The Inbetweeners at 10: A love letter to the TV show that was like looking in a mirror

As The Inbetweeners turns 10, one NME writer explains how it defined his generation

I’ll never forget the first time that I watched The Inbetweeners.

In a scenario that almost mirrored the show, it came as I revised at home for my GCSEs and I found myself increasingly distracted by a show that mirrored my very existence.

It was unlike anything I’d seen before: razor-sharp, puerile, and a reflection of my own teenage reality.

From Will’s very first day at Rudge Park Comprehensive, we’re invited into a world where pursuits are admirably pathetic (this comes from someone that still gets ID-ed in pubs to this day) and laced with an inevitable sense of awkwardness and failure.

To this day, The Inbetweeners remains the most relatable show I’ve ever watched, and it’s all down to the show’s unfailing commitment to realising that teenage life is a little bit shit.

It also helped that I just so happened to be the very definition of an Inbetweener, even if I’d never dare to admit it at the time.

Although I’ve never punched a fish or made an ill-advised complaint at Thorpe Park, there’s something brilliantly cathartic about seeing your mundane teenage weekends being mined for laughs.

Take the episode when Will’s birthday dinner party is abandoned out of sheer boredom – and the four intrepid heroes launch a desperate attempt to raid a popular house party.

Admittedly I’ve never crawled through dog shit, but it seemed to reflect the weekends me and my friends had. We’d wangle our way into parties where we definitely weren’t invited before fretting about how long it would be before we’re thrown out and embarrass ourselves in front of the girls that we never stood a chance of impressing.

Then there’s my own personal link to the show, with The Inbetweeners proving my first and only big screen appearance to date.

As cameras rolled on their big screen debut, I found myself sitting in school assembly as Mr Gilbert delivered a final speech to the departing kids of Rudge High.

As the above photo attests, there’s perhaps more than a passing resemblance to Will McKenzie himself – although I’ve been told on repeated occasions that the similarities run far deeper than appearance.

Perhaps they’re right, Will is forever attempting to navigate the tricky waters of adolescence, and it feels exactly like how I spent most of my formative years.

It remains to be seen whether a middle-aged return could be on the cards at some point, but perhaps it’s best to leave it exactly how it is – a perfect slice of filthy teenage brilliance.