Tuesday, 12 October 2010

'THE INBETWEENERS' 3.5 - "Home Alone"

Tuesday, 12 October 2010
It's a shame there's rarely a good plot reinforcing episodes of The Inbetweeners, as the show generally just takes an event and spins as many set-pieces from the situation as possible. This week gave us the prospect of Will (Simon Bird) being left home alone, while his mum (Belinda Stewart-Wilson) went on a trip to Bath to meet old college friend Fergus. With Will's house empty, Neil (Blake Harrison), Simon (Joe Thomas) and Jay (James Buckley) came over for a night of debauchery -- if by debauchery you mean planning to masturbating over Will's mum's knickers, eat toast with no plate to catch the crumbs, and vandalize flowers using golf clubs...

The first half of series 3's penultimate episode contained some of the best comedy The Inbetweeners has ever delivered, particularly the incident with Jay trying to run over a crafty squirrel. It was also amusing to see Jay get increasingly desperate to masturbate in peace without the family dog Benji putting him off his stroke, and Neil's enthusiasm when learning Will's mum has photos of herself uploaded to Facebook. And despite being the show's wet blanket, you can't help but sympathize with Will when he's trying to herd his three friends around, imploring them to behave like adults instead of disobedient kids who deface his Facebook page and change the password.

The second half wasn't as strong as the first, as the story's hectic pace fell away and old gags were continued pas the point of hilarity (more flower beheading) and it all got bit silly when the angry neighbour besieged Will's house to give the lads hell for destroying his daffodils. The fact Benji was put down because Jay lied about the dog pooping indoors was also too unbelievable to be darkly funny, and Neil's joke about Simon looking like he has Down's Syndrome because he's wearing a polo shirt with Chinos to play golf was a bad taste misfire.

Still, I can't deny The Inbetweeners is captivating whenever it just lets the four leads bounce off each other, even if there's a feeling that none of it every really amounts to much. It's essentially 30 minutes of ribald silliness, bad behaviour, moaning, pranks, swearing, vandalism, animal cruelty and schoolboy humour. Largely forgettable the next day, but a lowbrow joy as you watch it unfold through a mixture of cringing, slack-jawed disbelief, and fits of juvenile giggles.

  • The taunts about the University Of Lincoln's expense touched a nerve for me, but in a good way. Replying to me on Twitter, co-writer Iain Morris confirmed that the comments throughout this episode weren't malicious, just an injoke for a friend who attended Lincoln University. It's not a "shithole", really.
  • Apologies for the absence of a main photo above, but Channel 4's press website have apparently lost interest this week.
WRITERS: Damon Beesley & Iain Morris
DIRECTOR: Ben Palmer
GUEST CAST: Greg Davies, David Schaal, Victoria Willing, Belinda Stewart-Wilson & Mark Roper
TRANSMISSION: 11 October 2010 -- E4/HD, 10PM