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In this song, Green Day detail the life and times of a so-called Jesus of Suburbia, the fictional protagonist of American Idiot. His real name is Jimmy, which is revealed in the extended music video when a girl calls him that and in the cut version of the video when he writes "Saint Jimmy" on a bathroom stall.

The name "Jesus of Suburbia" may just mean he is the savior of the rebels in suburbia. He is a resident of Jingletown, USA, and the son of a divorced mother. His younger years were spent on a "steady diet of soda pop and Ritalin", watching television, using drugs, and loitering in front of convenience stores. Although everything seems alright at first, Jimmy feels trapped and bored in Jingletown and longs for escape, as he narrates in "City of the Damned".

In a coming of age move, Jimmy leaves Jingletown by the end of the song to explore The City. His exploits in The City are not described in this song, but are described in greater detail in the rest of the album, especially in "Holiday" and "Boulevard of Broken Dreams". Nevertheless, to describe the essence of the personality of Jimmy, Green Day proclaims, "I'm the son of rage and love. The Jesus of Suburbia, from the bible of none of the above, on a steady diet of soda pop and ritalin…"

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