Beloved Aussie mockumentary Summer Heights High is now available to watch on BBC iPlayer, making ideal viewing for Brits who’ve binged through Kath & Kim on Netflix.
This surreal sitcom follows the highs and lows of life at the fictional Summer Heights High School in the Sydney suburbs.
Check out the following trailer for a taste of what you can expect:
The three main characters in this popular send up of Australian high school life are all played by the writer, actor and comedian Chris Lilley.
This core cast includes snobbish and often mean brat Ja’mie King, the narcissistic Mr G and a 13-year-old delinquent by the name of Jonah Takalua.
The character of Jonah has provoked some controversy, with Lilley wearing ‘brownface’ to portray the Tongan teenager. The depiction has been described by many viewers as racist.
Listen I’m not gonna pretend I haven’t cry laughed over summer heights high on multiple occasions but Chris Lilley should probably keep his problematic comedy in 2008
— 𝓖𝓮𝓶𝓶𝓪 (@chiisaitamago) April 16, 2019
The news comes after Netflix released the official trailer for Lunatics, another comedy series from the mind of Lilley.
In a similar vein to Summer Heights High, Lunatics will see Lilley playing multiple eccentric characters.
According to the official synopsis for Lunatics:
A Pet Psychologist to the stars, a Real Estate Entrepreneur, a cutting edge Fashion Designer, a budding Museum Owner, an arts and crafts Influencer, and the future Earl of Gayhurst.
Lunatics: the story of six characters coming to terms with themselves and the world around them – be it a haunting past or a pressurising future, finding love or chasing dreams. Starring Chris Lilley, Chris Lilley, Chris Lilley, Chris Lilley, Chris Lilley, and Chris Lilley.
You can watch the trailer for Lunatics below:
The trailer for Lunatics has already provoked some controversy, with the character of Jana the ‘South African lesbian pet psychic to the stars’ shown to have darkened skin and afro hair.
One person tweeted:
It’s 2019 and we still need to remind @NetflixANZ and Chris Lilly that blackface is racist. #Lunatics
Chris Lilley is maybe doing blackface again which is very shitty and also he called his new show ‘Lunatics’ because mentally ill people are a joke apparently just saying there are many layers of yikes in this shit sandwich.
However, others have argued we don’t yet know the context for this character, with Lilley potentially portraying a person such as Rachel Dolezal who famously misled people into believing she had African American heritage.
Chris Lilley is one of a stable of beloved Australian celebs, among Pete Evans and Eddie McGuire et al, who prove that being mediocre and mean-spirited has no impact on your career prospects – as long as you're a white male.
— Ketan Joshi (@KetanJ0) April 11, 2019
Literally no one:
Chris Lilley: Jana will be her name, I’ll put on an Afro and wear dark foundation. No one will blink an eye. It’s fine, not racist at all.
— Jack (@skipbright_) April 11, 2019
Chris Lilley potentially, lets be clear it’s potential at present as it may be a piss take of Rachel Dolezal, accused already of blackface despite it being a comedy whereby the Wayans are widely applauded for the opposite. Ps Lunatics will likely be incredible! #Lunatics
— 𝒮𝒽𝒶𝓃𝑒 (@SmushS) April 11, 2019
Summer Heights High is available to stream on BBC iPlayer now, while Lunatics will air on Netflix as of Friday, April 19.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.