Troop Beverly Hills fans are in for a ‘thrill’! Check out my Troop Beverly Hills fashion retrospective for Culture Brats:
One of my favourite chick lit authors, Lindsey Kelk, is set to release her latest book What a Girl Wants this July. What a Girl Wants is the sequel to About a Girl, a story about Tess Brookes that ends with a ‘who will she choose?’ cliffhanger. The men in question are her best friend Charlie, the object of her unrequited love for the past decade, and the arrogant and hot Nick Miller, the man she’s known for one thrilling, sexy week.
While we wait to see who Tess will choose (cough, Nick please, cough), it got me thinking about other ‘who will she choose?’ scenarios in pop culture, so here is my completely biased list of the best love triangles (from the ’90s through to today, of course).
Bridget, Mark and Daniel – Bridget Jones’s Diary
Before Lindsey Kelk, there was Helen Fielding – one of the masters of the chick lit genre. As we all know, the film adaptation starred Renee Zellwegger as the title character, Colin Firth as Mark Darcy and Hugh Grant as Darcy’s nemesis Daniel Cleaver. Is it completely wrong for me to go with skirt chaser Daniel here? It goes against my pattern of backing the ‘nice guy’ in these situations (with the exception of About a Girl’s Nick Miller), but Hugh Grant, in my book, trumps the nice guy any day. I still swoon every time I hear him say, ‘That’s an order Jones’. Swoon.
Kelly, Brandon and Dylan – Beverly Hills 90210
Most of you would probably say that the more famous and better love triangle of Beverly Hills 90210 was the one between Kelly, Brenda and Dylan, and I would totally agree with you. After all, that love triangle gave us one of the best lines from the whole ten years of Beverly Hills 90210 put together. Remember when Brenda caught Kelly and Dylan out on a date, and Kelly defended herself when Brenda called her a bimbo? Brenda’s classic comeback went as follows: ‘Well Kelly, I was always taught that if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck…’ Oh. May. Zing.
However, we’re talking about the ‘who will she choose?’ scenario here, so let’s bring it back to Kelly’s love triangle with the other Walsh twin. At first, Kelly did a Samantha Jones and chose herself when faced with an ultimatum between Beverly Hills’s bad boy and nice guy, but the pull of the troubled bad boy was ultimately too strong for Kelly to resist. Alas, Brandon ended up being no match for the ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’ Dylan.
This love triangle was revisited years later in an advertisement for Old Navy. Dylan and Brandon’s props – a motorcycle and a teddy bear – played into the classic bad boy vs nice guy stereotypes brilliantly, but neither were enough to entice Kelly, who this time ended up choosing jeans. I stick to my choice of Brandon 4EVA. Da-na-na-na, da-na-na-na!
“There is no greater joy than being part of a group reciting the entire theme song to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in perfect unison”.
I was born in 1981. Two weeks ago, I turned 32-years-old. That means I’m 3 years and 351 days off what Sex and the City’s Carrie and Miranda would call my “scary age” of 36. It also means that I am on the Generation X to Y cusp.
After doing some research that entailed watching the generation feature on Channel 10’s The Project a few months ago and looking up a couple of articles on that entirely accurate information hub Wikipedia, Australian Gen X-ers are typically defined as those born between 1963 and 1980, and Gen Y-ers from 1981 to 2000. If someone calls me a Gen X-er, I usually deny it, because everyone wants to seem younger, right? I also don’t see myself as sharing a common upbringing with those born in the 1960s and I was too young to really register anyone before John Howard as the Prime Minister, let alone identify with Winona Ryder in that quintessential Gen X-er movie Reality Bites, which was released in 1994, or realise just how pretentious the movie really was (am I right?) Around that time, I was the target audience for Sister Act 2, rather than for Dangerous Minds.
Then again, I vividly remember New Year’s Eve 2000 as an 18-year-old wearing a hanky top (remember those?) and finally getting legally drunk on Stollys, and to think that I belong to a generation including people who were just being born in 2000 seems just as far-fetched. I mean, J.Lo released ‘Waiting for Tonight’ for the millennium, and I still think that was about 5 years ago. The fact that it was 14 years ago makes my mind want to implode.
After weeks of speculating about Ja’mie’s fate – will she get her comeuppance? Will she see the error of her ways? Will her mother finally crack? What will happen between her and Kwami? Will she, in fact, learn nothing at all? – Chris Lilley served up a smorgasboard of outcomes for the private school girl we love to loathe. The multiple endings presented by Lilley in the final episode of Ja’mie: Private School Girl threw up many contradictions and that’s perhaps why it’s taken me so long to gather my thoughts and write this article. My head is still spinning, to be honest.
But here I go.
Lilley’s final episode simultaneously strove to please everyone by covering all bases, yet still, in many ways, pleased no one due to its lack of real change in Ja’mie – and perhaps that was the point. Madeleine Ryan’s article in The Age rightly pointed out that the series presented a parody of the unrealistic expectations society placed on young women to succeed so, subsequently, they became monsters. In Ja’mie’s words, she had to be “quiche”, “demonstrate Christian values and be good at everything”, not be a “full slut”, have a “box gap”, and “work at stopping child slavery and healing people and stuff like that”. The series, like its title character, couldn’t please everyone. That seemed to be one of the points it, and she, was trying to make in this interesting final episode.
