"Pilot" is the beginning of the story that marks the chaos and romance. It's the first episode of the first season and the first episode overall.
In this version of High School Musical, the detention-serving students -- as punishment for using devices in class -- must turn in their phones/smart watches/tablets/laptops and actually talk to each another. They realize they have forgotten how to communicate without using screens, emoji and hashtags.
Over the course of this episode, we are given a candid look into each of the characters' lives, their unseen struggles, and insecurities. This allows for a very relatable portrayal of the journey teenagers take in figuring out who they are, and realizing people are not always as they appear. As we watch the interaction between the seven students, one thing becomes clear: we never know what others are coping with. The process of coming of age requires that we look beyond ourselves, making the ability to empathize with others an essential part of this universal experience.
Close up of Troy Bolton in the middle of the big championship game against the West High Knights basketball team. The buzzer sounds, and East High is down. There are only sixteen minutes left in this game, and only sixteen minutes left for the seniors to wear a Wildcats basketball uniform. The Wildcats win, to thunderous applause and with Troy actually drawing the attention of the rival team away before passing to sophomore Jimmie "The Rocket" Zara for the final basket. Troy stumbles upon seeing Gabriella Montez and the two kiss passionately.
The following day, Troy is awoke by his alarm clock and gets ready for school. His mother makes breakfast and Troy hurries to leave. Troy arrives in standard style at East High, as students congratulate him down the hall. Chad arrives, and talks with Troy before running into Ryan Evans. Ryan talks to Troy about the fall musicale and Troy is unsure about it. Taylor McKessie appears. Soon after, Gabriella arrives and is complimented by a stunned Troy. A few minutes later, Zeke Baylor appears and the boys walk up to the championship glass case. Meanwhile, Sharpay Evans arrives in standard style at East High, separating students with a wave of her hand as her tasseled high heeled boots click clack down the hall. She asks Troy, "When's the big game?" without noticing that Zeke and the other basketball members are placing the new trophy in the cabinet behind her, and saying, "Good luck," after Troy explains that the game was yesterday. Sharpay proceeds to her double locker, pausing to kiss her snow globe with the photo of her dog before noticing a petite, blonde girl behind her. The girl explains that she is Tiara and she is applying to be Sharpay's personal assistant. After proving that she knows Sharpay's schedule and preferences already, Sharpay accepts Tiara, remarking that she likes Tiara's British accent. Meanwhile, Troy and Gabriella kiss passionately as they approach Chad and Taylor. Troy tells Gabriella that she's his "one in a million".
- The episode portrayed the truth of the many hardships that teenagers face at high school and at home.
- The point of the first episode is that the characters all learn they have much more in common with each other than they think, and are much more capable of being friends and understanding each other than they knew.
- This episode takes a very good look at what many of the "stock" characters of teen movies would be like if they existed in real life, and what their real motivations would be like.