Back from "commercial", another day dawns at East High. We're once again in Darbus' homeroom, and Troy is making flirty faces at Gabriella. So I can see he learned a lot from being in detention, and from his Dad's reaction to him being in detention, and his Dad's warning to behave from now on.
And today... Today, my friends, Ryan is wearing a pink newsboy cap. Let me say that again: A pink newsboy cap. I mean, come on.
My gaydar detector just exploded.
Darbus explains in her Darbus-like, flowery, overdramatic way that today is the day of auditions for the "musicale"—whoa, that was fast! She'll be in the auditorium all day, for the benefit of any students who want to "extend the wingspan of your creative spirit!"
On this line, she spreads out her arms, and Chad makes a dumb, whispered joke to Troy about Darbus flying back to her "mothership". But Troy only pretends to laugh, much like the rest of us. I wonder if there were ever times Romeo felt like saying, "You know what, Mercutio? Shut the fuck up"?
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Chad's got a quirk, by the way. I mean, other than the lousy jokes, and the Justin Guarini hair. No, his real quirk is that he wears those stupid T shirts with cutesy slogans on them, like you see advertised in dopey banner ads. This one says, "I come with my own background music", along with a diagram of a cassette. First of all, what is this "kah-set" thing you speak of? Second, Chad is actually living in a musical, with spontaneous background music happening daily, which sort of puts a damper on that joke.
In the hallway, Chad invites Troy to another practice session in the gym. But Troy realizes it's at the same time as the auditions, so he needs to come up with a quick and subtle way to brush Chad off. Instead, he simply says, "I'll catch you later," and walks away. Smooth, Troy.
Intrigued, Chad begins to covertly shadow Troy through the hallways. And it seems Troy is used to being followed, because he employs stealthy tactics to lose Chad. Troy wanders into a classroom, and another student just happens to come along and distract Chad long enough for Troy to slip out the back door. Excellent. Pure chance. I'll have to try that the next time I'm in a bind.
Troy continues going all Mission: Impossible across the school grounds, avoiding teachers, his dad, Chad, cutting through auto shop, etc. It even appears at one point that he scales a wall like Spider-Man, because there's no other way he could've disappeared that fast.
Can you guess which one is Troy?
Now Troy is in the auditorium, hiding behind a janitor's cart, and spying on Darbus and all the auditioners arriving. Darbus addresses the crowd, saying, "This is where the true expression of the artist is realized!" Whatever, crazy lady. Can I just substitute "lame, overdramatic speech" in place of the rest of her lines? Blah blah, overblown windbag, trilling her Rs, you know the drill.
"And now let me tell you about the time I taught Pete Townsend this move!"
Speaking of drills, the bell goes off, and Darbus totally loses her shit thinking it's a cell phone. Huh? She teaches in a high school, and she doesn't recognize the sound of the bell? Okay, so she's senile, as well as pretentious.
Oh my god, she's hideous!
A cute girl to her side lets her know it was just the "warning bell". And this girl is a prime example of a Movie Introverted Chick. She's a total Laney Boggs. You know the type: a mousy-looking girl who they put in glasses, and all sorts of frumpy clothes, to make us believe she's plain. This is Kelsi Nielson, who Darbus introduces as "our composer". Kelsi is also going to provide piano accompaniment for all the auditioners.
Cut to—surprise!—the Bad Audition Montage. We run through several different people singing a song titled "What I've Been Looking For", and doing it badly. And this movie is so completely ripping off American Idol here, but of course this is all fictitious (well, relatively speaking, anyway), and not nearly as entertaining.
A freckled girl sings loud and off-key, and way too high. A boy in a suit sings with zero energy, and he's about four octaves down from where he needs to be, and he reads the lyrics off his hand. Darbus evaluates his singing by complimenting his tie. Zing!
Another girl sings off-key. By the way, the only reason I know any of these people are off-key is because the closed captions helpfully preface each lyric with "(Off-key)". It's good to know this movie can be enjoyed by the hearing impaired, as well as the tone deaf. I wonder if anyone's going to sing "(In Russian)" later. There's nothing interesting about this particular girl, except she sings with her elbows propped on the piano, and winks at Darbus the whole time.
