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Series / The Inbetweeners

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Simon, Neil, Jay, Will
"Bus wankers!"

Forget Skins. This is what being 16/17 in noughties Britain is actually like.

The Inbetweeners (2008-2010) is a sitcom for E4 that focuses around the lives of four sixth form students in some nowhere suburb in southern England. Will Mckenzie, a briefcase-carrying nerd with a temper problem; Simon Cooper, a Dogged Nice Guy with perpetual lust for his next-door neighbour; Neil Sutherland, a total moron with a (probably) gay dad; and Jay Cartwright, a brash Casanova Wannabe. Together these four mismatched teens get into the everyday problems accompanying all sixth form students, as they try to sway girls into their beds and be recognised as some of the cool kids. Along with a lot more problems not usually encountered by sixth form students. Lots more problems.

The show airs on BBC America in the United States, even though it's not a BBC production. MTV aired (and cancelled) a Transatlantic Equivalent in 2012.

The Inbetweeners Movie was released in August 2011, followed by a second film in August 2014. A reboot is currently being considered.

Not to be confused with the people who do the in-between drawings for hand-drawn animation.

This show provides examples of:

  • 555:
    • Like many British shows, "Search-wise" and "Search-wise Messenger" are used instead of actual search engines and messengers.
    • Averted with Facebook, which is actually shown when the lads frape Will in "Home Alone".
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Kerry is very into Will, who is not attracted to her at all and spends most of an episode trying to figure out how to send her the message. She's a nice girl and isn't unattractive, the problem is that her height makes Will, who's on the short side, very uncomfortable. Will ends up horribly mangling breaking it off, and ends up screaming about how she's boring and comparing her to the Empire State Building, causing a scene.
  • Abusive Parents: Jay's dad is clearly guilty of emotional abuse, constantly berating, deriding and humiliating his son at every chance he gets, just to provide simple conversation. This is in a pretty vicious cycle with Jay's boastful, overzealous character, as he seems desperate to impress his dad while his dad goes too far in trying to prick his son's apparently inflated ego.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Mr. Gilbert, the imposing sadist who openly hates the students and even admits that the sole reason most people become teachers is because they stopped doing background checks, is played by Greg Davies who was a teacher for thirteen years.
    • Jay's dad claims that Neil's dad looks like a vicar.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Despite the fact that Jay doesn't really like Tara much, he does mock Simon when Tara states that Simon's car is so tragic that he can't use it to pick up other girls.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: The American version has Will upgraded from plain old Nerd to Hollywood Nerd. Inverted with Jay, whose actor looks like he'd be more suited to playing Big John.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Lauren in the American version, who is dating Simon purely to spite Carli. She's also a kleptomaniac who is arrested for shoplifting in her last appearance.
    • American Jay openly grooms a child.
  • Age-Gap Romance:
    • Will tries to start one of these with his former babysitter, but thanks to Jay and Neil it ends up going a little wrong.
    • Will's dad, who left Will's mum for someone not much older than Will
  • Against My Religion: Will tries to get out of helping at the fashion show by telling Mr Gilbert that he has a "moral objection" to fashion shows as he thinks they're just an excuse for vain and popular kids to show off. Mr Gilbert agrees with him - then makes him to do it anyway.
  • The Alleged Car:
    • Simon's tiny yellow Fiat Cinquecento Hawaii, complete with a tape deck (which would've been OK when the car was made in the 1990s but seriously uncool by 2008). Thanks to Jay, it loses a door - resulting in it getting a mismatched red one. The thing gets trashed by a bus full of the mentally disabled, stained with Neil's cum and piss (don't ask), wheelclamped when the boys go to London and spat on by Donovan, before being dumped in a lake with a smashed window and a "Honk If You Want a Blowjob" bumper sticker attached to it. It is derided as an embarrassing shitbox by pretty much every character throughout the entire series, but this doesn't stop the boys from milking Simon for free rides in it. Look hard enough in the background at the start of the movie, and you'll see it parked on the family drive, covered with moss and dirt.
    • The other boys also have shit cars that are embarrassing in different ways. Neil's Vauxhall Nova looks nice but doesn't have an engine, while Jay's Nissan Micra, aka the Minge Mobile, is actually his mum's.
