Week four of Ja’mie: Private School Girl, and what have we learnt? Seriously, what have we learnt? Private schools create monsters? Well no, as Ja’mie’s sister seems kind of un-monstrous – as do a bunch of Ja’mie’s fellow students – and they all go to a private school. Teen girls fabricate relationships where little more than friendship exists? So… like everyone else then? Chris Lilley thinks that treating a bitchy cartoon character’s superficial heartbreak as a serious matter is something people would like to watch? Now you’re talking.
When people write things like this:
Ja’mie: Private School Girl is terrifyingly akin to watching a documentary.
The portrait he paints of what it’s like to be a girl growing up in this impossible, contradictory world is disarmingly honest
It’s important to realise that they’re full of shit. How is this like a documentary? Ja’mie is not like a real teenage girl. Oh sure, she has elements that real teenage girls have, but even if she was a “real teenage girl” and not a forty year old man in a dress, the show he’s created around her only shows an extremely limited range of her behaviours.
C’mon: would a real teenage girl be a bitch to everyone all the time? Would she be so consistently vapid that she would say half the things Ja’mie said about suicide this week? Would she be so totally unaware that teen boys are, you know, somewhat interested in having sex with their girlfriends when she spent half of an earlier episode talking about how boys are really into tits?
There’s always been a strong element of “it’s funny because it’s true, even if it’s not actually funny” in Lilley’s fanbase. Back during Summer Heights High people were claiming that Mr G was spot on as far as high school drama teachers go. Were they still saying that after he tried to make it look like a special needs student had taken a shit on the floor of a classroom? Ask your friends.
But with Ja’mie, that seems to be the only basis on which anyone is defending it: “teenage girls are just like that!”. Only if you watch the show for more than a minute it’s clear the show itself is completely unrealistic on every level. For example, last week’s party: did anyone else think for something with a three episode build up what we saw was extremely watered down and fake, especially for 17-18 year olds? Didn’t we just get three minutes of Ja’mie talking about dick pics? Would they really jump into the pool in their party gear? Wouldn’t they have to have been drinking to make looking like shit for the rest of the night seem like a good idea?
Meanwhile, why did the boarders even show up dressed to party at a party held by their arch-enemy at her own home? Why has Ja’mie been allowed to take a black teenager away from his family to live at her place? Why hasn’t someone taken Ja’mie aside and said “you know, you’re coming off as a bit of a bitch”? Why haven’t the teachers noticed that Ja’mie a): is the biggest bully in the schoolyard, b): abuses her detention powers like mad c): never seems to go to any class that doesn’t involve her singing terribly or dancing horribly and d): seems to have some kind of deep-seated sexual issues considering the number of times she’s started taking her gear off in public?
If you think the show is actually funny, fine. But if you’re claiming it’s basically a documentary, then you should examine it as such and not just base your verdict on “yeah, teenage girls are such bitches” or “teenagers are so random, nothing they do makes any sense!” And if your reply to that is “you’re not meant to take it seriously”? So you’re going to defend it on the basis that it’s packed with jokes? This should be good.