Summer Heights High (ABC, 2007)
Summer Heights High was an Australian mockumentary TV sitcom that was written and starred comedian Chris Lilley. It was set in the fictional Summer Heights High School in an outer suburb of Sydney. It documents the high school experience from the viewpoints of three individuals: Director of Performing Arts teacher Mr. G; private school exchange student Ja-mie King and the disobedient, vulgar Tongan student Jonah Takalua. All were played by Lilley. Non-actors played the supporting characters.
Summer Heights High ran for one season of 8 episodes and after airing on TV, was also released as a weekly podcast via their official website. Summer Heights High was a massive success for TV network, Australian Broadcasting Corporation and was sold for international distribution in 2008 to BBC Three for the United Kingdom, HBO for the United States and the Comedy Network for Canada. In 2008, the series won an Australian Logie Award (a television series award organized by the magazine TV Week) for Most Popular Light Entertainment/Comedy Program. Lilley spun off two shows Ja’Mie: Private School Girl and Jonah from Tonga which continued the adventures of both characters, in 2013 and 2014 respectively. He has expressed an interest in continuing on Mr. G’s adventures as well, but said series has yet to happen.
Summer Heights High was not without its controversies though. It has faced criticism for its portrayal of mental disabilities, homosexuality, sexual abuse and racism.