Well, so much for the Menkie Awards.
After Miss Jenn (Kate Reinders) spent this entire season of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series obsessing over beating out her ex-boyfriend (Derek Hough) at the annual high school theater awards dedicated to performances of Alan Menken-composed musicals, she decided to basically throw the whole thing away. It's a good thing, too, because it basically broke her. She told Ricky (Joshua Bassett) to jump off of something high!
She agreed to let Kourt burn the results in the pizza oven after the whole cast asked to forget about the competition, and everyone seemed relieved. We were also relieved. Miss Jenn was stressing us out, and we weren't even in this show.
Have no fear, though. Creator Tim Federle says they did well.
"In my mind, they placed high. They did really well," he tells E! News. "But ultimately—and it's so cheesy, but I remember early, pre-pandemic planning of season two, it was always going to be that no matter what, they would not compete."
"I think that's not what the arts is about," he continues. "I would love to win every major award there is, but ultimately, it's not why it exists, and I think Miss Jenn had to learn that from her kids. She's somebody who moved to New York and saw friends win Tony Awards, and she got caught up in that adult sense of what the arts are about. I think the Wild Cats themselves got to show her, like, we really just do this because it's fun to hang out."
Now, Miss Jenn is free to try things out with Ben (Mark St. Cyr), who finally confessed some feelings, just as Ricky (Joshua Bassett) gave Miss Jenn the go ahead to date his dad, if she wants to. And those were not the only romantic developments of the season two finale!
While Ricky and Nini (Olivia Rodrigo) appeared to really say goodbye as she called Gina's music producer brother, Gina (Sofia Wylie) and EJ (Matt Cornett) finally got together...with an unseen kiss. After an unfortunate miscommunication over whether she saw him as a brother or a boyfriend, she asked if she could kiss him, and that's where the finale ended. And no, we're not mad, but we might be a little disappointed.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. You always have to leave something for the imagination and for the future. I didn't mean to hurt you, " Federle jokes. "But still, they got together. That's something!"
Hopefully, there will be a future in which we get to see Gina and EJ actually be together, but that future is currently uncertain. The show hasn't been renewed for a season three yet, but Federle has his hopes up, and he's also got thoughts about what the future might look like.
"What I am sure of is that I would hate to make the show without Matt Cornett, because he's so kind," he says. "And I know that sounds like maybe a dumb reason to keep somebody around, but the older I get, the more it's like, 'Who are you surrounded by? Who is your cast of people in your life' And Matt is somebody you never want to go too far away, because he's too good."
Ricky and Nini's future is also very up in the air. Rodrigo has become a pretty big star, and it feels like Nini might not be long for the halls of East High as she pursues a music career. Ricky was last seen contacting Lily (Olivia Rose Keegan), not knowing she stole his Beast harness, and has also had moments with Gina in the past. According to Federle, nothing is set in stone.
"I'm always exploring [Ricky and Nini's future] and asking the same questions, and I haven't landed on the right answer yet," he says. "I think there are certain characters that are so clearly endgame to certain audience members, and so clearly not endgame to other audience members, and I think that we try to lovingly embrace the tropes of teen shows like Dawson's Creek while also asking, can we do something surprising or different? Like portray a healthy breakup that people aren't used to seeing. So whatever Ricky's endgame is is still very TBD."
It sounds like season three and beyond are mostly TBD, particularly since nothing is official yet.
"Season three could take on a lot of different forms," Federle teases. "For me, it always starts with, like, what's the musical that's going to be the most surprising and most exciting, and then looking at this cast of 11 characters and [asking] what can we put them through that feels episodic and not like a movie. So, big decisions to come!"
ICYMI, read all about Federle's thoughts on Olivia Rodrigo and his Degrassi-inspired dreams for HSMTMTS right here.
The first two seasons are now streaming on Disney+.