|“||Every day is a new experience and I take it as it comes.||”|
At East High School, Brett Shimura is the new transfer student from Honolulu, Hawaii. He is the son of Phyllis and Cornelius Shimura. Brett finds himself caring about things like friends, and love. While he is a very shy character, he is also shown to be very vulnerable; his vulnerability stemming from grieving over the loss of his older brother, Jason (who died prior to Pilot). However, Brett feels trapped in his life and knows that the only way that he can escape the lure of a "depressed" lifestyle is to run far away from it and leave it behind.
Brett is not skilled at finding ways to get people to notice him, but many people have noticed him. Deep down, Brett wants his parents' acknowledgment and someone's love. But obviously, between his attention-seeking issues, the loss of Jason, constantly seeking solace in East High's "Golden Boy", Troy Bolton, and the little fact that he thinks everyone hates him, his chances of ever getting his wish are somewhat slim. Feeling alone in his family, Brett longs for someone he can talk to, someone who can understand and help him through the bumps in life. Brett didn't expect this person to be Troy, but once they become friends, there was no stopping the transformative power of their friendship. Season 1 is told through Brett's eyes, though not in his voice, and thus we are given a deeper glimpse at his soul and motivations than those of anyone else in the series. Brett sees himself as a very socially awkward boy. He is unable to identify those characteristics that distinguish him from the rest of the characters because he is constantly in conflict with the various facets of his life. He has several distinct roles that those around him expect him to play. Whatever confidence he lacked in social settings, however, Brett was more than what he made up for it on his façade. Amid all this, the only thing Brett can grasp that fulfills his expected responsibilities from all these people and which fulfills him personally is isolating himself, and he seizes on this fanatically. This, he feels, will free him from what he feels to be his curse of ordinariness, and will make him into a person that both he and everyone else can accept.
However, when Troy comes along, we are allowed to see the true Brett shining through the poorly constructed mask of conformity. Troy nurtures Brett to become more himself through encouragement and a gift of awesomeness. However, the importance of this talent pales beside the personal qualities Brett is finally allowing himself to acknowledge. He has the sensitivity and kindness that would probably be at odds with the "loner" image almost everyone seems to see him as. Through his friendship with Troy, Brett truly manages to find himself. But with Troy in his life, Brett seems to have enough permission to want to be himself and to stand up for himself. As Brett's new friend, Troy yearned to reach out and capture the quivering life about Brett but when he tried, it slipped past his fingertips, leaving Brett depressed. Troy is the one who helps Brett see "the awesomeness in himself". With Troy in his life, Brett is able to start to shape a more confident version of himself, beyond his parents' expectations. Obviously Brett's friendship with Troy alters him tremendously. For being a mere freshman in East High, Troy really teaches Brett to be more courageous, more imaginative, and more himself. Because he has Troy in his life, Brett can exercise his generosity and become more fully himself, despite his parents' disapproval and judgement. His friendship with Troy makes up for the things that are lacking in his family life, and, just as Troy would be alienated without him, Brett would be "lonesome" without him. He's able to be Troy's one whole friend in the world as Troy is his. When Brett tells Troy that he isn't loved by anyone, it might not be with any real intent, but the pain Brett is feeling is very real. One of his biggest problems that is introduced right along with him are his struggles with school. Brett explains that he is being pressured by his parents to get good grades at school, yet seems to be unable to do so, despite studying hard. When Brett began questioning his intelligence, it is revealed that his grades are merely a result of him having a learning disability.
