The Inbetweeners: The Complete Series
I watch a bunch of British sitcoms, and although they are written by different writers, they have a particular feel to them. Most of them play upon awkwardness and cleverness in a low-key way, even if their worlds are ridiculously heightened. “The Inbetweeners” has that, too, but seems more American than any of the others I’ve watched.
It’s not fair to quickly call this “Superbad: The TV Show,” but that’s more of a compliment than pigeonholing. Four friends try to survive high school while desperately trying to succeed with the fairer sex with raunchy conclusions. There’s Will, the uptight “posh” protagonist who is eager to finally be cool; Simon wants to be with his childhood crush but can never understand when he’s being strung along; Jay is a habitual liar, always trying to make himself seem more experienced; and Neil, the smiling idiot who is completely empty inside but the most authentic.
In three seasons, they take on familiar plotlines, like them trying to get into bars or hoping to pass their exams. Yet every episode has at least two or three solid twists that sink the four into further depravity. Every time this happens, it results in strong hilarity. Especially in the first season, I had at least one strong loud laugh per episode. Like “Superbad,” it draws people in with its creative crassness. Since all four leads are so well developed, there is necessary heart to each moment. The humor comes from not wanting them to experience these terrible situations, but of course, they do.
As with a lot of British shows, this never lost traction because there weren’t that many episodes. Three seasons only constitutes 18 episodes. While I thought the first season was just a touch more subtle, the next two seasons were still among the stronger comedies I’ve seen recently. If it went on any longer, I would grow impatient about how much they couldn’t romantically move forward. Seeing them in college would be awful because the show was about capturing the absurd frustration of youth.
Since this was a big critical and popular hit in the U.K., of course the U.S. wants to adapt it. The MTV remake will be on TV this September, and I can’t imagine it not failing. They tried this a year ago with “Skins,” another British hit involving teenagers. Both “Skins” and “The Inbetweers” are beloved because of their authenticity. Their leads swear like crazy, talk about sex, have sex and use drugs. It’s all they want to do. Watering them down loses all of the magic of the show.
After the show ended, there was a theatrical movie, which I haven’t seen yet. I believe it will play in America in August. This is the perfect time to catch up with this excellent series that already has a strong following on this side of the Atlantic.
The complete series includes a lot of little bonus features that are fun to watch because the cast is clearly having a blast putting this show together.
Season One: 4.5 Yaps
Season Two: 4 Yaps
Season Three: 4.5 Yaps
Extras: 4 Yaps
I can’t embed this, but this clip is a great example of the show’s humor. It does have strong language … like the rest of the show.