Ah yes, it’s been a little over 10 years since the release of the first High School Musical. That’s right, let that nostalgia seep right in. So when one thinks of HSM, some may think of Gabriella or Troy but this article isn’t going to be about those lovebirds. Let’s focus on Sharpay Evans, the annoying blonde of the movie, the obstruction to Troy and Gabriella’s relationship and one of the few characters in the whole collection of HSM movies (including Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure) to have amazing character development.
Now, you may or may not think I’m giving Sharpay a little too much credit but that’s where you’re mistaken and this is where we’re going to talk about how utterly misunderstood and underrated of a character Sharpay Evans really is. Put on your reading glasses and let’s get right into it!
In the first movie of the High School Musical trilogy, Sharpay is shown to be quite the drama queen. A brat spoilt rotten by her parents that gets what she wants, when she wants. The very definition of the bratty teenaged daughter trope. This is of course, an observation at glance. We see her react dramatically over little things that seem to threaten her position as what I’d like to call it, the Theater Princess of East High such as when she discovers that she and her brother, Ryan, have competition for the lead roles in the winter musical. Competition being the power couple of the movie, of course.
She’s shown to be incredibly ambitious – to the point of doing whatever it takes to getting where she wants to be which includes garnering sympathy, cheating her way in, eliminating possible competition and the like, but still ambitious nonetheless. Despite her negative qualities, she does have quite a few redeeming points which is what makes her such a lovable character. She’s motivated, aims high and really does her best. Her confidence, as off-putting as it was, is one of the best aspects of her character. It makes her the perfect diversion to throw off a smooth sailing journey for Troy and Gabriella as shown in High School Musical 2.
Despite being the antagonist for both HSM 1 and HSM 2, she is most definitely not a terrible person. Yes, she has a bratty personality but she can genuinely be nice which isn’t a trait one would emphasise for an antagonist. In HSM 1, she wishes Gabriella good luck for the musical. Acknowledging that she didn’t get the part despite working quite hard for it, she chose to be a good sport and was even supportive.
In HSM 2, she fought for the attention of Troy Bolton, doing what she can to include him in her little antics and activities which included singing with her at the talent show. Once again, working hard to get what she wants but not hiding her sly nature, she even casted Ryan to the side! In the end when her plans began to slip through her fingers and into Ryan’s palms, she decides to suck it up and proudly present her brother with the award for the talent show. She knows how to let go of her pride and acknowledge that there is someone else more deserving of something than she is. It says a lot about her, not as an antagonist but as a person.
In HSM 3, Sharpay is a tritagonist. She hasn’t changed from the previous HSM movies but this time, she has a challenger. Someone who isn’t fated to beat her, unlike Gabriella. This is where you can really see how she’s truly the victim of the HSM trilogy. With one of her performances being sabotaged by Troy’s tardiness, realising she’d deen tricked by Tiara, who she dubbed as merely a “british school girl”, of course she would be bitter about it! Not to mention when she was aiming to get the scholarship for Julliard’s.
However, she redeemed herself by crashing Tiara’s performance, taking her rightful place as Sharpay for the musical and ultimately slaying the performance, leaving Tiara in the dust. The main point is, Sharpay didn’t just throw a fit and give up like most would expect her to. She picked herself back up and got what she wanted and rightfully deserved. Unlike in HSM 1 and 2, she was finally able to get her way.
Finally, in her own spin off movie, Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure, she is shown to go through hardships and getting hit in the face by reality. This movie is where we can very clearly see who she is as a protagonist. She still has her bratty attitude but as the movie progresses, you will see how vunerable she can be and how she’s not all that the HSM trilogy has made her out to be.
What I like about this movie is that instead of seeing her being constantly on the move and going out of her way to snatch something or someone from someone else, we see her going out of her way to get something for her self positively. Above all, she’s shown to face disagreements with her father, harsh treatments, exposure to an environment she isn’t used to and getting through it all one way or another. Her character development is massive and incomparable to any other HSM character, except perhaps Ryan who is not shown in this movie.
All in all, Sharpay Evans is an amazing character with some traits that can be applied to oneself and others that are better left out of one’s life. Reminder that a character doesn’t have to be ‘good’ or ‘positive’ to be amazing. Sharpay makes the perfect antagonist for the HSM series and she’s also an amazing character on her own. Her development as a character is definitely quite dependant on others which is what makes her fit and blend into various environments so well, whether it’s at school, her family’s club or on the streets of New York.
What do you think about Sharpay as a character? We’d love too hear all about it in the comments below!
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