After watching American television for so many years, I sometimes forget how sterile it is. Sure we’ve got vampire sex on True Blood, 1001 new ways to rape someone on Law & Order SVU, and upskirt shots on TMZ, but when was the last time you heard someone casually curse on network TV? Never. I feel like a teenager when I watch British television. Where curse words still feel illicit and there’s always new and improved colorful analogies for the opposite sex’s anatomy. The InBetweeners isn’t racy or outrageous because they’re drug addled rich teenagers who are having rainbow parties. It feels scandalous because it’s about a bunch of nerdy virgins who have the dirtiest potty mouths in all of television, and manage to offend all of those who surround them, and make me pee my pants at the same time.
The InBetweeners tells the story of four friends trying to survive High School as they straddle the line between the popular crowd and the bottom feeders of High School hierarchy. Sure a lot of the scenario’s are a little over-top: trying to get into a night club by borrowing a homeless man’s pair of pissed filled trainers (aka sneakers). But for the most part, it’s just a bunch of kids dealing with teachers, parents, and bullies who draw penises all your cast because your “dad will like it”. You know, kid stuff. And don’t forget about the crushing embarrassment they face each episode mostly due to self-sabotage and painfully awkward situations. This show makes Curb Your Enthusiasm look like a mild awkward date with Jon Cusack. It’s cover your eyes, holy crap I can’t believe you just crapped your pants, kind of embarrassment. And I just eat it up.
Before Ricky Gervais became a household name, and Little Britain brought BBC brand comedy to the mainstream, people could go either way when it came to British comedy. Some still feel it’s too over the top, or the references are too culturally limiting, but half the fun is learning new slang and dirty words. After all, what would my life be without learning the meaning of “clunge”, “minge”, and “slag”.
Obviously the brilliance of the show lies in the chemistry between the four characters, each who bring a little special something to the table. The protagonist of the show, the underdog so to speak, is Will. The overachieving transfer student who’s been dumped into the public school system with just a sweater vest and briefcase to his name. He quickly befriends Simon, the cute but hopeless romantic who’s hair resembles the Statue of Liberty, and Jay: the compulsive liar and supposed sex-fiend. Rounding out their crew is Neil, the dumb puppy of the group, who happily does the bidding of his friends but still somehow manages the score the most fanny on the show. Will is definitely the driving force of the show. His delivery is razor sharp, and his voice-overs sum up each episode with what the group learned or failed to learn in the end. But why take my word for it?, check it out for yourself on the E4 Network, BBC America, or you can do it the broke-ass way and watch on youtube.