Ja’mie Private School Girl: Did the World Really Need to See the Likes of Ja’mie King Again?

ImageShort answer: Yes.

Secondly if you do not have HBO then you should probably get some money and not be so povo so you can watch it —Sorry, not sorry.

I am glad that this latest comedic installment by Chris Lilley came out right after a show like Breaking Bad because I don’t think I could have handled the intensity of Mr. White/Heisenberg along with Ja’mies’ in your face’ over the top portrayal of  ‘Rich White Girl Culture’ all in one T.V season.

I know what most of my readers are probably thinking by now:“why would you subject yourself to Ja’mie and her constant insecure need to make fun and put down people who are either “povo,” Asian, or a minority etc.?” Well beyond the sensationalized way Lilley goes about exposing Ja’mie’s personality as pure entertainment, is what he tried to do with this series is actually tell a generalized truth about this sub-culture — Privileged White Girls — as I am sure we have all encountered “Ja’mie types” in our lives at one point or another or have dated them (not saying any names you know who you are).

You also know her if you’ve watched Clueless, Mean Girls, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or any other high school comedy of the past forever. Ja’mie’s a composite character, what happens when Cher Horowitz, Gretchen Wieners, and Cordelia Chase fuse personalities and possess the body of a 39-year-old man. Creator Chris Lilley’s finely honed caricature of the High School Popular Girl was Summer Heights High‘s strongest player, with flamboyant drama teacher Mr. G a close second and troubled bully Jonah an extremely distant third. But while Ja’mie: Private School Girl finally gives its namesake protagonist the spotlight, it also reveals that for all her self-absorption, Ja’mie I think works better when she’s sharing the stage (just one man’s opinion).

Private School Girl follows its heroine through her final three months of high school as she and her indistinguishable pack of lackeys deal with a laundry list of rich-girl/First World problems. The show leads viewers into King’s home town to meet her parents and fellow Hillford classmates and gain more insight into how King has become the noxious yet undeniably entertaining teen we know today. With her public school misadventure behind her, Ja’mie’s free to focus on what’s really important: what university she’ll attend after spending a gap year doing aid work in Africa, getting her crush to accept her Facebook friend request, receiving “dick pics” from quiche guys, and winning a school-wide award for being “really good at everything.” Not that the plot really matters. At the end of the day, the show could be taken as a thinly veiled excuse for Lilley to have a ball with Ja’mie’s milk-throwing histrionics and rich-bitch pronouncements like, “I know how to text and drive, I’m not a fucking idiot!”— And he is damn good at it.

The genre of Comedy induces a far greater anxiety than any other genre. It reveals a great deal about a culture’s preoccupations, prejudices, and character—it tells viewers who we’re laughing with and who we ought to be laughing at. Though there is nothing to prevent racist or non-PC celebrations of some of Lilley’s characters, several of his series also work to expose the racism that lies at the core of supposedly upstanding and accepting Australians — the best comedy is in which all the cards are on the table for all to see. Ja’mie is a prime example of this tendency in Lilley’s creations. She brings a Ugandan boy, Kwami, into her palatial family home for the sole purpose of appearing charitable in order to receive a prestigious school medal. Yet her performance of tolerance and racial equality is just that: an appearance. She is mortified when he expresses affection for her, telling Kwami “no offence, but you are really povo, you live in the western suburbs, and you’re black, and I am… this”.

The reason why this show was so interesting, and not to mention entertaining, was because of what Chris Lilley managed to do with the character of Ja’mie in this installment as opposed to her in Summer Heights High. Yes, it is of course funny to see a grown man act out and role play as a private school girl in itself. However, what Lilley did with doing this is show how this type of girl (the “hot” girl who thinks she’s hot and believes everyone wants to bang her) is only as glamorous as they make themselves out to be. Ja’mie constantly puts out the image of value and status because she says so. She surrounds herself with other “hot girls” who all think they are hot and popular; they are all ‘Prefects’ which further elevates their status, plus they all play with daddy’s money to which garner their otherwise mundane appearances and lives. Without the money of others these girls would be “normal”.

Ja’mie is such a classic documentary subject because she’s so open and exposed, and then there are moments where she disproves what she’s actually saying. She has a tremendous confidence about herself, but deep down she’s just as insecure about herself. She’s just a really dominant leader in her friend group, and there’s something fascinating about people that dominate but are at the same time insecure. I think she’s really real in the sense of a character type, and quite a lot of girls (and guys) know girls who are like this.

I’ll leave you now with a handy guide to understanding some of Ja’mie’s amazing vocabulary.

How to Understand a Hillford Girl:

Hillford Girl
noun \ˈhil-ˈfȯrd ˈgər(-ə)l\
A student at Hillford Girls Grammar School.
“Hillford’s pretty much known for having the hottest girls in the whole of Sydney. It’s like, a known thing. If you go to Hillford, people are like, ‘Oh my God, you must be so  fucking hot.'”

quiche
adjective \ˈkēsh\
Incredibly  sexually attractive, sexy. A step above hot. People want to fuck you.
“There is a major hottie in attendance, a rugby scholarship guy, and he is so fuckin’ quiche. I’m getting a semi just thinking about it.”

povo
adjective \ˈpȯ-ˈvō\
Poor, impoverished. Most likely a minority.
“I’m going out to the Western suburbs to this really povo area where these African immigrants live, and it’s really cute.”

dick pic
noun\ˈdic-ˈpic\
Can be defined as the male version of ‘sexting’( The art of sending naked pictures of one’s genitalia by way of private picture messages)
“OMG you guys Mitchell just sent me a message on Facebook!. Oh my Gosh! It’s a dick pic!”

bogan
noun \ˈbau̇-ˈgən\
Someone who’s worthless, cheap and trashy. A mutant hybrid of the American white trash and bro stereotypes.
“I usually try to avoid public school people. Like, one time I went to this year ten formal with this guy from a public school as a joke. Like, me and my friends thought it’d be so cool to just check out all of the bogans and stuff.”

box gap
noun \ˈbäks ˈgap\
The space between one’s thighs when they are standing, ideally three fingers in width. Also known as a thigh gap.
“One of the main features of quiche is box gap. If you’ve got your thighs rubbing together from fat, then you want to think about what you’re eating or just accept the fact that you’re never gonna be quiche.”

crack onto
verb \ˈkrak ˈȯn-(ˌ)tü\
To flirt with someone as the result of sexual appeal.
“She’s a lesbian … I always think she’s trying to crack onto me. EWW!”

Ja’miezing
adjective \ˈjä-ˈmāz-iŋ\
When you’re good at like everything (sport, theater, getting boys,having the most Facebook friends in the school, etc.) the way Ja’mie King is.
“I’m good at a lot of stuff … I like to say I’m Ja’miezing.”

Prefect Promise
noun \ˈprē-ˌfekt ˈprä-məs\
An oath taken by all grade twelve Hillford School prefects, swearing that they will stick together no matter what.
“Like, for example, if one of us got depression and wanted to kill themselves, then we — as part of the Prefect Promise — would probably all kill ourselves.”

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