It's about time! Of all the British sitcoms that I've watched through the years (and there have been more than I can count), I never understood why "The Inbetweeners" hadn't received more notoriety or even a proper DVD release for North American audiences. Finally, I'm thrilled that Entertainment One is correcting this egregious oversight. This program, in my opinion, has enormous cross-over appeal and is one of the better coming-of-age efforts that you're likely to encounter. It miraculously manages to feel both truthful and absolutely absurd and that's not easy to do! Featuring a quartet of prep school boys navigating the road to adulthood, the show plays to similar themes that we've seen countless times in other TV shows and movies. But with sharp writing and a spot-on cast, these misadventures seem refreshingly original. Bawdy and crude, the screenplays also succeed with smarts and wit. That's why I really love this show. It's quality entertainment masquerading as lowbrow humor, but it's more biting and daring and absolutely merciless than most conventional TV fare.
The four friends at the center of "The Inbetweeners" aren't quite in the popular crowd, but they still aspire to make their mark. To do so, however, they will face countless humiliations. There is no plan that they can't derail, no situation that they can't make awkward. By trying too hard to fit in, they stick out even further. Just like real life. Early episodes revolve around Will (the impeccable Simon Bird) as he transfers to a new school and ends up with an equally maladjusted trio played by James Buckley, Blake Harrison, and Joe Thomas. Buckley life is filled with bravado and big stories as he constantly brags about sexual escapades that seem rather unlikely. Harrison is the requisite dimwit, hilarious in his offbeat view of the world. And Thomas spends much of his time pining for a girl who has been a lifelong friend. When Bird enters the scene, he thinks he is above it all but soon becomes the target of bullies which pushes him into the new social circle. You believe these four could be actual friends, and each actor perfectly embodies his role.
The Complete Series consists of three seasons worth of episodes. This being British TV, however, each season is only comprised of 6 episodes. So here you are getting a total of 18 episodes at about 24 minutes each for a total package for over 7 hours.
Season One: (1) The First Day, (2) Bunk Off, (3) Thorpe Park, (4) Girlfriend, (5) Caravan Club, and (6) Xmas Party.
Season Two: (1) The Field Trip, (2) Work Experience, (3) Will's Birthday, (4) Night Out In London, (5) The Duke of Edinburgh Awards, and (6) Exam Time.
Season Three: (1) The Fashion Show, (2) The Gig and The Girlfriend, (3) Will's Dilemma, (4) Trip to Warwick, (5) Will is Home Alone, and (6) Camping Trip.
I truly love this show and give it the highest recommendation possible. It was twice nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Comedy, Bird was nominated twice as Best Actor and Buckley picked up one nod. Simon Bird, in fact, won two British Comedy Awards for this role and the show picked up that top prize for its 2010 season. Hilarious and occasionally heartfelt, you'll identify with these boys more than you'll care to admit. One of my favorites. KGHarris, 4/12.