We’ve got even more to celebrate with the High School Musical series.
Last month, we shared with you the fact that the Disney+ series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series (and yes, that’s its actual name) would include a gay character. But now, we have even more updates of the family-friendly show including LGBTQ representation.
While celebrated kids’ show Andi Mack was brave enough to deliver the first coming out story and gay series regular on the Disney Channel, the show only introduced a gay romance at the series finale. But now, it appears that the High School Musical series has already lapped its historical precedent.
According to PrimeTimer, the series has introduced a landmark gay relationship. Just five episodes into the show, gay character Carlos, played by Frankie Rodriguez, has been giving a romantic subplot. Carlos, the high school musical productions’ choreographer, has started a romance with character Seb, played by Joe Serafini.
For the musical-within-a-musical, Seb plays Sharpay, the originally female role that was idolized by gay teens and tweens of the last decade. It’s sorta meta, very gay, and very much in theme with the camp of the original film series.
The two agree to go to Homecoming together and the storyline around it is refreshing. Farmboy Seb expresses discomfort with the idea of dancing together in front of their schoolmates, but the ever ecstatic Carlos jumps at the thought. At the dance, there’s a moment of fear in Carlos’ mind when his date doesn’t show, but Seb arrives fashionably late before offering to slow dance with Carlos.
“We’re really just trying to showcase real life,” Rodriguez told PrimeTimer. “All of the storylines are written so organically — nothing ever felt forced, or like, ‘We’re doing this just because.’ It feels like playing and living truth.”
And in truth, this isn’t the only time the show has represented LGBTQ Pride and acknowledged its queer fanbase. Just an episode earlier, the show gave representation to same-sex parenting. While main characters Nini (Olivia Rodrigo) and Ricky (Joshua Bassett) deal with teen drama and theatre kid drama, such as breakups and not getting lead roles, they’re faced with a bigger issue.
Ricky discovers that his parents are getting a divorce. Deciding he doesn’t want to be a factor of their arguing, he asks Nini if he can stay with her family for the night. Nini and her two moms then offer him the sofa and some clothes to change into. And, of course, they gave Ricky a Pride shirt to wear to bed (and on screen).
All of this news of LGBTQ acceptance and initiating gay subplots is even more exciting knowing that Joe Serafini has been upgraded to a series regular role. According to the Los Angeles Times, Serafini will return for the show’s second season as a series regular.
“I was screaming,” Serafini told The Times. “I’m in nine of the 10 episodes in Season 1, so I was hoping that would be the case, but just to hear actually Tim call me on the phone and tell me that that was the plan, I was just overjoyed, and I could not be more excited to go back to Salt Lake City to film and be back with the cast.”
Then talking about Seb’s musical-in-a-musical role as Sharpay, which was originated by Disney Channel alum Ashley Tisdale, Serafini says he wants to do the part justice.
“I think [Seb] enjoys the fabulous energy that [Sharpay] emulates,” Serafini said. “I definitely wanted to emulate Ashley Tisdale’s fabulous energy as well. I mean, she’s such a queen.”
We’re happy to see representation on Diseny+ and Disney Channel. Remember, this is all about giving LGBTQ teens and tweens storylines and characters to relate to. While we didn’t have much of it when we were younger, we’re happy to see the next generation getting the representation they deserve.