When it comes to LGBTQ + portrayal on screen, Disney has an … interesting story. In recent years, a handful of queer characters have featured in movies owned and distributed by the Mouse House (Cruel, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and The beauty and the Beast immediately come to mind). But the identities of these characters were so barely recognized (or only featured in quick, blinking moments and you’ll miss it) that the visibility they offered was… inconsequential. It almost leaves fans wondering what the point of including these “queer” characters is in the first place.
Where big-budget, big-screen Disney offerings have left LGBTQ + fans wanting more, the company’s TV roster is slowly but steadily becoming more inclusive. The Original Disney + Music Streaming Series Lycée Musical: The Musical: The Series (we know, it’s a mouthful) is the perfect example.
(Joe Serafini as Seb [left] and Frankie A. Rodrgiuez as Carlos [right] in Lycée Musical: The Musical: The Series)
With two seasons already under its belt, the series (directed by gay showrunner Tim Federle) is single-handedly responsible for bringing one of the most well-written and authentic young gay couples on television, Seb and Carlos (affectionately known under the name Seblos in their stans), to the public everywhere. The impact is not lost on the actors who play Seb (Joe Serafini) and Carlos (Frankie A. Rodriguez).
“It’s insanely exciting,” says Rodriguez (who’s gay and dating his co-star Serafini, who’s bisexual, in real life) of being part of a series – and a generation – where homosexual characters shine. “Being a part of this new wave of on-screen representation in the entertainment industry in general is just very exciting. Creating these characters for Disney and having all this new generation of kids … if they identify with them or see themselves on screen, that’s just awesome. Then the support that we get too, and not just from the kids watching the show, but also from the adults who are just excited. It was awesome.
“We feel so lucky. It was about time, ”adds Serafini. “It’s so important for people to see this, and I know it sounds cliché at this point, but love is love. And I feel like our show does a really good job of showing that, just like those other relationships that are on the show, Seb
and Carlos also love each other and want to have a relationship together.
Unlike other teen shows where queer characters are often marginalized and tormented, Musical High School presents an assertive world where Seb and Carlos become the cute and loving couple they are without fear of being ostracized or intimidated. Growing up, many LGBTQ + musical children feel that their first support systems are the friends they make when they participate in theater productions at school. for kids.
One of the defining moments in the series where Seb and Carlos openly and authentically become themselves as a couple takes place in the 10th episode of season 2, titled “The Transformation”.
With the help of their friend Ricky (Joshua Bassett), skateboarder turned leader, Carlos serenades Seb after a fight with the heartfelt and touching original track “In a Heartbeat”. The number made history as the first known Disney love song to be sung between two people of the same sex (outside of Broadway).
“Thinking about the impact that could have is a little intimidating actually, but right now you’re only there to work,” Rodriguez said of the shooting of the scene. “Our music producer, Steve Vincent – before we started recording he was like, ‘I just really want to take a moment to appreciate this moment and how far we’ve come. I’m so excited for the world to hear this and see this. ‘ “
It wasn’t the only moment in season 2 that gave gay Musical High School fans anything they could want. Earlier in the season, in an episode titled “The Quinceañero”, Seb sang a cover of Miley Cyrus’ iconic track “The Climb” to Carlos after he and their group of friends gave him the fun and joyous surprise quinceañero. that he never had.
“Honestly, I’m still figuring out that I can sing this song,” Serafini said. “I grew up obsessed with ‘The Climb’, but I think it’s also such a great way to make the song work with Seb’s script. Growing up queer means going through everything [that] and I just hope it gets better. There will be better light at the end of this tunnel. Seb goes through it all, mostly to come to terms with his feelings for Carlos and his feelings for himself. It’s just such a journey to find yourself at this age.
Lycée Musical: The Musical: The Series is now airing on Disney +, with new episodes airing on Fridays!