The Inbetweeners: The Complete First Season

The Inbetweeners: The Complete First Season
After years of success in its native UK, The Inbetweeners is set to conquer America, starting with an MTV remake this August. And it's about time. The original series premiered back in 2008 and continued to win fans over the course of its three seasons. When the first feature film premiered in the summer of 2011, it surpassed The Hangover Part II to have the biggest opening weekend ever of a comedy in the UK. Despite the large-scale success, The Inbetweeners is at its heart a much smaller story about four suburban teenagers. When Will (Simon Bird) switches to a new school, his awkwardness makes him both stand out and feel at home. Whereas a show like Freaks & Geeks was about two social groups on the fringes of the student body, The Inbetweeners looks at the teenagers who aren't unpopular, but are also far from cool. Case in point: Simon (Joe Thomas), who can't quite make the extra jump into popularity and dating his dream girl. Meanwhile, Jay (James Buckley) overcompensates with boasts about made-up sexual conquests and Neil (Blake Harrison) naively assumes things will just work out. With six 20-odd-minute episodes, however, The Inbetweeners doesn't aim to be nearly as contemplative as Freaks & Geeks. If there's a Judd Apatow comparison to be made, it's Superbad, albeit by way of HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm. The characters in The Inbetweeners rarely concern themselves with actual school matters, instead filling the seemingly endless free time outside the classroom with uninformed plans of how to get laid. If that sounds like a familiar plotline, keep in mind the British sensibility and imagine what it can do for the usually sanitized world of teen shows. As one might expect, the characters experiment with underage drinking, but on this show it leads to one of them throwing up directly onto their crush's kid brother. Which is to say that, refreshingly, the angst is played for laughs, not pining or nostalgia. Let's hope that doesn't get lost in translation when Brad Copeland (Arrested Development) tries bringing it to America. Bonus features appear to be carried over from the original UK release, which finds the cast recording their commentaries while watching some episodes for the first time, before later seasons. Another commentary with series creators Damon Beesley and Iain Morris explores the development of the pilot. The deleted scenes and outtakes don't offer much, but the making-of and video diaries smartly give a video yearbook look at a clever high school show. (eOne)