For years, there's been an ongoing debate about who the REAL villain in the iconic High School Musical franchise is.
Is it Sharpay or is it Gabriella?
To start off, Gabriella transfers to East High and immediately has a romantic connection with Troy. Sharpay has had a crush on Troy for a while and is understandably upset about this.
Then, Sharpay and Ryan audition for the school musical with a song that Kelsi wrote. But, without consulting Kelsi at all, they COMPLETELY change her composition.
But then Ms. Darbus overhears Gabriella and Troy singing Kelsi's orginal version of the song, and she decides to give them both a callback.
So then Kelsi requests that Sharpay and Ryan sing her song the way it was meant to be sung. In response to this, Sharpay says, "You do not offer direction, suggestion, or commentary."
Then Sharpay finds out about Troy and Gabriella getting callbacks, and she's VERY upset. So what does she do? She convinces Ms. Darbus to switch the date of the callbacks to the same day as Troy's game and Gabriella's decathlon so they can't make it. Yikes...
Despite Sharpay's best efforts, Troy and Gabriella manage to make it to the callbacks and get cast in the lead roles. However, they were late to the callbacks which – in the world of showbiz – is a HUGE no-no. But does this make them the bad guys?
Oh and let's not forget when Zeke comes up to Sharpay and asks her to watch him play basketball and offers to bake her something to which she replies by screaming at him and storming off.
But at the end of the film, just when we think Sharpay is Regina George incarnate, Sharpay wishes Gabriella good luck during "We're All in This Together."
At the very beginning of High School Musical 2, Sharpay gets Troy and Kelsi a job at her parents' resort.
Then Troy negotiates with the manager of the resort to get all the Wildcats – including Gabriella – a job for the summer. Sharpay finds out when they arrive at the resort and forces the manager to be extra hard on the Wildcats (excluding Troy, of course).
Sharpay starts giving Troy a lot of amazing opportunities like meetings with college basketball players, promotions, and scholarships.
That's when Troy – charmed by all the perks of spending time around Sharpay – starts to abandon all the people he loves. He ditches them to play basketball with college players. He forgets about commitments he made with his friends. He even misses multiple lunch dates he planned with Gabriella.
But what about when Sharpay bails on her own brother in favor of Troy?
*Sigh* Ok... when Sharpay steals the song Kelsi wrote for Gabriella and Troy, that's pretty bad.
Then all the Wildcats decide to participate in the talent show. But, of course, Sharpay finds out and makes a new rule that all the staff must be working the night of the show.
After a very dramatic breakup (and an even more dramatic musical number), Troy discovers what Sharpay's been doing all along. He responds by bailing on the talent show and giving back all the opportunities Sharpay had manipulated him with.
At the end of the movie, the Wildcats perform at the talent show anyways, and Troy – as a gesture of good will – brings Sharpay up on stage. Then Sharpay has her own redeeming moment where she selflessly gives the talent show award to Ryan.
In the third movie, Gabriella convinces all the graduating seniors to participate in the school musical. Sharpay – up to her usual antics – is after Gabriella's role because it's next to Troy. When Sharpay finds out that Gabriella has gotten accepted into college early, she decides to manipulate Troy into convincing Gabriella to leave so she can have him all to herself.
But then comes the night of the performance, and Troy leaves to chase after Gabriella. Since he's not there, his understudy goes on with Sharpay and bombs the performance. This throws Sharpay off, causing her to break character mid-performance.
And to make matters worse, Sharpay takes her original solo back and gets into a catfight with her understudy on stage after Troy and Gabriella finally get to do their duet.
Throughout the entire franchise, Gabriella has done nothing but encourage Troy to follow both of his passions – basketball and musical theater. Does that sound like a villain?
Yet again, at the end of HSM3, Sharpay has another redeeming moment, although it's a lot less prominent than in the first two movies. All she did here was smile at Gabriella, but it was clear that she was happy, and that the two girls were forming some sort of bond or – at the very least – mutual respect.
So, do you agree with me? Let me know what you think in the comments! And remember, even if we don't agree, we're all in this together! ❤️
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