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HBO Delivers the Hilarity from Down Under

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I have always loved the unique Australian sense of humor that came across in films like Strictly Ballroom and the classic Muriel’s Wedding. Now HBO brings us the latest Aussie treasure, a 30-minute show called Summer Heights High, featuring the comic genius of Chris Lilley. He plays all three main characters in the show – a "mockumentary"of high school life in Australia. A huge, award winning hit Down Under, it’s now catching on in the U.S., and with good reason. The show is hysterical. You may have to watch more than once to really start to "get" it, but it’s worth the time, trust me.

Each of the characters Lilley plays is a total riot in their own way. My personal favorite is Ja’mie King, a stuck-up, catty, rich-bitch high school girl who transferred to Summer Heights after a stint in a prestigious private school – and she won’t let you forget it. As she says,"most rapists and murderers are public school educated. I’m sorry but it’s true." Then there is the performing arts teacher, Mr. G, who wrote and directed a school musical based on the drug overdose death of one of the students; and Jonah Takalua, a brooding Tongan student with a penchant for break dancing. He plays each with perfect nuance and comic timing. This is cable television at its best.

Summer Heights High has the same sort of appeal as HBO’s most original comedy from neighboring New Zealand, Flight of the Conchords. The show featuring the brilliantly funny duo of Bret McKenzie and Jermaine Clement premieres its new season in January. Between these two gems, the cable network might just make up for what was at best a lackluster season of Entourage.

Summer Heights High airs on HBO on Sunday nights at 9:30 CST (10:30 Eastern). Learn about the show and watch some funny clips here: http://www.hbo.com/summerheightshigh/index.html

 

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