      • Will notes that 'Minge Mobile' is a strange thing to call your mum's car.
  • Allegedly Dateless: Will's supposed to be the geek who can't get a girlfriend yet over the course of the series he's got a chance to have sex with one of the hottest and most popular girls in school, had a complete stranger kiss him and offer him sex, almost had sex with an attractive older nurse, had a girl offer to give him a blow job because she's desperate to make him her boyfriend and in the movie he gets a drop dead gorgeous girlfriend. Most teenage boys who aren't geeks would be lucky to have even one of those things happen, never mind all five. It actually goes for all of the four main characters - even though the show is supposed to be about some semi-losers who are completely below most girls' league, they have managed to pick up a fair amount of girls during all the episodes. Often, their problem is not that they cannot charm the girls, but that they screw up at crucial moments which leaves them virgins. Even Jay who is supposed to be the ultimate Casanova Wannabe is much better with the girls than someone with his personality would probably be in Real Life - his problem is that he prefers to brag to his friends about his fictional conquests instead of actually trying to talk to girls. In the movie, he even has the best grasp of the unwritten rules for meeting girls at a club, but prefers to sit alone at the bar instead.
  • All for Nothing: Will's infamous energy drink induced shit in his pants during an exam and the stressful study and lack of sleep leading up to it end up being fruitless, as he notes in the intro for series 3's opening episode that he ended up failing his exams anyway.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Being a quartet of teenage boys, the main characters are mostly concerned with getting their end away. Even Will, the socially awkward nerd, isn't immune to this.
  • All There in the Manual: The Inbetweeners yearbook adds more information about characters, particularly information such as Tara's last name and the fact that Big John develops something of an obsession with Jay.
  • Alpha Bitch: Carli seems to be heading this way. Charlotte, on the other hand, has become slightly less of one than when she first appeared. The Movie takes this further with Carli only using Simon to make someone else jealous.
  • Anatomically Impossible Sex: Jay's stories about sex get more and more dubious as time goes by. So much so, that he claims that a blowjob ends by pissing in a girl's mouth. Jay also claims - in answer to a question from Neil - that when having sex, you can put the balls in, or not depending on your (or your partner's) preference. "Some girls like it, some don't"
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents:
    • Jay's dad Terry Cartwright, a fat, balding, disgusting oaf with explosive farts and bowel movements. Almost all of Jay's father's lines call into question Jay's much vaunted sexual prowess or otherwise counter his bragging.
    • Simon's parents have a very active sex life and are pretty open about in front of Simon and his friends (probably to deliberately embarrass Simon, it's implied to be on purpose)
    • Will's mum Polly often comes across as clueless and trying too hard to be hip, but gets away with it with everybody except her son due to her incredible good looks.
    • Neil's dad tends to wear ridiculously tight shorts and even wanders into the front room in his underwear when all the lads have turned up for Neil's birthday.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Neil's dad Kevin, with his soft, plush voice, meticulously shaven head, passion for badminton and his habit of walking round the house half-naked with his bollocks out. Practically everyone on the estate assumes Kevin is gay from the moment they meet him, including parents. Both Neil and his dad strenuously deny it however.
  • Artistic License Geography: In show example. Neither Neil or Simon have ever heard of Swansea, let alone know where it is. Jay has heard of it, yet believes it to be in the north of England.
    Neil: What is Swansea? Is it an animal?
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In "Bunk Off", Simon's dad lists all the bad things Will and Simon have done, before Will adds in the one thing he missed:
    Mr Cooper: You've lied to your mothers, bought alcohol illegally, abused Neil's dad, stole my suit, defaced the pavement outside Carli's. Am I missing anything?
    Will: We also hit a spastic with a frisbee.
    • In "The Gig and the Girlfriend".
    Will: Is Donovan smoking drugs?! Out in the open?! ON A SCHOOL DAY?!!!
  • Artifact Title: "Inbetweeners" comes from the protagonists being "between" the cool kids like Donovan and the total losers like Big John on the social scale. However, this motif is only really brought up at the start of the first episode and then forgotten; having such a rigid social hierarchy is more at home in American High School melodrama than a down-to-earth British sitcom. Indeed, Donovan's role in the show diminished greatly after the first season, becoming more of an abrasive Jerkass who only really targeted the Inbetweeners if they happened to be in his way rather than Will's personal enemy. Will lampshades this trope in his opening narration for the start of the second series, where he notes that the lads have fallen down in Rudge Park's social hierarchy.