Ja’mie, in failing to receive the coveted Hillford medal due to a leaked video of a Skype conversation between her and Kwami, in which she revealed her breasts while Kwami fondled himself, caused her father to concede that Ja’mie, by having her mother Jhyll’s genes as well as his own, wasn’t going to be a consistently high achiever after all. Jhyll’s silence as she sat next to her husband spoke volumes.
Ja’mie, however, responded to criticism and failure by making herself seen and heard. She states to her mother before her graduation ceremony, “No one fucks with me and gets away with it”. She means it. She hi-jacks the ceremony by playing the controversial Skype video while telling the audience, “I chose to expose my breasts on Skype in front of the boy I love. Because I chose to have an interracial relationship, the leaders of this school have decided to silence me”.
She then leads her pack of friends in a choreographed strip tease to the graduation song ‘Learning to Be Me’, where she takes off her bra after telling the audience, “Get your tits out girls, unite, no matter how big your tits are, get them out”.
Ja’mie: Private School Girl, episode four, definitely taught Ja’mie a thing or two and, as such, it certainly didn’t disappoint me as a Chris Lilley fan with high hopes for the series. As I had anticipated, the audience finally saw Ja’mie vulnerable. Yes, she was still monstrous, but vulnerable nonetheless. However, Lilley also threw in something I didn’t see coming and, in doing so, this episode really exceeded my expectations.
It wasn’t a boarder who pushed Ja’mie over the edge, after all. It was, in fact, someone much closer to home – her BFF Madison, who hooked up with her boyfriend Mitchell behind her back and, when confronted about it, told Ja’mie she wasn’t even that quiche. Cue a physical cat fight and Ja’mie’s subsequent bout of depression. Briefly, she refused to return to school out of fear that she would be taunted for being fat and not having a boyfriend.
Three episodes in and, whenever I watch Ja’mie: Private School Girl, I can’t get the Marina and the Diamonds song ‘Primadonna’ out of my head, particularly the lyric, “The primadonna life, the rise and fall”. Not that I want the series to fail, mind you. Quite the opposite, in fact. In order for this show to succeed, I feel that Ja’mie has to, finally, experience a downfall. I keep anticipating it with every episode.
Chris Lilley needs to make us feel something different towards Ja’mie other than outrage or incredulity. He needs to either give her a hint of sympathy or a lot of comeuppance in order for the series to be worth it. One of the reasons that Summer Heights High worked so well was that, while it had the shock and humour factor provided by all three main characters – Ja’mie, Jonah and Mr G – Lilley gave Jonah and Mr G something deeper.
This article has been modified after its original publication on GaydarRadio.com on 21 July 2008.
The announcement that Chris Lilley’s Ja’mie: Private School Girl is set to hit Aussie, UK and US TV screens in October has caused many to dust off their DVDs of his 2007 series Summer Heights High, which featured his popular character Ja’mie King, a wealthy, snobby Australian school girl who, for one term, transfers to the government funded Summer Heights High to see how the other half lives.
As we wait to see what Chris Lilley’s new series will expose about Australia’s privileged using his particular brand of dark, outrageous humour and who it will offend this time ‘round, it is worth revisiting Chris Lilley’s earlier satire. The series offers an insightful, albeit exaggerated, exploration of the human condition and life in the Australian government system, an environment in which people from varying social backgrounds are forced to interact with each other on a daily basis and, as such, is affected by very real issues including bullying, social cliques, racism and homophobia. Lilley is not afraid to point out that the issues of class, race and sexuality still very much matter today. The series also humanises, at the same time as it caricatures, those people who fall through the cracks of this environment – this is no mean feat, proving just how much of a genius Lilley is as both a character actor and a social commentator.
I meet the cool creatives from the Perth and Melbourne based screenprinting initiative The Johnny Two Tone Club for We Love Perth.
I spend such a large amount of time reading too much into the fashion of Donna Martin and the inner politics of the Kelly, Brenda, Donna clique that I’m often guilty of neglecting the boys of Beverly Hills 90210, but they are just as multi-layered, have just as many intricate relationships with one another and are responsible for just as many fashion don’ts (come on down David Silver) as the girls. So here it is, my countdown of the most prominent males of Beverly Hills 90210.
Okay, hear me out. In the faceless credits after the theme song, there was a name that always came up and no, I’m not talking about Joe E. Tata, who finally got to spin around and smile in the opening credits in season 6. I’m talking about the name Matthew Laurance. I always wondered who it was, because Joey from Blossom’s younger brother was never in an episode. One day, I IMDB’d it – yes, I am that sad – and discovered that Matthew Laurance played Mel Silver, David’s philanderer orthodontist dad. He makes this list because, after years of being just another name in the faceless opening credits, I feel he deserves a little recognition.
Best moment: He was the one responsible for giving Donna champagne at the prom. That means he played an integral part in pop culture history.
Let’s face it, he was a poor man’s Brandon Walsh, conveniently brought in one or two episodes before Jason Priestley’s departure as Kelly’s new love interest. Matt Durning, attorney at law, even looked like Brandon, and his entry into the show also conveniently coincided with a lot of the main cast suddenly having legal problems with which they needed assistance. To this day, I don’t really get Matt – he was a defence lawyer, was secretly married to a schizophrenic woman he left behind at a New York mental hospital and cheated on Kelly while under the influence of LSD, yet he still managed to be boring. How is that even possible?