High School Musical

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
We're all in this together...

A Disney Channel Original Movie which has become phenomenally popular, especially with tween girls. Among others.

Basically it is a Musical set in a High School about the people trying out for their High School Musical and School Teams. With a Boy Meets Girl plot and an Alpha Bitchy antagonist. Lather, rinse and repeat.

This movie spawned two sequels, one of which was released theatrically, and a Spin-Off movie, titled Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure starring, of course, Ashley Tisdale as Sharpay. There is also a Glee-esque Spin-Off TV show in the works[when?], Madison High, where Mrs. Darbus relocates from East High to teach at a new high school.

The franchise also has Spiritual Successors: The major one being Camp Rock, the minor ones being Starstruck and Lemonade Mouth.

Tropes used in High School Musical include:
  • Aesop Amnesia: Sharpay suffers from this, having apparently seen the error of her ways at the end of the first film, only to become nasty again at the beginning of the sequel. Repeat for the second and third films.
  • All Guys Want Cheerleaders: Averted. There aren't any major cheerleader characters until #3, and even then, the only reference we get to a date with a cheerleader (in this case, Jason wanting to date Martha, the hip-hop loving nerd) is in a deleted scene.
  • Almost Kiss: Troy and Gabriella at the end of the first film before the Crowd Song, and then in the entire second movie.
  • Alpha Bitch: Sharpay was undoubtedly intended to be unsympathetic, due to the target audience. She comes across as more of a Lovable Alpha Bitch due to the way Ashley Tisdale portrays her, to the point where she became noticeably more humanized in the third film. She even got her own spinoff movie, Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure, where she went from Lovable Alpha Bitch to Fallen Princess.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Ryan.
    • In the third movie, they pair him with Kelsi...then have him appear on stage wearing pink trousers...
    • One of the first outfits he wears in the second movie is mostly pink with little stripes.
    • Fun fact: Lucas Grabeel actually played a closeted gay on Veronica Mars, and he seemed straighter than Ryan.
  • Angry Black Man: Chad seems to exist largely for the purpose of angrily over-reacting to things.
  • Appeal to Obscurity:

Chad: Have you ever seen Michael Crawford on a cereal box?
Troy: Who's Michael Crawford?
Chad: Exactly my point!

