Oh my god, it’s Ja’mie

Ja’mie King is front and cen­tre of a a six-episode com­edy, writes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TELEVISION -

SOME­WHERE in your youth, you may have en­coun­tered a girl like Ja’mie King. Brim­ming with con­fi­dence , she’s ac­com­plished at ev­ery­thing she turns her hand to. She’s charm­ing and she’s a sweet­heart to boot. You al­ways hear her talk­ing about how much she adores her cir­cle of besties.

But if she doesn’t think that much of you, watch out. Be­cause then some­one like Ja’mie is a bit of a night­mare.

But is life all it’s re­ally cracked up to be for a girl like this? Or is she go­ing through the same teenage tri­als, tribu­la­tions and com­pli­ca­tions as her peers? Maybe even more so?

There’s no one bet­ter to tell us than Chris Lilley.

The multi-ta­lented writer and per­former first in­tro­duced view­ers to Ja’mie in his break­out hit We Can Be He­roes be­fore bring­ing her back for an en­core in Sum­mer Heights High.

She’s takes cen­tre stage in a se­ries of her own, the new six-episode com­edy Ja’mie: Pri­vate School Girl, which sees the self-ab­sorbed teenager in her fi­nal year of high school. She’s school cap­tain, lord­ing it over friends, fam­ily and en­e­mies alike, and has found a hot boyfriend, al­beit one who’s a cou­ple of years younger than her.

‘‘She kind of goes up a notch with this se­ries,’’ Lilley says. ‘‘And with ev­ery­thing that’s go­ing on, it’s more ad­ven­tur­ous this time around.’’

There’s a chance the tur­bu­lence of ado­les­cence and her ten­dency to­wards nar­cis­sism may be Ja’mie’s un­do­ing.

In his pre­vi­ous three mock­u­men­tary se­ries (which in­cludes last year’s am­bi­tious An­gry Boys), Lilley has played mul­ti­ple char­ac­ters of var­i­ous races and dif­fer­ent gen­ders.

But Ja’mie: Pri­vate School Girl marks the first time he’s fo­cused solely on one char­ac­ter.

‘‘I thought it would be a bit of a walk in the park,’’ he ad­mits.

‘‘I’d just done An­gry Boys, which was kind of epic with its five dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters, so I thought this would be a breeze. But I had as much screen time to fill, and Ja’mie is in ev­ery scene, so there was more pres­sure on the char­ac­ter.

‘‘You know, I couldn’t just go ‘Mean­while’ and cut to another char­ac­ter. So I didn’t find it eas­ier.’’

Bring­ing Ja’mie to life is a chal­lenge, ac­cord­ing to Lilley. He’s ad­mits it’s ‘‘awk­ward’’ to por­tray a teenage girl. But plac­ing her in the spot­light was a move he couldn’t pass up.

‘‘I was ex­cited to do a show purely about one char­ac­ter and I was ex­cited by this char­ac­ter,’’ he says.

Ex­pand­ing Ja’mie’s world re­quired re­search.

‘‘A lot of what they say and do is from Face­book and tele­vi­sion and things I see go­ing on around me,’’ he says. ‘‘I also ar­ranged through friends to meet with groups of girls and talk to them about it. Some thought I was there to get their ideas: ‘No, you guys just talk and I’ll ob­serve’, I told them.’’

Dur­ing his ob­ser­va­tions, Lilley found ‘‘teenagers al­ways like to think they’re the first peo­ple ever to be teenagers’’.

‘‘I was speak­ing to one girl who said she and her friend have been say­ing ‘Oh my god’ a lot,’’ he says. ‘‘I thought, ‘Re­ally? That’s orig­i­nal’.’’ He may have a sharp eye for the flaws and foibles of his char­ac­ters, but Lilley also has af­fec­tion for them: ‘‘I think you like to be en­ter­tained by Ja’mie and I think you like to watch her fail some­times. But I think you do like her.’’

Ja’mie: Pri­vate School Girl: Wed­nes­days, 9pm, ABC1.

Chris Lilley Ja’mie

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