anonymous asked:

I couldn't help noticing that you posted once about "covering up" Ryan's sexuality by implying romance between him and Kelsi. I do kind of agree with you. I hate when people force heteronormativity down our throats. Ryan is canon gay! It's the same thing with Faberry (Glee) and SunLight (Equestria Girls). Both clearly have more chemistry than finchel and FlashLight but never became canon because heterosexuality is "the norm" esp. for stuff aimed towards kids, and it sucks.

I believe the Ryan/Kelsi fiasco happened due to (alleged) backlash and complaints from parents in regards to Ryan’s (frankly obvious) sexuality. Back in the day, I remember stumbling onto an explanation of the “romance” we see “developing” between Ryan and Kelsi in High School Musical 3: Senior Year, that directly cited complaints from angry, bigoted parents driving Disney executives to push Ryan into at least having a female prom date. 

Lucas Grabeel actually wanted Ryan to come out as gay, in that movie, but the idea was vetoed in favor of pushing a “No worries, this character is TOTALLY STRAIGHT, guys! See, look at the menus on the DVD!”

image to appease close-minded people. I joke that Kelsi was Ryan’s “beard”, but, really… that’s what she was; an extremely uncomfortably contrived means of concealing his homosexuality. 

Believe me, seeing two people of the same-sex with vastly superior chemistry to the main leads, in children’s media, (or mainstream media, in general. I’m looking at you, Neighbors and Neighbors 2. You know darn well Teddy and Pete had more chemistry than Teddy and Brooke and Pete and his fiance) and knowing the screenwriters/show runners will never capitalize on that chemistry, saddens and embitters me. Watching a film or cartoon that contains a healthy depiction of a same sex relationship is not going to turn children into sexual deviants. If anything, it will make them more comfortable exploring who they are, later in life, and give them the assurance that feeling that way about someone with the same parts as them is completely okay. 

But, you know, this was 2008, and Proposition 8 was on the ballots in California, and I imagine Disney was terrified of stirring up any controversy by having a male lead in their series of cheesy G-rated movies that were intended to idealize the high school experience for an audience of twelve year-old girls, come out as anything other than entirely heterosexual. 

At least we got that scene of Troy and Ryan dancing together, which was honestly gayer than LeFou’s “big gay scene” in the Beauty and the Beast remake. 

The Marvel of Trelsi (Part XIII)

Man, I’m beat at the end of THIS week. So much stuff to do, and so little of it based on writing. A rich husband would be much appreciated. 

Anyway, let’s return to Trelsi. In the last instalment, I did an analysis of three Kelsi Nielsen songs in order to demonstrate the kind of person that would interest Kelsi romantically in an ideal situation. I alluded to the fact that Kelsi’s expectations are idealistic, because the reality of her situation doesn’t bear much resemblance to those poetic lyrics and catchy melodies. Like I’ve said, I’m adding questions as they occur to me; I’m not just interested in examining Trelsi, but understanding Troy Bolton and Kelsi Nielsen as people, and that means discussing their interactions with others. My next question is as follows:

Question– What can we learn about Kelsi Nielsen from her canonical relationships?

Disclaimer: No “Ryelsi” will be discussed.

This is fascinating to me. First of all, let’s get to the bottom of Kelsi’s canonical relationship with Jason Cross and the implications thereof. 

I’ve just been rewatching some of HSM I in Google Play, just to see whether there is any avenue for Jason Cross to have known about Kelsi prior to meeting her in the gym. I’ve scrolled as slowly as I can, but was unable to find such a place. It might have made sense for Jason to notice her during the performance of “Breaking Free”, but that would be impossible, given that Kelsi’s back was to the audience, and she only seemed interested in either the music or in Troy blossoming onstage. I’ve rewatched the scene where Jason formally and silently introduces himself, and it looks, for all intents and purposes, to be a spur on the moment decision to help her sink a shot. I like this scene. Even before shipping Trelsi, I considered it sweet, even though heavily in line with every other character being paired off for pairing’s sake. Even at this stage, Kelsi is still so often overlooked in favour of other girls (the gym is full of cheerleaders) that the decision to get to know her better often comes on a whim. I still can’t decide whether Troy intended to make friends with Kelsi earlier in HSM I, but if he only did so after she tripped over, then that would be a mirror to how Jason is later introduced to Kelsi. And once again, Kelsi’s surprise is a sign of how she is not yet used to being noticed by others, let alone boys (and a jock like Jason!). However, since being introduced to Troy, she has grown in confidence and thus she most notably does not react with the dumbfounded astonishment of before. In fact, her smile is more confident as Jason helps her shoot a hoop, which she appears to enjoy. 

