved that they can belong to two groups at the same time.

This movie made a great impact on me during my high school years. The first High School Musical movie was  aired when I was in my first year of high school. The other High School Musical movies were also aired at significant times that coincided with what was happening in my life. The last High School Musical movie, High School Musical 3: Senior Year was aired when I was almost graduating from high school and thinking about college.

The resolution of the High School Musical movie was about acceptance. Creating a new order of balance within the East High Society. However, there is the notion of love or romance within the movie that acted as the driving force of why Troy and Gabriella chose to break away from the current status quo. The notion of choosing to fight for love rather throwing away love is another binary opposition that can be analyzed from the movie.

The status quo and the cliques are only a part of the society by which the characters belong to. However, the main conflict between finding love and losing love could be the underlying binary opposition within the movie. The anomalous category of having their friends or teammates destroying the connection between the two was the disruption between the binary oppositions, but the resolution of the movie fixes the disruption and love prevails.

This movie may have opened the idea of having the balance disrupted by the  moving away of the characters from their cliques but, the decision was only made possible because of the special “connection” that Troy and Gabriella had with each other. None of the other characters in the movie chose to drastically move away from the status quo because they had not experience the special connection that Troy and Gabriella had for each other. In the end, love is the force that drives the two to take risks and move away from the status quos that envelop them. Their love for each other becomes the reason why they defy the status quos that surround them and fight for what they truly love doing. And ultimately, as expected, love succeeds.

Sources:

BC 181 Structuralism PowerPoint Presentation by April Damo

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