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Review: Inbetweeners Produces Few Sparks

There's a point in the new episode of MTV's "The Inbetweeners" in which a character throws a spade at a tree trunk, it falls to the ground clumsily, and he says "Sometimes it sticks." I feel like the writers were trying to say something about their creative process. This week: it didn't stick.


We open with Simon drawing my ire once again, saying that an M83 song on the radio is "for 12 year old girls." DEATH TO SIMON. In an effort to further alienate me from this show, the gang wonders what on earth a "mixtape" is. Sigh. The mixtape is a gift to Neil from his dad's Australian live-in carpenter (the aforementioned spade thrower), a new age guru wannabe who is the latest in "Neil's dad is gay" red herrings.

Meanwhile, Will's puke-o-rama is brought up again as well -- if all of the gang's previous ventures had been classified as 'social suicide,' what happened at the culmination of last week's episode was 'social setting yourself on fire rolling around in broken glass and rusty nails and then diving headfirst into a vat of acid..-icide.' It was the worst thing ever is what I'm trying to say. Consequently, Will has given up on social anything, and a brief attempt to chase down the valedictorian crown is interrupted by a sudden bout of socially-redeeming heroism. Maybe. It's an odd two minutes or so -- Will is going full-bore for good grades, Will gets a 'B' on a math test, Will puts out a trash-can fire, Will is heralded as a hero, Will is pegged as the prime suspect in setting the blaze... this all happens relatively quickly.

Will's entire story this week is an odd attempt at a dramatic spoof, from the moody lighting to eerie music. I would call it actively bad, but really it just falls flat like the writers forgot to include actual jokes and were hoping the unusual mood would be enough to inspire laughter. It isn't. Probably the only funny part of his side story is that he requests Gene Hackman for his hero's ceremony and gets... Hulk Hogan. Kind of a step down.

For the other half our hapless foursome, love is in the air. The romances sparked in the awful field trip episode carry over to this week, as Jay is dating a middle school girl (not creepy, he's only a freshman himself) while Simon courts the lovely new girl Lauren. Their double-date is a party... unfortunately it's a party thrown by Simon's younger brother, full of gumballs, toy light sabers, and juice boxes.

Really, the only intriguing aspect of this episode is that Simon's new girlfriend Lauren might be a bit of a psycho. It's a slow burn, with her feeling slighted by Carly's calls for his attention from last week developing into full-blown territorial necking this week. Simon's character is finally played for the clueless dork he should be, unwittingly playing both Carly and Lauren's jealousy off one another to greater rewards.

While there are a few moments where the chemistry between the actors is evident, the writing and overall story this week just falls flat. This is especially disappointing since this was one of only two episodes so far that didn't draw inspiration from the UK series, which does not bode well for the writing talents behind the scenes. Hopefully next week picks up.

Final Grade: D+

- Bubba Lewis
- The Inbetweeners (US)

Written by: kyleiam
Oct 16th, 2012, 12:32 am

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