Disney’s first gay love ballad debuts on ‘High School Musical’ series

Frankie A. Rodriguez, left, and Joe Serafini attend the Los Angeles premiere of Disney's "Cruella" at El Capitan Theatre on May 18, 2021, in Los Angeles. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images/TNS)
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Muri Assunção New York Daily News (TNS)

Disney is breaking new ground with a sweet love song in “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.”

While romantic ballads have been part of Disney’s arsenal of television shows, animated features and Oscar-winning films for decades, what makes “In a Heartbeat” different is who’s singing to whom.

On Friday’s episode of the GLAAD Media Award-winning show, Carlos (Frankie Rodriguez) sings a love song to his boyfriend Seb (Joe Serafini), in the studio’s first same-sex love song.

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“When all is said and done/ You’ll always be the one that I keep comin’ back to/ In a heartbeat, I’d choose you/ Hope you know you’ll never dance alone/ So, don’t you worry, don’t need to/ In a hеartbeat, I’d choose you,” Carlos sings, after learning that his boyfriend feels insecure about their relationship.

Rodriguez and Serafini, who are also a couple in real life, are aware of the importance of the groundbreaking moment.

“It’s very special and I hope that people are able to connect with it,” Rodriguez told Entertainment Weekly. “I’m just hoping that this is like a blueprint for what else is to come and what else they can explore and what they’ll do,” he said, adding that it’s “kind of crazy” to sing Disney’s first LGBTQ love ballad.

Being part of a same-sex couple in the show “feels amazing and obviously it’s so needed,” he said. “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.”

Serafini agrees. “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,” he said. “There’s someone to look towards. It’s going to be okay, and hopefully, it will get better.”

“In a Heartbeat” appears in the 10th episode of the second season of “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.” New episodes stream Fridays on Disney+.

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