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Monday, December 8, 2008

Summer Heights High in the Dead of TV Winter

As the Sunday night Flaming Nose favorites flame out with their respective season ends, it is heartening that one bizarre series still has a few episodes left to go. Summer Heights High (Sundays at 10:30p on HBO) is like a half hour Christopher Guest movie with an Aussie accent. It follows the trials and tribulations of two Australian public school students (Ja'mie and Jonah) and one extra flamboyant Drama teacher (Mr. G) all played admirably by comedian Chris Lilley. Of the three, Jonah the Polynesian delinquent is the most believable and sympathetic. He's disruptive, profane and often hilarious as he plots new ways to wreck havoc and amuse his motley crew of budding gangsters. Mr. G, the bitchy and self absorbed Drama teacher is a "Waiting for Guffman" clone, who is developing a high school musical that features pole dancing teens. He is generally accompanied by his adored chihuahua Celine and a Down syndrome student who's innocent affection for Mr. G. is not returned. Least believable (from appearance alone) is Ja'mie, the stuck up transfer student and self described "hot girl" from a private school. Ja'mie towers over her entourage, all of whom seem oblivious to the fact that she looks like a Green Bay Packer in drag. Filling in the cast are assorted teachers, administrators and hapless students. It's cold comfort to see that political correctness and bureaucracy have infected the academic environment Down Under with the same mindless vigor that ails our own US public schools.

True Blood and Entourage are gone already and Dexter has but one final episode to go (watch for our comments after next Sunday). Give Summer Heights a gander, it's an interesting diversion until Flight of the Conchords returns to HBO on Sunday nights.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Glad you are watching and liking this. It's quite unlike U.S. shows, and I think Chris Lilley is most of all a good actor and has some charm. Be sure to look back at one of the previous posts I did on the show to watch a long live production number on an Aussie awards show of the musical that Mr. G is producing. It's insane and would NEVER be done in the U.S. -- not a chance. I haven't read too much about the reception SSH is getting on HBO -- I suspect it's cool and I was surprised a bit to see HBO and not someone else pick this up, though SSH has been an international award winner. I'm glad *somebody* else is watching it!!!