3.2 The Gig And The Girlfriend
You have to pity poor Jay, really. Despite being the suburban Casanova in his own head, like the rest of the gang he’s just as big a loser in love. But that doesn’t stop him acting out his fantasies as this episode opens up with him telling the boys about the foursome he had with three playboy models, in a caravan, while his parents slept.
If only Jay could catch a break and have a bisexual page 3 model fall into his lap, but for now he’ll have to make do with his sex- and drug-fuelled fantasy life.
Simon, however, literally does fall into the lap of his new love, the cooler than him Tara, whom he tries to impress by telling her about the time he saw Take That with his mum. In his eagerness to prove to her how cool he is, he claims he can bring along some puff to a gig that Friday night. Will, however, doesn’t approve of all this drugs nonsense and, ironically, gets on his high horse bellowing his disapproval.
Inbetweeners has been called the anti-Skins in the past and that’s never been more true than in this episode. While Freddy and Effy would have been sexily puffing away on a spliff, Will and the gang have difficulty even managing to skin up in the first place. When Jay actually does manage to bag some proper gear (after being accused of being a racist in a nice turn from rapper turned comic Doc Brown), he has to ask the dealer to do it for him like a 3-year-old who can’t do his shoelaces up.
In the Bristol-dwelling Skins, a joint being smoked is signified by the camera going into soft focus while ‘Chill Out club hits 2003’ plays, with plenty of long lingering shots of a lit roll-up that turn it into a perverse twist on a Marks & Spencer’s food ad. In the suburbs of Inbetweeners, it just makes Will get up on a stage and recite beat poetry.
Throughout this episode, there are some great little moments: Tara talking to Simon, who sits agape unable to believe his luck, Jay, as the most pathetic buyer of weed ever, and Neil enjoying his heady mixture of Ribena, red wine, cough mixture and sleeping pills. When Simon finally manages to hit it off with Tara, you’ll be curled up in revulsion as well as letting go of perhaps your biggest belly laugh of all night.
Ex-Hollyoaks star Hannah Tointon as Tara is a great addition to the gang of four. She’s more than able to hold her own in a verbal sparring match and possesses the kind of confidence the lads wish they had. Well, maybe Neil does or it could be total obliviousness. It’s hard to tell. But as the first girl who’s not meant to be a distant prospect, she’s already more fleshed out than the other love of Simon’s life, Carli D’Amato, and is the female foil for the boys that the show needed.
Again, the Inbetweeners manages to show, even with the lashings of gross-out humour, why it’s one of the best sitcoms currently on TV. There are some great character scenes and the final act descends into the usual quiet chaos you’ve come to expect.
Like a big dose of the munchies, this episode will have you craving more.
Read our review of the third season opener, The Fashion Show, here.