'High School Musical: The Musical: The Series:' The Gay Summer Fling?

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday August 5, 2022
Originally published on August 4, 2022

Joshua Bassett as Ricky in "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series"
Joshua Bassett as Ricky in "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series"  (Source:Disney Channel)

Could "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series" be set to venture into a gay romance when it heads off to summer camp in Season 3?

Showrunner Tim Federle seemed to indicate that it could happen in remarks to Digital Spy. The outlet recalled that in a previous episode the character Ricky Bowen (played by Joshua Bassett) came up with the idea for a production of "Frozen" that features a male couple — a suggestion he paired with "a knowing look to the camera."

Asked if Ricky's summer camp adventures might include a sweet romance with another guy, Federle gave a teasing non-answer.

"One of the joys of a long-running show is that you get to explore all facets and all aspects of all of these characters," the showrunner told Digital Spy. "So as a queer storyteller myself, I feel a real responsibility to try to tell the truth about the experience of young people today, which is so much more fluid and accepting and exploratory than I think it was when I was a youth."

Ricky in particular is "definitely on a big arc this season," Federle detailed, saying "he's got some big things to figure out. He ends up going to summer camp, feeling like: 'It's going to be a summer of fun, and I'm not getting involved romantically. My last entire year has been the obsession of trying to figure my romantic life out.'"

Federle teased that "someone important" might "distract" Ricky from his intention around not worrying about finding love. And what better setting than summer camp for a romance?

"I think summer camp offers not just sort of fun under the sun and a little bit of scandal under the stars," Federle said, "but it allows you to decide who you want to be when you go back to school. And this really is the summer that kind of changes everything."

Addressing the fact that the Disney Channel show's first two seasons were set at a fictional high school, only for Season 3 to now head off to the great outdoors, Federle said, "It's fun, after a couple of years of doing this show, just to shake it up a bit. And I know when I went to summer camp, all rules are off."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.