Saturday, December 29, 2007

Delusions of Grandeur

(I haven't had a god rant in a while, have I? Let's change that!)

You know, ever since I've been home from Berkeley, I've been watching a lot more TV than I usually do. (Of course, when your normal TV consumption amount is zero, that's a pretty easy feat.) Truth be told, though, I'm usually doing something else when the TV is on, like reading a book, using my laptop, or hard-boiling eggs for my special "Salsa Huevos" recipe (hard-boil as many eggs as you want, throw the yolks away, chop up the egg whites into little pieces, and mix with salsa. Serve warm or chilled. Tasty and nutritious!)

Now, I was partaking in the latter activity when my father and sister were watching the Disney Channel (uh-oh!) original movie High School Musical 2: The Sing Along. Now, my father insisted that they were watching because it's such a horrible movie (which, in all honesty, is a fairly believable answer, as my dad, like myself and old roommate/THE_BOLSHEVIK co-star Kris, really likes bad movies [such as the infamous Troll 2, which I wholeheartedly recommend]). Still, High School Musical - the "most successful Disney Channel Original Movie of all time - is in a league of its own. I once tried watching it with a co-worker, and literally could not sit through more than 20 minutes without needing to breathe into a paper bag.

"Now Andrew, what problem do you have with this movie? It's a simple made-for-TV movie starring college-aged kids playing high school-aged kids in order to entertain elementary school-aged kids."

Well, I'll tell you what problem I have with it!

First, look at this poster.

...Good. Gravy.

First of all, could we get any more PC? We have a perfect gender makeup (50% of each), and an almost-complete ethnic makeup (two white guys, a white girl, a black girl, a...Dominican guy, and what looks to be a Chicano girl. They should have replaced the middle guy with a Korean or something). The only thing that doesn't seem to be politically correct is that all the male characters appear to be unbelievably gay. Take that, religious right!

Second, what the hell are they doing? Jumping in unison while smiling really creepily? That is so 1992!

Okay, second of all, people have long criticized the Disney cartoons of the (second, and better) Golden Age of Animation for having characters that spontaneously break out into song and dance. Oh, never mind that there are mermaids, talking animals galore, genies, and the like; that choreography is totally unrealistic. Now, I looked through as many reviews as I could for this movie, and found zero that mention this fact. Talk about double standards! This movie is set in the modern world, has live action, and (to the best of my knowledge) no talking animals, yet at the drop of a proverbial hat, everyone will stop what they're doing and do the hully-gully.

"You know, I just know this song and dance number is just going to break down into some sort of unholy orgy."
~Andrew Schnorr on High School Musical

Now, my main beef with the movie, and all modern non-pirate Disney movies in general. The lesson appears to be the following:
Not only can your dreams come true, but they will. Without fail.

Seriously, watch any Disney Channel/ABC Family movie/TV show and I could guarantee that every single one will end up with the protagonists getting everything they wanted from the beginning, with no actual sacrifice (that lasts, at least). What does that teach our kids? I'll tell you what it doesn't teach: reality.

Really, what needs to happen in High School Musical 3 is the following: the main character (according to Wikipedia, "Troy") gets rejected to all colleges but one: UC Merced. He decides to go to a community college instead, and in doing so, loses all his scholarships. While there, he hangs out with the wrong crowd, gets hooked on cocaine, and loses all his friends. The poster is exactly the same as the one above, except Troy is on the ground, dealing with a nosebleed. The tagline: "We don't even know who you are anymore." Everyone else can succeed, but only because they got rid of that baggage. See? A valuable lesson. We need more and more Disney movies that teach the importance of:

Mix that in with their usual tripe and you got yourself a real preparatory experience. In fact, when I take over Iger's position, the company's slogan will be changed to "Some children won't make it. Not all dreams come true." With this new, edgier angle, power by strong sales to the emo market, the Disney stock is sure to skyrocket.

So, anyway, mix up some Salsa Huevos and think about this the next time you're watching a Disney Channel Original Movie.


Anonymous said...

Aside for the fact that this represents nothing like what American high schoolers go through each day. Those that don't know what kids go through should not say what kids go through...

-Comrade Chavez

Anonymous said...

To quote Oscar Wilde: "Everything popular is (horrendously) wrong."