Monday, December 15, 2008

Avatar: The White Airbender?

So there’s this show you might have heard of? It’s called Avatar: The Last Airbender? Kids saving the world? Only our favorite thing ever?

Anyhoodle, the show ended recently, but they’re making a live-action movie, directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Cool! Except maybe not, because check out the first look at the cast.

Now, if you’re not familiar with the show, you might not see the problem with this (well, if you’re a regular at this blog, I assume you see the problem with giving work to Jesse McCartney at all, but that’s not my point at the moment). So I’ve prepared some visual aids. Check out the main characters, opening shot of the title sequence, combat styles, traditional dress, spirit animals, architecture, and cuisine. Does any of that look white/European/Western to you?

Now look at that cast again. Boy, they sure are white!

Avatar is set in a fantasy world that is heavily influenced by Asian and Inuit culture. It was meticulously researched and arose from the great love and respect the creators had for Asian and Inuit cultures. This makes the offensive whitewashing of the movie a slap in the face to everyone who was looking forward to seeing a diverse, all-POC cast in a major motion picture aimed at children.

I am certainly not the most educated person on this matter, but since this blog has readers who follow tween and kid culture and watch Nickelodeon (and since we have, unfortunately, mentioned Jesse McCartney), I felt like it was important to spread the word here. If you’re interested in reading some of the common arguments and questions, check out this post by Glockgal; if you’re interested in learning what you can do about this, check out aang_aint_white. You can bet your sweet bippy that I will personally be writing a letter or two about this.

(The upside of all of this? I started watching the show, and HOLY SWEET MONKEYS it’s good. I’m only a handful of episodes in, though, so if you’re a fan please do not spoil me, or I shall weep forever.)

Images are all from AvatarSpirit.Net.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A very adult post for a tween-centric blog!

Vanessa's already been naked on the internet, and Disney still dragged her back for HSM3. Zef apparently tried like whoa to get out of the movie until they coughed up a lot of cash, but now there are those rumors about HSM4. Perhaps he and V are still worried about getting dragged back in to teeny franchise hell, because this happened:

Yeah, that's Zef and Vanessa posing with a fan. In a sex toy shop. While he wears a particularly tool-ish hat. Check the rundown of the toys in the background here at Defamer.

Hat tip to our BFF Margot.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Look to the Right!

...And you will see a poll on the Tweenage sidebar! It is a very important question and you should all go vote immediately. For those following along on RSS readers, Jess and I want to know:

Which is your favorite "Troy is having a nervous breakdown" song?

Vote early. Vote often. Or vote however many times Blogger allows, anyway.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Hey, another video-centric post!

So this is a new-ish Hannah song? I've never heard it before, and she's got the new wig, so I'm forced to assume this. I actually enjoyed the song; Miley's voice is song and her stage presence has improved tons since the early Hannah stuff.


Miley, WHAT are you WEARING? I don't usually notice the ridiculous outfits these kids wear, but even I couldn't help but stare. It's like Rainbow Bright ate a particularly sparkly meal, and then threw up on Alice in Wonderland's dress and Miley decided that was the best costume to go with the new Hannah wig.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday Flashback by Request

Because Rachel asked for it:

New Kids on the Block: The Right Stuff (1989)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Oh, thank god.

Corbin is starting to look like an adult. This comes as something of a relief to me. When did I become a dirty old woman, exactly?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Flashback: Jackson 5

Hey, I remembered this week!

The Jackson 5 - I Want You Back (1972)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Better? Yes indeed!

I know it's not Flashback Friday yet, but hey, remember Boyzone? That's okay, no one else does either, but they were an Irish boy band on the early crest of the pop wave back in the 90s. Like many pop acts from that time (and, well, all the time), they were much more successful in Europe than in America, but I do remember hearing about them when one of their members, Stephen Gately, came out.

Like some other boybands, they've been in the midst of a reunion. In the video for their new single, "Better," while the other members croon at women, Gately sings to a man. Embedding's been disabled, but check it out here.

So, that's kind of cool, right? I mean, it's less groundbreaking than it would be if an up-and-coming boy band did it, but there are no up-and-coming boy bands (more's the pity, and no, the Jonas Brothers do not count), so I'll take what I can get.

The sad thing is that I can't get past how embarrassed I feel when older boy bands perform. Stop it! You're grownups! Go work on your 401ks and get prostate exams or something! I feel like I should be more open-minded, but 30somethings crooning boy band-style just makes me want to crawl under a rock and die. Even when they're crooning to very cute male actors.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I'm like this in real life, too.

Actual conversation from my work place today. Setting the stage: my groovy coworker caught me dancing at my desk as I listened to my iPod.

Coworker: Are you...dancing?

Me: Maybe? It's dance-y music!

Coworker: Are you listening to High School Musical again?

Me: No.

Coworker: Miley Cyrus?

Me: No.

Coworker: ...Hannah Montana? Don't think you can trick me, I know they're the same person.

Me: No! ... Okay, I was just a minute ago when it came through on shuffle, but that's not the point! Sometimes I listen to things that were never on the Disney Channel at all!

Coworker: Uh huh. *glances at HSM2 promo hanging above my desk* Sure you do.

In other news, the South Park episode that, yes, is currently airing is a HSM parody. And it is AMAZING. I am laughing so hard I am crying and can barely type.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The idiotic tween-themed thoughts that fill my mind.

The dorky madness that pervades my brain generally isn't enough to make a full post out of, but here are a couple of things I've thought recently:

1. "Instead of putting The Suite Life on a boat, they should have done it with the High School Musical franchise. It still would've been terrible, but we could have called it HMS HSM, and how fun would that have been?"

2. "'Ashley'? Oh yeah, Tizz's first name is Ashley! It's been so long since I called her anything but Tizz that I had genuinely forgotten that her parents probably didn't christen (Jewen?) her Tizz Tisdale - which clearly shows a lack of foresight on their part."

Truly, I am a font of wisdom.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

"When I hear my favorite song, I know that...I'm not listening to HSM3."

Pretty much immediately after seeing High School Musical 3, we each rushed to get our hot little hands on the soundtrack. And though it may shock you to know this, we had strong opinions about the soundtrack, mostly expressible in the form of mockery. (I know! I'm surprised too!) Thus we decided to break it down, for all you wonderful people who were dying to know what we thought of "The Boys Are Back" (hint: we thought it was CRAZY).

Warning: There are minor spoilers in this post.

01. Now or Never

Jess: I got a strong sense from seeing the movie that it looks like someone got a fancy ticket to see A Chorus Line! And then stole a bunch of shit from it. In this song it's Troy's "gimme the ball, gimme the ball, gimme the ball," but it comes back later with lining up the students onstage to talk about their hopes and fears for no reason whatsoever. Goodbye twelve, goodbye thirteen, hello plagiarism.
Becky: I feel like this song sounds exactly like it's supposed to; it is the intense climax of a high school sports movie. Unfortunately, it's the opening scene. But that's not the song's fault.
Jess: Gabriella's plaintive "Trooooooooy!" may be the funniest thing that has ever happened, ever. I like how they're acting like he has to go save the president or something. It's just a basketball game, kids.
Becky: Coach Dad is really, really, really terrible. His "Come on boys COME ON BOYS COME ON BOYS" is so hilariously bad I start giggling well before Gabriella's shout.
Jess: Aw, look. They know how to spell four-letter words. (Not curses, though, which don't exist in their universe.)
Becky: Each and every time the team spells, uh, "team" I hear T-E-A-L. I've tried not to, since I know what they're spelling, but seriously. Teal.
Jess: I just kind of want to know why the other team lets them have a dance break in the middle of the game.

2. Right Here, Right Now

Jess: "I wish this moment was ours to own it/ And that it would never leave." You bastardized grammar and it doesn't even rhyme? I hate you, HSM songwriters!
Becky: Yawwwwwwwn. The scene surrounding this is cute, but the ballad could not be less remarkable.
Jess: Also, sorry, Zef. You gave it the old on-set tutoring try, but the falsetto doesn't work. "You mean HEV-rything!" Thanks, Eliza Doolittle.

3. I Want It All

More like this please! I feel like they missed an opportunity to showcase Lucas's voice, since it's not a very sing-y number; and if only it had anything to do with the plot at all, it would be BRILLIANT. It's pretty brilliant regardless, though, if only because Lucas and Tizz are the only ones who can actually put across a song and actually act while singing. Also, because it's hilarious.
Jess: Yeah, either Tizz got much better between movies or they learned to write for her voice or both, because she sounds great. And not in a produced way – she's really singing the hell out of this song. It helps that she's putting it across like a Broadway song – all conversation and belts – and not trying to be Mariah Carey. Way to go, Tizzers! And Lucas is splendid, of course. When he sings the bridge my little heart beats faster. Broadway!
Becky: I always, always hear "Ellis Island" when Ryan yells "Buenos Ares" but I accept that I just have a terrible ear for lyrics.
Jess: At least Ellis Island is a physical place. On the other hand, Bollywood, which they do say, is not. Unless they really expect to become stars in "the informal term popularly used for Mumbai-based Hindi-language film industry in India" (thanks, Wikipedia!). Also important to note: at one point they declare that "Sequels pay better." Ahahaha. Yes, kids. Yes, they do.

