What made British sitcom “The Inbetweeners” (E4, 2008) such a success?

The Inbetweners

What made the British sitcom
“The Inbetweeners” (E4, 2008) such a success?

Taking British sitcom to a new level:
“The Inbetweeners” (2008), which retained a series hat-trick
after concluding with the final episode, aired on the 18th October, 2010
Since launching on the E4 channel (in the United Kingdom), “The Inbetweeners” has become a national success. In a climate of British sitcoms and dramas driven towards the young teenager, the show was seen as a complete masterful combination of humour and endless wit. Not also forgetting to mention, it being done so effortlessly in such rarely seen before true to art teenage life pouring out on the screen.  By contrast to the more emotionally wrenching series on offer to watch during the same time as the Inbetweeners was debuted, “Skins”, the new show was seen as a completely fresh, diversified and creative idea for the humoristic outlook on the day to day lives of four teenagers in sixth form.

Written by Iain Morris and Damon Beesley at the production company ‘Bwark productions’ (founded in 2004), the writers originally aired the show on E4, which after series 1, was commissioned a prime time slot on Channel 4 after what co-writer of the series, Damon Beesley, described in an interview as “monster ratings”
(Source: MSN TV).

It is these viewing figures which achieved an all time record for the E4 channel, seeing them taking in their largest audience, with figures reaching as near to three million on each debut episode since series two (2009). The clear success of the series has thus effectively proved the show’s limitless age barrier of audience. The producer’s at Young Bwark productions have not only been able to intentionally capture the minds and attention of like minded teenagers, but also curiously engage older audiences, whose inevitable shock and surprise displayed upon delving in the series will without question tarnish their ‘innocent like fairy image’ of their youth as a teenager years prior.
 clunge bus wankers
Morning all ‘benders’ (above and below): Many of the colloquial catch on phrases
which spread to catch on –  from the teenagers in school courtyards to
British working class middle aged adults
Bumder Jay
From the captivating taglines which range from incredibly stark and somewhat catchy words which includes the infamous “clunge”, “bus wankers” and “bumder”, and the clashing introvert and extrovert personalities brought across by the characters, (Will, Jay, Neil and Simon),  the Inbetweeners will undoubtedly leave a large void on the age spanning audiences hooked on the series. It is clear though, after the movie will undoubtedly be watched by millions who have devoted themselves to the past three series, the Inbetweeners will most likely be remembered for is it’s pure originality and clever sharp induced humour for years to come. With an American version of the Inbetweeners that has been aired under the MTV Network, fans overseas will see a re-make of the show with new and updated characters.

In a statement announcing the American version, the head of MTV programming, David Janollari, said, “we are really successful in adapting it for our audience and making it sound like a quintessentially American suburban experience”.

The Inbetweeners USA

The ‘bus turds’ (above): Does this American transition capture
as much ‘comedic’ flair, laughter and thrill as for which British audiences appreciated
so much from the original? It’s questionable.

Whether or not this is convincing enough for the home-bred audiences of the original Inbetweeners is still, to this day, a debatable topic; the original fans of the series shall inevitably want to devote their appreciation for the series more towards the the cinematic release ending off the series, which has provided the series a lasting legacy.

If “The Inbetweeners” has made the transfer to America successfully is another matter, however. But, to enlighten you on this subject, I think a few sources can help you make up your mind.
The following, I think, are brilliant in doing just that.

Credits go to user beanyman62:

This, in an interesting take, shows a re-working of how the original Inbetweeners would have looked, had it been imported over to the American MTV channel and remained, more or less, true to the British format. It almost paints a commercialised version of “The Inbetweeners”; played with our British cultural discourse of humour –  but inter-twined with values of American production, as you will see, predominantly, through the cliche Hollywood over voice soundtrack.

