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High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Season 3 review: Another wild meta ride – News9 LIVE

16 Sep 2022 5:55 AM GMT
Still from High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Season 3
Starcast : Joshua Bassett, Matt Cornett, Sofia Wylie
Director: Tim Federle
When High School Musical: The Musical: The Series first came out in 2020, the reception was lukewarm at best (probably because people lost interest halfway through reading the title). In the months following its release, however, the drama surrounding its leads Joshua Bassett and Olivia Rodrigo shoved the show into the limelight and shot Rodrigo to global stardom.

Two years later, the third and penultimate season of the show is out, and the laughs keep coming.
Season 3 sees the East High Wildcats (minus several beloved faces) head off to Camp Shallow Lake for the summer. After Season 1’s High School Musical and Season 2’s Beauty and the Beast, Season 3 picked Frozen as its featured musical, which is either a terrible or rather inspired choice to perform at a summer camp.
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series has always been meta, especially in the writing of Nini’s journey as a singer songwriter. This season, however, takes meta to a whole new level, and takes every opportunity to name drop as many Disney properties as possible. First off, there is the documentary crew (on a show that was already a mockumentary), filming the students put on their performance of Frozen, under the guidance of Corbin Bleu (from the original High School Musical!), to be streamed on Disney+. We even get a ‘You’re watching Disney Plus’ moment in the finale.
The writers have also amped up the tongue-in-cheek lampshading as well, with Corbin suggesting the documentary be called ‘Frozen: The Musical: The Documentary’ and Carlos disagreeing because the name was ‘too long’ and would never work. Somebody in the writers room is very proud of that joke, I just know it.
The cast this season featured several key players transitioning from main cast to recurring or cameo appearances. Notably, Olivia Rodrigo’s Nini is absent for the most part, with Rodrigo’s schedule necessitating an eventual exit from the show. The writers handle Nini’s departure with understated grace, and give their former lead a farewell worthy of her impact on the series. Other characters with reduced screentimes include Larry Saperstein’s Big Red, Kate Reinders Miss Jenn, and Joe Serafini’s Seb (which was honestly a crime — one can never have too much Seb and Carlos).
With so many characters off-screen, the show could have taken this opportunity to develop the arcs of its remaining characters. However, because this is camp, there is a slew of new characters that are introduced — like emo kid Jet (Adrian Lyles), a rather tightly wound Maddox (Saylor Bell) and an honestly expendable Val, whose character just seemed like an excuse to get Meg Donnelly to grace yet another Disney show with her blue-eyed magic.
As the season’s episodes unfold, it becomes increasingly clear that the show has no idea what to do with Ricky Bowen anymore. Ricky started season 1 as the lovable slacker who works to win Nini back and discovers his singing talent in the process. In Season 2, we saw his increasingly frayed relationship with Nini eventually ending in heartbreak. Because his arcs had been so tied to his relationship with Nini, the show flounders in a season without her in the picture. As a result, he spends his time at camp being heartsick about another girl with whom there is lots of unearned tension and not enough setup. That, or he’s giving vague advice to the Jet kid.
Similar situations happen with Gina, EJ and Ashlyn (Carlos is purely for entertainment value at this point but nobody is complaining). In the previous seasons, all three of them had complex plots dealing with being new, working on their toxic behaviour, and figuring out what being a princess meant to them. Although Ashlyn makes some big discoveries about herself this season, it does seem like there was a lot more scope with their storylines that could have been explored in depth if the screen time did not have to be divided between all the other characters they brought in.
There is also a bevy of guest stars that brighten up the screen, from Jason Earles to Jojo Siwa.
Dara Renee knocks it out of the park with her rendition of ‘Let It Go,’ which feels even more satisfying in the context of Kourtney’s struggles through the season. Adrian Lyles and Saylor Bell also prove their additions right with their duet, while Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘You Never Know‘ is a hopeful nod to her future.
Creator Tim Federle and the cast of the show announced Season 4 at the D23 Expo. Much to the delight of OG High School Musical fans, Season 4 will feature the original cast reuniting to film High School Musical 4, where the show’s cast would be featured as extras. It looks like the meta is only going to get wilder from here.
With rather one-note story arcs but big laughs, Season 3 of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series continues to entertain the new generation of Disney kids, and that alone makes it more than watchable.
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Season 3 is streaming in India on Disney+ HotsHigh School Musical: The Musical: The Series Season 3tar.

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