  • Ascended Extra: Lauren becomes a recurring character in the American version, instead of being just another Girl of the Week.
  • Ascended Meme: James Buckley's YouTube channel is a Let's Play channel titled "Completed It, Mate".
  • Ass Shove: Neil used to stick Lego up his bum as a child.
    • Will has bad headaches that require him to take TWO suppositories because he can't keep painkillers down, according to his mum.
  • Asshole Victim: Alistair, an obnoxious wheelchair-bound student who recently survived kidney failure.
  • Bait-and-Switch: With the two attractive blonde girls lusted after by the main characters, Carli and Charlotte. Initially, Carli is presented as a nice Girl Next Door while Charlotte is a haughty Alpha Bitch. It soon becomes clear that they're actually closer to being the other Defrosting Ice Queen way around.
    • Carli strings Simon along whenever it's convenient for her with the full knowledge that he's dying inside every time she inevitably turns him down.
    • Charlotte on the other hand maintains a cheerful, witty camaraderie with Will, even after his disaster in bed, and treats him much more as a real friend, while making it clear that he doesn't have a chance with him.
  • Beach Episode:
    • Or rather the waterfront, which is as close as the cheap school gets. And, unusually for this trope, it's set in the winter, which ends up going very badly for Simon.
    • The film is one very long beach episode, after three series of boring, nowhereville suburbia.
  • Berserk Button: Jay has a massive one after an entire episode of the other three taking the piss out of him with their "Aww, football fweind!! *thumbs up*" impressions. He climbs onto his new friend's car and jumps up and down on the bonnet, screaming like a madman in the hope he'll change their minds.
    • Will being consistently refused alcohol in the first episode leads him to go off on a massive rant in the middle of a crowded pub that alienates him from the entire sixth form. On his first day.
      • "His mum still buys his trousers!!!"
    • Referring to Neil's dad's sexuality is about one of the only things that can get Neil upset.
  • Believing Their Own Lies: During the season 2 trip to Swanage, Jay goes off looking for a fictional "sexy housewife" who apparently gives out blowjobs to sixth form students. He allegedly heard about her from his friend in year 13, and the way he actively searches for her leads us to believe that it's not his own brand of bullshit, and that he did indeed hear it from somewhere. However it can also be interpreted as Jay merely trying to back up his claim of a real sexy housewife by pretending to search for one.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Jane, proud of her body and kind-hearted as well.
  • Birthday Episode:
    • The fittingly-titled "Will's Birthday" sees Will attempting to host a sophisticated dinner for his 17th birthday. Unfortunately, it's on the same night as a cool party. And it all goes downhill from there.
    • "Will's Dilemma" centers on Neil's 18th birthday. His party goes marginally better than Will's.
  • The Blind Leading the Blind: You'd think Jay would have learned to stop taking advice on girls from his dad by now, and Simon to have stopped taking sex advice from Jay.
  • Blatant Lies: About 75% of what Jay says, the other 25% is insulting other people.
  • Bowdlerize: The swearing in the US version has been toned down a lot, thus ruining most of the realism and humour of the show.
  • Brick Joke:
    • When he hears that she is internet dating, Mr Gilbert tells Will that he (like everyone else) is very much interested in his mother. In the second movie, they get together.
    • When Jay, Simon, and Neil are hiding from the Northwood crew in the toilet at an underage disco, Simon tells Neil that he doesn't want to see piss coming out the end of his cock. When the lads are lost in the desert at the end of the second movie, Simon tries to drink some of Neil's piss.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Will, thanks to stress and overindulgence in energy drinks, suffers explosive diarrhoea and shits himself during his final exam. Leads to a Running Gag in series 3, where every new person Will meets instantly recognizes him as "the kid who shit himself in the exam."
  • British Brevity: Three series, each consisting of only six half-hour episodes.
  • The Bully: Mark Donovan. He's smart enough to be polite and friendly with most of the adults, which is probably part of the reason he never gets into trouble.