4. Can I Have This Dance

Nice, sweet. I don't really care about ballads, but if I have to take one, this is my favorite from all three movies.
Jess: There's an awful lot of background noise on my track. Is that somehow weirdly deliberate? But yeah, this is actually a really pretty song. I think it's beaten out "You Are the Music in Me" for my favorite Simpering Troy and Gabriella Ballad, meaning I can now stand…two of their songs. (Although…Squeaky Hudgens so squeaky! Gah!)
Becky: Perhaps the background noise is the rain from the storm they dance in. Which would make sense, you know, if leaving that kind of audio on the soundtrack ever made sense. Oh, HSM.

5. A Night to Remember

Yeah, this is pretty much nothing without the visual. And did they dub Kelsi and Taylor? They're not usually this good.
Becky: I really like this one, actually! I love upbeat ensemble numbers, though, so that may speak more to my taste than to its quality.
Jess: I just have so many questions! Who's knocking on Ryan's door? And why does Ryan say "shaver"? We have an actual word for that! Also, "Should I fluff it?" sounds filthy. Also, IT DOES MAKE YOU LOOK WEIRD, TROY.
6. Just Wanna Be With You

Agreed. Totally blah duet, and I can't hear the "no matter where life takes us nothing can break us apart" line without picturing the two of them hopping towards each other (seriously, that's the height of Ryan's choreography?) the "all I wanna do is be with you" line without seeing horrible horrible New Troy dressed as a pimp and sexually harassing Sharpay.
Becky: Kelsi needs to learn to enunciate -- though maybe Oleysa just has a slight accent? Did I dream that she grew up in Russia? Because that could be it, too.
Jess: I think that's either true or I dreamed it too. Regardless, I don't want to work on the enunciation until she learns to goddamn sing Her voice is so flat I fear it may render me two-dimensional. Luckily, Lucas (who is ridiculously superior to everyone else in these films, and can actually play the piano!) sings pretty strongly over her. Yay Lucas!
Becky: Speaking of which, Ryan sings the girl part. Heeheeehee.
Jess: I like that we've spent all this time discussing the half a verse Ryan sings instead of, you know, the song itself.
Becky: Well, Troyella bores me, as always; Tizz does this much better than Vanessa in the mega-mix. Oh, also: "You know how life can be / it changes over night / it's sunny, then raining" ? Kids, that's not life, that's the weather.

7. The Boys Are Back

Back from…where? This song is basically pointless if you can't see the LUDICROUS CRACK DANCE.
Becky: Yeah, this scene is amazing, but the song really does not stand on its own. Though it does show us how much Zef's voice has improved, I think. You know, from the first movie, where it was Drew Seeley.

8. Walk Away

I like this much better on my iPod than I did in the theater, because I was so distracted by the complete insanity of this plot point (and I use the term loosely, because there is no plot). It's not a great song, but V gives the big girl voice another try; stylistically, I prefer it over her big numbers in the first two movies.
Jess: Doesn't this sound kind of like TLC's "Waterfalls"? Except, you know, not good? It could very easily go into one of her albums. In other words, it's boring.

9. Scream

AHAHAHAH. Zac gives it his best try, bless his heart. But this song is terrible. Spoken bridges never work, ever, for anyone. And his half-hearted scream at the end? Oh, Zef. It's not your fault.
Jess: The spoken bit is possibly – yes, the most amazing thing ever. EVER. But seriously, both of you, you're going to different colleges, not joining opposite sides in the war between Heaven and Hell. CALM THE FUCK DOWN. Also, TROY HEARS VOICES YES. Everyone was always "tryin' to get in [his] head" back in "Bet On It"; I can only assume they succeeded. And found it VAST AND EMPTY.

10. Senior Year Spring Musical

Ugh. This is both lazy and boring, since we're already heard all of these songs before. And I can only imagine that anyone listening to it without seeing the movie is utterly bewildered (although seeing the movie doesn't really clarify...anything).
Becky: Well, I like mega mixes. I know it makes no sense without context AND we've heard it before, but that's pretty much okay by me.
Jess: But! Horrible horrible new kids! Why didn't they fall off the stage and break their faces, why?
Becky: Yeah, fair enough. That would have been better.

11. We're All In This Together (Graduation Mix)

Aww, it's sweet that they bothered with a throwback to the first movie, seeing as how it was, you know...terrible.
Jess: This is actually really pretty, although I would recommend not listening to the lyrics, which, while stupid enough on their own ("We're not the same/ We're different in a good way") are particularly unsuited for slow choral music ("We're gonna rock the house/ The party's on, so everybody make some noise"). I wonder who the soloist is?

12. High School Musical

Improvisation without a script? And no one's written it? That's…that's something. This song made me physically uncomfortable in the theater. Look, no one who actually cared about their high school theater has anything but miserable memories of it. Years from now Sharpay and Ryan will be recounting the saga of Twinkle Towne Musicale to therapists.
Becky: I totally agree thematically that this is terrible, high school musicals are traumatic, etc. But...big bouncy ensemble number! I love those!
Jess: "Until forever we'll always have high school…High school lives on forever more!" OH GOD PLEASE NO.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday Flashback

In honor of HSM, have something that is, essentially, a drug trip:

The Monkees: Daydream Believer

Of course, they had an excuse; it was the late 60s. Man, Davey Jones really makes Zac Efron look like a competent dancer.

(Want even more ridiculousness? Try the Daydream Believer pirate version.)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

HSM3: the Good, the Bad, and the Baffling

NOTE: This will contain MINOR SPOILERS. However, since essentially nothing happens in the movie, we wouldn't worry too much if we were you.


The Boys Are Back: Chad and Troy's adventure in junkyard dancing! This was amazing. Though we feel like it's kind of mean to make Zef dance with Corbin, seeing has how, well... Corbin can dance and Zef... Eh, you've read previous entries. You know.

I Want it All: It didn't make any sense and wasn't, musically speaking, a very good song, but OH MY GOD WHO CARES? The dancing! The costumes! The insertion of the rest of the cast into the Evans' twins elaborated wacked-out fantasies! SHARPAY AND RYAN IN EVERYTHING!

Every single time Chad and/or Ryan is on the screen. Because they're dreeeeeamy.

Continue to Bet On It: We have no idea what Troy's big number was called because we were too busy being amazed by its AWESOMENESS. Basketballs falling from the sky! Rooms rotating! Troy ripping his giant head off the wall! It was FANTASTIC.


Oh my god, Troy Bolton, be a bigger douche. WAIT, YOU CAN'T.

Disney's complete lack of understanding of how scholarships, college admissions, graduation, and anything resembling the real world works.

Not enough Sharpay: It seems like they just didn't know what to do with her. They didn't make her the villain, but then acted like she was, so that sucked. And seeing as how Tizz should certainly win the East High award for Most Improved, her lack of screen time was really sad.

HSM: The New Class. The new kids weren't funny, or charming, or any good at all. The future of the franchise is bleak.


Everything that happened, what the fucking fuck was that movie about?

In conclusion, this carries on the tradition of HSM 1 and 2: the movie is delightful to watch, almost entirely without plot (and what plot it has makes no sense), and full of complete, wonderful insanity.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Countdown to HSM: Top 10 Best Things About High School Musical

10. Ryan's HSM3 doll wears a kilt
Becky: The costumes throughout HSM are pretty good -- except Kelsi's in the second movie, I think perhaps she ran over the costumer's dog or something -- but the best thing ever is actually on a doll. Ryan Evans, at least in plastic form, wears a KILT.
Jess: Why a kilt? Who cares! I, for one, hope this is a sign of a future HSM/DuckTales crossover, where Ryan and Scrooge McDuck go back to McDuck Castle in Scotland to have high campy adventures.
(Kilt picture from Molly.)

9. The homoerotic nonsense that is the Suite Life HSM episode
Jess: Okay, Suite Life is basically terrible, but for some reason the repeated joke of Maddie (Ashley Tisdale) insisting that she looks just like Sharpay (Ashley Tisdale) and no one else believing her makes me crack up. Other enjoyable things: the ludicrous casting of fey little Slightly Better Sprouse as the slightly less fey Troy, "Floss: The Musical," and the use of a plot point from Singin' in the Rain, which you might have noticed I'm rather partial to.
Becky: I just like to think about the cross-dimensional aspect it brings to Disney. Miley Cyrus -- a real person -- appears in HSM2, so that puts those two in the same universe; but Hannah Montana appears on the Suite Life so that puts those two in the same world; but the Suite Life performs HSM, so...HUH? The pandimensionality is broken! HSM actually broke the universe!

