High School Musical came out 10 years ago today, changing Disney Channel original movies, and 75 percent of branded school supplies, forever. It's possible you missed the phenomenon that was the story of a young boy cursed with tremendous talent on the basketball court and on stage, and his torturous choice between the two. But even if you just barely understood Modern Family's nod to the franchise, you should get to know the fandom. They're dedicated, they're creative, and they are convinced that the two main characters are having a secret relationship.
HSM is where Zac Efron got his start, the franchise that kicked off his career and, indirectly, gave the world the gift of his abs. It also gave the internet extensive footage of his weird faces and attempts at choreography that's one part jazzercise, one part playing "Shout" to a group of kindergartners and yelling, "Go nuts." HSM lovers have responded with some of the best lip dubs we could ever hope for. Efron wants to be the very best.
And Efron appreciates a storm of men.
Like all Disney Channel movies, and most children's movies, HSM included little details that small children gloss over but seem completely insane when viewed by anyone over age 16. In the world of High School Musical, it might be the larger than life posters the high school hangs featuring their student athletes.
And like all good fandoms, they have plenty of crossover moments with other franchises.
The fandom's strongly held belief that jock Chad and drama king Ryan are totally more than friends seems to be supported by the often GIFed clothing exchange between the two in High School Musical's sequel. These fans have questions that just aren't being answered.
Whether or not "Breaking Free" gives you a nostalgia rush, High School Musical put the stars of Spring Breakers and Neighbors in a lab coat and a basketball uniform to sing a passionate duet in front of a group of high schoolers suddenly interested in musical theater. And that's a piece of culture we should all be grateful for.