Contrary to what the movie wishes for us to believe, I do not think that Jason and Kelsi instantly hit it off after this encounter. I am making assumptions here, but given what we know of Kelsi’s serious attitude towards love and relationships, I cannot see her deciding to put her trust in Jason before they had spent more time together. Fortunately, they had the rest of the school year to do so, and by the summer (HSM II), they are established as an item. By the beginning of HSM III, however, we are to infer that they have broken up and this raises a number of important questions and issues. First of all, what made Jason choose Kelsi out of all the other girls he could have easily had? Remember that Jason is a jock, and therefore from the Supreme Class, according to the Philosophy of Danforth. I assume that he saw something in her that other people didn’t, or maybe he was intrigued by her shyly and awkwardly clutching a basketball, and decided to help her out. I don’t pretend to know the answers here, because we’re just not given that information. What does seem apparent is that Kelsi was still shy around boys– notice her somewhat hunched shoulders when the basketball team cheered around her. Of course, we didn’t see that kind of shyness around the boys of the Drama Club, so I’m assuming that this was caused by 1)- the social status of the basketballers, 2)- possibly their physical stature, 3)- the shyness possibly being provoked when close to people she was attracted to. Either way, it appears that Jason knows what to do in order to lower Kelsi’s walls. She doesn’t seem to mind as he tosses her hat side and allows her hair to flow free, as is the clichéd method in romantic comedies. From around HSM III, Kelsi wears fewer hats (and even then, only as an accessory, rather than to hide her face) and wears her hair longer, perhaps a testament to Jason’s influence on her. What’s interesting about this is that Jason is pretty awkward himself, so perhaps he saw a kindred spirit and decided to work up the courage to introduce himself. 

Kelsi and Jason scenes are so tiny as to be almost invisible, but we can get some idea of what their relationship might have been like. I think the key thing to note is an easy affection between the two of them. I would not describe either of them as being in love, but just having the typical teenage feelings associated with one’s first relationship. I am almost certain that this is Kelsi’s first relationship; there is no way you can be that shy and have a boyfriend prior), and I think the same might be true for Jason, but not necessarily. Why is this significant? Because it’s nothing like what Kelsi either really expects or wants in a relationship. I have mentioned the danger of lofty expectations here and here, stating that this might lead to dissatisfaction on Kelsi’s part when she inevitably did not receive what she wanted. However, given this contrast, I do not think that Kelsi was intending to “settle” for Jason at all; it takes a lot for her to break down her walls, and I think that she would only invest in a relationship that she considered worthwhile. Like I’ve said in my song analysis, Kelsi does not half-step when it comes to relationships. Unlike Sharpay, she doesn’t view boys as sport, and unlike Gabriella, she does not take the business of being in a relationship for granted. Once inside the relationship, Kelsi would have committed completely. 

What does Kelsi see in Jason? Well, he seems kind, often fumbles and bumbles around, but in a well-meaning way. He seems thoughtful and doesn’t need her to impress him with sports skill before he notices her. Without even asking, he helps her sink a shot through the hoops and smiles at her as though this was her victory. 

So why, by the beginning of HSM III have they not only broken up, but Jason has jumped ship immediately to the popular head cheerleader Martha? Well, the seeds were sown during HSM II where, on at least two or three occasions, you can see Jason either hugging or putting his arm around Martha. In fact, after the kids have finished dancing outside of East High to mark the summer, Jason turns and hugs Martha first before Kelsi. Later on, he has his arm around Martha as he comes into the practice room to sing “You Are The Music In Me”. Because the film narrative pays little attention to Kelsi when she isn’t either composing music or with Troy and Gabriella, we don’t know anything about these little scenes beyond their mere existence, and thus we know very little about Kelsi’s reaction. Fortunately for you guys, we can rely on my musings in Google Docs to fill in the gaps. There are two ways that Kelsi could have reacted to this: either by confrontation or in silence. I base the confrontation theory on her ability to confront people when sufficiently agitated, like during HSM I, when she angrily told Troy why the callbacks had been rescheduled, and when she stood up to Sharpay before said callbacks. I base the silence theory on how Kelsi hides more of herself than she shows to other people (except perhaps Troy) and how, given that she is in her first relationship, she is most probably besieged by doubts on how she should behave. 

