Oh my god, it’s Ja’mie
Ja’mie King is front and centre of a a six-episode comedy, writes
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