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Friday, November 21, 2008

Summer Heights High

At Daphne's urging, I began my quest to search for this show a coupla' months back.


I'd seen a Chris Lilley show before: We can be Heroes (searching for Australian of the year) and I loved it! While chatting with Daphy, she suggested that I try looking for "Summer Heights High" because not only was Chris reprising his role of Ja'mie - it was going to touch those of us in the teaching profession in a very impactful way.

I was actually convinced from the get-go; from what I remembered of "We can be Heroes", Chris Lilley was genius in his multi-dimentional, multi-racial, multi-persona portrayals of various characters in the series!

I remembered that it was humorous and funny, but also real and down-to-earth in many ways.

I looked forward to experiencing that WOW factor all over again with Summer Heights High.

I finally got my hands on it two days ago and I waited till this morning (a break from SPM duties) to watch it. IT WAS GOOD! There're only eight episodes in this series and they are supposed to cover an entire term in the Australian school year. The episodes are only about half an hour in length, so I managed to finish the whole series in one sitting. But as you know, four hours can be a drag, so what kept me glued to the screen?

3 words: REAL SCHOOL LIFE!

OMG, while I was watching it, flashbacks kept happening! Things I saw fleshed out in the show were things I'd seen and experienced in school! Before I go on, let me just introduce the three characters in this series:

a) Mr. G (self-obsessed drama teacher, producing a high school stage performance)
b) Jonah (a 13-year old with learning, behavioural and anger management issues)
c) Ja'mie (a snobby, exchange-program student from an exclusive, privileged private school)

The setting:

Summer Heights High - an everyday public school in Australia (ie: sekolah harian keb)

The premise:

The series follows the lives of these three characters throughout an entire term. The characters are all played by Chris so they don't really interact with one another in the school environment (it's like a 3-in-1 storyline).

Okay. I loved this series because as a teacher, I could really appreciate all the little nuances and details put into this show. The problems of delinquent students - what they do, what they face and what happens to them... it's really matters close to my heart.

In Jonah, I see many of my own boys at school. I see how Jonah does something wrong one too many times and in the end, it counts against him....sigh.

Mr G...ahahaha, this is really a character you'd love to hate. Annoying as hell! Thank God I haven't got one single colleague who embodies all of his characteristics!

Ja'mie is a brat! OMG - she threatens, cajoles, manipulates EVERYONE! She is, again, the amalgam of many annoying young girls at that age. They are from the ID generation. I DESERVE. She's really annoying, but I'm glad the show also shows a few other girl characters who are level-headed, grounded, who stand up for themselves and who don't get suckered into the whole IN-clique thingy.

So yes, I'd highly advocate this show with anyone who remembers what it was like to be in high school - and especially for teachers who just need a laugh and the reminder that things can be a lot worse :p.

Click here to find out more about the show HERE

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