Personally, I believe, if tried and tested, this might have just been able to be pulled off with audiences, both in the UK and the US. It would have served and gratified two key areas – one, British tastes and expectations of the series, and two, capturing the fascination of Americans intrigue for British mannerisms, behaviours, and habits that they, at times, wrongly perceive or have been led to think as. An example from my experience has been that Americans tend to think that we British folk sit down like the Queen and drink tea and eat crumpets on a routine daily basis. God knows where that came from. Yes, we had the Queen’s 60th Crown Jubilee last year, but that doesn’t mean we perform such a ritual every day!

But see what you think:

Credits go to user SuckMyGerbil (in the words of Jay, what a ‘tragic’ name!)

This time, you can see another argument brought to this discussion – as to why, perhaps,
The Inbetweeners USA” has failed amongst fans and panned by critics, for the simple reason
– it is a cheap imitation of a series, that is, a quintessential British comedy. It cannot, unfortunately to those outside the UK – be repeated or churned with new accents and new faces, and a new country.
“The Inbetweeners” is an original series, whose integral British roots shall remain unchanged. It’s even a sense of British pride that comes with it, also. Nothing can ultimately be re-arranged,; fundamentally, it is our cultural representation of young, ‘maturing’ British adolsecents.

Take a look at the draw comparison, something I discussed in my recent analysis discussion on
“The Hangover: Part III” trailer, where I discussed the failures of TV imports and releasing box office films based upon an original TV series.

Credits go to user beanyman62

And finally – what I think is the nail in the coffin for the American series – is a parody reaction from Will McKenzie, one of the original characters from “The Inbetweeners” (2008), telling audiences, what, quite frankly, most of them have been thinking the whole time the re-make has been aired to Americans.

It’s a classic build up reaction. The two to three seconds of Will instantly puts a smile on your face after makeing up for the car crash manifestation that is, and was, the American format:

Credits go to user itsamariokart

Once again, you can see the damning proof of the American series sheer dreadful attempt at trying to capture all that the original was abour – wit, banter and laugh out loud moments. Clearly, what should be learned from this, or atleast a lesson for American producers – is that they should stick to their own classic, universal cultural and teenage humour that provides gag-for-gag, graphic references and images, and popular culture references which get twisted on their head.

Credits go to user SuckMyGerbil:

It’s a winning formula that we all know and love, and for which we, as audiences, keep on returning to the cinema for, despite the, at times, over-simplified, easy to grasp, predictable plots. These forever repeat the same narrative and scenario of antics, drunken ridden behaviour and ‘morally exempt’ decisions (depending on how your subjective views think and see it as – all dependant on factors such as your cultural background and upbringing) made on the characters, or even on a peer groups part.

The ‘known and loved’ generic setup for a successful American sitcom:
American Pie” (1999), “Superbad” (2007),
Project X” (2012) – to name a few.

American PiesuperbadProject X

However, not to our surprise, it was reported during November 2012 from MTV America that the “Inbetweeners USA” wouldn’t make a return for a second series, as “viewing figures for the series were low and [would therefore] not be returning”

(Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/20545757)

Regardless of this attempted American format, “The Inbetweeners” (2008), nearly five years on since it’s first run (May 1st, 2008) still remains a a rooted British foundational series for English fans and audiences. In achieving this, the producers have clearly been able to brilliantly execute “exquisitely accurate dialogue and capture the feel of adolescence perfectly.”

To conclude, this in most, or all probability, is what has made it such a ‘cult’ success amongst such a large British demographic of young school teenagers to mature (20-35 year old) adults.

What made British sitcom “The Inbetweeners” (E4, 2008) such a success?

 Enjoy a bit of an ‘egg-celent’
(terrible joke, I know! :D) ride with the group from the
Thorpe Park holiday break away episode – and many many more classic ‘clunge’ moments!

A lot of briefcase baggaged themed insults.

Credits go to user LeighAnneRoss1
Featured sources:
Photo Credits:
Categories: TV Series FeatureTags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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