HSMTMTS’ “If I Can’t Love Her” furthers the drama and romance


In this week’s past episode, “Most Likely To,” the song “If I Can’t Love Her” ended the episode on a romantic and slightly bittersweet note. The song itself is sung by Kourtney’s (Dara Renee) love interest Howie (Romn Banks) who was revealed to be performing as The Beast in North High School’s production at the end of the last episode. Howie confronts Kourtney to reveal his true feelings to her while also setting the tone for the dramatic turns the show has started to take.

Howie pours out his heart to Kourtney as their relationship takes a turn into the unknown. (Source: Disney+)

The song itself comes from the Broadway version of “Beauty and the Beast” written by composer Alan Menken and lyricist Tim Rice. “If I Can’t Love Her” is written for The Beast in the show as he did not have a number in the original outside of human voice singing briefly in “Something There.” With the combined efforts of original animated screenplay writer Linda Wolverton who also wrote the book for the musical and the aforementioned Menken and Rice, they crafted a song for the Beast.

In the song, The Beast wonders about what happens if can not win over the heart of Belle and what would happen if that does occur. The reason for the contemplation of course is due to the fact that if he does not fall in love by the time the final rose petal falls, he and the others in the castle will remain in their cursed forms forever. Broadway legend Terrence Mann originated the role of Rum Tum Tiger in Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Cats and sang the original version.

Belle (Susan Egan) reads to The Beast (Terrence Mann) in 1994’s Beauty and the Beast on Broadway. (Source: Playbill.com)

The use of the song in the show is an interesting one as Howie uses it to clearly tell Kourtney how he feels if cannot be with her due to not being honest with her. Yet, it extends far beyond that working as the soundtrack for a number of poignant moments. First is Mr. Mazzara (Mark St. Cyr) crafting an email that reveals his true feelings for Miss Jenn (Kate Reinders) typing “You’re gorgeous” before deleting it. E.J. (Matt Cornett) covers a sleeping Gina with his Duke jersey before promptly telling his father he is not going to duke due to his dad pulling strings to get him in.

Big Red (Larry Saperstien) is surprised by Ashlyn wearing a shirt of the pizza place he works at respecting his dream of working and running the family business. Ricky (Joshua Bassett) comes to them both after a mutual split with Nini (Olivia Rodrigo), so they can focus on each other as Ricky admits to hating the person he has become. The episode itself is quite more dramatic outside of a stellar performance of “Gaston” by E.J. and Big Red resulting in some drama that harkens back to season one.

With only four more episodes and the “Spring Break” episode next week, it’ll be interesting to see where the show goes given there is still a rivalry to be settled against North High. It’s great to see the show step back and give characters more time to shine while also giving a new character the spotlight to show off their singing skills. Season two is shaping up to be a interesting journey of growth, romance, and the future.