words by Emily Smith
Season 1 Recap
Nini went to a theatre camp in the summer and came back with a new boyfriend, EJ, which made her ex, Ricky very jealous. As a way to try and win her back, Ricky thought trying for the school show would help in his attempt. On her first day, the new drama teacher Miss Jenn revealed that year the summer show was going to be High School Musical *if it wasn’t that obvious already by the title of the show* and Ricky miraculously landed the role of Troy and Nini got Gabriella. Meanwhile, Nini’s actual boyfriend EJ got cast as Chad.
Jealousy is an ugly thing and EJ felt this when he saw that Nini and Ricky were rehearsing together. His way of dealing with his emotions was to steal Nini’s phone to check if she was talking to Ricky. Nini found out and broke up with him.
The new girl Gina wanted the role of Gabriella so bad that she spent Season 1 plotting against Nini. After Nini and EJ broke up, Gina came up with the idea to fake date EJ as another attempt to try and get her to drop out of the show. Yet again, it failed but Gina started to open up to Ricky about her family problems and her own insecurities which ultimately made Nini jealous.
The first season touched on very serious topics – being a part of the LGBTQ+ community and being a child of divorce.
Carlos and Seb went to homecoming with each other which was a bittersweet moment. Nini has two moms, and if I am going to be real with you we really needed this representation in modern society.
Ricky’s parents separated during Season 1 and he had to deal with the fact that his parents were ready to see other people with the possibility that his dad was going to date Miss Jen *awkward*. By surprise, his mum and her new boyfriend showed up on the opening night of the show with Ricky almost ready to quit the whole thing. He somehow found the courage to go back on stage and sing ‘Breaking Free.’
Towards the end of the season, Gina revealed that she was moving away again with her mum but if by magic she was lucky enough to get a plane ticket to come back and perform in the show courtesy of EJ. Ashlyn offered her a place to stay till Christmas.
Let’s go back a bit and talk about Miss Jenn who lied about her role in the original movie as her line really got cut. However, when the principal found out, he was going to fire her but the theatre kids had her back by singing a song to the school board and she got her job back. She almost lost the play as the theatre caught fire and had to relocate. Let’s not forget that she was also flirting with another teacher at the school – Mr. Mazzara.
Another romance that was brewing behind the scenes was Carlos and Seb who grew close to each other during rehearsals and ended up going to homecoming together. Ashlyn and Big Red shared a bittersweet moment and had a kiss right at the end of the episode.
During the last moments of the season, Nini got offered a place at a performing arts school in Denver after a talent scout watched the play. The trouble is will she follow her dreams and be away from Ricky right after he said “I love you” or stay in Utah.
That’s what we find out in Season 2…
Season 2 Recap
The East High kids celebrate the holidays with a music video to help raise funds to rebuild the theatre department. Miss Jenn ends up bumping into her ex and former stage rival Zack who has returned to help North High win the Alan Menken Awards for Excellence in High School Theater. with their production of The Little Mermaid.
Ultimately, this makes Miss Jenn change the show to Beauty and the Beast to compete against her rival. After hiding her acceptance into the school of her dreams from Ricky, she suddenly reveals that she’s moving to Denver in the heat of the moment.
It’s not HSMTMTS without an audition montage and the theatre kids audition with the song ‘Belle’. Ricky is unsure about auditioning after Nini’s sudden departure but Miss Jenn awards him with the role of The Beast after his audition. Ashlyn believes she will be typecasted again but is shocked to find out she got the role of Belle – she got to be a Disney princess which is everyone’s dream, to be honest. Nini isn’t really vibing with the performing arts school and starts to question whether should she be there?
At East High, new student Lily tries to get along with the theatre kids but her rude attitude doesn’t get her a role in the show. Her way of dealing with this rejection was to go to North High.
Nini and Ricky should work on their communication skills as they both went to surprise each other for Valentine’s Day but ended up in the wrong place. Even when she gets back, they still fail to see each other. Gina finds comfort in talking to Ricky after her mum didn’t get her Valentine’s Day present. Kourtney gets a job working at Big Red’s family business – the pizzeria – and gets the attention of Howie.
Rehearsals start for Beauty and the Beast and Ashlyn believes she doesn’t match what a Disney Princess should look like – this moment really made me cry as someone who feels like the media doesn’t represent me and seeing someone play Belle who wasn’t your typical image of what it should look like really meant a lot to me as it showed a lot of inclusivity from Disney.
Big Red assures her that she was made to play Belle and tries to surprise her for Valentine’s Day.
