I remember my parents watching Summer Heights High when it first came out, but I wasn’t allowed to watch it because it was inappropriate and I can see why they would say that. Recently, however I decided that I should watch it and did so. Warning that this post may contain spoilers.
First airing in 2007, Summer Heights High is a uniquely Australian, documentary-style comedy TV show starring and written by Chris Lilley who play three characters in the show. Lilley’s acting is undoubtedly the focus of the show, he is what makes it and all the the others characters are just back-up for him. In fact, all of the other actor aren’t really actors at all but students and staff from the school where the show was filmed.
If you don’t like his style of humour you just won’t like the show, period. His humour type is often crude and self-insulting, it’s very Australian in that way. I’m not usually a big fan of this type of humour but for some reason, Lilley really pulls it off. Maybe it’s because of the amazing range of characters he plays who are are completely different. There is also a fair amount of swearing in the show. Usually I hate swearing but it just works so well that you kind of need it to portray the characters correctly.
Lilley isn’t what you’d usually call a ‘good actor’. He doesn’t strive for realism in his characters. He strives for humour and creating characters that are in some ways relatable, but in most ways are completely unrelatable. He tends to take the worst characteristics of a character (selfishness, pride, self-centeredness, attention-seeking etc.) and turn it into humour. These characters are the exact opposite of what we strive towards. This is one of the many reasons why it really isn’t appropriate for children or even young teens.
The music is pretty good in the show. The score fits the story almost ironically and adds some humour to the show. Then there are the songs for the musical. Highly inappropriate as far as the lyrics so (but funny at the same time) but the actual music wasn’t bad. I was quite surprised by it.
Favorite character/actor: Jonah Takalua (Chris Lilley)
Least favourite character/actor: Miss Wheatley
Favourite episode/scene: The final (episode 9)
Least favourite episode/scene: Episode 4
Rating; 4/5 stars