8. Jump In
Becky: It's only fair that if we blame HSM for Camp Rock, we credit it for Corbin's movie, right? And while Jump In is hilariously bad, it's also adorable, and it's Corbin at his best -- playing smug, dancing, and telling a coming out story.
Jess: Did you know boys can double dutch? Thanks to Corbin, I now know they totally can!

7. As bad as the musical aspects are, the return of musicals to mainstream
Becky: Kids are eating the musical thing up, even though what they're being given is bad. SURELY movie makers will eventually catch on and start making GOOD movie musicals, right?
Jess: Oh God. That is my beautiful, beautiful dream. Hold me, Becky!

6. The fact that every little girl I know knows the "All In This Together" dance
Jess: The very first time I saw HSM, my sister jumped up during the finale and did the "We're All in This Together" dance. I've seen kids I substitute for do it, kids at the Disney Store do it, kids on the street do it. It's not brilliant or anything, but heck, anything that makes the world more like a musical is okay in my book
Becky: In fairness, though, Jess and I have been the people doing the dance in the Disney Store. Uh, it may be mildly less charming when it's a couple of 20-somethings. Especially if one of them is me. (Zac Efron and I are comparable dancers.)

5. The launching of Lucas Grabeel's career (hopefully)
Jess: Lucas is the only - I repeat, the only good actor in the first HSM, and remains the best in HSM2. He's the strongest singer in the cast (God, his voice!), and just behind Corbin in dancing. And he is completely adorable. Please let this boy become wildly famous, gods of the universe. Please.
Becky: As the shallow one, I feel obligated add: Lucas isn't exactly hard on the eyes, either. If anyone deserves to get out of this franchise alive, it's him.

4. The ultimate message: it's totally cool to be who you are, no one has to live in a single little box, and we should embrace our differences and still be BFF
Becky: HSM has been referred to as a new generation's Grease, but there's one major difference. At the end of Grease, Sandy gives up on who she is and what she believes in so she can get the dreamy boy (at least, if you're willing to believe Travolta is dreamy). So to give credit where it's due, HSM is much better -- if for nothing else than because at the end, it's all about being true to who you are.
Jess: We refer here to the first movie, of course - the message of the second movie seems to be "Don't do drugs, because you'll turn orange and start seeing giant clocks and crazy girls in wedding dresses and stuff."

3. Gabriella's understated independence
Jess: Vanessa's no great shakes as an actress, and I went into HSM2 not liking Gabriella very much at all. That changed when I saw her behavior towards Troy.
Becky: I'm now going to project my own issues wildly onto Gabi. See, when I was in high school, I had a boyfriend who I was desperately, passionately in love with, and he with me. Except he was extremely jealous and possessive, and as a direct result, I was miserable for well over a year. But I didn't get why, or what I could do about it -- hey, I was 15. And when the thought did flicker through my mind that maybe I would be happier without him, I was overwhelmed by guilt: I loved him, why wasn't that enough? He'd feel awful if we broke up; I couldn't do that to him.

So it actually means a lot to me to see Gabi as a role model for girls in the second movie. Because Troy is a complete tool, and blows her off, and treats her really badly. And she breaks up with him, because she knows that she deserves to be happy. Their exchange in "Gotta Go My Own Way" is actually really brilliant in that regard. She knows what's right, and she does it. She doesn't need Troy to be happy. And yes, that is what I want girls to see on TV.

Also, when refusing to buy into Sharpay's games, her disgusted delivery of, "What's the prize, Troy?" is pretty much accidental genius.

2. An ethnically and visually varied cast
Jess: Oh, and hey, speaking of good role models, how about a Latina heroine (Vanessa's multiracial but Gabi seems to be straight-up Latina, not that it matters) and two interracial couples (Troy/Gabi and Sharpay/Zeke, if the latter counts as a couple)? That's pretty cool. I hear Martha gets to be head cheerleader in HSM3, as well - that's pretty freaking awesome, even if KayCee kind of gives me a headache.
Becky: HSM actually as a cast that isn't 100% caucasian, heterosexual, and skinny. That shouldn't be an accomplishment, but you know what? It is. Let's hope the rest of TV follows.

1. Ryan Evans
Becky: We snark about how incredibly, mind-bogglingly gay Ryan is a lot on this blog. We have an entire category dedicated to it. And -- okay, we mostly do it because it's funny. But the punchline isn't, "Heh, heh, he's gay." The punchline is that Disney, a corporation not exactly known for taking progressive stances, has provided a beloved, respected, positively-portrayed character, who happens to be flamingly gay. And has aimed this character to kids -- kids who are still forming opinions on what is normal and socially-acceptable behavior. And I want to live in a world where no one thinks real kids who happen to be like Ryan Evans are anything but normal.
Jess: Yes, Disney will tell you that they're not dealing with sexuality in these movies and jump through endless verbal hoops to keep from admitting that Ryan is gay. And yeah, it really, really sucks that they can't just have him be gay and have that be the end of it (let alone let him have a love interest. I mean, outside of "I Don't Dance"). But hey. Ryan Evans loves what he does and who he is. Everyone should have a role model like that.

We'll be seeing the movie at a late showing tonight and will likely fall down exhausted as soon as we get home. So our review will be up at some point tomorrow. In the mean time, though, enjoy the best number from the franchise so far. (Will it be topped? We shall see tonight!)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Countdown to HSM3: Top 10 Worst Things About High School Musical

10. The roller coaster/wave in Summertime
Becky: I'm pretty sure if you looked in some kind of film making encyclopedia for "awkward shot" you'd find this sequence. (Uh, an online, interactive encyclopedia, I guess.) It's not good.
Jess: Kenny is great at getting kids to feel comfortable around him and dance their little hearts out. Experimental cinematography? Not so much.

9. Mr. Fulton
Becky: There are so many things wrong with Fulton -- like how he spritzes after talking about Sharpay (whaa?), how everyone acts like he's super mean and scary (um, he would like employees to clock in and out on time, HOW UNREASONABLE), how he's not a very good actor... But what's really wrong is his name.
Jess: Or, more specifically, how similar it is to "Bolton," Troy's last name. Kenny would have done well to make his poorly-enunciating little brood practice saying these names with mouths full of marbles a la My Fair Lady, but since he didn't, we spent the movie hearing characters mumble "...lton" and going "Huh?"

8. The possibility of future HSMs
Jess: No. Just no. Especially without the main cast.
Becky: And the main cast really, really should not come back, Zefron. So: no more movies. Okay? Okay.

7. Zef's dancing
Becky: An easy target, but... He's just SO BAD.
Jess: Again, a superior film (like, oh, say, Hairspray) would have figured out a way to cunningly hide him during dance numbers so you didn't realize that he barely danced at all. HSM features his move-screwing-up and Crazy Zef Dances. HSM, dare I say, is not a superior film.

6. Darbus
Jess: Darbus is a bad teacher and a bad director, but she's supposed to be. However, she's also played by a terrible actress who keeps saying "musicale," so there's absolutely nothing redeemable about her whatsoever.
Becky: The only thing that would have possibly redeemed her in any way was the conceptualized duet between her and Coach Dad, but a) it didn't happen, an b) ... well ... scroll down the list.

5. Coach Dad
Becky: Coach Dad sucks. He's possibly a WORSE actor, and he's terrifyingly badly written.
Jess: Watch him scream angrily at his team, demanding to know where Troy and Chad are! Watch him have a tender, discomfort-inducing moment with his shirtless, hairless, Bonne-Bell-Lip-Smackered son! Watch him grope his son's underage friends, inexplicably hang out with his team/students during summer vacation, and tell his son that it's totally cool and not morally ooky to psuedo-date his boss's daughter for money! And watch him do it all very, very poorly.

4. Troy
Jess: I hate Troy. This is not the first time I've said it and it will not be the last, but he's the most wooden, self-involved, consistently douche-baggy protagonist I've ever seen in a kids' franchise. From the moment he gets Gabi detention in her first period of her first day at East High without once thinking "Hmm, maybe I shouldn't call her in class," to the crowning height of douche-baggery when he decides to fix all his mistakes by dropping out of Sharpay's show and thus screwing her over but not reporting in to work or attempting to get the regular show back on, thereby making nobody but himself happy, he proves himself incapable of thinking about anyone else for even a second.
Becky: The franchise really lucked out in casting Zac Efron -- Jess doesn't like him, and he can certainly come across as a douche, but he also can be quite charming and adorable. He manages to bring some of that charm to Troy, especially in the first movie; and he and Vanessa actually are attracted to each other, so that comes across, too. Without those two lucky strokes, the movies would be unwatchable, because Troy? Well, Troy is a complete and total douchebag.

3. Camp Rock happened
Becky: Camp Rock was created in the hopes it would be the next HSM. So, if there was no HSM, there would be no Camp Rock, and I would have two hours of my life and god only knows how many brain cells back.
Jess: Not to mention we'd have to look at Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers a lot less. That would be a better, kinder world indeed.

