New Aussie drama Bad Behaviour gives us a complex portrayal of girlhood and queer stories

Feb 24, 2023
Dimitris Passas

NOTE: This article is a republication- Source: The Conversation (by Emma Maguire).

Bad Behaviour is a gritty, intense psychological drama that follows the haunting teenage experience of now 20-something Joanna Mackenzie (Jana McKinnon), who revisits the year she spent on scholarship at Silver Creek.

The exclusive girls’ boarding school, in the remote Australian wilderness, fosters independence, strength and resilience through survivalism and marathon training.

With teachers located off campus, the quiet, sensitive Jo soon finds herself in an environment more Lord of the Flies than kumbaya.

Jo and her classmates are tormented by charismatic bully Portia (Markella Kavenagh). Soon finding herself in the favour of the cruel and unpredictable Portia, the two begin a highly charged, intimate friendship. Jo experiences the first inklings of her queer sexual awakening.

When Portia suddenly moves on to a new bestie, Jo, now on the outer, never recovers from the rejection.

Driving the story is the mystery of Jo’s role in the suffering of Alice Kang (Yerin Ha), a fellow scholarship student.

Alice is the target of relentless and severe bullying. The first episode opens with her in tears, setting herself alight. Flash forward to the present where she is a successful cellist performing at the concert hall where Jo works as a cleaner and cocktail waiter.

Jo’s surprise meeting with Alice is the catalyst for her distressing mental revisitation of Silver Creek.

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