Summer Heights High

ABC1 (ended 2007)


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Summer Heights High
out of 10
User Rating
277 votes

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Show Summary

Summer Heights High is the outrageously funny high school comedy created and written by Chris Lilley, creator of We Can Be Heroes. The mockumentary series documents the ups and downs of three different characters, all played by Lilley, over one school term at Summer Heights High - Jonah, a 13 year old delinquent breakdancer from Tonga; Mr G, and ego-driven Drama teacher with delusional showbiz dreams; and Ja'mie, a stuck up private schoolgirl on a student exchange. Summer Heights High has won two Australian Film Institute Awards and two Logie Awards.


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  • Chris Lilley

    Chris Lilley

    Greg "Mr. G" Gregson, Jonah Takalua & Ja'mie King

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    • An awesome and funny show, took my by complete surprise Chris Lilley is an absolute genius.

      I decided to give this show a try and had absolutley no expectations but figured 'it's only 8 episodes so why not I'm bored'. After the first episode I had to see another, after the second episode I was hooked, so much I actually got and am bummed out that it is over because I want more. Chris Lilley portrayed each character (Mr. G, Jonah, Ja'Mei) with believable precision and loaded with different personality. Chris Lilley is an absolute genius and earned a fan of me, all I can really say is that it does suck it ended after 8 episodes.moreless
    • Summer Heights High is pure genius, never seen before. Coming from a fifty year old female 6th grade teacher in central Illinois. We want more Chris. I also want to see you on the talk show circuit, can't get enough. Also looking for a Jonah T-shirt.moreless

      Genius, so convincing. Chris Liley must have spent hours observing children with behavior disorders,aka Jonah, take it from a teacher. Funniest portrayals I've ever seen in my life and yet I wanted to cry for Jonah in the last episode. I lived for each episode and the discussions I would have afterwards with my son and three step sons. We quote daily from the show when we see each other. Chris Liley, you are my hero. I want to get the word out and make your show number one. Please tell me season II on its way. I can't wait to purchase Season I DVD.moreless
    • The show is such an accurate spoof of a reality-television documentary that viewers could initially have mistaken it for the real thing.

      But no, despite what the opening credits say, this is not a documentary shot over a single school term at a large public high school in an apparently small Australian town. It only pretends to be. Chris Lilley, who created the concept, wrote the show and plays the three most prominent parts, proves a wickedly wily parodist. You hardly need to be Australian to recognize its abundance of insight into human foolishness, egomania and nincompoopery.

      The show, debuting tomorrow night on HBO, starts slowly -- but builds. Eventually, even farcical characters inspire emotional investment. It's cringe comedy, with suspense growing out of how mortifyingly the three main characters -- a drama teacher, a girl who's transferred from private school and an incorrigible sociopath -- will humiliate themselves.

      Mercifully, HBO has imported the series -- which aired in Australia last year -- rather than contriving some sort of American adaptation of it. The accents might render some of the dialogue murky, but high school banalities Down Under have a lot in common with those up in the Northern Hemisphere. Girls chatter endlessly on cellphones, pausing occasionally to shoot phone photos, and boys invest disproportionate energy in trying to seem cool. Different viewers will have different favorite characters, but this reviewer found himself most involved with the embarrassments and debasements of the drama teacher -- whose name is Greg Gregson but who likes to be called "Mr. G," as if he were beloved and legendary.

      In the first chapter, he's just into rehearsals of the school musical, Cole Porter's "Anything Goes." But why should Cole Porter get any more glory? "Anything Goes" goes, and Gregson sets about constructing an original and self-glorifying musical based on the death-by-overdose of a Summer Heights student. Eventually "Annabel Dickson, the Musical" will become "Mr. G, the Musical" and its subtitle, "The Story of a Teacher Who Cared Too Much."

      All three main characters are chronically delusional, utterly unaware of their failings and limitations. Ja'mie, the pretentious prep-school student, assembles a kind of clique around herself and drags its members through ridiculous melodramas in which she is always the star. She doesn't seem even to notice how ungainly (as played by Lilley) and grotesque she happens to be, imagining instead that she's the belle of every ball.

