Tuned In

Dead Tree Alert 2: HSM2

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HSM2’s sophomore stomp. David James / New Line

The pop culture universal mind must be trying to tell us something be releasing Disney’s High School Musical 2 (a sex-free fantasy of high school as imagined by tweens) on the same day as the (terrific) movie Superbad (a sex-filled fantasy of high school as imagined by Seth Rogen). And if I had a little more energy, I might write about what exactly that is. (Getting ready at work to leave on vacation is the third-most exhausting thing in the world, behind catching up at work after vacation, and taking the vacation itself.)

Instead, I simply point you to Joel Stein’s look into the fearsome product that men call Zac Efron, and to my print Time review of HSM2:

Disney Channel’s 2006 surprise-hit movie operated on the aspirational principle of kid culture: just as naming a magazine Seventeen will attract 13-year-olds, so will a franchise called High School Musical reach tweens for whom high school is only an enticing and terrifying eventuality. Like the original, High School Musical 2 (Aug. 17, 8 p.m. E.T.) gives them high school with training wheels: romance without sexual pressure, G-rated teen pop (Justin Timberlake before he brought sexy back). It’s a raging bacchanal of hand holding, milk drinking and explicit thespianism! Obviously, this is escapism for parents too. Even the kids’ rebellions–baking crème brûlée, angry dance numbers–would look good on a college application. …

Read more if you dare. Of course, I’m not sure if any of HSM2’s tween audience actually reads Tuned In, but what the hell. I mean heck! What the heck! Kids, stay in school!