2. The franchise's relentless marketing to kids as young as 3
Jess: Look. I get that Disney wants to merchandise their stuff, and hey, we had some joyous giggles over Becky's Ryan- and Chad-flavored (we can only assume) gum. But constantly shilling toothbrushes and toy microphones to preschoolers - that's not okay. Give them a few years before stamping all over their foreheads with brand logos, okay, Disney?
Becky: Here's a thought: how about we don't train a new generation of toddlers to be consumers who'll buy whatever has a designer label on it? How about we don't manufacture so much useless junk they don't need, which clogs up the world with pollution as it's made and fills up dumps when it breaks? It's not that we want to live in a world where you can't buy bubble gum with Chad and Ryan holograms on the package, it's that Disney has never heard of moderation, and ultimately that's bad for everyone.

1. HSM's status within and relationship with the musical genre
Becky: So I love HSM and all, but I'm not really a musical theater person. Uh, Jess is, though. And I have the sneaking suspicion that she's been holding back a very strong opinion all week, waiting for this moment.
Jess: *breathes*

There are a lot of things that anger me about the way the High School Musical films approach, well, being a musical. The weak (Tizz, Monique, Corbin) or nasal (Tizz, Vanessa) singers who don't know how to put across a song (Vanessa, Zef) in a way that conveys character and emotions. The third-rate pop songs that consistently fail to advance the plot or character development (show me one thing "Bet On It" adds to the movie, I dare you). The complete ignorance as to how actual musical theater is conducted.

Worse than that, though, is the mocking position HSM takes in relation to the genre. "God," it seems to say, "musicals are so stupid. Like, they're called things like 'Twinkle Town Musicale' and the people who love them are all mean, intermittently stupid, and shallow, or downright crazy, and why couldn't our heroes just sweep in and take the leads? I mean, it can't be that hard or require effort or dedication." The people who love the genre - Darbus, Ryan, and Sharpay - are villains or morons or both in the first movie and not much better in the second. (I would argue that Kelsi doesn't fit into this category because she doesn't love musical theater so much as she loves music.) Troy and Gabi display no skills beyond those required for karaoke. The show they are apparently auditioning for is incoherent and stupid. The auditioners are mocked mercilessly for...knowing ballet and opera? How dare they! And both films treat tap dancing, the musical theateriest of all dance forms, with utter disdain and ridicule, despite the fact that the director's mentor was Gene freaking Kelly.

If this were a highly forward-thinking or experimental series, I could see where they were coming from. I don't think being dismissive and insulting towards those who have gone before you is indicative of maturity or quality, but I guess if you're written the greatest musical ever made, you can afford to be a little haughty. Neither HSM is the greatest musical ever made. Neither would break the top 100. I am fond, obviously, but y'all, these movies are bad. The writing is bad, the acting is (for the most part) bad, the singing is uneven...all they've got going for them is costumes and dancing (minus Zef, of course). Even the staging sucks - the line of spasmodically jumping backs to the audience in "Everyday" makes me want to scream.

So where the hell does anyone involved in HSM, from the producers all the way down to Manley's personal assistant, get off insulting classic musical theater tradition?

But the thing that makes me angriest and saddest and most scared of all, is that crap like this is what kids today are being taught is musical theater. Look, I was born in the 80s, which was a pretty dry spell for the genre too, but I was raised on Gene Kelly and Shirley Temple and Rodgers and Hammerstein and I know the heights the genre can attain. The ravenous way young people from preschool up through high school are devouring HSM (and Camp Rock and Hannah Montana and every teenybopper who both acts and sings and anything else that even hints of musical theater - plus superior fare like Hairspray and Enchanted) shows that they are desperately hungry for musical theater, stories told with glorious, soul-soaring moments of song-and-dance. I don't want them thinking High School Musical is the best they can get. They deserve something more.

Becky: *applauds*

Here, universe: let Gene, Donald, and Debbie show you how it's really done.

Very Important Things

Thing the first: High School Musical 3's Ryan Evans still a coded gay character -- another article from AfterElton about how Ryan is totally gay. Aaaaand a certain little blog I know of totally gets a shout out in the second page. (Thanks to the various people who pointed this out to us!) Which of course led to this email exchange:

Jess: What do I love most about the article? The confirmation that Ryan has NOT been hetted up, the fact that he randomly yells "Dance!" for no reason, or the fact that they think we're teenagers?

Becky: I feel that "Dance" and "Not dance" should be our new exclamations of joy and disappointment respectively. "We're doing a conference at work so I will have to work this weekend. It's so not dance."

Jess: On the other hand, I'm eating an amazing Cadbury bar that is dance enough to be worth the $2.25 I paid for it.


Thing the second: Today's Zac Efron career update. Pirates 4 is apparently just a rumor (hopefully, then, so is HSM4), but Zac is actually slated for the Kevin Bacon role in a remake of Footloose


ZACHARY DAVID ALEXANDER EFRON. No more movies with dancing! Stop it! You are really really really really bad at dancing! Seriously.

Example: In Work It Out, Zef does what we refer to as A Crazy Little Zef Dancetm and it looks like Disney's Zefron Bot 3000 has gone haywire and may start killing all humans at any moment. Then Corbin and Kaycee do the exact same dance and it looks like a thing that was actually competently choreographed.

Seriously. This will be epically bad.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Countdown to HSM3: The Top 10 Things We'd Like to Say to the Cast

10. "Anyone who plays an East High faculty member, right on down to the principal and the pregnant science teacher: Stop. Just stop. You're a terrible actor and no one likes you. Go away."

9. "Monique, you are super cute and sassy. We should be BFF. Call us!"

8. "Manley (director Kenny Ortega's dog, who plays Sharpay's dog): man, what is your life like? Cheetohs for dinner and watching Anchors Aweigh every night, am I right?"


6. "Baby V, you need to stop singing through your nose. Also, you need to stop calling yourself Baby V."

5. "Okay, Kenny, you're not technically a cast member, but whatevs. We appreciate the homoeroticism in everything you make. Keep up the good work! But maybe let the HSM thing end while it's still joyously bad, before it becomes just plain old bad."

4. "Lucas, you are way too good for this shit. You should pretend you don't know that, though, because because this shit is the primary reason you're going to go on to have a decent career, so don't behave like a jackass."

3. "Corbin, honey, someday all those tingly feelings you get around cute boys - and your love of leopard print - will make sense."

2. "Tizz. All the plastic surgery in the world will not turn you into Reese Witherspoon. You are smart and funny and you need to give up on the Rom Com Princess dream and start making a career that works for you. Might I suggest teaming up with Josh Peck to make a series of wacky comedies penned by a couple of bloggers? Just throwing that out there!"

1. "Oh, Zefron. Perhaps you should consider more movies where you are not singing and especially not dancing. Because you are very, very bad at dancing. AND DO NOT MAKE A FOURTH MOVIE. NO MATTER WHAT FRANCHISE THEY PROMISE YOU. IT IS CAREER DEATH."

And in the spirit of getting things off our chests...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Countdown to HSM3: The Top 10 Biggest WTF Moments

Tonight's list deals with some of the most ridiculous moments in HSM. But that seems to have been the theme of the day, because ZOMG, have you seen the alleged news? Zef may just have let himself get blackmailed into doing HSM4: in exchange for that (plus a crapload of money), he seems to be signed on to co-star in Pirates of the Caribbean 4. So he can take over the franchise from Johnnie Depp. Whaaaat?

Top 10 Biggest WTF Moments

10. Troy Bolton wears capri pants
Jess: And slides. Listen, Troy, just because it's cute when Chad and Ryan switch clothing doesn't mean you should switch with your significant other too.
Becky: It isn't the worst fashion offense in the movies. But it it is one of the most hilarious.

9. Sharpay's role as understudy
Becky: Okay. I give you that some schools with hard core drama programs may bother with understudies -- mine didn't, but my school was about 11 people and some cows -- but even if your school does, doesn't the second best actress usually get know...secondary female role?
Jess: I'm more confused by why, if Sharpay was Gabi's understudy, Gabi didn't suffer a Showgirls-esque pushed-down-the-stairs "accident" on opening night. Presumably because Gabi is too prim to do anything Showgirls-esque.

8. Troy getting everyone jobs at Lava Springs
Jess: I guess I can buy that Sharpay has enough pull to get Fulton to hire Troy plus anywhere from seven to 50 of his friends (although what happened to the people who were supposed to hold those jobs?), but why didn't Troy tell his friends when he found out?
Becky: Also, when did this happen? We hear him extolling Gabi's many virtues, but then he hangs up and looks smug. Did he secretly call Fulton back later to demand Lava Springs hire more of his cronies or the "Hire me and my girlfriend and we'll show up but not really do any more work" deal was off?

