Commentary

'High School Musical': All But The Asians

I must admit, I found myself eagerly anticipating "High School Musical 2" along with all of the tweens and their families. It was fun to experience the exciting build-up similar to the way I remembered it being in a simpler time for the Fall TV season's premiere week.

The show's fantasyland environment (immersed in Candyland colors) was just so easy to fall for (especially considering today's grim headlines), just the way "Grease" and "Hairspray" were. I was enchanted by the scenic southern Utah backdrop (even more vibrant on a plasma screen); heartened by the comity displayed by the student body; and amused by the non-stereotypical names given to the cast (Zeke, Chad, Sharpay, Martha?). And how could you not be dazzled by all of the intricate dancing?

However, one quizzical omission dawned on me as I watched. Despite its all-inclusive cast of characters (Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, mixed race, smart, dimwitted, overweight, jocks, even a kid with gay tendencies were all represented), where was the Asian-American kid?

Considering that the U.S.'s approximately12 million Asian Americans are such a rapidly growing part of the population, I found it a curious oversight. And "Asian" covers a lot of territory - India, the Philippines, China, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and at least half a dozen more nations. Admittedly, it was somewhat refreshing not to have the math whiz be Asian (Hispanic Gabriella played that role), but couldn't there have been a role somewhere in a cast this large?

Perhaps this blunder will be rectified as part of a refreshing new angle for "HSM3" (a new nemesis for Sharpay!), and then we'll have a complete Magic Kingdom.

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