There is definite proof of Brett's sexuality, his adorably innocent interactive showdown with Troy since the Pilot, seem to point to Brett being of homosexual nature. He is scared because it's the first time someone really wants to defend him and accepts him as who he is. Brett didn't come to terms with his sexuality until When There Was Me and You. Basically, he wants to be involved with boys, and doesn't want to get left out or replaced, but doesn't know how to deal with it. Brett knows how to effectively utilize his beauty as to charm those he needs. The impact of Brett's innocence and beauty could still be hypnotic, dramatic, and even unforgettable. He is shown to still possess the ability to charm others. But he is not simply dependent on Troy for this newfound sense of self; when Troy graduates at the end of the series, he eventually finds that he can carry on and continue in the path of personal growth Troy has helped him to find. This probably has to do with Brett's sexuality and his divine parentage making him feel like an outcast in every possible way.
Brett provides the conflict for the drama part of the story. His transition to East High from Pilot will cause a ripple effect amidst being the main storyline and will be a major plot-point all throughout the show. He has the biggest role all over the story and without him there would be no story to begin with.
Brett Shimura is a very attractive Japanese-American boy of medium height, around 5'4" tall. He has large and widely-spaced dark chocolate brown eyes, black hair — combed well to the left side, and has olive skin.
Brett's clothing style isn't too fancy. He prefers to keep it comfortable, and functional if he can. Usually this includes a t-shirt, some plain blue or black jeans, and some shoes. Also Brett will often seen wearing a Disney shirt. There is one thing that he wears at all times, and that is a silver chain as a necklace.
Personality and Traits
|“||Last summer, when my brother died, I promised God that I’d be different. Better. Nicer. So, I changed.||”|
Being introduced as "The New Kid" in his first scene, Brett Shimura appears to be shy and quiet boy, with an adorable awkwardness when he speaks, at first never being sure what to say. Being the newest Wildcat at East High, Brett tries to find his way within the social networks of his new school, and seems to try to content in order to make friends. Despite being a nice guy, he is rather socially awkward and naive. However, like all kids, Brett fears social alienation, embarrassment, and temporarily backed out of joining for fear of being bullied. He is timid, socially withdrawn, quiet, and extremely cautious around other people.
For all his adorable innocence, Brett appears to be self-conscious; he is obsessed with the way he looks, admiring himself by constantly taking selfies, whom like most teenagers, never seem to part ways with his cell-phone. It may sound like Brett is an attention-starved narcissist, but the truth is, he tries to figure out who he really is. Contrast to this negative trait, Brett is a good-hearted, warm and loving character down to his core. He is very insecure about himself. He takes offense to those who cannot understand his life. Brett, himself, also plays a part in his low self-esteem, as he sees himself as a failure due to his frequent mishaps. He tends to hide this with a self-centered veneer, though he has confided in Troy Bolton about his inhibition on occasion.
By being, at times vain and timid, Brett is psychologically unbalanced and extremely depressed, with a bitter grudge against almost everyone, due to the tragic loss of Jason. Despite his traumatic past, he is taken under the care of Troy, who is like a older brother to him. Now after suffering under the foot of his family, Brett only shows this side when he is in the company of Troy — who truly understands and can sympathize to what Brett goes through. It's evident that years of neglect and lack of parental love, the dysfunction that exists in his family, and the unexpected death of his brother on whom he was co-dependent caused Brett's mental well-being to tail-spin and spiral out of control. He tries to put on a facade and make it appear as if he is okay, but underneath it all is a very emotionally damaged person. Brett is clearly an emotional mess but this is understandable considering that type of family that he comes from. After his brother’s death, Brett completely lost it and never recovered emotionally. Add onto the fact that he doesn't really have any friends or supporters, and its understandable why Brett is so messed up. He realizes that he is trying to be someone he's not so that he will be considered "normal". Brett discovers that he is not alone, and that everyone tends to mask their real feelings and thoughts to become what people expect them to be, such as Troy. This loneliness has at times caused his romantic interest in certain boys to become a bit unsettling, as seen during the course of his crush with Troy. Brett suffers from emotional instability due to years of keeping his emotions bottled up. When his strong emotions are triggered, Brett often loses control over his emotions which can create dangerous situations for himself and others around him. He begins to panic as he realizes he had brought harm upon himself, which made him lose control of both his emotions and self-esteem, resulting in sobbing uncontrollably. However, after witnessing his brother's death, Brett lived in fear and trauma for a great amount of his life as he became too terrified to let his true-self over-develop. He consequently chose isolation from everyone he cared for, including Troy. This would eventually result in years of loneliness, misery, bitterness, and grief. Regret would gradually take its toll on Brett as well when tragedies struck throughout his life from the loss of his older brother, leaving him to mourn and grieve alone.