7. Everyone else's investment in Troy and Gabi's relationship
Becky: You know, when my friends have gone through break ups, it sucked. I try to cheer them up, because that's what friends do. I don't think I've ever engineered a convoluted scheme to shoehorn them back into a seriously flawed relationship, though.
Jess: Do these people not have their own lives? I mean, even Ryan gave up his show - his first creative endeavor that was all his - to provide Troy and Gabriella with a terribly staged, infuriatingly bad duet. Kids, even if Mommy and Daddy break up, they still love you.

6. Darbus keeping people out
Jess: Darbus seems completely opposed to the idea of people trying out for and/or being in her musical(e). Gabriella was thirty seconds late deciding she wanted to audition, so Darbus refuses to let her do it? What? What?
Becky: Well, she also decided the school should do a big show that was entirely written by a high schooler -- a talented one, I guess, but could they not get the rights to Bye Bye Birdie or something? -- that seems to involve, like, a tree and a camel and a giant moon. So perhaps that's just how Darbus rolls. You know. Crazy-style.

5. Chad scores the winning run
Becky: Yeah, so there's no actual, possible way that that should have happened. They went to all the trouble to show us Ryan winning home field advantage, so Ryan should bat in the BOTTOM of the inning. Meaning that if Chad scored a run in the 9th that put his team ahead, Ryan's team should go bat. There is no way to do a walk-off in the top of the ninth! That's not how baseball works!
Jess: I think from that you can all tell which one of us is the crazy baseball fan, but seriously, even I know that's wrong. (Although I think wasting time breakdancing when you're about to be tagged out is also a pretty egregious violation of baseballular principles.)

4. The whole audition process
Jess: Okay, for anyone who's never auditioned for something before (which, for the record, should not be ANYONE INVOLVED IN MOVIE-MAKING), you do not have to audition in pairs, because that makes no damn sense. What if one person is good and the other stinks? You audition BY YOURSELF, possibly reading lines with someone else if necessary. Callbacks happen a day or two later, not WEEKS, and don't require a) costumes, b) an audience, or c) THAT YOU WRITE AND ARRANGE A BRAND-NEW SONG. And you have to be able to do more than just sing.
Becky: On top of which, just as a general note, I kind of feel like we need to ask why, why, WHY Sharpay and Ryan seem to play romantic roles against each other -- or at least audition for them. And for that matter, what happens to their drama club groupies, who are never seen or heard from again?

3. Sharpay and Ryan participate in We're All in This Together
Becky: So Sharpay (and to a lesser extent, Ryan) have just spent several days doing their best to sabotage Gabi and Troy, right? But then they lose. So... Everyone is friends? I guess? I'm not sure why or how or when that happened, but apparently at East High, "I will destroy you if you get in my way," is more or less equivalent to, "Hi, let's be BFF!"
Jess: Let's hope so, because the SAME EXACT THING happens in the second movie. And all the junior novels. Uh, so I hear. *cough*

Jess: Giant. Troy. Head.
Becky: I like to picture some artsy, alternative kid being forced to paint that wall while ranting about how Troy Bolton is emblematic of everything that's wrong with high school. Except no one exists at East High who doesn't love Troy Bolton, so I guess that can't happen, alas.

1. Everything about employment at Lava Springs
Jess: How many of the junior staffers are Wildcats anyway? Why were they all in uniform BEFORE getting job assignments? Why are they so surprised and angry to learn that they have to work at their JOBS? Why was Gabriella lifeguarding and Jason washing dishes before they got their assignments? Why did Kelsi think it was acceptable to start eating the club's food the minute she got there OH MY GOD I WANT TO PUNCH HER IN THE FACE? Who was supposed to wait on the audience if the entire junior staff was in the show? Who wound up waiting when they all went out to perform? How did Troy not get fired, when we only see him working three time during the whole movie and he always always ALWAYS clocks in late? Why does he stop to talk to Gabriella BEFORE clocking in when he is ALREADY late? Why do they think Fulton is scary? Why is Zeke angry about getting his dream job? Why does Chad think putting his feet in a bucket of ice will make them feel better, and why are we supposed to believe that he's in pain when a) he's an athlete and b) the Evans parents walked just as much as he did? Where are their supervisors? Why does no one train them? Aren't there requirements to becoming a lifeguard besides first aid training and being a straight A student? What exactly is Taylor's job?

Becky: *backs away from Jess slowly* And yet, NONE of this is the most insane thing that happened at Lava Springs. You know where this is going, don't you? Cue video.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Countdown to HSM3: Top 10 Most Ridiculous Lyrics

10. I Don't Dance
"I'll show you that it's one and the same / Baseball, dancing, same game"

Jess: As anyone who has ever attempted to dance and/or play baseball knows, this is patently untrue. In fact, the only way insane lines like "Lean back, tuck it in, take a chance" make sense is if the whole thing is a metaphor for gay sex. Which we're pretty sure it is.
Becky: Presumably. Because Ryan is encouraging Chad to, "Just hit it." Which literally only makes sense if Ryan is trying to seduce Chad, because Ryan is pitching to Chad, so if we're talking baseball, he shouldn't want Chad to hit anything. If we're talking gay sex, though, pitchers and catchers take on a whole metaphorical meaning that makes way more sense.

9. All For One
"Each day we'll be together / Now until forever"
"Let's celebrate today 'cause there'll never be another"
"It's not about the future / It's not about the past
It's making every single day last and last and last!"

Jess: The HSMers have a very odd relationship with the space/time continuum. Is it about living today...forever? Or the future...that is now? Or, like, totally cute capris? It's the capris, isn't it.
Becky: Well, look at it like this; if there are infinite dimensions with infamous universes, somewhere out there is a HSM where it IS about the future, and one where it IS about the past, and, because they're big into pandimensionality at Disney, they just wanted to reference that. Or... uh.. Yeah.

8. Fabulous
"Turkey imported from Maine"
"I need my Tiffany hair band"

Becky: Presumably Sharpy was too busy planning how to crush Kelsi's last shred of dignity beneath her stiletto-clad heel to pay attention in school, but, um, that's not how imports work. They have to come from another country, honey. Also: really, turkey is her choice poolside snack? I guess maybe I just don't understand the wealthy.
Jess: You're so plebeian, Becky. I, however, am high class, which is how I know that Tiffany's does not sell hair bands...BECAUSE THEY ARE A JEWELRY STORE.

7. Stick to the Status Quo
"No no noooooo / Stick to the stuff you know"
"Open up, dig way down deep…Not another peep"
"Speak your mind and you'll be heard…Not another word"

Becky: East High Student Body, I demand some consistency! Do you want to know people's deep dark secrets, or not?!
Jess: I guess the answer to that is "No no no nooooooo/No no no." Uh, we get the message, guys. Also, you can't rhyme "no" with "know."

6. We're All in This Together
"We're not the same / We're different in a good way"
"We've arrive because we stand together"

Jess: ARRRGH. The saccharine nonsense of this line hurts me like an ice cream headache.
Becky: Especially Sharpay. She's different in a way where she doesn't actually belong in that song, because she hates all of them, and they absolutely never stood together at all.

5. Breaking Free
"And all the world can see us / In a way that's different than who we are / Creating space between us / 'Til we're separate hearts"

Jess: I'm sorry, I thought this movie was about being seen for who you are. Not...a way that's different than that? Or...wait, what?
Becky: And, you know, there OUGHT to be space between them; PDAs at school are just icky. The "separate hearts" line does make me picture Troy and Gabi on a romance novel cover, though.

4. Humuhumunukunukuapua'a
"She was sweet as a peach in a pineapple way / But so sad that she hardly speaky"

Becky: It's a lot harder to snark on this one, because the problem isn't that it's ludicrous or inconsistent, it's that it's, well, kinda racist. The whole thing screams, "Oh, those wacky Pacific Islanders! They have such funny names!"
Jess: Not to mention the kooky dialect. "Oh, those Pacific Islanders! They can't talk good English!"
Becky: Basically, we wish we could have gotten the hilarity of this scene without the patronizing attitude or cultural appropriation. Fail, Disney.

3. Everyday
"Once in a lifetime means there's no second chance"
"No matter where we're going it starts from where we are"

Jess: Okay, I'll admit it. This song is this high (or low) on the list in part because the way it is staged absolutely infuriates me. But it is also there because of idiot lines like these, which either state the obvious (where we're going starts from where we are? NO WAY!) or make no damn sense, and because of the bewildering assertion in the chorus that they are going to "use [their] voices and scream out loud" (at what? AT WHAT?), and because it repeats the endless and incomprehensible theme of living for the moment forever in the future today, or something, and because OH MY GOD "EVERY DAY" IS ONLY ONE WORD WHEN IT'S BEING USED AS AN ADJECTIVE WHICH YOU ARE NOT DOING HERE.

