The Inbetweeners (American version) Review
It’s not very good. I wouldn’t bother if I were you. Watch the mid- series finale of Breaking Bad again instead. That was so awesome! Remember the bit where…..What?
Okay we’ve been informed that we can’t turn this review into a discussion on Breaking Bad and that we’ll have to just suck it up and talk about this mediocre show. So here goes:
Converting a successful British comedy for an American audience is a delicate and tricky process. We’re not saying that Americans can’t make good comedy, anyone who believes this deserves to be beaten to death with a box set of 30 Rock or Community, but the particulars of British humour often don’t translate well.
So when MTV announced that they were remaking the smash-hit British comedy “The Inbetweeners” the world understandably reacted as if they’d just bragged about tea-bagging a granny. They were not happy. The first trailer for the U.S series got so many down votes that you’d swear it was a TED talk titled “Why sleeping with all of your mothers was so ultimately unfulfilling”.
Nonetheless we here at CHUNK like to at least watch something before we tear it to pieces which is why this week we sat down and watched the first three episodes of the U.S series. Yeah, we know there’s four episodes out so far but we’re not willing to put ourselves through that much torture for the sake of a few jokes.
So let’s get down to business:
Is it any good?: It depends…wait, no it doesn’t. It’s pretty mediocre either way but if you’ve never seen the original version then I’d imagine that it would be more watchable. If you have seen the original version then there is absolutely no reason why you’d need to watch this because it has the exact same script.
A good remake will keep the best of the original while modifying the fine details to make it accessible to its new audience. This, evidently, was too much work for the writers so they settled for just hitting ctrl+c and ctrl+v and then replacing “wank” with “jerk off” before calling it a day.
The first episode is a mash up of the first two of the British series, where Will goes to his new school and then goes on the mitch with his new friends and the second show is exactly the same as the Thorpe Park episode except with more annoying accents. The third is the “London” episode but to be honest we got bored and switched it over to Eggheads by that point.
To be fair all the jokes from the original series are still funny. Simon spray painting Carly’s drive, the boys slagging Neil for having a gay dad and Jay’s blatant lies about his sex life are all still there it’s just that you’ll have heard all the jokes before and they were much better the first time around.
Maybe it wouldn’t be so noticeable if both shows weren’t working off almost identical scripts but this seems more like a low budget stage production of the British series rather than a comedy in its own right. Remember when you and your mates spent hours calling each other “bus-wankers” after watching the London episode? Well it wasn’t that funny then and it’s not really that funny when these lads try it.
The four main characters do their best but don’t really measure up to the breakout talent of the the UK series. The guy playing Simon is particularly good but only, I suspect, because he chose to do a straight-up impression of Joe Thomas from English version. American Will also shows some promise but doesn’t really pull off the biting, sarcastic wit that made the character so popular on this side of the Atlantic. Neil is pretty much the same dumb, cheerful soul but for some reason the producers decided to give him a 70s era Led Zeppelin haircut.
Jay is particularly disappointing since he was the fan-favourite from the original. The American version is just as vulgar and conceited but has none of James Buckley’s comic timing or like-ability. Also, I’m pretty sure hearing him say “bus-turds” instead of the aforementioned, iconic “bus-wankers” broke my heart a little inside.
The one bright point of this whole exercise is that watching it inspired us to dig out our boxset of the original series. We’d advise anyone who was planning on watching this to the same.
*** *** ***
This piece comes in from CHUNK fan Richy Craven.
See his last offering here