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High School Musical: The Musical: The Series: The Very Meta Premise: The Explanation – Vulture

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series: The Very Meta Premise: The Explanation – Vulture

We’re all in this “We’re All in This Together” together. Photo: Disney+

In the ever-expanding universe of streaming television, there’s one show that has at least stood out from the pack by simply repeating as many words as possible within its own title: Disney+’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. In case your brain fizzled out trying to process that title somewhere between colons one and two, this is a mockumentary TV show about a high school that is putting on the stage musical version of the “classic” Zac Efron–Vanessa Hudgens Disney Channel movie High School Musical that happens to be set in a fictional version of East High, the real high school where they shot the High School Musical. You might not think of Disney as the place for Community-style Russian dolls of self-reference, but the whole thing is intentionally built for a winking sense of humor. As creator Tim Federle told Vulture, “I always wanted to have that meta thing, because those are the projects that make me laugh the hardest.”

Federle — who wrote the script for the movie Ferdinand, the book for the Tuck Everlasting musical, and a series of YA novels — pitched Disney on his specific meta take on High School Musical after hearing that they were looking to do something new with the series. His idea, essentially: American Vandal, but about a high school doing High School Musical (and since this is Disney, there are no dick jokes), or something close to Waiting for Guffman, but with more anxiety about who will get to play Gabriella on opening night.