n a scale of one to gay, Disney's made-for-TV High School Musical was off the freaking charts. The gay subtext, conveniently ignored by mainstream America, smacked every homosexual in the head who happened to be within the vicinity of the movie. The high school basketball star wants to sing and dance and asks his macho father, "Did you ever think about trying something new, but were afraid of what your friends might think?" Puh-leeze. Here's a bottle of lube and a copy of Inches Magazine -- embrace who you are, son. (A shockingly in-depth dissection of the movie's gay undertones can be found on my BAMBOO NATION blog.)

A DVD, a CD, a concert tour, an ice show, tons of merchandise, and $600 million in revenue later, the even-cheesier-than-the-first sequel has just premiered on the Disney Channel, and it will likely play over and over again until the end of time (December 21, 2012, according to the Mayan calendar), much to the satisfaction of tweenyboppers everywhere. The phenomenon is marketed expressly to 13-year-old girls, and, by default, to gay men, since most of them feel like there's a 13-year-old girl trapped inside their bodies.

Perhaps disturbed by the gay subtext that was pointed out to them by homosexuals with agendas, Disney attempts to butch up High School Musical 2, removing all traces of queer allegory and metaphor and amping up the heterosexual love triangle. Even so, this sequel (which exists in a parallel universe where the high school experience is so watered down that it might as well be clear) is perhaps even gayer than the first movie.

First of all, decades from now, when grown straight women and grown gay men are asked about when they first started having sexual feelings, most of them will say, "When I saw High School Musical 2!" That's because heartthrob Zac Efron, the basketball star in question who bares his hot stomach in the latest issue of Rolling Stone, can be seen in the movie walking around in a tight tank top, playing hoops with his shirt off, splashing in a pool in cute swim trunks, and doing a musical number wearing all black in which he dances on the sand dramatically like a David Copperfield TV special from the 80s. So gay.

Then there's the strange case of Ryan Evans, played by Lucas Grabeel. He is the film's only overtly gay character, though they avoid making verbal references to his sexuality. Instead, he wears a pink shirt and pink beret at the movie's start; he enjoys making curiously fey gestures; he does yoga with his mother; he pouts when he doesn't get to wear his "tiki warrior outfit"; and he gets taunted into playing baseball. His position? Pitcher! So gay.

And can we talk about the musical numbers? The dance moves are leftovers from the boy band era of the late 90s, and the songs sound like the Backstreet Boys' unreleased demos. That's not a complaint, by the way, because the musical numbers are fun and, frankly, awesome in their unabashed ridiculousness. When Zac starts shuffling his feet 30 seconds into the song, "Work This Out," you can't help but be amazed, appalled, and admiring all at once. So gay:

Finally, HSM2 provides a gift to drag queens everywhere in the form of a song that will be lip-synced at drag shows for the next five years. It's called "Fabulous," sung by the bitchy Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale), in which she belts: "I want fabulous/That's my simple request!" So gay.

When I sing myself to sleep tonight, I will do so with tunes from High School Musical 2. Was it as gay for you as it was for me?