3.1 The Fashion Show
It’s the start of a brand new year for our zero heroes. Despite being in the upper sixth, they’re still on the lower rung of the social ladder and there’s a new danger on the road!
During the holidays, the imaginary lothario, Jay, has learnt to drive, from watching Top Gear obsessively, it seems. As part of his efforts to raise his image, he’s also pierced his ear (which leads to a few questions about what side indicates your sexual preference), in preparation for the school charity fashion show.
Despite not being asked to participate, Jay is convinced that appearing on the catwalk will be the making of him as a sex symbol and is none too pleased when Simon announces he’s modelling as a favour to his beloved Carli. Neil is keen to get involved also, in a very hands-on backstage capacity.
It’s only Will who voices his objections to the whole thing, declaring it a parade of vanity for the pretty people, of which he isn’t one, not least because he’s still known as the kid who loudly pooed his pants in full view of everyone in the exam halls.
On its third series now, The Inbetweeners is still very much the same show it’s always been. The banter between the boys comes thick and fast as always, they’re still hopeless around girls, and yet, despite all their foibles, are still endearing to watch.
Will, in particular, reveals a massive dickish streak quite often, but the denouement with his crush, Charlotte, doesn’t fail to be moving and is a great example of the show’s more crushing yet tender moments.
Elsewhere, there’s a return of a pupil that not even a serious illness is enough reason to offer sympathy to, as he proves to be an even bigger dick than Will could have imagined. Neil is, as always, totally oblivious to the creeptastic come-ons of ‘paedo’ Kennedy. And there’s a particularly hairy finale that takes some balls to sit through.
Unlike many of the youth-coms found on BBC Three, E4’s The Inbetweeners is written with genuine wit, treading the fine line between broad and cringe worthy comedy, like a teenaged version of the superb Peep Show. What differentiates it from being another Two Pints Of Lager clone is the obvious affection for the four lads and the totally natural and believable shifts in tone.
That this show can swing from mates calling each other benders to seeing an all too painfully real heartbreak effectively portrayed, is a credit to the writing team of Iain Morris and Damon Beesley.
If you’re not a fan of the show, then this opening episode won’t convince you to carry on with the rest of the series, seeing as it sticks to the same formula like glue. But, for the rest of us, we can enjoy the same fantastic mix of vulgarity and tenderness that we’ve come to know and cherish.
The amount of gags and laughs per minute is as dense as its always been, the main cast inhabit their characters fully and, come the third act, there’s a payoff that ties it all up together brilliantly.
So, it’s business as usual for our lovable pack of losers, but on evidence of this first episode, that’s still very much a good thing!
The Inbetweeners airs on E4, Mondays at 10:00pm.