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Tuesday, 18 January 2011

...Because There's Nothing Really Wrong With Being A Bit Of A Loser, It There?

Television has a very strange view of what it's like to be young in Britain today. It's either drugs and orgies, wild parties and model looks - as seen in the hugely factually inaccurate Skins or miserable council estate going-nowheres with alcoholic parents and a penchant for petty crime - again, largely factually inaccurate and hugely unfair. I can't relate to either group. It seems that TV's representations of young people work hard to make you feel either happy that you're not one of the Gallagher kids or completely left out of the apparently electric social lives of the Skins crowd. And then something happened. Something arrived.

The Inbetweeners. Accurately portraying that little group at school who were far too cool to hang about with the nerds, but not at all cool enough to be popular in their own right. Literally walking in the no-man's land of the education system's social battlefield and taking fire from both sides. Right in the face. And often.

Constantly on the look out for "clunge" (for which read "the love of a good woman") yet never really getting any, the characters in The Inbetweeners are as accurately played as possible - without being uninteresting. I relate to Simon's borderline-stalker-like fascination with Carly. I had a crush just like that all through school... I relate to Will's apparent outsider status. I relate to Jay's constant exaggerations, nothing harmful - just a manifestation of a sensitive soul's deep want for attention and affection. And I relate to Neil's secret successes. I AM all four characters. Or, I should say, all four are a fractured caricature of my high school self, (potential romantic interests need not worry, I've grown up a lot since then).

Okay, so the show itself is so OTT that the things that happen in it, if they happened in real life, would destroy any young male's life. From vomiting over the object of your desire's younger brother, to getting so stressed about exams that you shit yourself during them... I've done neither, but it's the little things that stand out as the EVENTS. The jibes, the asides, the excruciatingly shameful accidents, the experimentation and the absolute know-fuck-all cluelessness when it comes to any aspect of "wooing the fairer sex" - I'm not proud of the fact, but seeing others squirming as much as I used to, even if only in fiction, makes me smile and feel better about myself.

If you've never seen it, please lower yourself and catch up. All three series are available to watch, for free, on SeeSaw. Switch off your brain and switch on your cringe-gland. It's filled with fantastically harrowing performances from Simon Bird (Will), Joe Thomas (Simon), James Buckley (Jay), Blake Harrison (Neil), Greg Davies (Mr Gilbert, head of Sixth) and many more! It's real laugh out loud telly and I rarely actually 'LOL' at comedy.

Ex-Public-Schoolboy Will is the heart of the show; we're retold his experiences of moving to a state comprehensive in linking narrations throughout the episodes - to great effect. Each of the four main leads are essentially good people with no clue. 

Since the episodes are only 22 minutes long (without the ads) you can watch a whole series in one sitting. And believe me, you will. If you like this sort of thing you'll love The Inbetweeners... If you think it's childish and immature, or too crude, you'll secretly love it. And it is crude. This is not one to watch with Granny. Unless she, like my Mum, would laugh at a teenager taking to a school fashion show catwalk in speedos and a top hat, with his testicle poking out the leg-hole... And there's a movie coming out this August, too - so expect even bigger laughs there! Honestly, I've never laughed so much as I do at this show. And I thought I was pretty sophisticated!