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”.