• STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning

    Will (Simon Bird) is a privately educated, well spoken young man who for reasons beyond his own control is moved to a state comprehensive school, where his middle class mannerisms and appearance gain him a less than warm welcome from the other pupils. However, he soon makes some new 'friends' in the shape of Jay (James Buckley) a rather unpleasant young man with a disturbing obsession with all things sexual, Neil (Blake Harrison) a gormless looking young man whose father displays unfortunate homosexual tendencies and Simon (Joe Thomas) the most well rounded of the trio and their only means of getting around with his 'sh!tty little yellow car', the uncoolest yellow vehicle in a British sitcom since Del Boy's Reliant Robbin. We follow this comically mismatched group around as they stumble from one misadventure to another with hilarious consequences.

    It's interesting to note the path British sitcoms have taken in the last thirty years or so, from being the sort of stuff you could comfortably show repeats of on daytime telly nowadays to the alternative comedy that tends to find it's slot late at night on Channel 4. Art imitates life, though, not the other way round, and so this is really just a reflection on changing social attitudes and society in general more than anything. And so we have The Inbetweeners, which hits you like a hammer with it's sheer excessiveness, which, shockingly just makes it even funnier.

    It's actually quite a high concept idea of a posh looking/speaking young man and placing him with ordinary looking teenagers of today, and even more subversive to make everything so gratuitous. But clever writing makes this show as much as anything else, coming mainly from Bird's continuous voice overs each episode, where he runs over the pratfalls of everything the group have found themselves in with a great condescending tone. A running trade mark of the show is for him to let rip at the end at how ridiculous or unfair something he has got caught up in is (apart from one where he launches some drunken homophobic abuse at Neil's dad!) as well as to have a recap at the end of each episode on the events that have just gone past where the most hilarious line ('inconsiderate arseholes', 'bumder!', 'will you stop staring at my t!ts?') somehow hits home all the harder.

    A relentless onslaught of foul language, crude sexual referencing, cynical cruelty and outrageous indecency, The Inbetweeners is a thoroughly depressing, but well written and very funny, reflection of young people today. Well, some...****