      The sociopath, a Polynesian student named Jonah, is a living matrix of societal ills -- abusive, bullying, desperate for attention and preternaturally post-adolescent, limiting his graffiti to drawings of male genitalia. He's a fascist, basically, a bane to all the teachers but a comic hero to the gaggle of boys who can't wait to see what malicious mischief he'll commit next.

      Gregson and his musical are irresistibly horrible. Self-important to a monumental degree, Gregson puts his bewildered students through excessively rigorous rehearsals and a nearly endless series of temperamental tantrums and hyperbolic hissy fits. One of his roles is to be in charge of evacuation procedure, he explains in narration; his idea of clearing the school is to become hysterical and scare people out of their wits.

      He says he likes to stage impromptu drills, too -- as when he runs down a hallway screaming, "There's a pedophile in the school -- get out!"

      The show's strong language would earn the series an R rating if it were a theatrical release, so parents can consider whether they want real high school students to see Lilley's version. Actually, real students make up most of the cast; they come across not as amateurish but rather as authentically bored by the emotional exhibitionism that Ja'mie, Jonah and Gregson all have in common -- no matter how fascinating they find themselves.

      The show might be Australian, and the school may not look and sound quite the way American schools do, but Lilley's script and performances are rife with recognizable personalities, neuroses and human absurdities. The tone is somewhat similar to that of the Christopher Guest satires ("Waiting for Guffman" especially), and yet Lilley comes across more like an Australian Ricky Gervais.

      Most episodes end and begin with "iris-out" and "iris-in" transitions used decades ago in silent movies (the screen shrinks down to a dot -- or expands from one), but "Summer Heights High" is far more new-fangled than it is old-fashioned. It's possessed of a sensibility that seems oddly peculiar to the age: uproarious subtlety.moreless
    • The best thing ever to come out of Austrailia

      This Australian mockumentary, written by and starring the brilliant Chris Lilley, is such an underrated show. It's full of hilarious scenarios in which Lilley portrays three main characters. Jonah, Ja'mie, and Mr G. In my opinion, this show has been heavily influenced by the brilliant Canadian mockumentary series Trailer Park Boys, but Summer Heights High is a witty, hilarious individual show in its own right. Not only is Chris Lilley a fantastic writer, his acting skills are superb, he plays teenagers in this show and they are so convincing. The man is the most underrated comedy genius in the world. I strongly recommend this show to anyone who enjoys masterpieces such as Curb Your Enthusiasm, Arrested Development, And Trailer Park Boys.moreless
    • One of the funniest shows ever!!!!!

      This show is a mockumentory set in a public school focusing on 3 characters all played by the talented Chris Lilley.

      There is the self-involved drama teacher Greg Gregson (Mr G) who is working on a musical about a student who has recently died that some how turns into Mr G: The musical.

      Snobby 17 year old J'amie King who is at Summer Heights High as part of an exchange student program between public and private schools. 8th grade student Jonah Takula who is originally from Tonga and wants to be a break dancer. Jonah has behavioural and learning problems.

      Chris Lilley is a comic genius. It's a bit like when you watch Sasha Barron Cohen as Ali G and Borat you forget this is the same person playing all 3 characters.

      He competley emerses himself in these characters. I am sure he has a complete history on each character you could probley quiz him he could answer any question you had straight away. Highly reccommend this show.

      Just want to reply to a critism from spears5 below who said the show was cancelled after 10 episodes this is not true there was always only going to be 8 episodes of this series. That is how it was written. The show was a big hit in Australia and dominated the ratings with Spicks and Specks and The Chaser. It ws such a hit that the DVD is still in the top 10 more then 6 months after it was released.moreless
    • © 2008 HBO Networks
    • © 2008 HBO Networks
    • © 2008 HBO Networks
    • © 2008 HBO Networks

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