2. Work It Out
"A little bit of sugar / A little bit of butter / It's the perfect recipe"
"Pay day! It'll taste so sweet / Pay day! Good enough to eat"
"Get tickets to the Knicks and Sixers"

Becky: Now, Jess is the one here who isn't terrified of those scary cooking machines in the kitchen, but I'm pretty sure that a little bit of sugar mixed with a little bit of butter gives you ... sugary butter.
Jess: It does! It is the perfect recipe...for a heart attack. Also, I know you're new to the whole working thing, kids, but you can't eat pay day. Also also, Zeke, honey? The Knicks and the Seventy-Sixers a) are basketball teams, which means they play in winter, and b) are on the East Coast.

1. Get'cha Head in the Game
"Make sure that we get the rebound / 'Cause when we get it then the crowd will go wild"

Jess: High School Musical as a whole doesn't really seem to have the concept of "rhyming" down, but this "rebound"/"go wild" couplet is definitely the most egregious example.
Becky: And, hey, if Jess can rant about adjectives, I can at least throw this out there: Apostrophes, UR DOIN IT RONG. Apostrophes replace missing letters and spaces; if you MUST have one in this phrase, it should probably be "get cha'," but even that is stretching it, because it ISN'T an apostrophe-appropriate situation. It's just nonsense, which, if you are truly COMPELLED to punctuate, should get quotation marks to denote that it is being written as it's said, and no apostrophe at all.
Jess: But the real reason this song tops the list is because in defiance of all known laws of the universe, Drew "Voice of Troy" Seeley and his inappropriate apostrophe were nominated for an Emmy.

Music lovers, commence

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Countdown to HSM3: Sharpay's Top 10 Kick Assiest Moments

10. While playing golf, Sharpay almost kills Chad. Twice.
Jess: Now, we love Chad. But Sharpay's gleeful sociopathy disguised as completely insincere clumsiness is hilarious. Could Gabriella get away with this shit? No, she could not.
Becky: Basically, Sharpay is a mastermind in sunglasses and heels, and part of the reason she kicks ass is simply how much fun she has when she wins.

9. You Are the Music In Me
Becky: And she's a mastermind with vision, at that. Sharpay knows what she loves -- upbeat numbers, lots of props, lots of dancing -- and in this "duet" she puts that to work. She may want Troy, but he's essentially just another prop.
Jess: Since Troy is essentially a cardboard cutout, it's wonderful to see Sharpay treat him like one.

8. "Golly, Troy!" [Gabi impression]
Becky: There is nothing passive aggressive about Sharpay. She is refreshingly straight forward in her disdain for the rest of the student body.
Jess: It helps that her impression is dead on. (Troy's plans for the summer include DOWNLOADING MUSIC, you guys. Somebody drown him.)

7. Sharpay signs up for auditions with a giant signature
Jess: It leaves pretty much no room for anyone else, which is fitting: after Sharpay, who else is there?
Becky: Anyone who joins drama will have to take a backseat to Sharpay, and she'd like for everyone to know that instantly. It's amazing Gabriella made it through all of Twinkle Towne without a mystery assailant breaking her kneecaps, frankly.

6. Sharpay gives Ryan the Star Dazzle Award (even after he screws her over)
Jess: Okay, this isn't Sharpay being gloriously bitchy. We have hearts, and we're touched that while Sharpay loves herself, she loves her brother just as fiercely.
Becky: She may need the occasional reminder that Ryan is more than just her sidekick, and here we see that she does love him -- and that she respects people who stand up to her.

5. While yelling at Troy: "Oh, we can all hold hands around the campfire later." And also, "A duet is two people! In this case mostly me."
Becky: Let's face it: because she's got so much more character than most other characters, Sharpay gets a lot of the best lines.
Jess: And again, her depiction of the shmaltzy all-in-this-together mentality of the other characters (oh, did you see what I did there?) is dead on.

4. Being higher than Ryan at the end of Bop to the Top
Jess: Yes, Sharpay loves her brother. No, she's not going to let him outshine her.
Becky: Luckily, at least in this case, Ryan doesn't mind. He's too busy shaking his hips and ass.

3. "Everybody QUIET!"
Becky: Everyone -- EVERYONE -- does what Sharpay says.
Jess: What will happen if they don't? We don't know. But it will be TERRIBLE.

2. What I've Been Looking For
Jess: Sharpay (and Ryan) show the world how it's done. This is pretty much the only song in either HSM movie so far that actually looks like it belongs in a musical.
Becky: Sharpay may be a scheming, sociopathic diva who'll cut anyone who gets in her way...but she's also a talented performer who far outshines her competition. You aren't supposed to like Sharpay's version of the song better, but I have yet to meet anyone who doesn't.

1. "Gimme a beat!"
Becky: Come on. If you could employ a minion to provide you a proper strutting beat whenever you exited a room, you would. Don't lie.
Jess: The world of High School Musical might only be set to music because Sharpay deems it should be so. I would believe this!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Countdown to HSM3: Ryan's Top 10 Gayest Moments

So your bloggers here at Tweenage are somewhat excited about next week's opening of High School Musical 3: Senior Year, a movie that will doubtlessly define a generation. Not our generation, but that's not the point. We've got our tickets and are busy getting ourselves psyched up -- and of course we need to share the fun. So for the next week, we'll be doing a countdown to HSM3, posting daily Top 10 lists that explore some of our favorite movie moments. Starting with a countdown that is near and dear to our hearts:

Ryan's Top 10 Gayest Moments

  • 10. "Golden Throat? This is Jazz Square."
    Becky: I suspect the only way this could be gayer is if Ryan's nickname was Golden Throat.
    Jess: I'm sure among certain special interest groups it is. And by "certain special interest groups," I mean the dudes he has sex with.

  • 9. Ryan: Hi, Mommy!
    Mrs. Evans: Ducky! How's my dashing boy?
    (They kiss their fingertips and touch them together; then Ryan joins his mother at yoga.)
    Mrs. Evans: Tell Pumpkin if she worries she'll get frown lines.
    Ryan (sighing, resigned): I told her twice.

    Jess: Lucas's fey body language helps this one along, but you get the feeling Ryan is a mama's boy because he actually just really likes doing all the stuff she does. He's gonna make an awesome trophy wife someday.
    Becky: Y'all, Ryan Evans knows from skin care regimes. Is all I'm saying.

  • 8. Ryan's verse of We're All in This Together
    Jess: Or, more specifically, his pelvic thrusts during his verse of "We're All in This Together," followed by his being carried aloft by ranks of nubile male athletes.
    Becky: I don't think there's anything I can add to that.

  • 7. "I'd say Troy Bolton has that sewn up."
    Becky: This is another body language heavy one -- let's just say it is very clear Ryan has been checking out the gentlemen of East High. Perhaps he keeps a spreadsheet of some sort, regularly updated with vital statistics like "floppiest hair," and "most orangey skin." (At least, I assume that's what he's measuring by if Troy is #1.)
    Jess: Also, what high school boy uses an expression like "sewn up"? A gay one.

  • 6. Bop to the Top: Ryan does the hustle. Ryan also, apparently, does the rump.
    Jess: He also "pops like a mop," but I'm not really sure what that means.
    Becky: Let's just say Ryan is way more in touch with his hips than most guys. You know. Straight ones.

  • 5. "Maybe I'll get to meet Ashton!"
    Becky: That's...not even subtextual, is it?
    Jess: No. No, it is not.

  • 4.
    Becky: You know, this would be a gay enough sequence just because of the pink and white and the piano playing in the pool and whatnot, but we feel the need to draw attention to Ryan's mouth. And not just because his lips are such a lovely shade of pink.
    Jess: Somewhere, Liberace is smiling.

  • 3. Ryan's hats
    Jess: Look, I know hats didn't used to be code for gay, but that was before Ryan Evans came along.
    Becky: Ryan's dad can try and straighten his son's hats as often as he wants, but it just ain't gonna take.

  • 2. Ryan and Chad exchange shirts and hats
    Becky: It would be one thing if Ryan had just pulled on Chad's jersey...But Chad is wearing Ryan's polo shirt. These guys have been at least half-naked and sweaty together in a locker room somewhere.
    Jess: Or a dugout, or under a table, or right there on the pitcher's mound...they're not picky.

  • 1. AND FINALLY...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Flashback

Elvis: Heartbreak Hotel (1956?)

Monday, October 13, 2008

It makes you wanna dance for joy

So...the HSM kids are shilling bread now?

Okay, you have to understand that I am still bitter - ten years after the fact - that the Gap stopped doing the dancing commercials, where you'd have like 20 people tap dancing in khakis. If I am to be beset by advertisements, I insist they be full of fresh-faced young people dancing exuberantly. If your product won't make me dance down the streets, GET OFFA MY TEEVEE.

So this commercial would please me even if it didn't include bouncy HSMers. But it DOES! Which is why I've watched it 20 times. DUN JUDGE ME.

Items of note:

1. Gee, I wonder which two of these four are trained dancers? Could it be the two who are actually dancing, and not posing in rhythm?

