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  • Actor Shipping: Everywhere.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Canonically in the musical. Sharpay is especially notable who comes across as less of an arrogant bitch and more starstruck and neurotic.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: That whole scene in the second one where Sharpay tries to get her message across... by performing a song with Ryan and three backup dancers about a pineapple princess and a fish prince falling in love which was cut for a reason.
  • Breakout Character: Sharpay.f
  • Contested Sequel: High School Musical 2. Some saw it as a step in the right direction but there are many who have issues with it, the biggest one being that it's not even set in high school!
  • Dawson Casting: Many of the actors were actually in their early 20s, though when the films initially started, most of the characters were played by people close to their actual age. Taylor's actress, Monique Coleman, was 26 at the time of the first film.
  • Double Standard: Debatable, but it is rather prominent how Gabriella is the one always ending the relationship with Troy. One has to wonder if the reaction would be different if it was Troy singing the tragic break-up songs...
    • The guys from Riff Trax pointed out how "hilarious" it was intended to be for the female drama teacher to walk through the boys' locker room, implying that if the genders had been reversed it would have been much different.
  • Deconstruction Fic: Quite a few examples in the fandom. The characters have graduated at the end of the third movie, they go off to their respective colleges with no preparation for the real world. Scenarios like Sharpay getting knocked back from a theatre career for her attitude and something horrible happening to Troy are fairly common.
  • Ear Worm: Every Song. Especially in the first movie.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: The increasingly fabulous Ryan.
    • In "I Want It All", he joins the kick line with the pink haired cat girls.
      • A new post-credits scene featuring him cameoing was added to the TV broadcast of Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure. And the Fandom Rejoiced.
    • Tiara in the third movie got a lot of fans when she managed to manipulate Sharpay. Let me repeat that. A freshman managed to keep up a sweet and nice facade for a whole year, and then manipulate the Alpha Bitch and stab her in the back.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: The Japanese dub use a LOT of famous voice actors as the main cast:
  • Ho Yay: Everything about the "I Don't Dance" sequence in HSM 2. When we see them next, they've switched clothes.
  • Hype Backlash
  • Narm: It's practically impossible to watch "Bet On It" without at least cracking a smile.
  • Relationship Writing Fumble: Where do we start?
  • Rooting for the Empire: A lot of people seem to prefer Sharpay and Ryan to the Mary Sue heroes.
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: Between a better budget, more production time and the adorable chemistry Troy and Gabriella have developed through Zac and Vanessa's Romance on the Set, Senior Year is probably the best of the three films. Not to mention Troy and Gaby's relationship gets some depth, as per their confiding in each other about their fears for the future.
  • Special Effect Failure: The second movie, during the song "Bet on It", has Troy looking into the water of a pond, showing his reflection. Ignoring the obvious CGI effect, the reflection itself was not mirrored.
  • Squick: Off-screen, but...in the first movie, a character says brother and sister Ryan and Sharpay played the title roles of Romeo and Juliet. The kissing scene.
    • I think Taylor said that if Sharpay could play both Romeo and Juliet, she would, not that she and Ryan actually had acted in the play. It's might be implied that they had, but I think Taylor just said the first famous play she could think of with a male and a female main character.
  • Strangled by the Red String: In a badly-made excuse to stop the rumors that the character is gay, Ryan was paired up with Kelsi in the third movie. They are good together, if you ignore the fact Kelsi was paired with Jason in the first two movies.
  • Tear Jerker: Gabriella's break-up songs in each movie.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Did anyone else think that "neanderthal evolution" speech Taylor delivers was more than a little bit Nazi? The fact that she's black is doubly ironic.
  • Wangst: The main couple is obligated to give the audience one emo and hilarious song per movie including Troy's way-too-over-the-top song running through the golf course.
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