High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Season 2 Episode 6, “Yes, And,” finally weaves Beauty and the Beast into the characters’ lives like it should have done all season long. Many of the connections felt forced before, trying to convince us it’s the right choice for Season 2 instead of High School Musical 2.
Now, I’m convinced that Beauty and the Beast is the right choice. It’s still not a perfect choice, but it’s finally more obvious what HSMTMTS is trying to do with it, and that decision centers around the episode’s two musical performances. Furthermore, those performances bring home the importance of friendship in an episode that could have been more predominantly about romantic relationships.
Home Is Where the Heart Is
Gina’s arc this season has progressed so organically that it’s easily the parts of the episodes I am most excited to see each week. “Yes, And” is a massive turning point for that arc because HSMTMTS finally reveals a layer of context we didn’t know before. Everything we’ve seen up to now feels just as genuine without the context. It becomes all the more heartbreaking with it, though.
At the beginning of last season, Gina is rather selfish. However, she becomes more selfless as the season progresses. That progress is on display in the scene where she tells Ricky the truth about her feelings. Sofia Wylie brilliantly plays this moment. It’s such a huge scene and not an ounce of that weight is held back. It’s easy to step into Gina’s fear alongside Wylie.
Now, Gina is arguably the most selfless character on the show. But, unfortunately, Gina forgets that it’s okay to be a little selfish now and again in being so selfless. It’s okay to choose yourself and your happiness. This hesitancy is understandable after what happened with Ricky. It’s nice that Ricky, or even EJ, aren’t the ones who swoop in to remind her that she’s worthy of staying, being happy, and calling Salt Lake home.
It’s Ashlyn, and it works best that way. Even though they haven’t had as many moments on screen as they should this season, Gina’s bond with Ashlyn is the most consistent. This declaration of friendship pulls the threads of Beauty and the Beast into the lives of the HSMTMTS characters. There haven’t been any Beauty and the Beast songs performed that align entirely with the characters until now.
Julia Lester nails her rendition of “Home” so that we are in tears right alongside Ashlyn and Gina. So many of Beauty and the Beast‘s themes are similar ones that run throughout essentially all Disney properties. Seb even shouts out an important one (multiple times) during the episode: friendship. Ashlyn singing this song to Gina works according to that and perfectly fits Gina’s decision to stay or leave. This is how HSMTMTS should incorporate more Beauty and the Beast songs to not rely on just the classics for its production.
Method Acting Isn’t for Everyone
Ricky acts almost too Beast-like during “Yes, And.” It’s a little jarring to see Ricky be so cold to people. It’s so quick of a shift in his character that it feels as though HSMTMTS needs him to be more Beast-like. His resistance to change, especially with that change involving his teacher dating his dad, is understandable. Unfortunately, though, that doesn’t give Ricky the right to treat the people who care about him the way he does.
He, thankfully, apologizes to Miss Jenn. But, sadly, Ricky has yet to apologize to Gina for clearly upsetting her. It’s like he can’t even see why she’s angry. Knowing what we do about that missing scene from the Season 1 finale, Ricky doesn’t look too great. It’s one thing not to reciprocate feelings for Gina, and it’s another to continuously dump his relationship drama at Gina’s feet, knowing that she cares about him. It’s careless, and it’s selfish.
HSMTMTS could chalk up Ricky’s actions (in this episode) to “everyone has bad days.” However, it goes beyond that when examining his behavior with Nini. He’s uncomfortably clingy even though she has promised him on multiple occasions that he has no reason to worry. This behavior isn’t a new phenomenon exclusive to “Yes, And” because he was doing and saying similar things in HSMTMTS Season 2 Episode 1, “New Year’s Eve.”
Ricky’s inability to allow anyone around him to grow without him will cause changes that he has been trying to avoid this entire time.
Nini Makes Us Care about a Rose
That change Ricky dreads is already on its way if Nini’s “The Rose Song” is any indication. The drama between Ricky and Nini could have been better had it been pushed back just a little bit. It would have been nice to see them be happy, free of drama, for a while longer since so much of Season 1 was about their relationship drama. However, this drama resulted in “The Rose Song,” so I’ll take it.
This song, written by Olivia Rodrigo, is further proof that HSMTMTS‘ music truly succeeds when the show allows its cast to shine behind the scenes, too. “The Rose Song” is one I know I’m going to add to all of my playlists, like Joe Serafini’s cover of “The Climb,” because it extends beyond the context of the show. Yes, it’s written about the Beast’s rose, but those lyrics are about so much more than that.
“Cause I am more than what I am to you” is a line that stands out from the song because it feels as though Nini became so much more than a girlfriend to Ricky overnight. Nini tells Kourtney earlier in the episode that she’s writing the song from the Beast’s perspective, who sees the rose as a symbol of loving slipping away. That sentiment directly parallels her relationship with Ricky.
It’s so telling that the song only comes to her when she writes it from the other perspective, from her perspective. It could never work as a duet because it was always better as a solo. It’s possible that Ricky and Nini could be happy and drama-free at some point on HSMTMTS, but that can’t happen until Ricky embraces change and accepts Nini, thorns and all.
The other interpretation of this song (and honestly, the one I prefer the most) is that this song is a love letter to Kourtney’s approach to life. Kourtney doesn’t compromise any part of herself for anyone, including any boy she may or may not have a crush on. Nini could take that as inspiration for herself, but it’s also just enough for Nini to recognize and champion that part of her best friend. Yes, it reveals a lot that Nini wants to keep the song from Ricky, but it’s just as telling that Kourtney is the first one Nini wants to play the finished song.
Everything doesn’t have to be about Ricky and Nini. The friendships of HSMTMTS are just as meaningful as the romantic ones, so it’s nice to believe that this song came from Kourtney and Nini’s friendship. That’s what makes the song Ashlyn sings Gina so great, and it’s echoed in “The Rose Song.” Friendship is what matters like Seb tries to tell us throughout Miss Jenn’s workshop.
Other Fabulous Moments:
- Kourtney and Howie are my new everything.
- EJ flirting with Gina every chance he can get is so cute.
- I love that he’s falling for her first instead of the other way around.
- The two drama club group chats thing is hilarious.
- It’s just as hilarious as Carlos saying “Ow” in character as Lumiere.
- “Team Wonderstudy” for the win!
- Lili (and Antoine) continues to shock me in how great she is at physical comedy.
- Nini accidentally writing a “Sk8r Boi” knockoff is AMAZING on so many levels.
- Nini’s face when Kourtney tells Howie how she feels!
- “Theater is a safe space.” – Miss Jenn
What did you think of HSMTMTS “Yes, And?” Let us know in the comments below!
New episodes of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series drop weekly on Disney+!