By taking the time to embrace Brett's mental health problems doesn't put it front and center — Season 1 helps normalizes a topic that's normally considered taboo, especially among teens, due to the stigma surrounding it. Brett’s behavior throughout the series is to watch someone acting out beyond the bounds of general angst. He lashes out in response to things that highlight and deepen his unhappiness. What Brett’s journey does is let the audience know that falling into the abyss of those feelings is a valid experience that needs to be talked about openly and honestly. In the end, that is how Brett recovers and how many like his forge ahead every day. After all of the traumatic events that he's gone through Season 1, Brett shows signs and symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The push is for him to conform — to embrace his sexuality and general awesomeness and love himself, instead on those pursuits that are either more "depressing" or which will be more practically useful to his family. However, it's Brett misfortune, he feels trapped and useless, finding running to be the only safe outlet for his own talents and inclinations. Brett's damaging experience through the crucial stages from childhood to adulthood caused his personality to shift. He became reclusive, insecure, emotionally unstable, anxious, and depressed. For Brett, his insecurities and low self-esteem grew more restrained as the years passed, slowly molding him into the emotional boy others saw him to be. When given the chance to rest and relent, however, Brett's true warm, kind-hearted, fun-loving, and innocently mischievous personality came about — but only briefly, and with restriction, as seen throughout the series.
In gratitude, Troy would become a loyal companion to Brett, providing him with the company and serving as a diligent helper when something troubling occurs. Brett as most people will tell you is very sweet and very nice. He seems to be the kind of boy everyone can trust. Well as much as you can trust him, he is very scared to trust back. He has been hurt in the past where he is constantly shy and scared. He can't help it thats just how he was in the beginning. After bonding with Troy and the gang, Brett worked his hardest with himself and therefore he was able to start opening up with them about his feelings and his personal life. Troy was the first who brought Brett out of his shell of being shy. He encouraged Brett to smile more. He encouraged Brett to be himself. Troy encouraged Brett to do the best that he could and not worry about the consquences. Because of Troy, Brett is taking chances. The devotion of Troy would ultimately play a crucial role in Brett escaping his abusive household, thus furthering the example of how Brett's evergreen kindness towards others, despite his situation, would ultimately lead to his uprising. Brett appears to be an awkward guy who has numerous self-esteem issues, from doubt in his sexuality to thinking he "isn't good enough" for anyone. These insecurities make him susceptible to someone for comfort. Plus, it's clear that Brett is a complete emotional mess who has no clue on what he wants in life. He is terrible at lying as it goes against his good-hearted and noble character.
Despite his pessimistic disposition and being shy yet attention-seeking virtually all the time, he is very considerate and compassionate towards others. After being constantly comforted by Troy, not only does Troy start treating him better but Brett gains more confidence in himself as well, now that he has finally found his place.
|“||I'm enjoying where I’m at in my life and I feel like I’m learning a lot on a daily basis.||”|
As the series progresses into Season 2, Brett seems to have finally opened completely about his feelings, sexuality, and thoughts. He has developed a much more carefree personality, to the point that he is now considered to be proud of who he is. Brett has gained enough strength and sense of self-worth through his friendship with Troy to carry on without him and not lose touch with all Troy has taught him. Brett is a different person after Troy, and it is apparent that he will be more successful in his world because of Troy. He sees Troy as “his other, more exciting self”.
