hsm - the revolution story
on new years eve, a girl is reading a book. obviously anyone reading a book is a hardcore leftist, or at the very least just reading a single leftist meme.
she gets talking to one troy bolton, and she opens his eyes to the leftist struggle, the tenets of anarchism, and everything and anything else that she’s able to talk about.
the two go on to sing a song about this new world troy has been introduced to, something he’s never even considered previously in his life, it truly is the start of something new.
troy is struggling with this new found knowledge, no longer can he remain ignorant to the injustice taking place in his world. activities that previously gave him joy now shine their oppresive light into his mind. the song “getcha head in the game” is paramount to how tough it is for him to continue living his life as he once did.
troy and gabriella bear witness to the perils of the profit motive, as the resident petty bougs sharpay and ryan twist an artists pride and joy work into corporatised trash in order to have a better chance at advancing their own interests, at the behest of the human labour that created the song. troy and gabriella share a moment of solidarity with this artist, and perform the song as intended, regardless of what the marketing gurus say would be the most profitable. this earns them the respect of the liberal drama teacher, sympathetic to the leftist cause but ignorant of the truths of the system she supports (perhaps she’ll change her mind in a few movies time).
the system cant handle this shake up, and the petty bougs, upon noticing a threat to their position within said system are distraught. propoganda for the current system must be unleashed! and all the working class students, conned by the state and capitalists insist that we must stick to the status quo, that any deviation must be inherently dangerous and quelled before it is allowed to go further. the proof is in the pudding, however, as throughout the song almost all the students express sadness at their inability to realise their goals under capitalism, that they must stick to what is profitable or starve.
the seeds of a revolution are sown.
the liberals get to troy first, and trick him into admitting that gabriella isnt needed for their cause, perhaps capitalism can be altered, bandaged instead! the seeds of leftist disunity are strong and threaten to overtake the garden.
gabriella longs for a time when leftists can put aside their differences and realise that anarchism is simply the end goal for them all, regardless of whether they acknowledge it. a time when there was me and you.
the oppurtunity for revolt is too great, however. with the musical coming up the two have the right moment to inspire revolt, and troy realises he needs gabriella, they must work together, not against each other.
sharpay uses her wealth and power for personal gain, lobbying the government to move the audition dates to a time where the working class cant afford to alter their schedule. once again wealth infers unfair advantages to our “democracy”.
moral is low, but the students have other plans. PROTEST erupts at both the basketball game and the decathalon, disrupting both and giving enough time for troy and gabriella to perform their demonstration, to radicalise the students.
petty bougs sharpay and ryan attempt to instill bootlicker logic, that anyone with enough hard work, regardless of any “so called disadvantages” can pull themselves up by their bootstraps and “bop to the top”, but the revolutionaries are having none of that.
their performance inspiring everyone that they too can “break free” is a hit, everyone believes that we can govern ourselves! that once we’re truly free we can be “soaring and flying” to previously unknown heights of whats possible for society.
its not solely about try and gabriella though, death to our heroes because “were all in this together”, we all share this planet and we all are capable of living life to the fullest, as long as we work together.
the revolution is here.
hsm2 - a step back
in true serial experiments fashion, highschool musical 2 is not a sequel, but an alternate look at how the successful revolution of the first could be quelled by the society the powers that be instill.
the revolution is looking good, the working class have hope and are just waiting for the day, they celebrate the inevitibility of revolt, what time is it? they ask themselves, but all is not going to plan.
the truths of life as a worker under capitalism rears its head, and the students are all preoccupied with making rent, feeding themselves, and living in a society that cares more about stealing their labour than whether or not they live or die.
meanwhile, petty bougs sharpay and ryan have no need to worry, they instead lavish in gross decadence, living a fabulous life and treating anyone with less wealth than them as lazy, worthless and invisible.
wealth cannot buy true love, however, and sharpay finds her extravagent lifestyle missing something - true human connection, the kind that (unknown to her) can only be found between truly equal individuals.