To celebrate Carlos’ 16th birthday, the gang throws a Quinceanero that he never had. Seb surprises him by singing ‘The Climb’ which was one of my favorite moments from this season.
Nini returns back home and watches her friends rehearse from the sidelines whilst Ricky tries to get her a role in the show. Although, Nini just wants to focus on her songwriting. North High suddenly change their show to Beauty and the Beast to add to the rivalry.
After North High’s advertisement for their show gets under Miss Jenn’s skin, the theatre kids do an improvisation session to help them bond. Nini gets given the role of The Rose and writes a song for the show and Carlos records the song without her knowledge and posts it online.
Nini helps Kourtney admit to Howie that she likes him but *shock twist* he goes to North High and is playing the Beast. Miss Jenn meets up with Zack to try and ask for a truce before she discovers that he was the one who stole the Beast Mask. Nini’s song goes viral and makes Ricky feel insecure about their relationship. After feeling that Ricky doesn’t support her, she makes an account dedicated to her music and goes by her name Nina.
North High and East High have a dance-off to ‘The Mob Song’ which just ends in pure chaos.
Over spring break, Miss Jenn keeps an eye out for theatre kids through video calls. She encourages them to take the high road and not retaliate to North High’s antics and just focus on the musical. North High then posts a video slandering East High so what do they do… release a music video of course. Ricky is in Chicago spending time with his mom after his break-up with Nini with his mum helping him to come to terms with his emotions about how the situation unfolded. His mum reminds him that they are different people now and that he should move on. Whilst waiting for her flight back to Salt Lake City from Louisiana and meets Jack. She comes to realize through his help how to open up to a relationship. Before leaving the airport, Gina gets greeted by EJ as she contemplates her emotions.
Two weeks before opening night and rehearsals for the Beast transformation aren’t really going to plan. Miss Jenn finds out that North High is making a replica of the technical set design specifications from the original Broadway production which has made the kids at North High get a new plan for that scene. Rickey helps Carlos write a song for Seb after he returned from vacation to try and consolidate their relationship. EJ and Gina organize a date for themselves. Kourtney obtains the technical plans from Howie with the cast now setting up a rigging system for Ricky to use during his Beast transformation.
The students then try it unsupervised and Ricky ends up dropping to the ground and on Ashlyn.
On opening night, everyone is nervous about the Beast’s transformation whilst Nini is handing out little notes to members of the cast. A representative of the competition comes to the show which starts to make Miss Jenn nervous. There’s a last-minute change in ‘Be Our Guest’ which makes the cast even more nervous now that they have to spotlight the judge in the audience.
Kourtney gets greeted by Howie backstage who is incredibly anxious. EJ and Gina plan to go on their first date but get interrupted by the visit of Gina’s older brother Jamie – who is a record producer. He just says to EJ that he’s just filling in the ‘older brother’ role for Gina which leaves him confused and disappointed.
Lily approaches Ricky backstage to wish him good luck which makes him think maybe she isn’t that bad? We get to the transformation scene and a harness can’t be found by anyone backstage. It turns out the only reason why Lily was backstage was to get the harness and ruin their shot at the Alan Menken Awards.
The performance concludes and Big Red surprises Ashlyn with a present, a sign with her name in lights. Howie and Kourtney resume their relationship. Nini and Ricky become friends after reading each other’s cards. Miss Jenn still has hope that they have done well in their performance to be successful in the theatre competition but the students decided they didn’t want to know the outcome. Gina helps Nini to get in contact with her brother to help her music career set off. Mr. Mazzara gets offered a place to teach at Cal Tech in their robotics program with the help of EJ’s father’s recommendation. Ricky has come to terms that his father might want to pursue a romantic relationship with Miss Jenn so he gives her his blessing. Mr. Mazzara then confesses his feelings for Miss Jenn before he leaves. Ricky decided to give Lily a chance and reaches out to her. Disheartened by Jamie’s comments, E. J. cancels his date with Gina. Ashlyn corrects the misunderstanding and Gina and E. J. set out to have their first kiss.
What time is it? Summer Time. In the new season, it’s summer break! The Wildcats leave East High for the ultimate summer at Camp Shallow Lake a family-owned sleepaway camp in California. This summer is going to be full of campfires, summer romances, and curfew-less nights. With a high-stakes production of Frozen and a behind-the-scenes “docuseries” of the production in the works, the Wildcats will attempt to show who is “best in show” without leaving anyone out in the cold.
You can currently watch all of Season 3 on Disney + and catch up with all the previous seasons as well.