    • As for the question, how does Chad know who Michael Crawford is? Handwaved by having Chad explain that his mom put his picture in their fridge.
  • Award Bait Song Softer and Slower Cover: We're All in This Together (Graduation Version) from the third film.
  • Be Yourself: Shocker!.
  • Bigger Is Better: And better, is bigger, a little bit is never enough!
  • Billy Elliot Plot: How the above message manifests itself, especially with Troy.
  • Black and Nerdy: Taylor. Chad averts this, due to him being a Jerk Jock.
  • Black Best Friend: Chad and Zeke.
  • Blondes Are Evil: Sharpay.
  • Captain Obvious Aesop: "Be yourself and don't bully others". Quite an revolutionary concept, wouldn't you agree?
  • The Cheerleader: A mild version, but yet a scene in the first movie depicts cheerleaders as shallow, concerned only on having strong fingernails and guy's looks (or at least, depicts the perception Taylor has of them).
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Sharpay, who repeatedly thinks up plans to get Troy away from Gabriella and to become her boyfriend.
  • Continuity Nod: Is the only way to explain how Sharpay forgets the date of the Big Game in #3--it's an in-joke referencing her first line in #1.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: This was very nearly the entire plot of all three movies. #2 especially had Sharpay pulling out all the stops in an attempt to lure Troy away from his buddies, via "Look what I could do for you with all my nifty social connections."
  • Cultural Rebel: The basis for Zeke and Martha's Establishing Character Moments during "Stick to the Status Quo". In the same sequence we have a skater boy who plays the cello and isn't mentioned again.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Sharpay. In each movie.
  • Did Not Do the Research: Stanford and Berkeley are rivals and in no way friendly, especially around football season.
  • Drama Queen: Sharpay.
  • Duet Bonding: Troy and Gabriella, twice.
  • E=MC Hammer: Of course Gabriella has to be able to do the ridiculously complicated equation on the board in her head. And then the teacher looks at the calculator for maybe two seconds before looking back up...
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Sort of justified, however, in that it started out as a Disney TV movie that they didn't expect would be so popular. Had they any inkling, it probably would have been released to theaters.
  • Follow the Leader: The success of HSM led to Nickelodeon's blatant ripoff, Spectacular.
  • Foreign Remake: A Chinese one, with the involvement of Disney.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Quite a surprising bit.
  • Grand Finale: Subverted. The end of the third movie seems to end the franchise for good, until you find out about the production of a spinoff movie starring Sharpay.
  • Heel Face Revolving Door: Sharpay and Ryan. They seem to become "good" at the end of the first film, then Sharpay is suddenly worse than before in the second film and Ryan just becomes good, then Ryan is back on Sharpay's side in the third film and they both go good again in the end anyway!
  • High School: Obviously.
  • High School Dance: Subverted in the third movie: There is buildup--so much so that an entire song is devoted to it in the Senior Year musical...then Gabriella leaves early. Troy winds up spending Prom Night in California with her (as opposed to the movie's New Mexico setting), and the actual dance is confined to a single Imagine Spot (reprising the song "Can I Have This Dance"). The movie's actual climax is at the musical performance.
  • High School Rocks
  • Hollywood Nerd: Every single character who's part of the "brainiac" table is this. Even Kelsi had to hidden under hats and glasses (which she doesn't even need), and she's still very attractive.
  • Honey Trap: Ryan, on Sharpay's orders, to Kelsi in the HSM 3.
  • Hooked Up Afterwards
  • Insane Troll Logic: "Look at this! That Gabriella girl just dumped her lunch on me! On purpose! It's all part of their plan to ruin our musical. And Troy and his basketball robots are obviously behind it! Why do you think they auditioned? After all the work you've put into this show... it just doesn't seem right!"
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Ms Darbus natters on about the upcoming "musicale".
  • "I Want" Song: The aptly-named "I Want It All".
    • Also "Fabulous" from the second film.
  • Kangaroo Court: A humorous version is used to separate the various social groups.
  • Large Ham: Two Words: Obvious Trope: Zac Efron. Watch Bet On It and you'll see. And Mrs. Darbus of course.
  • Last-Minute Hookup: Combined with Pair the Spares to an almost ridiculous extent.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: Kelsi, at the end.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Sharpay by the end of each movie, and all the time in the spin-off film.
  • Male Gaze: See Sharpay's entrance in the third one...
  • Mean Brit: Tiara.
  • Meganekko: Kelsi.
  • Melodrama: Oh so much.
  • The Moral Substitute/The Mockbuster: Sunday School Musical, made by the fine folks at The Asylum.
  • The Musical... again, obviously.
  • New Transfer Student: Gabriella.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Chad and Taylor's Zany Scheme to con Troy into confessing he doesn't care about the callbacks for the musical, and forcing Gabriella to watch while he does so. Their intent, ostensibly, is to get Troy to focus on the upcoming basketball game, Gabby on the scholastic competition. What ensues is nearly the termination of the One True Pairing.
  • Oh God With the Troping: Jack Scott in the stage version. "A skaterdude was even seen mixing with the string section. Oh, the humanity... THE HUMANITY!"
  • Pair the Spares: Chaylor, Ryelsi, Zekepay, need I go on? Also takes place in Fan Preferred Pairing territory, where Troypay fans ship Gabriella with Ryan.
  • Passing the Torch: In a deleted scene to the third movie's new characters.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: During the aforementioned "Bet On It" and part of why it's so dang silly.
  • Rich Bitch: Sharpay Evans.
  • Sadist Teacher: Ms. Darbus (until the third movie, that is).
  • Saw Star Wars 27 Times: Chad mentions that his mother has seen The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway 27 times.
  • Serious Business: The passion and drama put into songs about things like the jock and the genius daring to try out for the musical reach ludicrous levels.
    • For example, see "Stick to the Status Quo". "No, no, NOOOOOOOOO!!!" about a basketball player being able to bake, a nerdy girl liking hip-hop, and a skater dude playing the cello indeed.
  • Sexy Shirt Switch: Ryan and Chad. Um, yeah. No other explanation makes sense.
  • Shrinking Violet: Gabriella, Kelsi.
  • Single Girl Seeks Most Popular Guy: And he actually likes her back.
  • Spin-Off: Brazil, Argentina and Mexico all have local HSM movies. They're all based on the first Tales From East High book.
  • Stage Dad: Troy's dad.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Well, they think that way.
  • Status Quo Is God: The song called "Stick to the Status Quo" in the first one and many characters have Aesop Amnesia.
  • Supreme Chef: ZEKE. Creme brulee...
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage: The first film features one of these as a variety of terrible wanna-be actors try out for the school play. This is supposedly to show how talented Ryan and Sharpay are. However, as their competition are people who can't sing on key, people who forget their lines, people who are creepy, and people who lock up with stage fright, it actually creates the impression that the only reason they keep starring in school plays is because they are the only people who are vaguely competent at acting or singing.
  • Title Drop: The third one does it literally.
  • Token Minority Couple: The Black Best Friends of the two leads end up paired with each other with no build-up at all.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Sharpay wasn't nice in the first movie, sure, but the second movie blew her negative qualities up to ridiculous proportions. She's back to a more reasonable level of "evil" in the third.
  • Tsundere: Sharpay and Taylor has shades of this.
  • TV Teens
  • Twincest/BrotherSisterIncest: Referenced. Ryan and Sharpay don't mind performing love songs together, but then again, the key word is perform.
    • It also helps that the songs are rearranged to downplay the Squick factor; the love song "What I've Been Looking For" is sped up and fits a brother-sister bond nicely, and "Bop to the Top" is clearly addressed to the audience, not each other.
    • On the flip side, there's an awful lot of fanfiction out there that pair the two. A few explain it away as Ryan and Sharpay not actually being related, though most keep the relationship intact. Of course, many fics lean towards the angsty, tortured side.
  • Unfortunate Names: "Sharpay".
  • Villain Song: The songs themselves aren't really villainous, but Ryan and Sharpay still get the best ones.
  • The Wildcats
  • Zany Scheme: The first movie had three, one of which was a Villainous Zany Scheme with another being a Zany Counterscheme.