  • Buses Are For Losers: Or so they beleive when they get access to a car. Driving down the street, they cannot resist leaning out of the car windows and jeering at people waiting for the bus. Unfortunately, shortly after yelling "BUS WANKERS!" at people in the queue, they can go no further before being caught in standing traffic. A rather large man who had been in the bus queue strolls unhurriedly down the street to point out he isn't greatly impressed.
  • Butt-Monkey: Kevin Sutherland, who cannot convince anyone except his son Neil that he is in fact straight. The Four main Boys at any given time also fall into this territory (particularly Will).
  • Caffeine Failure: In "Exam Time", Will is overworking himself and relying on energy drinks and caffeine pills to keep him awake whilst revising. His revision efforts go horribly wrong, with him failing to understand anything he reads no matter how many times he reads it, and starting to get confused over what certain words mean. Simon suggests he get more sleep and stop drinking energy drinks, but Will refuses, insisting that they help. Eventually Will suffers a Potty Failure while taken his last exam.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: Will's random "FEISTY ONE YOU ARE!" Yoda impression elicits awkwardly blank faces from Lauren and Simon as they ponder whether he's some sort of madman.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Whenever the characters try to do something forbidden or transgressive, like skip school or drink underage, they are always caught and punished by the end of the episode.
  • Carload of Cool Kids: The show made a classic sketch out of this phenomenon. The four teenage boys of the title, whilst driving down the street, come to grief after shouting "Bus Wankers!" at a waiting queue - then realize it's vitally important to have an escape route as they grind to a halt in a traffic jam. Thus enabling a very large and aggressive 'bus wanker' to catch up with them and express his displeasure.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Jay, with his farfetched stories of losing his virginity at age 12 to foreign mistresses, is probably the most pathetic example. The amount of action he gets is directly opposed to the amount of fictional sexual conquests he brags about. Jay the Casanova Wannabe is the direct opposite of Neil the Kavorka Man, and Simon and Will are somewhere in between, both having gotten a girl into bed, even if they bungled it up before actually doing it.
  • Catchphrase:
    • The lads all quite like "Brilliant." as a snarky, quick comeback from an insult (or an attempted insult).
    • Also, Simon tends to say "Hmmmmm" with a bemused look on his face at times.
    • During the movie, Jay says "Fuck that" quite a lot, in the same tone of voice as well.
    • During one episode, Neil starts randomly saying "No problemo!" in a shitty Spanish accent. Simon quickly becomes infuriated with the pointlessness after the fourth time.
      Neil: I got a big problemo...
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: This tends to happen to Jay a lot:
    • Jay's parents and Neil walk in on him while he's trying to do it with a numb arm. His visitors completely ignore his yells about being busy, and he flails around uselessly trying to turn off the porn on the computer but can't because of the arm.
    • Another similar scene happens in a different episode, except it's Jay's dog that walks in on him. Which apparently makes him too uncomfortable to continue.
    • In one episode, Jay is volunteering at an old folks home, where he constantly wanks in empty rooms (which is quite in character for him). At one point he ends up looking for ANYTHING to do the deed to and finds a picture of a young woman in a bikini, which is enough to get him going. As soon as he reaches the point of no return, an elderly woman - who turns out to be the woman in the picture and who was in the room the whole time without Jay realizing - sees him and calmly says that she's seen it all before. Then a nurse comes in with the woman's grown son, who shakes hands with him (only to realize that he has an unknown goo on his hand). With the follow-up line from the woman "He did that over me, he did!"
    • And again in the movie, where Jay's mother walks in on him masturbating to a woman on a webcam. While wearing a massive glove, a snorkel, and using slices of ham.
    • Dialogue from a scene later indicates that this wasn't the first time his parents have caught him.
  • Celebrity Resemblance: At the end of the fashion show, Jay ends up having to get his ears checked out due to the piercings having become infected. When he meets up with the lads again, he claims to have had sex with the St John's Ambulance nurse who looked him over. When Simon asks if she's someone's nan, Jay claims that it was a different nurse who looked like glamour model Lucy Pinder.
  • Character Filibuster: Will goes through several of these with hilarious results. Simon has one at the end of series three when Jay and Neil let his car roll into a lake.
  • Chewing the Scenery: "OOH, FRIEND! FUCKING FRIEND!"
  • The Chew Toy: All four of 'em. They're this practically anywhere they step foot in.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Incredibly, