Ja'mie: Private School Girl
By Kari Croop,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Razor-sharp school satire is super edgy and salty.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show is a parody of everything it seems to celebrate, including privilege, vanity, selfishness, cruelty, superficiality, and bullying. But kids run the risk of missing the joke.
Positive Role Models
Ja'mie is selfish, shallow, manipulative, vain, mean, materialistic, and at times even racist. Basically, she's an absolutely terrible role model.
Violence & Scariness
Ja'mie pushes and shoves younger students and bullies a group of students she calls "Boarders." She also verbally abuses her mother and sister.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters talk about sexual acts and use sexually charged slang (from "d--k" to "p---y"). Lesbianism also is used as an insult, with some characters calling others "Lesbianese" or "vagitarians."
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Frequent unbleeped swearing includes words such as "t-ts" and "p---y," plus "f--k" used as a noun, adjective, and verb -- you name it. Characters also use insults such as "fat bitch" and accuse others of being lesbians.
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Products & Purchases
Brand names don't pop up as much as you'd expect, but characters occasionally mention expensive products (such as an iPad).
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
At a party with essentially no adult supervision, teens drink from red plastic cups that likely contain alcohol.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that, although Ja'mie: Private School Girl is a satire, it's so well done that many teens will probably miss the point entirely. In the meantime, they'll be immersed in a world of coarse language (from "f--k" to "t-ts" and "p---y"), withering insults (including "fat bitch"), and terrible role models with shallow values who are everything you don't want your daughters to be. Characters also engage in bullying, underage drinking, and iffy online activities, including the exchange of crass texts and "d--k pics."
Where to Watch
Based on 1 parent review
Typical teenage humour for age 13 and up
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What's the Story?
Australian writer-actor Chris Lilley steps into the expensive shoes of a privileged teenager to play JA'MIE: PRIVATE SCHOOL GIRL in this HBO mockumentary series chronicling Ja'mie's final few weeks of high school. She's the queen bee at the exclusive Hillford Girls Grammar School on the North Shore of Sydney, Australia, which means that everyone -- even her parents -- must bow to her whims. But if she wants to win the school's prestigious Hillford medal, she must also convince her principal that she's a model student.
Is It Any Good?
If red flags were literal rather than figurative, Ja'mie: Private School Girl would look like a small-screen massacre. Which is our way of saying that this shrewd satire is so spot-on that it's absolutely horrible for your kids. Lilley's Ja'mie, the queen-bee-to-the-extreme he's played previously in other series such as Summer Heights High, is a tongue-in-cheek critique of the extremes of modern girl culture. But what's impressive -- and a little scary -- is how squarely he nails it.
Aside from the show's minefield of F-bombs and insults ("Go f--king fist yourself!"), iffy content runs the gamut from Ja'mie's homophobic bullying to her use of African immigrants as targets for her "charity" (and sources of cheap labor). But the real question parents should ponder is whether teen viewers will see Ja'mie's antics for the artful satire they're intended to be or, rather, as instructive of what a teen girl should be.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about satire and how it can be used to make a point while making people laugh. Does Ja'mie: Private School Girl celebrate or skewer the culture of teen privilege it parodies? How can you tell?
How closely does Ja'mie: Private School Girl reflect the lives of actual high-school girls, particularly in terms of bullying and social politics? Are we meant to look up to Ja'mie, or is she an obvious example of how not to behave? Are most kids discerning enough to know the difference?
How does social media play into real-life high school politics? How have Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms affected the way we interact with our peers?
- Premiere date: October 23, 2013
- Cast: Chris Lilley
- Network: HBO
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: High School
- TV rating: TV-MA
- Last updated: October 14, 2022
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Where to Watch
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