troy finds a job the main way that people do: through nepotism ala sharpay. he manages to get jobs for his friends also so they may suffer in solidarity. we can work this out he claims, hinting at unionising so that their manager will give them better working conditions than the harsh job theyve been subjected to. a noble cause, however this job does not leave the students much time to organise revolution.
troy struggles financially, and as such is incentivised, against his morals to abandon his friends and pursue a life of upper class scholarships. he simply cannot afford to maintain his morals, as capitalism rewards those who play bad actor.
gabriella - ancom icon - still realises whats really important though, true connection with her comrades, as they are the music in me.
contrasted to this is sharpays latest attempt at gross cultural appropriation for profit, turning hawai’ian culture into nothing but tourist attraction showtunes, much to troys annoyance - the spirit of revolt is still within him, however deep down.
meanwhile, ryan is starting to realise his only use to the cappies is if he can make profit, not as a person, and that he is easily replaceable as soon as is easy.
he meets up with the students, and is surprised to learn how much they truly care, how nice they are compared to the image of propoganda he was told.
they begin to radicalise him, but he’s iffy at first - i dont dance he claims, how could someone like him, who stands to lose wealth at revolt, support this?
the divisiveness of the cappie narrative is strong, and troy finds himself at odds with who he once called his comrades. he takes part in another bastardisation of a song that a struggling artist has put her heart and soul into, becoming just another cog in the entertainment industries profits.
gabriella asserts that no love can cause her to abandon her principles, she has to go her own way and continue the good fight.
we are given an intense look into the mindset of those who so called “support” capitalism when the head of the resort, despite being very wealthy as a result of his ownership of private property, breaks down in a telling and frankly very real monologue:
No discussion, Miss McKessie. This is a business. Welcome to the world of adults who wish to keep their jobs because they have mortgages they wish to pay, tuition bills, car payments, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So, sometimes, we have to perform tasks, however unpleasant, that are necessary for that all-too-important paycheque to land in our all-too-empty pockets!
troy realises his mistake, and with a new, fired up passion for what is true and right, vows to not stop until revolt is a reality, you can bet on it.
ryan shows his allegiance to the cause and gives the spotlight to two workers, formally the arena of the wealthy drama intelligencia.
the students then celebrate the renewed passion for revolt, they exclaim “All for One!” and “One for All!”, revealing that the current model of private property is at odds with living a fulfilling life.
the revolt may have been quashed temporarily, but the spirit lives on.
hsm3 - the non-marxy one
troy is in competition with his long time rival, the west high knights, in a competitive event embodying masculinity. he “empowers” his teammates, claiming its now or never and that its too late to decide, they are the men and they must prove it to everyone else, right now.
troy and gabriella later admit their uncertainty for what the future holds, only knowing what they feel right here, right now, regardless of what they’ll admit to themselves.
at school, troy is forced into introspection as he is signed up for the school drama against his will, in a theme focussing on the futures of each student. previously troy had experimented with partaking in the decidely more feminine art of stage performance, but dropped it to focus on what was expected of him: displays of testosterone on the basketball court.
troy is questioning his future, torn between the two options, sport and drama. chad tries to remind him of the times he had as a young boy, a call to masculine interests in the car junkyard. the boys are back indeed.
troy is not convinced though, he cannot get the contradiction out of his head, perhaps masculinity is simply not for him?
troy brings up this uncertainty to his father, who is distraught that troy may not fulfill the wish fulfillment he had for his son. the encounter goes badly until troy runs away, screaming at his lungs in the one place he’s begun to feel solace, the school drama theater.
miss darbus is the one to answer troys call, and gives him the talk he needs. perhaps, she says, sharpay (the icon of “true femininity”) is no longer what we should be aiming for. perhaps, she says, troy was meant for more than his current life.
she tells him the choice he already knows in his heart, ball or drama?. perhaps, troy learns, ball isn’t all there is to life.
the movie ends on a somber note. troy, with miss darbus’ help, realises the choice is truly his and his alone to make, and he takes his own path upon which both options he’s come to love are avaliable - he no longer needs to choose at this moment, but instead is free to explore his own future.