Why are foreign TV shows so hard to adapt? Sometimes you do get good results like Power Rangers and The Office, other times you get complete crap like Coupling. Which brings us to today’s subject: The U.S. Inbetweeners.
Based on the hilarious British sitcom, the show follows four friends: Will, Simon, Neil, and Jay as they enter the embarrassing transition from teens to adults while at the same time try to enjoy their last year of high school. I’ve seen the original series, after one episode I was instantly hooked, and when I found out there were plans to make an american adaptation, I was was excited, though I did have some qualms about it air on ABC, as I always thought of this more as a show on TeenNick, Comedy Central, or even ABC’s sister station, ABC Family. Finally the trailer for the show came out, and let’s just say: you automatically know your show’s gonna suck when you have more thumbs down than the trailer to “A Christmas Story 2”.
When the a trailer and an image of the cast was released, I, along with the fans of the British version were disappointed, even after the show’s co-creator Iain Morris as well as Blake Harrison (Neil in the original series), defending it and urging fans to not judge it so soon, we were. However despite the defense from the shows creators, I can’t say that this is a good adaption.
Despite this criticism, the show does have some good ideas here and there. while the first three or four episodes are basically americanized recreations from the of the UK version, the writers do add there own ideas and storylines which come to prominence later in the series. Some of these ideas and plots are generally quite funny and entertaining.
However, what makes this show a bad remake, is that no matter how funny these ideas are, the series seems to suffer an identity crisis and most of the time doesn’t actually become recognizable as The Inbetweeners. While these are pretty much the same characters that you will know and love from the UK version, most of the actors are miscast and the fact the way they portray the characters and how they are written, makes them generally dis-likable for the most part.
An example of the miscasting is Joey Pollari as Will. Joey’s a pretty good actor, a good example is Avalon High which I mentioned in the past was an underrated movie. But, as much as I hate to say it, casting him in the role of Will was a big mistake. Also due to him being more of a “smart-ass” rather than snobbish like in the British version, this series makes him seem rather dull than funny. the producers should have in my opinion cast someone else, who? I’m not sure.
Another example is Zack Pearlman’s portrayal of Jay. In the original show when Jay used to tell people of his made up sexual misadventures, we were able to laugh at his arrogance and his story. however in this version, Jay sounds like he’s trying to imitate Jonah Hill (in his early years), and failing in process.
if it weren’t for the miscast and dis-likable characters, a lot of the shows content has been dumbed down due to the sensitivity of the American audience. This is one of the shows largest missteps because what made the original show so memorable was its vulgarity. Along with this and the bright colors and clichéd feel to the show, it makes The U.S. Inbetweeners feel like a watered down version of the American Pie movies (outside of the direct to DVD movies).
You know, There was this one line from the original show that Will said that can describe this show perfectly, and here it is this…
With that said, we close out on another Coundown to 100 hint: It was made in the mid to late 80s.
Next time we pay tribute to an icon.
RANK: 2 out of 5