Now comes that one girl who sings the song opera-style. Because there's always an Opera Girl on every season of Idol. And if something is funny in a reality show environment, you can bet your ass it'll be just as hilarious in a scripted TV movie. Opera Girl hits notes that make me start to write a joke about Memorex ads, until I realize those ads aired long before most of the people reading this were even born. Ella Fitzgerald, RIP.
Now comes Dancer Guy, and there's always one of these every season on Idol, too. Instead of singing, Dancer Guy jumps in and does ballet. He leaps right across the stage into the wings, and his bit ends with off-screen crashing noises. I'm sure you were wondering when the off-screen crashing noises were going to make an appearance. It's a requirement of all uninspired comedies. Just ask Bill Cosby.
Now comes a duo, a boy and a girl, who speak the lyrics instead of singing them, and do interpretative dance moves to act out the words. It's okay, I guess. It's mildly amusing. It's just all so... predictable.
Meanwhile, in the back of the auditorium, Gabriella walks in, looking simply divine in jeans and a powder blue sweater. She sneaks up behind Troy, which makes him jump, and hit his head on mops. But since he's already a mophead, this joke is redundant.
Up on stage, we currently have the one girl who freezes in terror, and forgets the words. Ms. Darbus immediately rejects her. Gabriella and Troy agree they're both terrified of how "harsh" Darbus can be. Actually, she seems to be acting pretty reasonable here, considering this whole school is full of talentless jerk-offs.
Darbus announces that only two people signed up for the lead "couple" roles, namely your friends and mine, Sharpay and Ryan Evans. Darbus completely kisses their collective ass, saying it's they, and only they, who can "give us a sense of why we gather in this hallowed hall!" They both stand up to take the stage, while Troy and Gabriella take seats to watch this display of true talent.
Up on stage, Sharpay and Ryan dismiss Kelsi, because they've got a boombox with a prerecorded arrangement from their own personal "rehearsal pianist". So, they're bitchy snobs, you say? I never would have guessed.
Sharpay snaps her fingers, and the curtain comes down in front of them, and two kids are already waiting back there with microphones. Wait, they have their own interns? Crazy. I have to wonder if "sycophant to two delusional high school drama queens (2006-08)" looks good on a résumé.
Behind the curtain, Sharpay and Ryan warm up by doing horse whinnying noises . Oh, come on. I know Ashley's a horseface in this movie and all, but this seems rather uncalled for.
"Tryin' mighty hard to look like Gary Cooper..."
And now Ryan and Sharpay are sticking their hands through the curtain, snapping to the beat. They emerge from the curtain, and begin singing their own uptempo version of "What I've Been Looking For". And this version sounds like... I don't know, it has that same bouncing beat as that "1234" song that was in all the iPod ads a while back, recorded by that woman that nobody remembers anymore. Or that "Don't want to write you a love song" song. Come to think of it, it sounds a lot like the Crank Yankers theme song, which in turn was a parody of the Sesame Street theme song. So I don't think there should be any doubt that they're truly rocking the house here.
Good god, and Ryan is currently wearing a lime green hat, with fucking sequins on it. I'm sorry, but he could not look more gay. Why introduce an obviously gay character if you're not going to follow up on it? Or was this intended to be subversive? The world may never know.
How Lucas Grabeel answers all questions about his sexuality.
So, their act is uber-cheesy, with lots of pointing at each other. Every time they sing, "and you were right beside me," they do this overdone act of being surprised to see each other, which is... kind of funny, I'll admit.
Darbus eats up their whole overdone, goofball act. Which is bizarre. In my experience, most real theater people don't think highly of musicals, or at least, not fluffy, forgettable musicals like this one. Let's just say if you really love the theater, you're probably not too ecstatic about Xanadu on Broadway.
Oh, help me. They're now holding hands and skipping around the stage. Baby Jesus is now crying.
They finish up their song, and Darbus applauds emphatically. Sharpay whispers to Ryan, lecturing him about how she told him not to do "jazz squares". Ryan says they're "a crowd favorite. Everybody loves a good jazz square!".... And I have no idea what they're talking about. Jazz squares, from what I see on YouTube, is some sort of dance step involving two people, so it doesn't really seem possible for someone to go off on their own and do jazz squares unprompted. Is it just me, or is a lot of this script just random minutia that's only funny to the screenwriters?