Ah, the caravan club. Fans of the UK version of "The Inbetweeners" point to this camper-themed episode as an early highlight of an already-hilarious series. Seeing the previews of the new episode last week, I did not envy the stateside showrunners having to attempt to recreate the magic for US audiences.
But here we are, bucket-on-Will's-head and all, with the seventh episode of the series "Crystal Springs." Recreating an episode is such a tricky act, as it invites comparison both good and bad to the original and ignites flame wars on message boards the world over with both sides vehemently defending their respective favorite. You might think I have some experience with that or something...
Anyway, throughout the series Jay has alluded to his family's experiences in their RV resort adventures as rife with the type of ribaldry and hedonism that only a horny teenager could dream up. This week the gang decides to call his bluff and see what all the fuss is about.
Let's get the bad news out of the way first: the writers really need to make Simon less like a serial killer. He's an awkward teenager hopelessly in love with the girl next door and this manifests itself in strange ways, but when those "strange ways" are things like wishing her boyfriend died... it's a little creepy. This is a running theme throughout the series so far, and I fear I'll be bringing it up in every review.
The good news: pretty much everything else. This is, hands-down, the funniest episode of the season, deftly mixing some of the jokes from the UK series with plenty of original material. Jay's growing frustration at the gang stealing his jokes was a definite highlight of the latter, and the actor's comedic timing is spot on.
"The Inbetweeners" is definitely deserving of some wider recognition. Kudos to the writers for some great original material -- personally, I can't wait until they start to venture further from the UK series and we get something uniquely its own.
Final Grade: A