Second season for comedy genius

GOOD sitcoms are hard to find. For every classic series like “Fawlty Towers” there are at least half a dozen abysmal offerings like “Allo, Allo”, “Oh, Dr Beeching!” or “You Rang, M’Lord?”. And even “Fawlty Towers” lasted only two seasons – a grand total of just 12 episodes.

So when a good, well-written comedy appears, grab it with both hands. That’s exactly what E4 have done with the brilliant “Inbetweeners”, now being repeated at various times of the week. If you haven’t seen it, it’s well worth investing in the DVD.

It follows four over-sexed teenage boys at an English comprehensive school, and their variously disastrous experiences with girls, cars, teachers, pubs and girls. The language is as coarse as I have ever heard on TV but it is hugely entertaining, largely thanks to the quality of the writing and the acting of the leading players. The four boys come across as vulnerable, insecure, confused, eager and very, very funny. In fact, pretty much like real teenagers. Oddly, given the filthy language, “Inbetweeners” is entirely charming and optimistic.

The point of all this enthusiasm is that I met an acquaintance recently who works for Channel 4, and when I told him how much I loved “Inbetweeners”, he told me that a second season has been commissioned. Excellent.

One word of advice: if you’re a teenager, don’t watch it with your parents in the same room. And if you’re the parent of teenagers, well, you get the picture.

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13 Comments

Filed under Hinterland, Media, TV

13 responses to “Second season for comedy genius

  1. Is your objection to “Oh Dr Beeching” ideological or comedic?

  2. I hate to be picky (he lied) but shouldn’t it be coarse – unless there are lots of references to golf or racing perhaps?

  3. Brian – damn you! Damn you, damn you, damn you! My mistake, old chap. Thanks.

  4. Not so much of the old please – sensitive topic – but you can tell that an early retiree’s got too much time on his hands when he comments on the mistaken use of a u for an a…

  5. stewartcowan

    That’s the problem with spell checkers: they tell you the word is spelled correctly, but they don’t tale you if the context is rite.

    Can’t the TV people make comedies anymore that aren’t full of filthy language? I hate it because it spreads like a virus through the rest of society.

    You hear schoolgirls these days: F-this and F-that. I suppose the reasons are manifold where the agenda for 40 years has been to dumb down the masses.

    Of course, now you can get marks for writing ‘F-off’ on your exam paper and walking away.

    Extra marks if you use an exclamation mark.

    Agree with you on “Allo, Allo” though. I never could understand what was remotely funny about it; especially with such pathetic accents. Or was that the joke? Darn!

  6. Man after my own heart, frankly

  7. DMEA

    The Glasgow East by-election has brought forward mentions of Rab C Nesbitt on ConHome, but do you remember an equally funny sitcom set in Glasgow by the BBC called City Lights with Gerry Kelly (the bloke from the pantos, not the Sinn Feiner)? It was classic comedy and proved you can make very good comedy out of ordinary characters without the need for obscenities.

    I wonder if the BBC could be encouraged to bring this one out on DVD.

  8. wrinkled weasel

    The trailer looks makes it look like a paean to peurility. It also looks enormously condescending, as if it was made by thirty somethings about 16 somethings.

    But, …Leesten very carefully, I shall say zis urnly wurnce:

    “Allo, Allo” is one of the best comedy ensemble pieces in the history of television. It is quintessentially British Comedy; its antecedents can be traced from Plautus to Shakespeare to the Commedia del Arte to Frankie Howard. It is a work of genius.

  9. Shelldrake

    Oh, Dr Beeching! probably doesn’t display today’s required modal agnoticism…

  10. Andrew F

    ^
    It’s rather delusional for older generations to harp on about the pervasive use of bad language in television as a cause for swearing amongst the young. Art is supposed to reflect society, not the utopia of middle-class, middle-aged white man.

    Kids swear everywhere they go (even Church, if I recall correctly from my misspent childhood), so it’s rather naive to expect them to do anything else on television. It would just be rather quaint for most of us teens. I would like to see writers explore individual characters who actively abstain from swearing, though, because such people do exist and are usually interesting.

    And anyway, I’m convinced that some day soon there’s going to be a communal epiphany in which everyone realises that changing the p in ‘puck’ to and f isn’t an intrinsically ‘filthy’ thing to do.

    Err, sorry – that was semi-related. I liked what I saw of The Inbetweeners, and I could relate to a lot of their insecurities.

    However, I had my usual problem of not being driven by exactly the same things as the ‘typical teen’ – and so, in that sense, I found it a bit depressing. They wanted the girl for her body; I’ve always been fascinated by love. They wanted to drink underage because it’d make them look cool; I like the sensation of being drunk, and how it makes you more open.

    That’s the problem with teenage TV: it generalises, and thus can make people feel very lonely.

  11. John

    Of course, I though pedants only existed on conservative blogs.
    Re Faulty Towers: Cleese stated on R & J that they never made any new series because they had set the bar too high and would never be able to match its brilliance.

  12. John – And I’m sure that was the right decision. And that was the reasoning behind Ricky Gervais’s decision to end The Office after two seasons. Ironic, then, that the American version has reached its fourth season (and more than 50 episodes) while maintaining amazingly high comedy standards.

  13. wrinkled weasel

    Andrew: “Art is supposed to reflect society”. With Television, we are talking about low art, not high art. Television is a simulacrum at best and at worst something like a Reader’s Digest version of the Bible, with all the nasty bits taken out.

    Thinking about this, I recollected “Shameless”. It is brilliant in every way, but it is not art, even by your definition. To be art, it must in some way be true to life and if you were to eavesdrop on the character types it purports to portray, the show would be taken off the air when the first flood of racist, homophobic, bigoted clap trap you tend to overhear in real life. Amply peppered with all the words we do not use in front of the vicar. Shameless is feasting with panthers by proxy. Very ersatz and very romantic, but like all TV, Art it is not.

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