Are These TV Parodies of High School Musical Better Than the Real Thing?

Emily Maas Aslanian
High-school-Musical-cast

High School Musical turns 10 on Wednesday, Jan. 20. The popular Disney musical catapulted Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens to stardom and quickly became a pop culture phenomenon with two sequels, a national cast tour, an ice skating show and ridiculous merchandise (HSM blow drier, anyone?).

Of course, HSM's popularity meant plenty of other shows parodied the franchise. To celebrate the movie's milestone, we rounded up some of our favorite funny homages that captured the musical's spirit (and cultural impact).

MADtv (2006)

Leave it to MADtv comedians to parody "We're All in This Together" by pretending they're HSM characters with serious secrets that bind them, well, together. Plus: Future Key & Peele stars Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele make appearances as a creepy Janitor (aka. Sharpay's, um, baby daddy) and Chad's doppelgänger, respectively.

The Suite Life of Zack and Cody (2007)

In the "Lip Synchin' in the Rain" ep, Cheevers High School put on their own production of High School Musical, with London (Brenda Song) as Sharpay and Maddie (Ashley Tisdale) as her behind-the-curtain voice. The homage to Singin' in the Rain and the meta "casting" of Tisdale (who played the original HSM Sharpay) as someone who has to become Sharpay, is meta on all levels. Watch this calamitous clip in which a performance of "Bop to the Top" gets a little too crazy, but the show still manages (barely) to go on.

Sesame Street (2008)

Another clever Sesame Street parody, "Pre-school Musical" showed all the pros of being a pre-schooler: blocks to play with, a dress-up corner, colorful naptime mats and a singing gerbil. What more could a kid want?

South Park (2008)

The cartoon's own parody, "Elementary School Musical," saw High School Musical invade the town school with song and dance, all without the main characters being aware of it. Listen to one of the songs below, or check out other clips: "Everyone Is Special" and "Go With the Status Quo."

Modern Family (2009)

The popular comedy's pilot episode saw Phil Dunphy explaining his main reasons for being a "cool Dad," like knowing all the High School Musical dances. Watch him throw on a Wildcats letter jacket while "singing" and "dancing" his way through "We're All in This Together."

Saturday Night Live (2009)

So what exactly comes after high school? SNL's sketch "High School Musical 4: New Senior Class" saw Troy Bolton (Zac Efron, spoofing his own HSM character) returning to East High to give an update. His speech to the graduating seniors isn't exactly uplifting (no singing in college, apparently!), but it is definitely funny.


High School Musical special telecast, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 8/7c, Disney Channel

Reairs Saturday, Jan. 23, 4:30/3:30c, Freeform and Sunday, Jan. 24, 2/1c, Freeform