Disney is featuring its first-ever LGBTQ love song on Friday's episode of "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series," EW reported.
What are the details?
The episode, which streams on Disney+, depicts Carlos (Frankie Rodriguez) singing a love song titled, "In a Heartbeat," to his boyfriend Seb (Joe Serafini), the outlet said.
EW said the "sweet ballad" is performed "when Carlos learns Seb feels insecure in their relationship."
Image source: YouTube screenshot
What's more, the actors are a real-life couple, the outlet noted — and Rodriguez said he was excited to be part of Disney history.
"To be the first, it's kind of crazy!" Rodriguez told EW in a joint interview with Serafini. "I just love that we actually got to see them as a couple this year."
Rodriguez added to the outlet that their "onscreen kiss" was "so sweet."
Serafini noted to EW that he and Rodriguez "got to dance together, and I think the way that they designed it visually is just so gorgeous. And fun fact, the director of that episode, Joanna Kerns, is actually the person who directed our 'Homecoming' episode back in season 1 when Carlos and Seb first interacted with each other in a romantic setting. So it was really special to share that with her and go back to those Homecoming suits and that moment when they first set eyes on each other."
The outlet asked the pair how it feels "knowing that you are presenting this more inclusive picture of what a love story can look like more clearly for young audiences" — and Rodriquez was effusive.
"Oh my gosh, it feels amazing and obviously it's so needed," he told EW. "The fact that we get to be that representation that we definitely did not get to see growing up on a platform like Disney with a popular franchise, it means a lot. We definitely see the response, especially on social media of kids who have reached out and said, 'Your characters gave me confidence to be myself,' or 'Your characters gave me the confidence to come out.' Those are big, life-changing decisions, and so it's very special to be a part of someone's journey that way."
Serafini added to the outlet that "it's just so important to have people to look to, especially if you're in a situation or environment that's maybe less accepting, to see that, if I am feeling these feelings, other people are too and there's hope. There's someone to look towards. It's going to be okay, and hopefully, it will get better."
Here's a snippet of the song:
“In A Heartbeat" | HSMTMTS Season 2 | Disney+ youtu.be
Just another stop on Disney's LGBTQ train ride
"In a Heartbeat" might be Disney's first LGBTQ love song, but the brand has been on this train ride for quite some time, and the tune appears to be merely its latest stop. To wit:
- Last year, "The Owl House," a Disney Channel animated show for kids, reportedly "made history" by pushing a bisexual character as the show's lead.
- Also in 2020, Disney's kids' cartoon "DuckTales" introduced a gay couple — two dads — as the parents of Violet, who's a friend of Huey, Dewey, and Louie.
- In 2017, Disney Channel's tween show "Andi Mack" was to feature a main character coming out as gay — which at the time was a first for the network.