Ranking the ‘High School Musical: The Musical: The Series’ Couples

Carlos and Seb, Miss Jenn and Mr. Mazzara, and Gina and E.J. from
Disney/Fred Hayes

Season 3 of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series has introduced lots of new faces, songs and settings.

(Most of) our beloved Wildcats are spending the summer at Camp Shallow Lake, where they’re putting on a production of Frozen, which will be featured in a Corbin Bleu-helmed documentary. The HSMTMTS dating pool just got a whole lot bigger and, to echo High School Musical’s own Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens), we’re ready for some summer romance.

To celebrate the return of the most musical, meta, and messy series on Disney+, we decided to rank all of its existing — or at least close to it — ships (from best to worst) and speculate about how this season could be the start of something new.

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, Wednesdays, Disney+

Gina and E.J. at Camp Shallow Lake.
Disney/Fred Hayes

Gina and E.J.

It’s difficult for Gina (Sofia Wylie), who never stays in one place too long, to let her guard down all the way, so watching her slowly let E.J. (Matt Cornett) in — and ultimately asking him to be her first kiss — last season was one of the most butterfly-inducing HSMTMTS storylines so far. Now, the dancer is caught in the same love triangle as Nini (Olivia Rodrigo) when the show debuted, and new couple Gina and E.J. are a strong ship that we refuse to watch Ricky (Joshua Bassett) sink. She may have chemistry and a genuine connection with both guys, but what sets this ship apart is how great they are for each other. From near-villains to beloved members of the East High Drama Club, it’s been so fun to watch these two grow into the most caring, honest, and strong version of themselves together, and we’re not ready to give up on them just yet.

Kate Reinders as Miss Jenn and Mark St. Cyr as Mr. Mazzara asleep on the couch in HSMTMTS
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Miss Jenn and Mr. Mazzara

Though they have yet to officially couple up, this ship already rivals legendary sitcom slow-burns like Gilmore Girls’ Luke (Scott Patterson) and Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and New Girl’s Nick (Jake Johnson) and Jess (Zooey Deschanel). It’s difficult for a teen show to get its fans to care deeply about its adult characters’ love lives but with this ship, HSMTMTS did just that — and we’re all in. Though Miss Jenn (Kate Reinders) is embarking on a cruise with Ricky’s dad (Alex Quijano), there’s still plenty of hope for this enemies-to-friends-to-lovers pair. Mr. Mazzara (Mark St. Cyr) slowly losing his tough-guy, arts-hating facade as he goes from hating to tolerating to yearning for the bubbly drama teacher is one of the most compelling reasons to tune into the show each week, and we’re really hoping these two can work this out.

Carlos and Seb share a kiss at Carlos' quinceañero.
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Carlos and Seb

While Carlos (Frankie Rodriguez) and Seb (Joe Serafini) have always been one of HSMTMTS’s sweetest couples, their romance was a bit underwhelming and under-explored at first. Last season, when the couple was finally given the screen time to truly shine — and their first kiss! — everything changed. Seb throwing Carlos a quinceañero, where he serenaded him with the Miley Cyrus ballad “The Climb,” and Carlos reassuring Seb of his love for him with an original song were two of the most (happy) tear-inducing moments the show has given us so far. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing much of Seblos this season, as Seb couldn’t make it off of his family’s farm to bunk with Carlos at camp. We’re not too upset about it though — we don’t need any more evidence of these two’s love for each other.

Ricky serenades Gina.

Gina and Ricky

To put it lightly, this is a fandom-dividing ship. No matter where we place it on this list, it’ll ruffle some feathers — but hear us out. Ricky has caused Gina so much heartache and confusion that, unless they have a seriously in-depth heart-to-heart this summer, it’ll be hard to root for these two while sparks are still flying between newly official Gina and E. J. The third episode teased that the pair may reignite their old (but never official) flame. But while they would’ve been great together in past seasons, this summer is just not the right time for them to try to work things out. While Gina has grown in her relationship with E.J., Ricky is as bad a communicator as ever. Their chemistry is undeniable but, given their history with each other and the rest of the Wildcats, coupling up would break more than a few hearts. Instead, Ricky should spend the summer single and do some seriously needed self-reflection — or he could pursue one of the many single campers at Shallow Lake (*cough* Jet *cough*).