Role in Series
The episode gives us a little insight as to what happened in the moments we weren’t privy to in the Pilot. In the direct-to-video "parallel Season 1" Season 2, Brett makes a few brief, non-speaking appearances in the scenes for which he was present in the Pilot.
It'll be a few more minutes until he actually meets Troy.
- Something traumatic happened to Brett; some tragic event in his past that shaped a fundamental level of his self-confidence as it still has a powerful affect in his life – later revealed to be his older brother's demise.
- Brett isn't your stereotypical, one-dimensional shy and nerdy new kid.
- It soon becomes clear that he comes from the way he is treated at home effects his thoughts and feelings about his self-worth which leads to him seeking approval from others (as seen in Pilot).
- The emotional abuse he suffers from his parents affects him deeply; hence his intense loving relationship with his brother, Jason (as seen in When There Was Me and You).
- By the time he's entered high school, Brett has already given up fighting back against his abusive family as it just makes their emotional abuse worse. But by doing this, his father often saw him as a whiner, despite Brett's shyness and attention-seeking issues.
- Somewhat an attention-seeker who desperately craves the adoration and adulation of others, and becomes deeply desperate towards those who do not pander to him.
- The discovery of himself becomes much more difficult after the loss of Jason. For most of his life, Jason was the first and ONLY person to have ever loved Brett unconditionally. He's never felt the same kind of love from his parents. For as long as he could remember, Jason has always been his “person”, his other half, and his soulmate which he refers to him as openly.
- With him gone, Brett struggles to deal with the broken pieces of his family and lashes out more and more at his peers and anyone else. With this, he further isolates himself from the rest of the world and becomes increasingly more paranoid and alone.
- His struggles aren't shown to others, which could make anyone think he's simply dramatic. However, he's actually quite broken inside and aims to make others feel the same way.
- This also explains why Brett was so depressed by the shattered relationship with Jason, who was also seemingly the only person who loved Brett unconditionally.
- The angst and the anger about not being loved by his own parents, made Brett fall into very DEEP depression.
- He's zealously determined to prove his worth to his emotional abusive parents regardless of the consequences. There are moments where he realizes he chose the wrong path, but his stubborn desire to be the "perfect son" drove him to continue on regardless, until Season 2.
- Brett has most likely always suffered from a degree of loneliness and feeling unloved or unworthy of love due to his traumatic past and unfortunate upbringing.
- He didn't seem to have anyone except his family, who were physically and emotionally abusive.
- But his desire to win people's respect leads him to take on the same behavior of his parents he had disliked, including lashing out to support his emotional needs.
- Wants his family, mostly his father, to treat him with love and respect.
- The optimistic and affable jock Troy Bolton, was the first person to treat Brett as a friend, and he immediately becomes infatuated with, despite the two only having known each other for a day.
- Troy has extended a hand in friendship, and Brett is either misreading it, or has become obsessed with having somebody in his life because he's been alone his entire life.
- Brett doesn't understand feelings very well, and he thinks he's mucking up a friendship with romantic feelings, because he's never really felt love before.
- Being sheltered and cooped up after the death of Jason, it gave Brett a different view of things, and made him desperate for affection and love. This is a factor in why he was so quick to latch on to Troy, earning judgment from his abusive parents.
- Brett shows symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety, and depression.
- He became mentally unstable as a result of being emotionally abused as a child and recently dealing with the loss of his older brother.
- He has major abandonment issues stemming from his parents neglecting him as he grew up.
- Brett gets depressed whenever he's left alone in a dark place or thinks he's getting abandoned, due to PTSD from Jason dying and having spent years of emotional abuse at the hands of his parents.
- Initial impressions of Brett’s symptoms indicate a possibility of bipolar disorder.
- These symptoms include sudden onset of extreme mood fluctuations, racing thoughts, increased social activity, and a decreased need for sleep.
- Upon the tragic loss of Jason, Brett had no one to help him come to terms with his brother's death and leaving him behind. He was completely alone the whole time, until revealing his tragic past to Troy.