Out of the two theories, I think the silence theory is more likely, because the signs that Jason is becoming more attached to Martha are subtle. In which case, Kelsi would most probably be lingering and doubting whether she was simply imagining things, or whether she had reason to be worried. Her low self-esteem, which she has had most probably since childhood, would flare UP again. In my notes for my mega Trelsi fic, I speculated that Kelsi might be the kind of girl to compare herself negatively to other girls, particularly when one is competing with her over the same guy. She is nothing like Gabriella, who, confident in her own looks, would stare down the rival and then punish the guy if he dared look too interested in someone else.

In fact, Kelsi can’t have confronted him, because later on in the movie, you can see Jason leaning at the breakfast table next to Kelsi (shortly before the infamous Silent Treatment scene), which wouldn’t have happened were things frosty between them. At the end of the movie, during the quieter version of “You Are The Music In Me”, she seems happy hugging him and running around the hills. This appears genuine to me (I was rewatching it before writing this paragraph). So this may suggest that Kelsi was more likely playing it silent, perhaps believing that either Jason would not take Martha seriously (if so, a massive miscalculation on her part), and/or that she could/should focus on the positives in her relationship. It’s not like Jason was completely cold and unfeeling towards her; they obviously shared happy moments together. Clearly, she had strong feelings for Jason, or else none of this would make sense. Another reason that I don’t see Kelsi being confrontational is that Martha is/was her friend. Not only this, but Kelsi continues being either friendly or at least civil with Martha AFTER she broke up with Jason, even sitting at the same lunch table in HSM III (shortly before Chad asked Taylor to prom). This adds an astonishing twist to the tale. Why does Kelsi continue to maintain some semblance of friendship with someone who 1)- appears quite flirtatious, 2)- shows no canonical interest in Kelsi’s relationship with Jason and 3)- shows no embarrassment about dating her friend’s ex right in front of her? 

I have puzzled about this in my current Trelsi one-shot. Up til now, I don’t yet have a concrete answer. Does Kelsi, once again feeling that other girls are more attractive then her, feel that it’s all for the best, whilst trying to quash her own hurt? Does she politely pretend not to notice? (It does seem that way in some of the scenes; when Jason hugs Martha before her in early HSM II, she simply nudges him and waits for her turn!) Or is Kelsi merely displaying a show of civility, whilst hiding her bitterness? As we know, Kelsi is capable of deeply-rooted bitterness, and of holding grudges against other people. We are shown her grudge against Sharpay (understandable, but later heavily exaggerated), and her former grudge against Ryan, which she overcame. The movie narrative would never have us see any inkling that things weren’t always sugary and nice between the Wildcats, but perhaps Kelsi’s relationship with Martha became increasingly strained. After all, it’s not like Martha ever played it cool with Jason out of respect for her friend’s relationship. No, even by the beginning of the summer, they were on regular hugging terms, if there’s such a thing. The seamless way in which Jason runs straight into Martha’s arms (literally as well as figuratively) by the beginning of HSM III suggests a closeness that has to have been nurtured over time. And that time was when Kelsi and Jason were dating. 

Judging from that scene in HSM III, where the Cool Girls are sharing a table (Taylor, Gabriella, Martha and Kelsi), we can see Martha giggling over something. Taylor and Gabriella are laughing, and Kelsi is smiling, but focused on her manuscripts. Her reactions appear somewhat reserved here. We know that Kelsi and Martha at least were close, because at the beginning of HSM II, she gives Martha a hug (perhaps they were introduced after the Winter Musical?), and later on, she is happily pretending to scratch turntables whilst Martha breaks it down on the kitchen floor. I can’t help noticing that Kelsi and Martha are on opposite sides of the same table in HSM III, although this is not necessarily significant. Personally, I think that her reservation here is thanks to a tireless devotion to her work, but if Kelsi really did feel resentment towards Martha, then her smiling, whilst focusing on her work might be a plausible demonstration of this. That’s a possible headcanon assumption and not necessarily one that I hold.

I suppose the next question is whether Jason cheated on Kelsi with Martha? I think not. The fact that Kelsi continues to maintain communication with Martha and even Jason to some extent seems sufficient proof that that wasn’t the case. Remember that at the beginning of HSM III, Kelsi signed up “almost the entire home room!” (Ms. Darbus) for the next musical, and we can see that Jason objects to this. In other words, she signed him up. Given the “almost” part, I assume some members were left out, therefore Kelsi had every opportunity to leave out Jason were she angry with him. Kelsi signed up the people she could most easily persuade to participate. Later on, she begs everyone that she presumptuously signed up to participate, and again, this includes Jason. These are not the actions of someone wishing to put as much distance between her and her ex-boyfriend. It’s worth noting that Jason doesn’t speak to her with any reluctance or embarrassment, which is both astounding, given him jumping straight to Martha, but also indicative perhaps of a (somewhat) amicable breakup. And by amicable, I mean they both decided to part ways, not that Kelsi was patting him on the back for being chummy with her friend whilst they were dating! So, what I think what happened was that Kelsi couldn’t deal with Jason’s emotional infidelity any longer, and either she broke up with him to maintain the upper hand, or he broke up with her when he could no longer conceal those feelings. 

