Ah, teenage years. I'm just over half way through them at the grand old age of 17, and I've experienced all the highs and lows. The highs being drugs, sex and everything you see on Skins, obviously. The lows being puberty and television shows directed at teenagers. Like Skins. Shows designed to capture teenage life, but ultimately making the likes of The Inbetweeners and Misfits (which is about young people with superpowers, for crying out loud) look way more realistic.
I've had a complex relationship with The Inbetweeners. When it first started, I thought it was...well, shit. The Nathan Barley types in my school lapped it up though.
Then I caught an episode halfway through its second series, to see what all this fuss was about, and I enjoyed it. It's obvious why it appeals to the simpler minds of youth, the humour isn't exactly of Fry & Laurie standards. But, it works well, there's a sense of irony that some don't seem to understand. They're not role models at all, complete opposites in fact. But the yelps of ‘Bus Wanker!’ and ‘Briefcase Wanker!’ echo around my school corridors like an infestation of immaturity.
As much as I despised them doing this, the actual show was hilarious. That is, until it reached its third and final series. By now, the writers had probably realised the intellectual depth of the audience the show drew in, so they decided to dumb it down even further. Instead of episodes ending in being lost at sea, confronted comically about lies and misunderstandings, and showing pure friendship. They ended in Simon's testicle hanging about, Will kicking an old lady in the face, Simon repeatedly punching his flacid penis, and mutual vomiting in a tent.
I'm not saying that the first two series were deeper and more intelligent. It's quite obvious that The Inbetweeners is the definition of stupid humour. But, for its final series, it got dumbed down to an embarrassing level.
It was quite clear that deep down they had a four-way bromance between them. A touching episode in series one in which Simon and Jay help Will come round from an unpleasant jilting by his love, Charlotte, is a good example of this. However, in series three's finale, it was announced that Simon would be moving away. Not a shread of emotion is shown as the boys spend their final times together on a camping holiday. It focussed more on the childishly gross situations. Like that mutual vomit.
Where do they go from here? Well, there's a film in the works, and from the plot points leaked on Chortle a few weeks back, I doubt I'll be racing to the cinema to see it. And they have toured places with rude names for Comic Relief. Sorry Inbetweeners, I've outgrown you, and you've probably outgrown yourself, too.