A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What 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."
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
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