2. I think it's pretty amusing that the cinematography, directing, choreography, and songwriting are all superior to anything from any of the movies so far.


4. Okay, he's rambling and redundant and doofy, but how precious is Corbin in that interview? You teach those kids to eat right, Corbin! You teach them to food. Like...Sara Lee bread. Uh.

Well, his heart's in the right place.

As an extra special treat, have the Corbin-only version!

My, but that boy can dance.

Friday, October 10, 2008


...I love that Joel now gives regular enough updates about Miley et al that they have running gags. I also love this new tag, though I don't know how often I'll get to use it, alas.

Friday Flashback!

A new regular feature around here, at least assuming we remember to do this more than just today. Friday Flashback, where we post a video from a teen or tween idol of another generation.

And for the inaugural post, one of my own all-time favorites.

David Cassidy: I Think I Love You (1970)

Oh man. All the kids today may be running around with variations of Mitchel "Sandwich Boy" Musso's weirdly grown-out bowl cut, but back then, it was all-feathered, all-the-time. Oh David. I know I love you.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Commenting FYI

Hey! People are commenting! That's awesome!

Just as an FYI, though, for people reading on our LJ feed, since those posts aren't kept forever, if you comment over there, your comment will eventually be lost, alas. So we definitely encourage folks to come over to the blog instead, if you can!

And, uh, here. A stupid picture of Zac Efron.

(Image from here.)

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Degayification of Ryan Evans...?

Very important conversation:

Becky: I don't know. On the one hand, there are all those rumors about Ryan and Kelsi hooking up.

And yet on the other hand... Ryan's Rockettes.

Jess: It seems to me that there's a bit of a power struggle going on. The costume department (and probably Lucas) gets that Ryan is gay. But Disney doesn't think so. Meanwhile, Kenny, presumably, think, "OMG you guys, let's have a water fight!"

(Rockette's image snagged from Google; certainly not mine. Ryan and Kelsi, I, uh... completely lost my source for. Yikes. Please let me know if I stole it from you so I can credit properly.)

HSM3 Badness Alert Level: Powder Blue (Like Troy's Suit)

In celebration of the fact that Jess, Rachel, and I purchased our opening night HSM3 tickets tonight, a video! "A Night to Remember"

AHAHAHAHA. Let me count the ways this video is the most amazing thing since Bet On It:

  1. Chad's panic. ZOMG you guys, he has to take a GIRL to the PROM and she might have scary GIRL GERMS and he just isn't sure he can handle that!!1! Oh, Chadders. Not as gay as Ryan, but pretty darned gay.

  2. D'aww, Chad's plaid suit jacket is oddly adorable. (WHAT, there is a reason Corbin is listed in the sidebar as my inappropriately young crush, OKAY? Don't judge me.)

  3. "It makes me look weird." AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Yes, Troy, it DOES make you look weird. How unusually perceptive for you! (Also: pelvic thrusts? It took Kenny three movies to get around to that?)

  4. I believe that none of the boys in HSM knows what a corsage is. Not the brightest group, them.

  5. Either the set of the show-within-a-show looks a lot like the set for the Muppets' "Manhattan Melodies" or else the actual SET for this is the cheapest, fakest thing ever. Either way, I am amused.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Oh Tiz, honey, YES

I only just heard about this movie, but let me say, I am SO PSYCHED.

Can't be any worse than "Picture This." And aliens! Hooray!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Suite Life on Deck

So I watched the premier of the Suite Life on Deck.

It's... really bad.

Like, it's so bad I'm not sure I can convey in mere words. Let's go to the points system:

  • Sightly Better Sprouse is still kind of darling, and Slightly Worse Sprouse has actually improved somewhat! +2
  • Brenda Song is still incredibly adorable! +1
  • Somehow, though, they've removed everything endearing about London -- she was always shallow and dumb, but mostly oblivious and not selfish. Now she's just horrible on every level. -2
  • Cody is still adorably, awkwardly gay, barely subtextually gay. +1
  • Zach is still really, incredibly, extraordinarily hateful. -1
  • Carrie has been written off! Thank. God. +1
  • She's been replaced by an awful wacky teacher, who is somehow a worse actress, and more annoying. -1
  • No Ashley Tisdale to hold the show together by falling down a lot. -5
  • No Arwin or Esteban. Who knew I liked them until they were gone? -1
  • The old mediocre peripheral characters gone, replaced by entirely new mediocre peripheral characters. 0
  • The occasional actually amusing, well-delivered line: +1
  • Moseby! Oh, come on. He's always been the best thing about the Suite Life. +2
  • The Suite Life continues its tradition of plenty of farting, burping, and pooping jokes. -1k
  • All the sexism from the original Suite Life made the jump to sea. -1million
  • Plus a heaping helping of racism, with potential for plenty more as the twins explore wacky foreign cultures! -1bajillion

...Like I said. It wasbad. Why can't we just have a wacky show where Brenda, SBS, and Phil Lewis (Moseby) hang out being endearing? I'd watch that!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Miranda Wrongs

We don't often mention the Nickelodeon side of the tween world on this blog, but I am actually a bichannel girl. While Disney is the one I'm more likely to leave on in the background, since my hatred of the Naked Brothers Band is possibly even more violent than my hatred for the Jonas Brothers, I was a hardcore Drake and Josh fan, and have been attempting to keep up with my iCarly as a lingering show of loyalty to the Schneiderverse (although nothing can make me sit through an episode of Zoey 101).

Reasons I watch iCarly:

1. Jennette McCurdy. So cute!

2. Jennette McCurdy's hair. So pretty!

3. The theme song. So bouncy!

4. The aforementioned lingering show of etc.

As you can see, I did not list the show's star, Miranda Cosgrove. Now, I like M-Cos. She seems like a sweet girl. She's very pretty, she's got a lovely voice, and she gave Drake Bell a kitten.

But holy guacamole that girl cannot act. She can't even stand in front of a camera without looking incredibly, incredibly awkward. On Drake and Josh she was always putting her hands on her hips in a pose that might as well have been subtitled "I don't know what to do with my hands." On iCarly she's perfected what I call Jokeface; those subtitles would read "I am about to tell a joke. I am telling a joke. Did you laugh at the joke I just told? I am laughing! Ha ha." Because nothing is funnier than a sitcom character who is aware of the joke.

And check out her new (I assume) music video:

I kind of like the song. There's something charmingly retro about its cheery take on teenage romance, like an Archie Comic. And Miranda can actually sing quite well, unlike many young actresses who put out albums.

But could she look more embarrassed and uncomfortable to be there? As my friend Mackenzie pointed out, she comes off like she's never been around children her own age - like an adult trying desperately to be cool for the kids. This is one of the many perils of bus school!

Miranda, sweetie, perhaps a career where you have to look comfortable and relaxed in front of many people is not the career for you. Perhaps you would be better off as a telemarketeer, or miner! I only say this because I care.

And in conclusion: Jennette McCurdy's hair! So pretty!

[Image from Totally Jennette.]

Important IM Conversations

Jess: Mitchel. No more tank tops.
Jess: Or bangs.
Becky: mitchell, a shirt, put it on IMMEDIATELY
Jess: This is not appropriate sandwich-getting attire!
Becky: seriously.
Becky: Emily looks so hilariously intent and focused in the close ups
Jess: It's like he's wearing a bob wig that belongs to a giant.
Becky: it kind of makes me hope they're real life BFFs, though.
Jess: Who fight crime!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

As the Who Whats?

So... Apparently Tony Oller a) exists and b) has a song and music video on the Disney Channel.

Turns out, Tony Oller is one of the kids from ASTHEBELLRINGS (that's the closest I can come to approximating the yelly voice you have to say that in -- have to, like a compulsion). I recognized him, but didn't know his name until I googled it. I must confess: I don't hate ASTHEBELLRINGS. But then, I don't like ASTHEBELLRINGS, either. I have no feelings on it one way or the other, unless, "What the hell just happened my the television?" counts as a feeling.

So here's the weird part: I actually don't hate it. I don't hate Tony Oller's voice, which is not nearly as digitized as it might be. I don't hate the style, in as much as there's a style -- sort of Disney pop meets Virtual Insanity. I will say, though, that if there was a fantasy boyband draft a la fantasy sports, I would totally pick Tony Oller for the role of "Guy who's kind of deep (for a certain definition of "deep" that means "probably writes bad poetry in a journal somewhere")."

But I think my favorite thing is that Disney apparently only has one costumer who has very few ideas (or resources), because at various points, Tony Oller up there is wearing outfits I recognize from Hannah Montana: Rico wears that horrible white thing in the opening credits somewhere, and Jackson wears the cowboy getup in flashbacks to when he first moved. And I can't swear to it, but I suspect the 60s gear was taken from the "Club Twin" episode of the Suite Life.

So I think the moral of the story tonight is that a) I now know Tony Oller's name, and b) Disney could probably be talked into hiring an assistant costumer, if you're interested.

