As Nini going to Denver looms over her relationship, so does what will become of many relationships once the winter break is over.

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As Nini going to Denver looms over her relationship, so does what will become of many relationships once the winter break is over.

Episode Name New Year’s Ever
Directed By Kimberly McCullough
Written By Tim Federle
Aired (Disney+) 5/14/2021
Newly Noted Characters
Zack Derek Hough

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A Man From My Past – Ms. Jenn, Zack, Carlos

Ms. Jenn is very selective about her past since, more often than not, what she dreamed of and what reality dealt her were two different things. Hence why, when her Ricky, Zackey Roy, who she hasn’t seen in 17 years, appears, this is alarming. Thankfully, Carlos is there, but with him OOO’ing and AWWW’ing over Zack, his help is ultimately minimal.

Zack (Derek Hough) talking to Miss Jenn
Zack (Derek Hough) talking to Miss Jenn

However, with seeing Zack does come learning about the Alan Menken awards, which comes with a notable amount of prize money and a scholarship. So while High School Musical 2 was the assumed spring production, meeting Zack changes those plans.

The Best Laid Plans of Beauty & The Beast – Gina, Ashlyn, Big Red, Nini, Ms. Jenn, Ricky, Carlos, Seb

So, for many couples, things are either in a good or slightly murky place. For Nini and Ricky? They are good, but with Nini leaving for Denver after winter break, it makes Gina still having eyes for Ricky something worth being worried about. As for Ashlyn and Big Red? Well, they seem to be just fine, minus both being a bit socially awkward and Big Red having an on-call job that doesn’t respect his personal life.

As for Carlos and Seb? They are in bliss, though with learning Carlos is rich comes the idea that, with them being opposites, we may see some conflicts coming up. Not immediately or dramatically, but little things may complicate their relationship.

However, what is going to complicate things is Ms. Jenn announcing the school shall produce Beauty & The Beast and how, with Nini gone, that will rearrange things at East Side. Especially in terms of who will be the lead and if that relationship on stage may spill out into real life.

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

Ashlyn noting she needs to know what's going on
Ashlyn noting she needs to know what’s going on

Commentary/ Review

The Shadiness

Whether it was Carlos being shady towards Ashlyn, about her outfit, or Ashlyn coming for EJ, it really pushed you to remember, these truly are theater kids. So even if they love one another, they can’t help but take a dig when the opportunity presents itself. Especially when it is too easy.

Ashlyn x Big Red

One of the reasons we love Ashlyn, and Big Red so much is that they don’t fit into the usual couple narrative we see on shows like this. Big Red is a redhead, Jewish guy who doesn’t compensate for his weight or demeanor by being one of the funniest people in the room. Then with Ashlyn, she isn’t the skinniest girl and isn’t the most confident either. She is talented and knows this, but unlike Kourtney, there isn’t this vibe that she is ready to burst on the scene and take center stage. Rather, Ashlyn wants to be part of the mix and do her part, have her shining moment, but not necessarily be the star.

But the main thing we love about them is that they are the type of characters that make you feel seen. Which isn’t to downplay what Kourtney, Nini, or Gina bring to the table as women of color, but their character types are structured in Hollywood’s viewpoint of normal, everyday teens, with just enough edge to not make them old-school Disney.

And while we are a good amount of years beyond having -teen at the end of our age, I would say that social awkwardness that Ashlyn and Big Red have feels more real than what anyone else presents. Thus making them featured characters with storylines and a romance, perhaps not as progressive as Gina wearing her naturally curly hair out or making it clear Nini is a person of color rather than keep her as racially ambiguous. However, in terms of diversifying who is presented to this show’s demographic, it is better than what I got when I was in the target audience.

Trouble In The Distance

Miss Jenn announcing that the spring musical will be Beauty and the Beast
Miss Jenn announcing that the spring musical will be Beauty and the Beast

You and I both know that between the casting for Beauty and The Beast and what will happen between who is made to be Belle and The Beast, there is going to be drama. Be it Ricky and Gina having scenes that make Nini uncomfortable or Nini meeting some guy at the conservatory and getting good on-stage chemistry confused with personal chemistry. Either way, there is going to be drama, and I am here for it!

Title Card - High School Musical The Musical – The Series Season 2 Episode 1
High School Musical: The Musical – The Series: Season 2/ Episode 1 – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)
Trajectory: Climbing
There are many reasons to get excited for the new season of the High School Musical, and all of them boil down to teen drama.
The Shadiness
Ashlyn x Big Red
Trouble In The Distance
On The Fence

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