The implications and consequences of this breakup are not pretty. I am going to make a lot of assumptions here to fill in the gaps, but it strikes me that Kelsi would feel inadequate if her boyfriend (a jock, no less) left her for a confident and bubbly cheerleader. Bear in mind that not long after splitting up with Kelsi for Martha, Jason goes to the trouble of getting a T-shirt painted with a proposition for Martha. You can see this T-Shirt shortly before “Night to Remember”. Jason never did such a thing for Kelsi. Furthermore, he isn’t at all embarrassed to be wearing this in front of Kelsi whilst he performs HER song for the Spring Musical! Would this make Kelsi feel as though Jason was never as invested in their relationship as she was? In my last post, I alluded to a possible period of unhappiness for Kelsi prior to writing “I Just Wanna Be With You”: “You know how life can be/It changes overnight/Sunny then raining/But it’s alright.” Could the “rainy” period in Kelsi’s life be an allusion to Jason? Again, I do not present this as canonical fact, but it is definitely plausible. And I would go even further than that; could Kelsi’s appearance during “Night to Remember”, in which the guys say “Who’s that Girl?” be her response to Jason and Martha? During this scene, Kelsi appears as the “mystery girl” whom the guys (including, ironically, Jason) has to admire during the song. I don’t think this was Kelsi’s idea, but perhaps Ryan’s. He is the choreographer, and Kelsi was previously awkward and clumsy in HSM I, didn’t appear to be very fond of water in HSM II. But presenting herself as confident and carrying off the ballet steps without a hitch would be a great way for Kelsi to re-assert her confidence. We then see her invest her energy into writing one hell of a love song “I Just Wanna Be With You”, which I discussed in the last post. 

All in all, the trajectory of Kelsi’s relationship with Jason is quite sad– for Kelsi. She most probably had such high hopes, and definitely put more into her relationship than Jason did. Perhaps she felt somewhat betrayed. However, I don’t think that even this quashes her sense of optimism, her hope for a better future. If there’s one reason why Kelsi is such a compelling story hero, it’s her ability to try, try again. I think that there would be a down period, but perhaps by the time it came to preparing the third musical, she threw herself into her composition work in order to keep the pain at bay. Her music is not only her sole passion, but also her escape from real life. Hence why she can be present in the moment and yet lost in pages of notes. 

This brings me onto my next question:

Question– Did Kelsi have a crush on Troy? As a supporter of Trelsi, should this not be part of the default headcanon?

When I first watched the High School Musical series (a couple of years ago), it never crossed my mind that Kelsi could have had a crush on Troy. Only when I became more interested in the movies at the end of last year did I start seeing this proposed by a couple of fans. Again, I was sceptical, because at that point, I was more interested in the friendship, until that moment when I watched the Trelsi introductory scene and something clicked in my head. This could be a couple. But even THEN I wasn’t thinking about the potential of Kelsi’s astonishment being based on a crush, and I didn’t begin shipping Trelsi for real until HSM III. I think I gradually began accepting this interpretation simply by virtue of having read several meta’s where the author said so. Fast forward to now, when I ship Trelsi romantic and platonic fashion, and I’m actually ambivalent towards this theory. I will explain why, and how this relates to Kelsi and Jason as follows. 

Now the Crush Theory appears to take hold from the moment where Kelsi is introduced to Troy, and we see her astonishment that the King of East High is actually speaking with her. Along with other evidence, mostly centred around Kelsi’s stronger affection and attachment to Troy than to Gabriella, the belief is that this proves she had more than platonic feelings towards him. I may have oversimplified this somewhat, but I think that you get the gist. Now don’t get me wrong; the Crush Theory does serve one particular angle of the Trelsi ship that I will discuss in future instalments– that of unrequited love. I’ve read some great Trelsi fics with this angle, and it starts from Kelsi having this secret crush. And for the purposes of the movie canon, it would be far more interesting for the central narrative, as well as giving Kelsi some depth, because since she shows a great capacity for self-sacrifice, she is unlikely to ever act on such feelings. This would be far more interesting for the viewer than Troy’s trite and unhealthy relationship with Gabriella. 

However, there are several problems with this theory.

