My kids and I have the opportunity to go to see a musical this weekend - The High School Musical. We haven't ever seen it - but their friend Brenna is at camp this summer, and is performing as the shy pianist in the camp production of the same name. We rented it from Netflix so we could watch it in preparation for our outing. It turned out to be better than I expected.
When it comes to what my mom used to condescendingly call "teenie-bopper" movies - the "Disney" name tends to make me think "cheesy", as in all cheese and no meat! While I like that they are always clean, they are often so sanitized, that they struggle to leave anything close to a real story left behind. Real characters demand imperfection. However, this post is not to critique Disney, but rather to tell you how I was delightfully surprised at the poignant messages that were offered up to the audience.
One thing I always hated in public school is that once you got a label - jock, geek, nerd, cheerleader, prep, punk, whatever it may be - even if you changed, you could never change your label. I met a boy in our neighborhood not long ago who has been classified as a "bad kid" and a "skateboarder" - but he said he wants to play sports. Not only do the other kids give him a hard time, but the coaches (the so-called adults) won't even give him a chance. If he were not shoved into a stereotype - and they gave him an opportunity to do something else, they might well find that thing changes his course. Instead however, being as familiar with the status quo of education and politics, which are both at play here, he will be forced instead to hold true to this label and never rise above, stuck to fail forever. This movie tried really hard to get the point across that no matter what others think you are or should be, you don't have to fit their mold.
Not bad for a Disney movie!