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The Inbetweeners on BBC America

Episode Summary




Americans often tend to think of the British as being “classier” – more polished, more erudite, more cultured -- than their fellow Americans. This is due in no small part to popular culture. In the past, American television tended to showcase portrayals of the British in precisely this way, due to the legacy of film adaptations of British literary works on TV programs like Masterpiece Theater. The program Monty Python’s Flying Circus gave many Americans their first introduction to Brits as zany and off-beat. But now, basic cable network BBC America is offering U.S. citizens proof that British programming can be every bit as crude and depraved as anything offered by FX or Spike – as witnessed by its “comedy” series The Inbetweeners (Wednesdays, 9:00 p.m. ET), the Worst Cable TV Show of the Week.


Focusing on a group of foul-mouthed, pathetic 17-year-olds and their alcoholic binges, fights, mutual putdowns and attempts at sex, The Inbetweeners is essentially Skins without the pretentions to drama. One recent episode opened with lead character Will, who is marginally less of a moron than his three wastrel friends, opining, “The local park. Where people come to play football, hang out with their friends, and most importantly, let their dogs s***.” As the four play frisbee, one spots a girl with whom he is infatuated. “Look at that jugg-o-saurus!” he exclaims, as his friend replies, “S***!” They then seek to impress the girl by throwing their frisbee into the face of a woman in a wheelchair (or a “spastic,” as this sensitive foursome describes her).


The rest of the episode is all downhill from there, as Will and his fellow idiots exchange further insults (“I’m off home.” “To wank off over your mum’s bras?...Can I have a go?”), then decide to skip school the next day and illegally buy liquor, as they argue over whether one’s father is a “bender” (gay). “Your mum left him because he loves (bleeped ‘c***’),” one states. Back comes the defense: “He’s got hundreds of porn mags, all of them straight! Well, some lesbian.” “I bet it’s 90% (bleeped ‘c***’),” one friend mumbles.


The show follows the filth-filled foursome as they flounder about, describing “wanking” over each others’ mothers, losing their virginity, getting girls to “strum” themselves, and so forth. When the allegedly gay father returns home to find the quartet drunk, Will subjects him to a torrent of abuse:
“You’d like my lip, wouldn’t you – right ‘round your bell end! If Mr. Chip here doesn’t get there first. What is he here to build – a closet you can hide in?”


In the rest of the episode, one of the boys tries to impress the girl with whom he is infatuated by asking her to masturbate in front of him, then spraying her little brother with the vomit that spews out of his mouth. The episode ends with two of the boys accusing the allegedly gay father of sexually molesting them.


Unsurprisingly, this stomach-churning concoction of vomit, crude sex humor and near-constant profanity has drawn rave reviews from “critics.” The Inbetweeners has been nominated for a BAFTA, the British equivalent of the Emmys; one British newspaper writer claims the show “captures the feel of adolescence perfectly;” and BBC America touts the show with one column’s assessment, “a hilarious high-school coming-of-age comedy.”


U.S. parents may feel differently, particularly when Midwestern children stumble on the program at 8 p.m. And, of course, many cable and satellite subscribers have the privilege of subsidizing the program, as BBC America is on the basic tier of most systems.  Unfortunately, this network seems intent on shoving the depraved programming apparently so popular among British teens onto Americans as well.


For forcing Americans to pay for crudity and foul language, BBC America’s The Inbetweeners is the Worst Cable TV Show of the Week.


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