Why High School Musical was like the Pied Piper

High School Musical book

I’ve been meaning to write this post for several weeks now, but other post ideas kept muscling their way in and pushing their way to the front. Anyway, while the other ideas aren’t looking, I shall quickly write this…

A while ago, Kate (4amWriter), wrote a post about her concerns surrounding her daughter growing up and losing her innocence –ย http://4amwriter.com/2012/08/19/sunday-spin-growing-up/ย This set me thinking about my own daughter, and her transition from childlike interests of fairies and magic, on to teenage interests of boys and the type of music that makes me feel old. As most parents of teenage girls will probably testify, the change can seem quite dramatic and sudden. One day the walls of their bedroom are adorned with pictures of fluffy kittens and Disney Princesses, and the next day the pictures have been ripped down and replaced by ones of young male TV stars and boy band members, who quite frankly should be wearing a bit more than they are if they don’t want to catch a chill.

Whilst I was pondering all of this, it suddenly struck me, it was all High School Musical’s fault! It seemed so innocent with its pretty songs and its pretty cast members; a place where wholesomeness and goodness win out over bad. Where was the harm? What I failed to realise at the time was that High School Musical was giving my daughter a glimpse into that mysterious, but oh-so-exciting teenage world. It was all sugar-coated of course to appeal to her girly kitten-loving self, but it gave her that stepping stone, that leg-up away from her childish innocent interests onto those teenage interests that all parents fear.

I remember one particular Christmas where her whole gift wish list was High School Musical – the DVDs, the soundtrack, the books, the watch, the bedding, the lip gloss, oh yes, anything her heart could desire was available under the HSM brand. And I, fool that I was, went along with it and bought her the merchandise. By the following Christmas, just one short year later, she had decided that High School Musical itself was now completely uncool and babyish. It was a pretend teenage world that no longer held any interest for her. But its job was done, it had catapulted her from one world to another, and there was no going back.

Yes, High School Musical was the Pied Piper in disguise. We didn’t stand a chance.

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31 responses to “Why High School Musical was like the Pied Piper

  1. Hi, I hope you are joking a bit? I’ve only watched hsm recently and was baffled why preteens adore it so much.I think it helps that i am v resistant to brand advertising so wld certainly not have gote hsm kit. In it’s defence my frind’s daughterstarted cello oafter watching it a lot.

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  2. Yep, been there, done that… no, still in the middle of it. She’s 14 and it’s all 1D, etc.
    Help! Let me out!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  3. ‘Anyway, while the other ideas arenโ€™t looking, I shall quickly write thisโ€ฆ’ Great line!
    I think for me (and my mum) it was Greece that started things moving in a less innocent direction. I’ve not seen HSM, but I love that image of your daughter suddenly wanting all the merchandise, and then just as quickly too mature for it all!

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    • Whilst there are obvious similarities between the two, Grease wasn’t nearly as sugar-coated as HSM. Grease had sex and everything, whereas HSM was on the surface much more innocent, and that’s how it tricked us parents into thinking it was fine, but it was just luring our girls away!

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  4. Well, I may have to deal with my boys’ potty mouths, but I’ve never had to deal with the aftermath of High School Musical. In fact, we’ve never seen the movie. So I guess there are pluses on both sides.

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    • Oh trust me, girls have potty mouths too! There was really no reason to see HSM unless you had a preteen girl with you. I quite enjoyed it when I saw it with her, but I certainly wouldn’t have any great desire to see it again!

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  5. Vanessa,
    Have you seen posters of Justin Bieber up in her room yet? There’s still hope. Unless there are posters of David Cassidy…
    Le Clown

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    • She doesn’t like Justin Bieber, according to her only the younger sillier girls like him. She doesn’t like David Cassidy either, well I’m guessing she’s probably never heard of him! So somebody in between the two would probably be her choice.

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      • Vanessa,
        My son has started watching Adventure Time, which seems like a kid show, but has something quite adult about it. It makes me a proud father. She might like it, if she doesn’t already know the theme song by heart.
        Le Clown

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  6. I have never seen High School Musical, but I imagine it’s like She’s All That with singing?

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  7. So, this is where we’re headed, hmm? We’ve seen HSM a couple of times in the past year or so. Being that my daughter is only 9 1/2, her reaction to HSM was not as daunting as it could have been. I suppose it has a lot to do with being ready emotionally for the boy scene, which she isn’t, really. She’ll have a random crush here and there, but she gets easily grossed out with PDAs between teen couples and doesn’t want to go there quite yet. Phew. Because I’m not emotionally ready, either.

    Thanks for the mention. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Also, because the hype around HSM has passed, your daughter isn’t so likely to get sucked into it all. It’s just a movie rather than a way of life! My daughter went quite suddenly from thinking boys were gross and annoying to having a boyfriend (or what they call a boyfriend when they’re that age!), again HSM was the turning point – it may have been coincidence but I just know that I had a pre-HSM daughter that was a little girl, and then a post-HSM daughter that was a teenager (mentally, if not yet in age!).

      You’re welcome, I mentioned in the comments on that post of yours that it had given me an idea for a post, and this was it! It just took me a long time to get to it.

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  8. My girls are, thankfully, too young for HSM. When they do eventually see it, the merch, hopefully, will only be available on ebay. But then, what horrors await them when they are old enough for such things? A Grease/HSM mash-up? Heavens!

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  9. An advantage of not having children is not having the stress of watching them grow up into individuals with distinct personalities and interests that might not mesh well with my hopes for them! ๐Ÿ™‚ Plus, my husband and I are saving a fortune not having to buy all the MUST-HAVE toys, clothes, and gadgets! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Yes, my daughter is quite strong willed, and fights any attempts I might make to influence her thoughts in any way! I mentioned to another blogger yesterday that at her school parents evening, two separate teachers described her as an “independent thinker”, yep, I’ll say! That’s definitely a good thing if she channels it correctly, but it makes my job harder for now. And yes you’re right, the cost, oh the cost!

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  10. My parents were pretty strict and all intellectual-ly and stuff… they wouldn’t let me watch things like Grease, etc. that basically everyone watched. I still got hard-core into boys and bands and wanted to know about all that stuff you’re not supposed to want to know about. It’s totally the age. And the kid.

    I actually loved HSM when we saw it a few years back… we sang all the songs and like you said, everyone was so cute and fun… ; ) I guess I view it as one of those things that happens to kids. They get lost to you by one means or another; we’re just borrowing them for a while.

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    • Yes you’re right, I think I’m just looking for something to blame for what was inevitable anyway!

      I wasn’t brought up very strictly, I had plenty of freedom, and I don’t think I was any more or any less into anything than any of friends were. Friends are where teens and pre-teens learn most of these things from aren’t they!

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  11. As the father of a boy, all I can say is “Whew!”

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  12. Interesting post ๐Ÿ˜‰

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