Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Do you High School Musical Too?

What a parent allows their child to watch, film or television-wise, is very much a matter for the individual. (And that is once you get over the question of if and how much they’re going to watch in the first place. Why is it that people without TVs are so holier than thou? Anyway.)

I loved that all too brief, innocent time when all mine watched was CBeebies. We loved the Teletubbies, Rubbadubbers and Balamory. But they graduated to Charlie and Lola, and then to CBBC and Blue Peter, MI High and Raven.

They like being terrified by Dr Who and they also clamour for Top Gear (and anything with Richard Hammond in it.) Then there are the other kids’ channels they switch on: PopGirl, for example, with Saddle Club, which is okay. Girls and ponies. But girls and ponies and fancying boys, which seems a little too old for girls of seven and five.

One thing we don’t have and which H7 wants is the Disney Channel. The wanting it started when she was infected with the craze for High School Musical by other children at school. One minute I hadn’t heard of Troy and Gabriella, the next their faces were on t-shirts, socks and pants. It was something we tried to ignore at first, but it seemed to be everywhere. So we gave in and bought the film on DVD and I have to admit, we all rather enjoyed it. Where Grease (arguably the original High School Musical) was about Sandy turning from a wholesome swot into a skin-tight trousered highly made up sex bomb with a cigarette, HSM (as we soon learned to call it) celebrated youngsters expressing their individuality, kicking over rigid cliques and learning the power of friendship (in a musical way).

HSMs two and three continued this theme, with the ongoing relationship between Troy and Gabriella supplying the boy-meets-girl element. But is it a wholesome enough thing for one’s little ‘uns to be watching? H7 tells me she has friends who aren’t allowed to watch HSM, which is fair enough, but it’s a difficult force to resist. They love the songs (as do I, they’re upbeat poppy songs and a vast improvement on ‘What’s the story in Balamory’ which makes my ears bleed.) But it all seems a bit grown up for such little girls as mine, still in primary school (or in R5’s case, only just in primary school). Not High School at all, not yet…

HSM3 came out last year and was the first to be shown in cinemas and we resisted all efforts on the part of H7 and R5 to go and see it. Instead we waited for the DVD this February and now thanks to Think Parents we have it on Blu-ray too. (You can see every bead of sweat on young Zac Efron’s face. Very disturbing for the peri-menopausal woman. Ahem.)

Oh we love it, of course we do. Yes it’s all about “big kids” and growing up and leaving school, something mine will have to face far away in the future (or tomorrow as it will probably seem to be). It’s about friendship and how it can be tested a times of stress and it’s about pulling together and supporting each other. It’s about how the frustrations of life can make you just want to scream. It’s also (alarmingly) about how, sometimes, you might have to consider that what your parents believe to be the best for you, might actually not be what’s best and you might have to grow up and make your own decisions. I wish I’d known that sort of stuff when I was 15 and doing my GCSEs.

I think most of that sort of subtext goes over H7 and R5’s little heads. They love Troy and Gabriella, Sharpay and Ryan and Chad and Taylor like they love some of  the “big kids” at school. But do they see them as role models? Who knows! What damage is this doing to their tiny minds? Should I worry? Need I worry? It seems harmless enough, they love the songs and they love Troy and Gabriella equally. Sigh. Now the big problem is Hannah Montana which H7, understandably, is drawn to. So far we have repelled it, but I’m not sure how much longer that will continue.

For those who haven’t got young children or who have only boys, here’s a clip:


  1. Everything you write here resonates with me Mags. I have gone from deepest worry about programming for kids from the youngest ages through to the very top end of teenage and still haven't a clue! We allowed - reluctantly - Lucy to watch HSM and were surprised by how much fun it was (not partic for us but certainly for Lucy). So much happier to allow this than Grease! x

  2. I guess you have to assess every child with every film and bear in mind what their school chums are watching - nothing worse than being the only one who doesn't know!!!!!

    Thankfully my kids are in their 20's and I have no chance of regulating their viewing any more. Robot Boy had a love for Zombies for a while which I am delighted to say seems to have passed. Wildchild much to her disgust seems to like the same films as me . . . smug - she really is growing up like her Mum. . .

  3. Hmm, a ponderer! We've said yes to the whole HSM thing but only rented them from the video store. We sandwich them with things such as wind in the willows and other classics and it tends to balance out well. Five year old requested Wind in the willows for her birthday over HSM, but then she's five...Heaven knows what she'll be requesting at 7...MH

  4. Oh, bring back the Wombles...or the Pogles!

  5. At least your girls are roughly the same age PM. When my eldest was 12, my little one was 3 and absorbing all sorts of potentially unsuitable stuff. However, they've both grown up ok, so don't worry too much.

    PS I like that thing at the bottom of your blog where people can tick if they havent time to comment. Where/how do you get that?

  6. I've just had a catch up through carrots and brownies, painting and now HSM - which I haven't yet seen. It's all over in these parts, and I understand that it's a big improvement on Hanna Montanna. In the end you'll know what's best for your children - don't second guess yourself.

  7. It's not just the girls! James loves it too. I rather liked the first one but couldn't bear the last one....the songs drive me potty. Still, it's pretty innocuous as far as I can see....and a darn site better than the ploody Teletubbies!

  8. Couldn't bear HSM, and thankfully neither could T12 or F10. Grease was even worse (but don't tell Milla I said so).


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