“The Inbetweeners” complete UK series review

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My friends had told me about this show. I knew it was a comedy, but oh my lord I found it far funnier than I could have ever imagined. This viewpoint came from watching just one episode. It’s definitely one of my favourite shows, and I demand you to watch it right now if you haven’t.

The Inbetweeners is a British sitcom that focuses on four teenage boys living in the British suburbs, who go to school at Rudge Park Comprehensive. The series begins when Will Mckenzie (Simon Bird) starts his first day at the school. Will is the central character and the show’s narrator, and had moved to the comprehensive school after his parents divorced, as his mother could no longer afford private schooling. The friends he chooses to be associated with (Simon, Jay and Neil) aren’t popular, but they aren’t geeks either, placing their social standing in the middle, which is where the show’s title comes from; they are “the inbetweeners”.

Will is the most sensible of the group, although arguably considered the most boring. This doesn’t stop him from making bad choices and suffering from what I like to call “Bad Luck Brian” syndrome. He also makes his fair share of offensive remarks and upsets/annoys/angers a lot of people throughout the series with his actions. He wants to be accepted, being aware of his lack of coolness. He also wants to get in a good university and get laid.

Simon Cooper (Joe Thomas), like the other boys, was reluctant to become friends with Will, but decides he is alright when Will was the only one not to make fun of him. He has had a crush on the beautiful Carli D’Amato for many years, and the relationship between the two is explored in many episodes, as Simon can’t seem to stop thinking about her.  Many of his decision making involves him trying to impress her or avoid being humiliated in front of her. He is one of the kindest of the four boys, and Will is closer to him than the others.

Every time I hear or see James Buckley, I keep thinking of The Beatles from when I saw them in A Hard Day’s Night. Sorry, that’s irrelevant. Anyway, he plays Jay Cartwright, who is based on that guy we all know in school who makes up bullshit stories of their sexual conquests that are either extremely exaggerated or are just utterly untrue. Will is the one who has the hardest time believing anything that Jay says, while Neil nearly always believes it. His stories, true or not, are highly entertaining regardless, and he likes to make fun of the others with his highly offensive British tongue.

The dumb one is Neil Sutherland, played by Blake Harrison. He’s gullible and simple minded. While he often joins in on ridiculing the others, he also can be quite friendly and seems to be less selfish than the others. He is the least developed character on the show, which is fine because he is there to be funny. Despite not being as obsessed with sex as the others, Neil is by far the most successful in his encounters with girls. He has a habit of saying the funniest things at the right times.

Other characters include Carli D’Amato (Emily Head), Simon’s main love interest; Mr. Gilbert (Greg Davies), the very cynical head of sixth form, who seems to hate his job and the students he is supposed to be responsible for; Charlotte Hinchcliffe (Emily Atack), the most popular girl in the school; Mark Donovan (Henry Lloyd-Hughes), the school bully who becomes Will’s nemesis from the start; and the family members of the four boys.

There is a lot of swearing on this show, as you would imagine teenage boys to speak, with lots of rude sexual slang and derogatory terms. I love British comedies, and the British background of this show certainly seems to work in its favour. Some of my favourite quotes contain British slang, and like fellow British comedies The Office and Extras, there are extremely funny awkward moments and strong comic timing. All of the main characters are incredibly funny and interesting.

The episodes involve the boys doing typical teenage boy things, such as going to parties, trying to get laid, participating in underage drinking and pulling stunts to improve their social status in the school. Poor decision making by the characters as well as bad luck and social awkwardness usually leads to extremely embarrassing and awkward outcomes. As all of us who have been to high school knows, skipping school, going camping, getting with the popular girl, going clubbing, studying for exams, going camping, dating and having sex for the first time doesn’t always end in the way we wanted it too, as the inbetweeners find out.

Anyone who is familiar with British shows would be aware that a very small amount of episodes is produced in each year’s series (known as “season” in Australia and the USA).  Most UK shows produce six episodes a series whereas American shows produce approximately twenty to twenty-four a season. The Inbetweeners ran from 2008 to 2010, producing three series of six episodes, totalling to eighteen, which is less than one season of most American shows. This is because most British shows have one or two writers, whereas American shows have many writers. The good thing about this is that The Inbetweeners didn’t overstay its welcome, and that unlike watching an entire American series such as Friends (ten seasons with approximately twenty-two episodes each), you can watch all the episodes in a short period of time (I stopped watching Friends about halfway through as it was taking up too much time and I never got round to finishing it). You can also watch the episodes all over again. I mean, I wanted to watch Seinfeld again from the start, but will I ever? Probably not, it’s too much of a time investment. Not only do I love The Inbetweeners, but with just eighteen episodes and all of them being great, I’ll have time to watch them again. I’m not trying to say I don’t like shows that have over a hundred episodes, because I love How I Met Your Mother and 30 Rock at the moment, but watching all those episodes takes a lot of time.

So, let’s look at the facts. The Inbetweeners is one of my favourite shows, and I find it as funny as The IT Crowd, also one of the funniest shows I’ve seen. There are only eighteen episodes, meaning it won’t take too long to watch them all. That would be my only criticism, which is a completely unfair one as I just wish there were more episodes. There is not a single bad episode; in fact, all of them are great, so on the other hand, the show ended on a high note. Oh, but there is The Inbetweeners Movie, which I haven’t had the privilege of seeing yet but I’m sure I’ll enjoy it as a massive fan. I’ll be sure to review it too. There’s also that American version which I hadn’t heard good things about, and the trailer I saw made my blood boil a little, but that’s not part of the real Inbetweeners canon.

To sum up, all episodes are fantastic. Hilarious characters that say hilarious things and get involved in hilarious situations that end hilariously. If you are looking for a good comedy, you’ve come to the right place. The Inbetweeners is rude and – for high school students past and present – it feels incredibly true to life. The British humour shines admirably. You must watch this show!

I rate the entire show, as in Series One, Two and Three, a perfect score of 5 out of 5.

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