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By Daphne Biener

I want to hate Disney, I do. I happen to be good at it, having had years of practice while my girls flounced about in nauseatingly pink taffeta and waved their magic wands. Now thankfully, they have locked the princesses away in their respective towers and turned their attention towards high school. High School Musical that is.

Here’s my problem: It’s hard to be a self-respecting, Disney-hating, anti-establishment mama when I heart High School Musical.

If your kids haven’t aged into this one yet, let me enlighten you:

High School Musical is Disney’s answer to Grease – minus the sex, drugs and general malcontent that we crooned about alongside the T-birds and the Pink Ladies. It’s as if Danny, Sandy and the gang landed at a new school, got an attitude adjustment, joined the debate team, and settled in for a real nice teen-spirit hug.

I’ve been a die-hard Grease fan since I was eight. I remember looking around the theater at the teenagers and squirming in anticipation of all the bad that was going to be oh so good. I went with my parents, who thankfully seemed to have suspended whatever moral code I was being raised under, allowing me this wondrous glimpse of my bad-ass future teen self.

It was a snapshot of high school I could sing into my brush about. Bad girls with pregnancy scares and good girls throwing down pompoms and picking up cigarettes. The naughty, naughty boys, and oh those su-u-ummer ni-i-i-ights.

Not so the sweet teens of High School Musical. Think Twinkies dipped in honey. Sure they put each other in their rightful places at times, breaking into admonishing song when the basketball star admits to baking and the skater-dude confesses to wearing a suit and playing cello—

No, no, no; stick to the stuff you know
It is better by far to keep things as they are
Don’t mess with the flow, no no
Stick to the status quo

But don’t worry, it all works out in the end. The athletes support the geeks who in turn pull for the drama queens. It’s positively dreamy. As far as I can tell no one is lousy with virginity or feeling like a defective typewriter (you know, skipped a period.)

All of which leaves me itching for my standard, spirit-crushing commentary:

Evil Mama: You know, girls, high school isn’t anything like this.

Starry-eyed Children: Whatever do you mean, Mama?

Evil Mama, in check: Oh, never mind. Let’s sing the next one together, shall we?

I can’t get enough.

Which is why when Dave checked in last weekend before making plans to watch basketball with some friends, I had a ready answer:

“Tell me about it, stud,” said I, sexily crushing a carrot stick beneath a fuzzy sock.

We Pink Ladies already had plans. They involved popcorn, jumping around the living room and singing our saccharine hearts out.

It’s motherhood that did this to me. Suddenly my dreams are of mean girls everywhere evaporating, leaving behind sparkling schools where my beloved children float on the air of supportive friends and cafeteria sing-alongs. Everybody is happy. Everybody fits in. Everybody goes together like ra-ma la-ma la-ma kading a da ding de dong.

Or, as we say in the land of High School Musical:

Everyone is special in their own way
We make each other strong

We’re not the same
We’re different in a good way
Together’s where we belong

Pop out a couple of kids and look what happens: My chills stop multiplyin’ and I am losin’ control. Go ahead, make fun of me, Riz. I am hopelessly devoted to High School Musical.

You can read more of Daphne’s work here on the mama bird diaries or visit her site, Sestina Queen.

12 Responses to the one that i want… to hate

  • Abby Siegel says:

    What's a little sad is that I have no kids but I LOVE HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL!!! It happened because my BF Giorgia came over for a bottle of vino and food, and before we knew it we were watching HSM on Disney Channel. LOVED IT. Maybe it was the wine. But…we made a date to watch HSM2 which we built up almost to the level of her upcoming wedding. So much fun. Yes, it's totally Grease and yes, I'm bummed I missed the recent dance-along viewing, but still. You don't have to be a mom or too young to enjoy this movie. Maybe I shouldn't tell many others about this, but I trust you all to understand. I went to visit my friend in Chicago before I saw HSM and her kids were all into it, so I can't wait to go back and join them in the fun!

  • musical mama says:

    I think what was so awesome about Grease is that when I first saw it, I didn't get all the "jokes"… not til I got a little older did I start to really understand just how much the movie rocks. And how funny it is!

    Now I'm still a little suspicious of this High School Musical….

    Great post Daphne!

  • cookie says:

    Oh my god..I didn't know I suspended my moral code. It's awful to find out these things years later, and yet look how great you turned out. I nearly peed on this one.

  • Kate says:

    No one in my house knows anything about that yet. And I plan to keep it that way.

    And as for me, I'll stick to the "We Go Together" hand jive.

  • Kelly says:

    You're not just sipping the Disney Kool-Aid…you are selling it! The microchip is fully embedded! But what can I say? I too know every word to HSM thanks to my 7 year old drama queen. Just let me know when you are ready for HSM2. Should I go ahead and burn you a copy of the soundtrack?

  • Kristen says:

    I have been singing the lyric… "We will always be together" all day! Oh goodness! Sending birthday hugs and kisses a day early to you! I miss you girl. You wrote yet another wonderful piece. Thanks for writing it!

  • Kristen says:

    one more thing… I remember being so mad when my parents would not let me see it. I did however have the soundtrack and loved loved loved singing along to it!

  • David says:

    The apples really didn't fall far from the tree. I can see Kira and Cadia now, in their cheerleader outfits, doing a dance from HSM, perhaps using their mom's old pom-poms. The forces of Disney are powerful and seductive, it is useless to resist.

  • Grace says:

    I still haven't seen it but am planning to. I know a lot of little boys who love it too so I will try it out with MJ and see what he thinks. Great writing!

  • Peggy says:

    Its not nice to make Peggy laugh outloud at the office, ("tell me about it stud…crushing a carrot stick beneath a fuzzy sock"), they'll know I'm reading Daphne's always funny blog! Definitely sharing this one with my daughter, Grease fan and mamabird. Kudos D!

kelcey kintner