ETA: Wait, what??? ASTHEBELLRINGS just came on and it was starring DEMI LOVATO? Wow, that shows you how little attention I've paid to it generally. Also, let's talk production values, Disney: get some, please?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Also, Miley is like a puma.

(Watching an episode of Hannah Montana...)

Rachel: So Rico's cousin is a terrible actress? Like, did they tell her to laugh by going "Moo ha ha?"

Rebecca: Well, yeah, I think.

Rachel: So she's tricking him?

Rebecca: I don't think so? I think that's just how people in Rico's family laugh.

Rachel: But "moo ha ha" implies evil! That makes no sense!

Rebecca: ...

Rachel: Right, Hannah Montanna.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

I'm slightly ashamed, but...

Though The Suite Life on Deck seems like the worst idea ever -- and also, hey, the Sprouse twins' voices finished changing! And they grew a couple inches! They look less like weird mutant children now! -- I will admit that Cody standing on the bow of the cruise ship yelling, "I'm the king of pre-calculus!" actually made me giggle.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

HSM3 Badness Alert Level: Pebbles Flintstone Pink

Two lovely things to share with y'all.


(Via HSM3: Graduation News) I know I'm late, but... RYAN IN A SHINY BLACK JACKET AND BRIGHT PINK PANTS. And then a white tuxedo. And the SHEER LEVELS OF BITCHFACE. The second half of the video is, I hope, badly cut scenes from elsewhere in the movie, but how excited am I? THIS EXCITED. Ryan bitchface is, like, one of my most favorite things ever.


(Via Molly.)

TINY CHAD AND TROY! SQUEE! Seeing as how Corbin described the movie as "a bromance" between Chad and Troy, and this appears to be a Chad and Troy duet (in a junkyard? with a headband and flannel? I am so excited for whatever the hell is going on!), I am forced to wildly guess that this is a flashback to how Troy and Chad met. Or else something EVEN CRACKIER than I can imagine.

I can not wait, y'all. For serious.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Disney Channel Games

So this blog may be having interesting effects on my life, because I'm paying a lot more attention to the various Disney kids than I used to. Which means, in short, that when I watched the Disney Channel Games, I not only knew who most of the kids involved were, but I also had a serious preference for which team I wanted to win.

Specifically, the red team. Because first, their captain was Brenda Song, who is like my favorite ever. They also had Jason Earles and Mitchel Musso Sandwich Boy, both of whom I enjoy quite a bit. On the down side, they had the HaraGossip Girls from Camp Rock, but like in Camp Rock, they had basically no screen time. Not even inexplicable songs at the end! And, of course, they were saddled with a Jonas. But at least it was Least Detestable.

The team I liked least was the green team, which featured both Most Detestable Jonas and Slight Worse Sprouse. There was no one else I cared about either way on it -- some sidekicks from various shows, including Guy Whose Hair Goes to the Right (Jason Dolley), but since only Most Detestable and SWS ever appeared on camera, there was nothing to redeem the team.

Everyone else was split up pretty evenly. The blue team had Demi Lovato. Once upon a time, the amount of irritation Demi causes me would have been canceled out by adorable Alyson Stoner, but I'm still mad at Alyson for sucking as hard as everyone else in Camp Rock. But on the up side, they had Shin Koyamada, who is absolutely adorable and costarred with Brenda in Wendy Wu, which is one of my favorite DCOMs. And they had Slightly Better Sprouse, who was just as awkwardly non-athletic as you would imagine.

Yellow had less to it: Selena Gomez and her Scary Pageant Baby Face -- though I've become oddly somewhat fond of her, Extra Jonas, Kyle Massey (who I fail to find charming, but I don't detest), and Moises, who seems less detestable as himself than when he's playing a character.

For me, the highlight of the game was definitely Sandwich Boy and Jason Earles pattering at one another (Mitchel playing guitar, and Jason complaining about it) because I have long maintained that I really like all of the non-Hannah or -Robby Ray characters on that show, and by extension, have become fond of the actors. Then they teamed up to score four goals (or something like that) in human-sized foose ball. (Then they got their butts handed to them by the French guy, which was pretty awesome, too.)

Lowlight of the games was the sibling rivalry game, where the Sprouses, Jonii, and Cheetah Girls ('cause... they're siblings, I guess) had to play against one another. Most Detestable and SWS were on a team together and won, and proved in the process that they were just as horrible as they always come across. Yuck.

Overall? The games try to hard to be charming and zany. I miss the HSM kids, who are now too good for this shit, and wish there had been fewer performances by the Jonii, because, well, my feelings on the Jonii are well known. But on the other hand, if they had Disney Channel Games every week, I would totally tune in.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Billboard Blues

I work in New York, and every day on my way from my office to the bus station, I walk through the intersection of 7th Ave and 40th St (very near Times Square, for those not up on their NYC geography). Obviously I walk through that intersection on my way to work as well, but on my way from work I'm facing the giant billboards they have up.

A couple months ago one of those billboards was a bunch of celebrities making a pyramid, including Corbin Bleu and Pete Wentz. Corbin was pleasing to me, of course, but Pete Wentz kind of grosses me out, so it was basically a wash.

Then they changed it to the cover of the latest MoFoJoBros album, which, as you can probably guess, made me very unhappy. I try to avoid the MoFoJoBros! I do not need to see them on my daily commute!

This week, it's changed again. It is now Jesse McCartney getting Archie-style lipstick kisses from some girls. And man, you know, if you had asked me last week if there was something that would have irritated me more than having to look at the Jonii every day, I would have been hard pressed to come up with something, but it turns out there is! At least the Jonii are relevant. Jesse McCartney is so irrelevant that I refuse to make a tag for him, and we have two separate tags for Ashley Tisdale.

Look. J-Mac has been pursuing the elusive carrot of fame for like ten years now and never getting any closer. And he ages like a Sprouse (in that instead of looking older he just...ferments). He totally looks like that guy from high school who looked kind of like Nick Carter except he had bad skin and his eyebrows were too close together. This is what happens when you get Lou Perlman to steal you some Carter DNA and then don't refrigerate it properly! It goes sour.

Luckily, in two weeks I'll be moving and won't be walking through that intersection on a daily basis. But I'll still have to go there on Wednesdays when I hit the comic book shop! And so, Billboard Committee of New York, I beg of you to swap this ucky thing out for a different picture. My suggestion: Lucas Grabeel. Holding a kitten.

(Across the street from this billboard is Emily Osment advertising Vanilla Star Jeans. This is much nicer to look at! Emily is about 115% adorable.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Remember when I posted about things other than the MoFoJoBros?

...Those were the days, huh? Look, I swear I'm working on a HSM3-related posted! It just takes a lot more effort to write something other than straight vitriol! Speaking of which.

So one of the reasons why Most Detestable grosses me out so much is that he is so weirdly smooth -- like, his skin has all been sanded with a fine-grit sandpaper until it glistens in an incredibly unappealing way. I have ranted aloud at Jess many times about how I would prefer for him to never show any skin at all. But as the (gag, retch) heartthrob of the group, Most Detestable is often shirtless or unbuttoned. If I must look at him, I would prefer for him to not just wear a shirt at all times, but if we could get him in, like, a turtleneck, long (loose, not skinny) jeans, high-tops, a ski mask, and a friggin' pair of mittens, that would be best. I do not ever want to see any of his skin. At all. Ew.

My point: in the above picture, one of the Most Detestables is made of wax. And damn, but it's hard to tell which one.



Wednesday, August 13, 2008

STFU, MoFoJoBros.

You know, every time I think I can't possibly loathe the Jonii -- from here on out, MoFoJoBros* -- any more, but then somehow I find a way AND I DO.


Want to date Kevin? Save the whining for your friends. "We're not ever really with people 'cause we're always traveling," Kevin said. "And you get on the phone and they're like, 'My day is awful, blah,' and you're like, 'This is not what I need right now!'"

Yes, GOD FORBID your girlfriend want to talk to you about things that matter to HER. Stoner Jonas, you're demoted back to Extra. Now STFU.

Joe has a similar stipulation for his potential love interests. "This is hard, but if they are nagging and annoying, you're like, 'Go away.'"

And yet despite my rather loud nagging of the universe, YOU will not go away. STFU, Most Detestable.

Speaking of collaborations, the dudes recently worked with Disney sibling and "Camp Rock" co-star Demi Lovato on her album. They said it was a great experience — but a little strange. "It was weird writing a song talking about a boy!" Joe laughed. Kevin added, "We were like, 'So this is what girls go through.'"

Yes, congratulations. You wrote a song about "him" instead of "her." You now know exactly what it's like to be a girl. STFU, both of you.

Jess and I have a theory that Adopted is the least detestable because he talks the least. That theory? TOTALLY CONFIRMED.

* Yes, the motherfucking Jonas Brothers, so dubbed by our LJ-feed-reader thatjamiegirl. Brilliant!