This British series created and written by Damon Beesley and Iain Morris ran for three, six-episode seasons from 2008 to 2010 on Britain’s E4 cable network. The Inbetweeners follows four, male suburban teenagers who have nothing on their minds but (what else) girls and booze. Unfortunately for these blokes, they lack the popularity and social graces necessary to obtain either. Occasionally poignant yet hilariously filthy and awkward throughout, The Inbetweeners capably and unflinchingly explores the myriad humiliations that await each and every one of us as we stumble through our teenage years. Of course, rarely does any single person experience so many of these humiliations as do these four friends, which is ultimately what makes the series so incredibly funny.
The series begins with former private education student, Will, on his first day in public school at Rudge Park Comprehensive. He quickly becomes the most bullied student at Rudge Park and subsequently alienates his entire class by getting them all chucked out of a pub that night after he brings the students’ respective ages to the bartender’s attention. Yet somehow, Will manages to make begrudging friends with outcasts Simon, Neil and Jay along the way. The series develops thereafter along a more character-oriented throughline than by any sort of external, overarching narrative device. This focus on characters allows the otherwise typically-episodic sitcom to achieve a naturalism in spite of its often elaborate comic set pieces. That said, the series does develop a more significant narrative in the third season as the characters become more fully explored and begin seriously dating.
The gratuitousness of the subject matter and language sets the series apart from many other teenage comedies, allowing it to simultaneously achieve more absurd comic proportions, yet present viewers with an honesty regarding the way teenage boys actually talk and think. And although a television series, the vulgarity of the dialogue outperforms even the raunchiest of its American cinematic equivalents including the American Pie series, for example. It’s not uncommon in The Inbetweeners for the character Jay, for instance, to passively refer to girls “foaming at the gash.” And one of Jay’s descriptions of a sex act in the third season was so disgusting, in fact, that I spit pop on myself (or “soda,” depending on your regional origins). Given the vulgarity of the series’ language and some explicit sexual scenarios, I would strongly suggest that the series not be shown to younger viewers, which is to say, viewers younger than the teens depicted in the series.
The 3-DVD Complete Series set of The Inbetweeners from Entertainment One includes behind-the-scenes featurettes and video diaries for each season, a “meet the cast” featurette, a Field Trip featurette on season two as well as an interview with the students’ instructor Mr. Gilbert, a prequel to season three, and deleted scenes and outtakes from each season. I should note, however, that the feature film follow-up to The Inbetweenters, which hit British theaters last year, is not included in Entertainment One’s Complete Series DVD set. Presumably we’ll see that hit DVD here in the coming year.