Few Brit comedies could be as riotous and raunchy as The Inbetweeners. Through three seasons from 2008, the show gave us hilarious entertainment as we became scopophilic over four Pom teenagers. Each season consists of six episodes which run for roughly twenty-five minutes. While a teen sex comedy on the surface, the programme touches on some key social issues. These include growing up in naughties UK, sexual tension among teens, cramming for exams, bad cafeteria food, and scheming about the opposite sex. We witness them as they get their driving licenses, celebrate their birthdays, own their first cars, drink their first lager…you get my drift.
Welcome to Rudge Park
As mentioned, the series follows the lives of four British men in sixth form. The series takes place at the fictional Rudge Park Comprehensive. At the onset, Will is the newbie, trying to fit in and gather some friends. He meets constant disappointment along the way until he meets Simon. After sticking with him like a glove, he and Si become good mates. Si also introduces him to his dim-witted pals: Jay, the boastful one, and the equally unintelligent Neil. Will is different from the boys as he can be a nerdy prude; the glasses complete the look. During one particular episode, he is seen studying for the exam while other takers are mucking around. On the day, he remembers nothing and chokes as he considers the test paper. Like the rest of the lads, he has an awful record in wooing women. The programme operates using crude humour to great effect. From panties to body parts, the abject to raging hormones, Inbetweeners is never one to shy away from controversy.
The show is full of pranks with Jay often being the culprit. The latter often yaps but couldn’t walk the talk. In many cases, he does this to fool his mates and leave them in unenviable scenarios. During Neil’s birthday, his dad gives him a bike as a present. The gang then heads to the shop to pick it up. While sizing up the ride, Jay lets slip that he is a professional motocross driver. He barely listens as the assistant gives him directions on how to use it. He then turns it on…before smashing into a wall. The point of hanging with the dudes is to score some clunge. Jay is expert on patrol. Being a raunchy comedy, there are a number of hook-ups in the series. Jay’s heart is notably broken, while the rest have varying degrees of success with the birds. Even parents are not safe from the group, as Neil’s dad is seen as a ‘pedo’ while Will’s mum gets constant attention, even from the principal.
The writers made it a point to avoid stagnancy. The school may be the staple, which includes Gilbert, the indomitable principal, and Donovan, the pesky bully. The group makes it a point to pester Gilbert, who is only too happy to dish out detention. The Gilbert character reminds us a bit of Professor Snape in Harry Potter. He is stern to a fault with his subjects but doesn’t mind bending the rules for his own cause. Regardless, the show sees the foursome go on trips to a caravan park, to an amusement park, to go fishing, and to London. They head to Will’s house, to Carli’s house, to a shopping mall and cinema. The transport is often a joke, like Will’s yellow bug – a gift from his dad. In case you missed it, the car has one red door. Will has a massive crush on his classmate Carli, though he gets constantly busted. More than once, the advice he gets from Jay on women, lets him down. The girlish car begets many laughs, seeing them squashed in like that. Further along, Neil’s own wheels was just as comic.
Will holds the distinction of being the narrator. He does a fair bit of voice-over during each episode. At the end of every ep, he summarises the events for the viewer. Of course, none of the four were teenagers during the series. Jay’s improbable stories and the ensuing disasters make for wild viewing. These blokes keep comparing war stories that we just marvel at their absurdity. Sure, they do not have the evidence to back their claims. When Si gets a match, the three of them foil him. One time they join him all the way to Bristol. Will himself would go out of his way just to get some clunge. If this means helping out at a nursing home for two shifts, then so be it. Ironically, plain and gullible Neil is the one who gets the action.
Here to stay
While all four have their flaws, together they are a winning combo. That is one heavy theme we could cull from the show. Though all of them may suffer heartbreak at some point, they always have each other. The Inbetweeners may be a decade gone, and there have been two movies since. I sat with my friend for the second one, which I found highly unoriginal (with a few laughs). The show’s protagonists have since gotten married and settled down. However, teenage angst, rebelling against a system, and learning things together, is here to stay. As a final note, the show I’ve seen that comes closest would be American Vandal.