- Notice that while Brett talks about Jason, he never mentions his parents that were once loving and sweet, fellow people that Brett would have had a bond with. One of the resilience factors in not developing PTSD is being surrounded by a loving family that can provide a sense of safety for you, but Brett didn't even have that.
- It's evident that years of abuse and lack of parental love, the dysfunction that exists in his family, and the unexpected death of his older brother Jason on whom he was codependent caused Brett's mental well-being to tail spin and spiral out of control. He tries to put on a facade and make it appear as if he is okay, but underneath it all is a VERY emotionally damaged person.
- Brett often dreamed of his family appreciating him of who he is, but they always had a hint of sadness to them. For example:
- He often fantasized being the perfect son, and it always involved his father telling him that he's proud of having such a son, but the dreams often came crashing down with Brett clearing his head to realize he'll never be accepted by his family for his meekness.
- At times, he would also go to cry of escaping his horrible excuse for a family so he could settle down some place else for good, with nobody mocking him for failing to meet their cruel expectations.
- Brett is clearly an emotional mess but this is understandable considering that type of family that he comes from.
- Both of his parents are abusive and didn't provide Brett with much love and support.
- His brother Jason, who Brett was extremely close to, ended up being murdered. After his death, Brett completely lost it and never recovered emotionally. Add onto the fact that he doesn't really have any friends or supporters, and its understandable why Brett is so messed up.
- His father's cold indifference and mother treating him terribly has caused him develop issues of feeling less than everyone. It's highly implied his apparent narcissism is just a mask for self-hatred and clinical depression. Brett is still a sensitive and compassionate boy (as shown in Pilot, he hates his father who treat him like garbage), but began to see himself as inferior due to these perceived "weaknesses", especially next to his more prodigious, ruthless parents.
- Brett's personal life becomes more unstable as he continues to do what his parents ask by becoming emotionally detached and anti-social. By the time he's met Troy, he's so desensitized that he resorts to his family's tactics in order to become loved.
- Behind his daddy issues and fear of his family, Brett has a few people who care for him due to his depression and shyness. It was something that hurt him deeply. Brett legitimately wanted to meet someone and hoped that that someone would end his loneliness.
- He can’t interact with people without feeling scared due to not being loved from his own family.
- When he met Troy, Gabriella Montez, Chad Danforth, and Taylor McKessie, he wanted to be the friendly, carefree boy he once was and he wanted to become friends with them immediately, but his past held him back, due to the loss of Jason.
- That's the main reason why Brett held back from becoming friends and distancing himself from everyone around him. He never had anyone who would help him out or be his friend and it was hard after so many months to let people in.
- He has (or had) romantic feelings for Troy (as seen in Pilot).
- In the first episode of Season 1 at Chad's party, in a drunk behavior, Brett has an eye on Troy. Brett tries every way possible to seduce the jock. He makes sure Troy gets the best possible look at his attributes. Brett coos and pouts and makes suggestive comments. His seductive behavior does not work, as Troy continues to think of him in a platonic sense. However, Troy is flattered..
- It is unclear exactly when Brett's romantic feelings for Troy stopped, but as of Season 2 the feelings change from a crush into a brotherly bond, which has strengthened as the show progressed.
- Brett is clearly still suffering from a desperate need for kindness and love no matter what the cost of the relationship, and he nearly got date-raped by the odious, Weston Miller.
- Despite his outwardly kind and often times, shy demeanor, Brett is simply a lost, innocent, young boy trying to figure out who he is.
- He doesn't just want romantic love — he's never been shown any sort of kindness in his entire life, and deep down wants to be appreciated and cared for as himself.
- He initially thinks that finding someone is the only way to do this, but eventually learns (with Troy's help) that it's possible to experience love and affection in other ways, too.
- Is revealed to be a naive, insecure boy who just wants to be loved.
- He's more naive than people would think, actually longs to find love for himself.