Monday, March 1, 2010
High School Musical 3
Being at the older end of the Millennials Generation and having not yet achieved parenting status, I had successfully managed to escape the new heights of pop culture hysteria also known as the High School Musical franchise.
It all began with a simple e-mail message sent by my very own bff, K, who makes her living as a nanny to S, a young pre-"tween."
K wrote, "I told S I'd take her and a friend out for her birthday, and she wants to see High School Musical 3. Wanna come with us?"
I stared thoughtfully at the computer screen, watching the arrow hover over the "reply" button. High School Musical 3. Is this going too far? It's true, I've seen my share of Hannah Montana marathons on the Disney Channel. There may be a Hillary Duff song or two on my iPod. In our time K and I were quite the boy band aficionados.
But lately, I felt I'd matured. I saw the Jonas Brothers perform on a late night entertainment show and felt this marked the end of my boy band days. I mean they look like kids to me now. When I liked the New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys, the members were always older than me, and I'd dream about our weddings as I flipped through a Tiger Beat magazine. Now seeing the youthful Jonas Brothers I just feel the urge to yell at them to get off my lawn and get a goddamn haircut.
On the other hand, I'm a whore for all things musical, and I love spending time with K. Why not?! I replied with a confident "YES, please!" and scribbled High School Musical 3 on my calendar.
When the big day arrived, I marched up to the ticket booth and said, "One for HSM3, please.' I swear I saw a smirk spread across the face of the clerk as he handed me my ticket. I felt that familiar wave of shame and euphoria rush over me, the same way it did when K and I saw Justin Timberlake, strapped in a harness, fly over the stage singing Christopher Cross's "Sailing" at an N*Sync concert.
Armed with movie essentials--popcorn, candy and soda pop--we settled into our seats, surrounded by giggling groups of teenage girls around us.
"Girls," K announced, leaning toward young S and her friend B, "Jenny's never seen the first two High School Musicals. What do you think she should know before the movie starts?"
Both girls snapped to attention, eyes wide, sitting at the edge of their seats. "See, there's this girl Gabriella, and she loves this guy Troy.."
"..Troy is like, the coolest guy at school, he plays basketball and stars in the high school musical and stuff..."
"...and then Taylor, she always gets what she wants in the end...."
"...an Sharpay, she's like the richest girl in school and she's always trying to break up Troy and Gabriella..."
I turned to K and mouthed, "Sharpay?" K rolled her eyes and smiled.
"...yeah Sharpay is the girl from The Suite Life of Zack and Cody except she's nice and poor in that show and she's rich and mean in this one..."
"Oh!" I said brightly. "I know that show!" I whispered to K, "So is this pre-nose job Ashley Tisdale?"
"Post, I think," K whispered back, giggling. "And hey, thanks for coming tonight. I know it's just a kids show, but..."
"Hey, don't worry about it," I replied, "It's fun, actually. I used to like to watch the Olsen twins movies, but the last one I went to was just me and some old men sitting by themselves in the theater. It was kind of weird."
The screen lit up with a shot of Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston chasing a dog on the beach for the soon-to-be-released Marley and Me. "Auggh," I whispered to K, "another movie about a poor puppy dying I bet."
"Would you look at the balls on that dog? They're huge! Just flapping in the wind while he runs," K muttered, fascinated.
"Hey," I said, "I was at the video store the other day and there's a movie out called Bible School Musical. I thought it was a satire but it turns out it's an alternative to the 'raunchier' HSM franchise."
"Well," K replied thoughtfully, "Home-schooled kids need to be represented, too, I guess."
A few more adorable puppy movie previews later, the room darkened and the show began. The lead character Troy, played by the superbly light-on-his-toes Zac Efron, appeared in the shot, and the theater crackled with excited gasps from the crowd. Troy immediately goes into song, showing us possibly the gayest and most fabulous basketball game ever on the screen.
You could hear people in the theater singing along. Young S and B sat perched on their seats, eyes glued on the screen, their lips moving silently along with Troy and the school basketball team. K covered her face with her hands, shoulders shaking. She may have been laughing or weeping, I'm not sure which. I leaned over and whispered, "Oh my god. This is so lame." I paused.
"I wonder if this song is on iTunes."
K wiped the tears from her eyes and said, "It is kinda catchy, isn't it?"
After Troy leads the basketball team to the state championship, he and Gabriella climb up to his childhood treehouse and reminisce. "Awwww..." is the collective reaction of the audience. Here we learn that although Troy has a basketball scholarship to his father's alma mater, and he totally, like, dude, loves basketball in the manliest of ways, he's also feeling theater, and now he just doesn't know what to do.
"What a whiner," K muttered, "Why doesn't he just play basketball and major in theater? Problem solved, movie over." I snickered, glancing around the theater. No one hears us over the music numbers.
Gabriella looks at Troy lovingly and tells him, "I have some decisions to make, too."
"Yes but the abortion clinic has closed for the night," I whispered. K giggled.
Later in the movie Troy takes off his shirt to put on his basketball jersey. I nearly choked on my popcorn as the room filled with blood-curdling shrieks and catcalls.
"OH MY GOD ZAC I LOVE YOU! I LOVE YOU!"
K and I burst into giggles. The girls around us were jumping and screaming and crying like we were at a concert.
"This is fun!" I smiled at S and B, who were looking at their older, teenaged fellow HSM fanatics in awe.
The audience participation continued for the rest of the movie, with girls randomly shrieking whenever Zac Efron appeared on screen. When Troy and Gabriella dance and sing in the rain, the girls behind us cheer, and K is compelled to whisper, "I bet Gabriella's not the only one all wet right now."
During a head-scratching moment in which Troy and his bff dance in a scrap yard dressed inexplicably in tight flannel shirts with bandanas tied Laverne and Shirley style around their heads, K turns to me and says, "Umm...I think they're doing Flashdance."
"I know, right? They're like ripping off every single musical!" I exclaimed, "Let's see, they've done Flashdance, Footloose--"
"Grease!" K chimed in, "And Mary Poppins and--"
"Chicago," I offered, "Everything Bob Fosse, really."
We watched Gabriella, wearing pedal-pushers and a summery white shirt, dance with Troy outdoors. K and I turned to each other. "Dirty Dancing!" we exclaimed in unison.
The movie continued and wrapped up, with Troy and Gabriella reunited and feelin' so good, Sharpay put in her place and set for the future HSM franchise, and Troy deciding that he can play basketball and major in theater at UC-Berkeley, of course.
"So," K asked as the lights came on. "What did you guys think?"
Young S and B gave enthusiastic replies, as I shrugged and said, "it was OK." I paused.
"Wonder when it comes out on DVD?"