Title Card - High School Musical The Musical The Series Season 1, Episode 2 “The Read-Thru”

As High School Musical: The Musical: The Series taps more into Glee’s shtick, it tries to take the good from that show and avoid the pitfalls.


Network
Disney+
Director(s) Tamra Davis
Writer(s) Oliver Goldstick
Air Date 11/15/2019
Introduced This Episode
Ashlyn Julia Lester
Seb Joe Serafini
Red Larry Saperstein

Recap

No More Nice Miss Jenn: Red, Miss Jenn, Carlos

With Miss Jenn not making it as an actress on Broadway, it makes this production everything to her. So, to say Carlos is getting into way more than he probably bargained for… that’s an understatement. But, unfortunately for Ricky’s best friend Red, he gets dragged into the situation. Why? Well, with the stage manager unavailable, Red is forced to read the stage direction. The issue with that is Red isn’t a strong reader. This leads to the read thru dragging a bit, and it becoming clear, as the pressure is on, and Miss Jenn will likely crackdown in ways these kids may not be prepped for. After all, if she could make fun of Red for being a redhead, and treat Carlos as she does, what will happen to the cast?

Red (Larry Saperstein) looking perplexed.
Red (Larry Saperstein)

Why Play Small When Your Talent Is So Big?: Ashlyn, Nini, EJ

From what it seems, most of Ashlyn’s life has been in EJ’s shadow. He is the big-time sports star, has been doing theater for three years, and so Ashlyn has made herself small so EJ can be big. However, while she has made herself small, this doesn’t mean her talent coincides with that. As shown by her song made for the production, Ashlyn can not only sing but is one hell of a writer. One that pretty much blows EJ out of the water, and Nini recognizes her talent.

Making it seem EJ may not get to remain the star of the family for too long.

The Boy Who Got Away Or The Boy We’re Better Off Without?: Nini, EJ, Miss Jenn, Carlos, Ricky, Gina, Ashlyn

As you can imagine, your ex playing your love interest is a bit much. What makes things worse, however, is Miss Jenn deciding to add a kissing scene. That, alongside Nini giggling and not saying about what, it makes EJ insecure. How much? Well, he decides to ask his cousin Ashlyn take Nini’s phone so he can look at it. Which she, thankfully, calls out as creepy. Yet, thanks to Gina, he gets to EJ’s phone.

Now, as for how Gina got involved? Well, Ricky, being that he doesn’t have the years of training EJ or Nini have, is struggling with the responsibilities of playing a lead, the choreography especially, and with Nini calling him out, he is ready to quit. However, as Carlos goes after him and they talk, Gina overhears, and as the idea forms that if Ricky stays Nini may leave the production, a light bulb goes off in Gina’s head.

So, she begins doing what would be required for Nini to quit. Though, considering Ricky is willing to put effort into the choreography, including practicing into midnight, she may not have to do much. Well, unless Ricky showing his willingness to commit to the production woos her.

Comment Down Below
  1. Did anyone else get vibes that Gina may like Ricky?

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

Outsiders keep everyone else on their toes.
— Gina

Review

Highlights

Ashlyn

Ashlyn (Julia Lester) with her grandma glasses on.
Ashlyn (Julia Lester)

Is it wrong that I didn’t have much faith in Ashlyn when introduced? Honestly, I figured she’d be some mousy type who may have a lot of talent but would be too scared to showcase it. However, I was sorely wrong. First and foremost, her criticizing EJ, especially over trying to get his hands on Nini’s phone gave me faith. Not just in Ashlyn but this show as a whole.

Alongside that, her song made me cry. That was entirely unexpected since, as said in the overview, this show often gives Glee vibes. However, while the characters may seem akin to that show, with original songs and seemingly not trying to play things so camp, the show with an overly long name is really carving out its own path. One which may not revive musicals on television, but will remind people that, besides princesses, Marvel, and Star Wars, Disney’s bread and butter has been music.

Gina

Full disclosure: after Andi Mack, I’m a Sofia Wylie fan so this all could be very bias. But, even with that said, I must admit there is something about Gina that, even with her being a bit devious, which makes her someone you kind of want to side with. Be it because she is the more talented person or since she has more personality than Nini.

Mind you, that isn’t to put Nini down but more so to point out how much it sucks that people like Gina are often made into the villain since they are ambitious. If not, in Gina’s case, on top of being ambitious, immensely talented yet still passed over. Making it so they feel they have no choice but to be extra and perhaps devious since what they deserve was stolen from them. Then when you add in us knowing Miss Jenn is rolling the dice? Damn right Gina is going to mess with her peers’ heads. After all, hers was messed with first by a borderline incompetent teacher.

The Supporting Characters Seem To Each Have A Draw

Seb (Joe Serafini) noting he is a Black sheep in his family.
Seb (Joe Serafini)

While I wouldn’t say Seb, Ashlyn, Red, and the many others could run spinoffs, there is something about them where, if we didn’t see or hear from them for multiple episodes, there would be a need to ask what happened? I mean, Seb, for example, who is new, and is going to play Sharpay, just him picking that role and learning he comes from a blue-collar family, it makes you want to go a little bit deeper to see how he became who he is.

Then with Ashlyn, I made a few assumptions about her role in the family, and I’d like to see if it was true. Is EJ treated as the star of the family and her the only one who sees him at his most vulnerable? Maybe the only one who recognizes his underwear does stink, and isn’t some earthy cologne?

On The Fence

Was Miss Jenn This Mean In The Pilot?

There is just something about Miss Jenn’s comment to Red that didn’t sit right with me. Also, her adding a kissing scene, considering Carlos likely filling her in, pushes more and more this production being about her living vicariously through these kids than trying to make them shine. I mean, let’s also add in getting the phone Vanessa Hudgens used in the movie. It was made clear the production doesn’t necessarily have a huge budget, so her going that far really does make it seem she isn’t using these children as an ends to a means and whether it is money spent, or having the more talented performers not be cast as leads, she is gambling with other people’s resources for the benefit of her person.

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Was Miss Jenn This Mean In The Pilot? - 70%
The Supporting Characters Seem To Each Have A Draw - 85%
Gina - 89%
Ashlyn - 90%

84%


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