The Americans may have won the Revolutionary War, The War of 1812, and countless medals at the London Olympics, but the British always seem to get the last laugh with their indelible, quality television programs that are rarely able to be duplicated by their American counterparts. The latest example of this is MTV’s newest offering The Inbetweeners, a comedy series about four teenagers struggling to navigate high school life. The show’s main protagonist and narrator is Will (Joey Pollari), a former private school student who has been thrust into public school. On his first day, the dean forces three teenagers, Neil (Mark L. Young), Jay (Zack Pearlman), and Simon (Bubba Lewis), to look after Will.

The first episode is essentially lifted from parts of the first two episodes of the UK version (even the opening titles are similar). One glaring difference, however, is that the American Will immediately starts hanging out with the guys, whereas it takes at least two episodes for the British Will to be accepted into the group — an opportunity for comedy that seems clumsily squandered. Part of the initial fun of the UK show was watching how this kid tried to fit in, something that is instantly resolved here.

Because the scripts are so similar, it’s difficult to foresee how the American show will differ based on one episode, but judging by the poor acting, it doesn't seem to hold much promise. The American Will is more likeable than the UK Will, but the show suffers for it because it appears that he’s not willing to make a fool of himself the way his English counterpart is — I can’t imagine seeing him ratting out underage drinkers while trying to score booze himself, or unintentionally insulting mentally challenged kids at a rollercoaster. Likewise, the American Jay is crude and vulgar, without the redeeming vulnerability of the British one, and the American Neil comes off as a stoner idiot as opposed to a gentle, simple soul (even though we never see him with a joint at any point in the show).

The Inbetweeners have found much success in the UK, running for three seasons and even a movie, but after watching the first episode of the MTV version, it’s hard to imagine the American take lasting more than a season.

'The Inbetweeners' premiered on August 20th, 10:30 pm, on MTV.

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