Ja’mie: Private School Girl (Episode 5)

Despite the fact that Ja’mie: Private School Girl finds Chris Lilley returning to a character he’s played not once, but twice before, the series is a risk for the comedian. Each of his previous series have been thematically distinct but shared a common narrative structure, splitting their time with roughly half-a-dozen characters (all played by Lilley). This had the advantage of maintaining momentum and getting a lot of value out of simple plotlines.

Chris Lilley in Ja'mie: Private School Girl, Episode 5

By restricting this series to only one protagonist, Lilley has challenged himself with a more difficult task. The best parts of this episode were the smaller moments that might have been edited out if Ja’mie’s story was one of many: eg her utterly trivial “rebellion” or Kwami’s quiet devastation at his rejection. Unfortunately the drawbacks of focusing on one character are also increasingly apparent. Lilley works best with simple storylines, straightforward story beats providing a backbone for insightful satire. Four episodes in, there’s simply not enough story to tell, and that’s apparent with the contrived development of Ja’mie’s Skype-sex chat getting onto social media. Not only does it come out of nowhere, it’s also unrealistic: any video like that couldn’t just be “deleted” once it hit Facebook.

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