Ja’mie: Private School Girl

Jamie King Private School Girl

Meet Ja’mie King. She’s seventeen, Australian, rich, “a step above hot,” and probably the only overtly racist and homophobic protagonist on TV. Played by 38-year-old male comedian Chris Lilley as a caricature of entitled teenagerdom, Ja’mie also feels like a necessary creation in our New Gilded Age, a well-drawn but ultimately fictional straw woman toward whom viewers can channel their indignation against the one-percenters.



HBO knows what it’s getting you this Thanksgivukkah season: the premiere of Australian comedian Chris Lilley‘s new series, Ja’mie: Private School Girl. On November 24th, Lilley returns as Ja’mie King, the shallow, spoiled, just-smart-enough-to-know-where-to-cut rich bitch from Down Under, back in front of the (mockumentary) cameras as she’s about to graduate from her fancypants private high school. Ja’mie – pronounced “ja-may” – is a familiar sight to viewers of HBO’s eight-episode sitcom Summer Heights High and Lilley’s earlier We Can Be Heroes, which originally aired on the Sundance Channel. Lilley has delicate-enough features that, for seconds at a time, provided the lighting is right – that is, when you can’t see his five o’clock shadow – he could pass for an attractive 30-year-old woman playing at 16. He’s certainly nailed the prissy-horsey mannerisms of one. In Summer Heights High, Lilley’s absolutely fantastic in the role: Ja’mie is a hair-flipping meanness machine, a queen bee so skillfully manipulative she could teach Regina George a thing or two. Yet there’s something a little off about the premise of Ja’mie: Private School Girl – a niggling sense of unfairness and lost opportunities. And that feeling of not-quite-rightness are bolstered by SNL‘s Kenan Thompson declaring last week that neither he nor castmember Jay Pharoah will appear in drag anymore, as well as the ongoing debate about what male comedians in dresses mean.

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published: 02.01.2015
published: 01.31.2015
published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.30.2015

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