Summer Heights High & We Can Be Heroes Box Set [DVD]
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Double set of mockumentary comedy series created and performed by Australian comedian Chris Lilley. 'Summer Heights High' (2007) parodies high-school life through the three main characters (all played by Lilley): camp 'Director of Performing Arts' Mr G, who dreams of attaining artistic heights; private school exchange student Ja'mie King, who's forced to slum it in the backwaters; and hard-as-nails Tongan student Jonah Takalua, who's trying to avoid being expelled. Contains all eight episodes from Series 1. 'We Can Be Heroes' (2005) is a satirical look at the search for the 'Australian of the Year', with the five contenders all played by Lilley. Contains all six episodes.
Summer Heights High, written by and starring Chris Lilley, is the award winning Australian mockumentary series starring three of the funniest protagonists - all played by Lilley - to hit our screens in years.
The effeminate, yet megalomaniacal, Greg Gregson--aka 'Mr G'--is the self-appointed 'Director of Performing Arts', passionate about his 'innovative' teaching methods and determined to write his own 'Arena Spectacular'. Summer Heights High is the third school in eighteen months for Jonah Takalulah, a teenager with Attention Deficit Disorder and problems with aggression. His best hope is to avoid being expelled, but he says he's 'not dumb' he's just 'choosing not to be smart at the minute.' Private school exchange student Ja'mie King is struggling to cope away from her privileged background at 'like, the boganist school ever.'
Also incudes the mocumentary series We Can Be Heroes.
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Comparisons of Summer Heights High with the aforementioned sitcom are fully justified; but this is no copy, writer and star Chris Lilley takes the 'mockumentary' in a new direction, stretching the boundaries of comic realism by playing multiple characters. A first rate character actor, he is as convincing as a middle-aged housewife as he is a naughty schoolboy. And far from the caricatures that populate most sketch shows, his are fully rounded characters capable of creating a real sense of empathy in the viewer. But the success of the show can not be entirely attributed to Chris Lilley; the supporting cast of students and teachers also turn in excellent performances that ensure the comedy hits home.
This Australian 3 disc Special Edition (which plays fine on my region 2 DVD player) does not appear to be set for UK release when the 2 disc version arrives in October. The main draw here is the extra content on disc three. Fantastic inclusions are the Naughty Girl music video, a montage of camcorder footage of fans miming to the track which is far better than it sounds, and a show-stopping Logie's performance from Mr G with Rodney, Toby, a cast of kids and even Celine getting in on the action! But by far the most interesting feature for me is the behind the scenes footage. Worth getting this Special Edition for alone, we get to see Lilley talking through ideas with cast and crew, script read-throughs and filming in what is a high school in full term-time chaos! The highlight for me is the filming of Mr G's 'movement piece,' in which the director tells the kids in the scene not to laugh on pain of being cut from the show, only to retreat to his monitor where he spends the entire scene in stitches along with the rest of the crew. Watching the kids desperately trying to keep straight faces while Mr G prances around them is hilarious, and quite possibly child cruelty!
I think this Special Edition is essential for anyone who not only wants to watch the show but is interested in getting a glimpse of Chris Lilley at work and in gaining an insight into how this brilliant series came together. I can't recommend it enough!
Summer Heights High is a mighty comic achievement. Set in an Australian public school, the series follows the career of two students and a teacher over a term. The humour is as dark as night, filmed in 'mockumentary' fashion as the seroes charts the progress of the unruly but heart-rending Tongan descendant Jonah, the repulsive but unrepentant private school exchange student Ja'mie and the shameless Drama Teacher Greg Gregson, or Mr G.
Lilley has achieved significantly more than just a comic laugh along character based series. His subtle and cunning writing combined with quite brilliant performance as each individual, offers a pointed social commentary which will strike a few chords in the UK. Nothing is sacred. If you think Gavin and Stacey was good, prepare for the main event. Sorry Homos.
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