Firstly, throughout the movies, Kelsi becomes more comfortable with Troy, something that surely could not happen if she had a persistent crush on him. By the summer, she thinks nothing of holding his hand, and does this again in HSM III. She gives him a hug when he’s feeling down, which suggests a level of familiarity not possible for a shy girl who has this all-encompassing crush on East High’s Primo Boy. I see Kelsi as becoming more open and more mature throughout the movies, not forever repressed by her feelings. Her song lyrics in HSM III are a reflection of this positive change. I struggle to reconcile this with the Crush Theory. 

Secondly, the Crush Theory undermines the importance of Kelsi’s introduction to Troy. There’s far more to that scene than physical attraction; it’s about finding a kindred spirit, acceptance, about Troy building up her confidence and revealing the girl within who always wanted to shine but never could do so. I find the Crush Theory problematic in that it would imply that Kelsi’s feelings of friendship towards Troy were at least partially motivated by attraction. This demeans the friendship to me. This introduction definitely leads to friendship first. A common understanding and chemistry in the sense that they communicate so effectively with little to no words, and are always by each other’s side no matter what. 

Thirdly, the Crush theory is short-lived. Kelsi is one of the first to see that Troy at least, is heavily invested in Gabriella. If Kelsi did have this crush, then she would have had to shelve it pretty fast once she saw that it was completely pointless. Troy Bolton is King of East High and unattainable for 98% of the female population. Kelsi may be an idealist, but her persistence shows that she has a realistic side. I can’t, especially in light of Kelsi’s increasing comfort around Troy, see her continuing to hold a flame for someone who is resolutely unavailable, knowing full well that such feelings are unlikely to be returned. That would put a whole depressing aspect to the Crush. If it happened, perhaps it ended quickly. Furthermore, I have already stated that Kelsi has a strong investment in people: a crush is not a strong investment. It is fleeting, and changes like the wind. Kelsi is deeply emotional and would need to feel as though the object of her affections was as deeply connected to her in return; canonically speaking, Troy is not. So why would she suffer in silence? Given her ability to find another path when one isn’t working for her, I can’t see Kelsi in a constant state of Purgatory here. 

The most important reason why the Crush Theory is lacking is that Kelsi dated Jason for a significant period of time and seemed perfectly happy doing so. I have already explained why it is not in Kelsi’s nature to “settle” for anything. Her interaction with Jason was affectionate, and for the period where he was actually invested in her, he reciprocated that affection. It would be easy to see why Kelsi might have a crush on Troy; he is gorgeous, charming, lovely, smart, dorky, sweet and romantic. Jason on the other hand, is awkward, handsome in a boyish kind of way and definitely not the brightest spark at all. And even though Kelsi looks incredulous when Jason fails to respond to Mr. Fulton’s prepping on how to treat “Miss Evans”, she appears not to take issue with Jason’s penchant for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Jason doesn’t seem to care much about his style, pairing shirts and t-shirts and baggy jeans. (Not unlike Kelsi’s sense of fashion throughout HSM I and II! :D) His hair is always wild, and he chews gum, has the co-ordination of a toddler learning to walk and is no way near as mature as his composer girlfriend. Still, Kelsi chooses to be with him. If she preferred Troy with his effortless romantic gestures, smooth-talking, intelligent conversation and so on, then she had every opportunity to seek out such a romantic partner. She is often shown in HSM III with some other members of the school band, and we are to assume that she was keeping them in order for the musical. There were plenty of other boys she could have dated. However, she maintained a relationship with Jason despite him not being Greek God material. And Martha’s flirtatiousness with Jason is testament to his own appeal to girls. The length of time that Kelsi dated Jason would be sufficient for her to shelve any such crush feelings, should they have existed. From Kelsi’s song lyrics, she seems to value honesty and genuine commitment in a relationship, thus making it unlikely that she would knowingly date someone with whom she had little to no connection, let alone whilst thinking about someone else. 

So no, I don’t consider it mandatory in the Trelsi ship to believe that Kelsi had a crush on him. Unorthodox? Yes. But hey, I love that

That being said, did Kelsi write her songs for Jason? I don’t think so. Their relationship did not strike me as having the quality that she longed for in her songs. Those songs express an ideal state. Will Kelsi attain it? That is entirely for her to decide, and I don’t know whether she feels her songs are truly representative of romance or maybe just part of her escapism. 

In the next instalment, I will discuss the superior potential of Trelsi romance, particularly where it might have worked in place of the canonical narrative. 



“I love tea!”

My heart is burning of feels.


Dara Park and G-dragon - more than words daragon 지드래곤 박 산다라

another ryelsi amazing vid ㅋㅋ