TV Rating: TV-14
Other Choices: Superbad, American Pie, Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Available On: Online
Common Sense Says: Teenage boys talk super dirty in witty high school comedy.
Common Sense Rates It:
Parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Inbetweeners is a raunchy comedy centering on four teen boys and their high school trials and tribulations. The four boys lust non-stop after women and indulge in some very dirty talk, which ranges from a discussion of whether one character's father is gay to the advantages of having sex with "RV girls" who are usually "sluts." In addition to talking constantly about sex in very explicit terms, the underage characters buy and drink alcohol, skip school, and sneak around visiting love interests without parents' knowledge. But although the characters talk and fantasize constantly about sex, sex never actually occurs on screen, and female characters are presented as relatable, whole people instead of objects. Expect drug references and some bleeped language ("f--k," "s--t") and some audible cursing ("ass," "bitch").
- Families can talk about whether the way the characters talk on The Inbetweeners is realistic. Teens: Is this the way you talk with your friends? Do you hear others talking this way?
- How do you think the girls on the show would feel if they heard the boys' discussions? Do you think this is the way real teens think about sex? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
- How does the show depict drinking? Do you think it's realistic? What consequences to the characters face?
- The principal and parents on The Inbetweeners are presented as being somewhat oblivious to what the main characters are up to. In your family, how do parents keep track of kids' activities? Do you think The Inbetweeners' teens could use more supervision?
- How old do you think the actors playing teens on The Inbetweeners really are? Would it surprise you to learn that some cast members playing teens are actually in their twenties? Why do TV shows frequently use twentysomethings to play teens?
What's the story?
New guy at school Will (Joey Pollari) is immediately befriended by Jay (Zack Pearlman), Simon (Bubba Lewis), and Neil (Mark L. Young), three fellas who aren't exactly nerds but aren't exactly popular, either. In the grand fashion of on-screen teen boys, they lust nonstop after women, make up salacious stories about their sexual exploits, and engage in hijinks like pointing out to the entire lunch room that one of their cohorts has an erection and skipping school to drink vodka because they surmise that girls like rebels. But when actual girls appear, the boys tend to transform from swagger to stuttering, and all their sex talk is just that: talk.
Is it any good?
There's a very sharp writerly hand on the wheel of THE INBETWEENERS, which elevates the humor from dumb raunch to truly inspired filthiness in the same way the original British series did. But there's plenty here to trouble parents, who would probably prefer to watch the show themselves for a laugh, rather than have teens tune in. One gag will illustrate this concept: Will shows up to skip school with his friends and lies to one of their mothers that the van parked down the street is his. "I know it's a little molestery," he says, "but I got a great deal, from a molester. But he didn't molest in it, he just used it to um, transport for molesting." A few minutes later, the boys pass the van as a shirtless man leans out and offers them a ride. "Maybe later," says Simon. "You got cool muscles." A few minutes later, Will refers to having "dodged a rape."If that set up and dialogue is hilarious to you, you'll find The Inbetweeners hysterical. And teens who are able to distinguish reality from hyperreal satire will probably also find The Inbetweeners very funny. But parents will want to talk to teens about sex, underage drinking, and treating each other with dignity and respect after they watch, though it would probably be too embarrassing to actually sit through all the sex jokes and watch together.
The Good Stuff
Messages: The Inbetweeners takes a satirical look at teenage boyhood. Underneath all the sexual humor are some positive messages about friendship and the struggle to find your place in the world.
Role Models: Will and his group of friends are as filthy-minded and dirty-mouthed as any teenage boys ever shown on television, but they're not actually bad guys. They usually mean well, they like each other and their parents, and though they view females mostly as sex objects, their sex talk generally isn't hateful, and they treat real girls rather respectfully and shyly. They're constantly ranking each other out, but they're supportive of each other in ways that will resonate with teen viewers. Parents, the school principal, and other authority figures are present and well-meaning, if not always aware of the hijinks going on with Will and his friends.
What to watch out for
Violence The main characters playfully wrestle and push each other a lot; stereotypical bullies are often on hand to shove the guys or humiliate them, as when a hulking football player snaps a photo of Will sitting on the toilet with his pants down.
Sex: Constant, explicit sex talk. Characters talk about double penetration, how to make females orgasm, Will's mom being a MILF, boners, and a host of other topics that will make parents shudder and teens giggle. But it's all talk: Very little skin is shown, and the teens are seeking sex, not having it.
Language: Both bleeped ("s--t," "f--k"), and audible swearing ("ass," "bitches"), as well as near-constant smutty talk about "sluts," "holes," "beavers," and the like.
Consumerism: The Inbetweeners is an American remake of a British show; teens may want to watch the original, which is just as raunchy.
Drinking, drugs & smoking: Underage characters buy and drink liquor to the point of drunkenness and embarrassing behavior. There are references to "drug raves," cocaine, and heroin, though the characters don't actually do drugs on screen.