Wonder what that girl on the left was thinking.

Why am I writing about High School Musical? I like the movie, but I’m not a superfan. I know many of the words to most of the songs, but I don’t play the soundtracks too often.

I’m writing about High School Musical because I think I have a unique perspective after living through the explosion the movie caused. And because it’s 15 now.

I was in the sixth grade when the first movie of the trilogy premiered on Friday, January 20, 2006. (It was so heartwarming to finish each grade level in the same numeric year…like completing 6th in ’06, graduating 12th in 2012, you get it.)

I remember liking HSM #1, but I was partial to another Disney franchise that premiered the same year. I’ll give you a hint: she wore a blonde wig and lived in a beach house.

You see, Hannah/Miley (kind of) filled the void that Hilary Duff left after Lizzie McGuire. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that HSM helped a little, too. The story was pretty easy, the tunes were catchy, and Ashley Tisdale was already on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. That facial recognition helped the channel quite a bit, if you ask me. Disney was smart to capitalize on the first movie’s success by releasing #2 in 2007 and #3 in ’08.

By the time I was in eighth grade, I had a huge HSM fan in my middle school chorus class. When our director let us sing “We’re All in This Together,” this girl taught us the entire dance so that we’d look cool performing the song in front of everybody. I sure hope I looked cool.

Around this time, the second movie had already come out. I went to a birthday party with a bunch of dancing middle schoolers, and we came up with dances to all the songs from HSM 2. It wasn’t long before I went to the theater to see the third movie with friends.

One last anecdote: my sister and I had a game for the Wii called “Disney Channel Sing It.” We had a regular pop version and an HSM game. It was basically karaoke, and we impersonated Troy and Gabriella singing “I Gotta Go My Own Way” soooo many times that I can still sing you the whole song, or at least the chorus. “Bet on It” was dramatic, too.

I didn’t really know that, as a tween girl, I was being so heavily marketed to. It seems like Disney Channel must have known this movie would grab viewers who were aging out of their shows along with little kids who could get their parents to buy all kinds of merch.

High School Musical

After getting into high school, I didn’t think about High School Musical quite as much, except to pop in the DVD or catch it on the channel to watch it with family once in awhile. Now, a decade and a half later, the franchise is a given. Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens are forever frozen in time singing “Start of Something New.” The wide shot of all the Wildcats having their hoo-rah in the gym is burned in my brain. I feel kind of old, but I can navigate back to the beginnings of HSM in a heartbeat. In short, it was a fun time. 8/10 I’d go back (maybe without dressing up as Hannah Montana for that one Halloween party).

If you’d like to read more from me about High School Musical in a manner that doesn’t involve my tweendom, head to ScreenRant. I recommend this one right here about how the plot of this movie was recycled before and after it existed. Go Wildcats!

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