She Goes She Goes She Goes… She Just Goes (and comes back)

Well, looks like a): all our speculation was wrong apart from b): the part where we guessed Chris Lilley was completely out of ideas:

Australia’s favourite mean girl is back

Ja’mie King returns to her private schoolgirl roots for ABC TV

After months of speculation and rumour, ABC TV is pleased to confirm that Australia’s favourite bitch is back… schoolgirl Ja’mie King will return to the small screen in a new series by Australian writer and performer Chris Lilley.

Revealed on ABC TV’s social media channels today, the six-part half-hour comedy series will air later this year on both ABC and HBO.

Today’s announcement capped off a week where fans flocked to guess who they thought would be back on screen after a series of cryptic videos featuring previous identities were released online.

The series, Ja’mie: Private School Girl, follows Ja’mie in her final year of school, seeing her far removed from the hallowed grounds of Summer Heights High and back on the lush manicured lawns of Hillford Girls Grammar School.

The series, co-produced by Chris Lilley and Princess Pictures in association with ABC TV in Australia and HBO in the US, will also screen on BBC Three in the UK and follows Ja’mie as she experiences her last few weeks of school and the series of events that will change her life forever.

Creator Chris Lilley, said: “I find teenage girls endlessly funny. So being able to write for and play the meanest bitch in school has been so fun. I can’t wait to show everyone what Ja’mie’s been up to.”

ABC1 Channel Controller, Brendan Dahill, said: “Ja’mie King is easily one of the most cunning characters in a school uniform we’ve ever seen. I know viewers will enjoy keeping up with the high drama, high-pace life of a teenage girl going through the motions of finishing school.”

Keep up-to-date with Ja’mie: Private School Girl updates on Twitter and Instagram via @jamieschoolgirl and at Facebook.com/jamieschoolgirl

Seriously? The one character he’s indisputably run into the ground is the one character he’s bringing back? Well, maybe it does make some sort of sense; after the near-total failure of Angry Boys even we can’t look all that surprised that he seems to have retreated back to the safe (and popular) turf of Summer Heights High. After having Ja’mie act like a bitchy teenage girl for fourteen episodes of television, clearly there was more to say. In a bitchy voice.

Look, if we’d ever considered Lilley to have any artistic ambitions we might have been surprised that he’d decide to make three of his (to date) four television series based around a knockoff of Kylie Mole. But around these parts it’s been clear for a long time now that whatever drives him isn’t exactly a desire to make a profound statement about the human condition. Or even a desire to make people laugh.

For context, here’s a brief reminder of what we had to say about where Lilley left Ja’mie at the end of Summer Heights High back in 2007:

Ja’ime’s 180 shift in the last five seconds to suddenly loving her “povvo bogan” filled State School made no sense at all… unless Lilley got worried that he was giving a negative view of State Schools, in which case maybe he should have figured that out before he spent eight episodes depicting them as a racist-packed hellhole where the teachers care only about themselves and preening groups of bitches treat other kids like shit. Which isn’t a bad thing, by the way, especially if it’s funny, but Lilley doesn’t seem to be able to see past his characters and individual scenes they’re starring in – he really, really needs a good script editor to turn his performances into a decent long-form show and explain to him that, well, just showing people being shits isn’t funny after the first three hours.

But who cares about any of that? It seems safe to say we can assume Ja’ime will go back to being exactly the same character she’s been for the last decade: a stereotypical bitchy teenage girl who was mildly amusing in We Can Be Heroes when her bitchiness was played off against her browbeaten mother but utterly pointless in Summer Heights High (remember how her big storyline was her trying to go out with an underage boy?). Ja’mie can work as a character when she’s given other characters to play off against, but as her last appearance just involved her sitting around being bitchy with a bunch of real teenage girls (which was creepy when Lilley was five years younger; Christ knows what vibe it’ll have now), it seems a little unlikely that we’ll be getting much more here than endless predictable “I can’t believe she said that!”-type lines.

Still, fingers crossed: maybe the “the series of events that will change her life forever” involves her finding out that she’s really a 40 year old man.

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6 Comments

  • J says:

    TV Tonight back in February seems to have some extra plot details –
    http://www.tvtonight.com.au/2013/02/is-chris-lilley-reviving-jamie.html

    “EXCLUSIVE: Is Chris Lilley set to revive Ja’mie King? Maybe…

    TV Tonight understands Lilley’s secret ABC project includes a principal character of a private school female student who has the hots for a dumb Year 12 rugby player.

    While she’s “cray” for footballers and has an African named Kwami staying at her house, the character is being referred to as Raquel, not Ja’mie. Random.

    But that could be a red herring to try and keep details under wraps.

    An earlier report suggested the series may bring back the character of Gran and that a supposed ‘Yellow Pants’ title was also a red herring.

    Watch this space…”

  • Matlock says:

    African named Kwami? Oh boy! I look forward to the casual racism!

  • Circus Taximus says:

    Did you know that Crikey’s Laurence Barber linked to here from his piece about Ja’mie in Friday’s edition? He gives you a sort of a backhanded compliment, revealing your intriguing dislike of all things Chris Lilley.

    I’m so glad he did.

    I’ve just spent a very enjoyable evening rummaging in your back catalogue.
    It’s been like reading my own head rants written by someone else. Satisfying, yet slightly disturbing.

    It was the oeuvre of Chris Lilley that finally broke my resolve to give all Australian comedies a try.

    Thank you. I will visit often.

  • 13 schoolyards says:

    Hey, we got a mention over at Crikey.com! And it was kind of favourable! http://blogs.crikey.com.au/wiresandlights/2013/09/09/diminishing-return-chris-lilleys-upcoming-jamie-private-school-girl-to-revive-one-of-his-most-popular-creations/

    Interesting point about us considering Lilley’s drag act as “creepy” too… to be fair, Ja’mie’s previous appearances haven’t really crossed that line, but Lilley hasn’t played her since 2008 and the years have started to take their toll if recent photos are any guide.

    More importantly, Lilley’s desire to play monsters has faded over the years – pretty much everyone in Angry Boys had their big moment of sympathy somewhere in there. Which (to us) suggests that on some level he’s going to want us to see Ja’mie as an actual “hot girl”.

    After all, he’s never played her looks for laughs (apart from, you know, the fact she’s played by Chris Lilley) so having a 40 year old man in a schooldress surrounded by actual “hot” schoolgirls and with no references to the fact that she’s anything other than a bitchy teenager is – we think – going to start to get a little creepy. At least to anyone tuning in for the first time.

  • 13 schoolyards says:

    Thanks for visiting – we only just saw the Crikey piece now. Considering what a lot of people have said about us over the years, it was surprisingly even-handed.

  • Argy says:

    I just think Lilley has run out of ideas. We Can Be Heroes had some characters in it that were just awful, but some that you could actually love. Names escape me but the woman who rolled was lovable and the Police officer turned motivational speaker was funny because, even at the end, he was still waiting to see if he’d won Australian of the Year, even after the jig was up.

    Angry Boys was a cringe fest from start to finish. A lot of it seemed to expect people to find bad American and Japanese accents funny in and of themselves. In my book that’s racism, not humour.