REVIEW: ‘High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,’ Episode 3 – “The Wonderstudies”

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The third episode of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, “The Wonderstudies,” was released on Disney+. In last week’s episode, the cast starts to rehearse the musical. Tensions are high between Ricky (Joshua Bassett) and Nini (Olivia Rodrigo) since they were cast as Troy and Gabriella. Nini is upset since she knows that Ricky is just in the musical to try and get her back. Ricky contemplates quitting since his plan doesn’t seem to be working. EJ (Matt Cornett) is jealous of Ricky for getting the role of Troy. Gina (Sofia Wylie) sees this chaos as an opportunity to steal the role of Gabriella from Nini.

In “The Wonderstudies,” EJ tries to find a way to give Nini back her cellphone without her knowing. He asks Ashlyn (Julia Lester) for help, even though she feels uncomfortable with the whole situation. Meanwhile, Nini thinks that Gina stole her cellphone as a way to steal the role of Gabriella. Ricky sends a voicemail to Nini about sharing a moment when he heard her sing with Ashlyn in the previous episode. Miss Jen (Kate Reinders) is confronted by Mr. Mazzara (Mark St. Cyr) about going over-budget after purchasing Gabriella’s prop cellphone from the original High School Musical film.

After airing two episodes, it’s clear that the show has finally found a rhythm in terms of what it’s trying to do. By this, I mean that HSMTMTS does pay homage to the original films, but it doesn’t let the source material dictate the direction it goes. For instance, the storyline between Nini and Gina could easily be compared to that of Gabriella and Sharpay from the first film. However, both Nina and Gina love musical theater and aren’t willing to just let the other one win. There’s no sign of their being a definitive winner in their rivalry, which only ups the stakes even more. This rivalry adds a new dynamic to the franchise which will surely make for great scenes between these two characters.

Much like the previous episode, “The Wonderstudies” features a new original song, which is sung by EJ. The song is what he plans to use to apologize to Nini for taking her phone. His cousin Ashlyn tries to talk him out of it but he manipulates her into helping him. While this could be some sort of a romantic gesture, the song itself isn’t that good. Even though this series is mainly targeting a teen audience, the song itself doesn’t fit the overall tone of the series. It’s a much more generic boyband song that one would find in a film from the ’90s. After having listened to “Wondering” in the previous episode, this song was a major letdown.

One of the most important scenes in “The Wonderstudies” was Miss Jen sticking up for her students. It’s revealed that Mr. Mazzara has it out for Miss Jen because several of his students dropped out of his robotics club to join the musical. He clearly has a much more negative perspective of kids who do musical and doesn’t do much to hide it, which makes it even more enjoyable to see Miss Jen advocating for her students. Even today, kids who focus on the arts often get reprimanded by others, which is something I’ll never understand. Miss Jen is the kind of drama teacher that I would’ve loved to have had. It’s great to see Miss Jen defending her students even though shes’s only been working with them for a short amount of time.

Overall, I really enjoyed the third episode of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. Other than the new original song, everything about the episode flowed really well. Given the way the episode ends, it’ll be interesting to see the effect that it has on the production as a whole. The show gradually continues to impress me, especially with how it transitions the ending of an episode to the next one.

The third episode of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is available now on Disney+.

'High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,' Episode 3 - "The Wonderstudies"
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Other than the new original song, everything about the episode flowed really well. Given the way the episode ends, it’ll be interesting to see the effect that it has on the production as a whole. The show gradually continues to impress me, especially with how it transitions the ending of an episode to the next one.