Press clippings Page 24

I detest E4's excuse for a teen drama, Skins, so I went into The Inbetweeners with some trepidation. Since Shameless (still arguably the best teen drama on TV), Channel 4 has tried (and failed) to replicate its success with Skins and Almost Famous and I assumed this was just another of their attempts to scrape that barrel.

I'm happy to report I was wrong. This was a teen comedy with bathroom humour you'd expect but also the intelligence you perhaps wouldn't. It reminded me a bit of Malcolm in the Middle with the main character starting a new school, teased for being a 'briefcase mong' but desperate for acceptance. It was really funny with the characters completely believable and likeable. These were the teens I've seen and perhaps been and, unlike Skins, it painted a pretty solid picture of sixth form life.

The job of any episode is to make the viewer want to watch the next and this succeeded completely. If you were initially put off because you thought it was another immature teen comedy that would soon be forgotten, you might want to give this one a try. I can see this being a highlight of the week if the standard keeps up.

Luke, The Custard TV, 3rd May 2008

The rude, juvenile comedy in The Inbetweeners proved sharper [than The Invisibles]. Posh sixth-former Will has landed at a suburban comprehensive. At first his classmates hate him, but he blithely ignores their insults and insinuates himself into a group of foul friends. He is a brilliant teenage mix: insouciant, confident, vicious, scared and offended when all the boys fantasise about having sex with his mother. She's so sexy she could be a prostitute, one observes. The actors look so much older than 17.

Every line is polished and nasty. When one dad gives his son £20 for the pub, he asks him, Promise me you won't spend it on the fruit machines. I can't do that, the son replies. Will, frustrated at not being served, tells the barman that the other drinkers are underage (Look at that bum fluff - 16, look at that bra - it's padded), making him even more unpopular.

The second episode began with a disabled girl getting hit in the face with a Frisbee and progressed through (somehow inoffensive) homophobia and Will terrifying a seven-year-old that his parents were about to be vaporised in a dirty bomb in London. The floppy hair and spoddy specs are a disguise. He is, as he said, 'hard', and very, very funny.

Tim Teeman, The Times, 2nd May 2008

E4's first sitcom about a group of cherry-popping quest, is aimed at teens. But the writers are in their 30s and the cast are blatantly in their 20s. Nothing rings true, and there are few proper jokes: flat gross-out humour and age-old geek/bully stuff take their place.

Radio Times, 1st May 2008

Television loves a geek. There's Sid in Skins, while Reaper and Chuck have both given power to the nerd. Now there's Will in The Inbetweeners.

The programme's funny too, in a knowing kind of way. Will (Simon Bird) is the new boy at his local comprehensive and he's not happy. He's there because his parents have divorced and he's had to leave private school. He wears glasses and a blazer and carries a briefcase - he's definitely not too cool for school. Worse, as a newbie, he has to wear a badge saying, "I am Will, stop me and say hello." He does find some mates - the trouble is, all of them are a bit sad and even they don't like him much.

Simon Horsford, The Telegraph, 1st May 2008

The first episode of new E4 comedy The Inbetweeners is rubbish. The second one is brilliant. This review is going to be confusing.

It's actually very funny. You just have to wait until episode two to find out. Once Will befriends a rag-tag bunch of mates - from cheeky Jay, who's 97 per cent haircut, to horny Simon, who thinks alcoholism is a turn-on - it's chuckles-a-go-go.

Aspiration has become the norm for teen TV. The O.C. made you want to smack yourself in the face because you didn't spend your A-levels having angst-ridden chats with girls so beautiful you'd eBay a relative for them to just breathe on you. Even the apparently 'real' Skins makes me feel cheated that my teens weren't a conveyer-belt of 17-year-old waifs begging to service me.

Sound like your 16th year? No. The Inbetweeners nails the disappointment, frustration and friendship perfectly. They don't have the talky emotionĀ­-spew of Skins - they take the piss out of each other. It's not pretty - but it's real.

The London Paper, 30th April 2008

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