Kourtney and Howie working at Salt Lake Slices.
Disney/Fred Hayes

Kourtney and Howie

This pair was passionate from the get-go and, like Miss Jenn and Mr. Mazzara, had an adorable (and slightly more successful) enemies-to-lovers arc. It was super fun to watch Kourtney (Dara Reneé), one of East High’s most talented, not only show off more of her musical abilities last season but also enjoy a bit of well-deserved romance. These two faced some serious (Beast-shaped) bumps in the road, but ultimately liked each other enough to make things work, so it’s sad to see that Howie (Roman Banks), a great new addition to the show, does not appear to be in this season. In fact, it seems that Kourtney has been missing her phone, who she affectionately refers to as Sasha, more dearly than her Salt Lake Slices coworker/boyfriend. Hopefully Howie will at least show face at the camp’s production of Frozen, so that he can once again express his adorable awe for Kourtney’s talent.

Ashlyn and Big Red on Valentine's Day.
Disney/Fred Hayes

Ashlyn and Big Red

Big Red (Larry Saperstein) and Ashlyn (Julia Lester) are probably HSMTMTS’s most mature and healthy couple. (The only ship more consistent than these two is Ricky and being late.) Unfortunately, while this pairing works great in theory, they suffer from a severe lack of chemistry and would, we argue, simply be better off as friends. Their missing spark is so glaring, it leads us to believe that the writers only put the characters together because they’re both likable gingers who didn’t have much else going on early in the show. If that weren’t enough, like Howie and Seb, Big Red has been entirely absent from Season 3 so far.

Miss Jenn and Ricky’s dad, Mike Bowen, eat some takeout on the floor of her office.
Disney/Fred Hayes

Miss Jenn and Ricky’s Dad

Don’t get us wrong, Ricky’s dad seems like a nice guy, but he’s just that: a nice guy. He isn’t even a compelling enough character to make you remember his name. (It’s Mike, F.Y.I.) These two shared some sweet moments and if they’re happy together, so be it. But we would much rather see Miss Jenn with Mr. Mazzaro and Ricky’s dad with … well, literally anyone else.

Ricky and Nini look at each other.
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Ricky and Nini

HSMTMTS’s Troy (Zac Efron) and Gabriella substitutes were initially very shippable, but fizzled hard and fast in Season 2 — and the show’s desire for this ship to sink post-”drivers license” was extremely obvious. Unlike Big Red and Ashlyn, who are experts at mature communication, this pair is genuinely terrible at telling each other how they feel — unless, of course, they sing it — to the point where it’s extremely frustrating to watch most of the time. Nini and Ricky’s saving grace was their chemistry, but even that fizzled last season and, unlike the summer weather, shows no signs of heating back up. 

Nini and E.J. perform together as Troy and Gabriella in East High's production of
Disney/Fred Hayes

Nini and E.J.

This placement should come as no surprise. Though E.J. always proved to be a supportive and loving boyfriend, he was the worst version of himself when he was with Nini. Since their breakup, he’s grown a lot, as has Nini, but the pair is simply not meant to be. Instead, this season, we hope to see E.J. and Gina continue to grow together and see Nini have a boy drama-free summer, so she can focus on herself, her family, and her music.

Ricky and Lily talk in the halls of East High.
Disney/Fred Hayes

Ricky and Lily

Unsurprisingly, Lily (Olivia Rose Keegan) and Ricky, whom she incorrectly referred to as “Richie” up until the very end of their extremely short-lived relationship, are dead last on this list. Though she’s a great performer, Lily is somehow terrible at being both a good person and a villain. Still, she managed to weasel her way into Ricky’s heart temporarily — that is, until he found the harness she stole last season to sabotage East High’s production of Beauty and the Beast and dumped her on the spot.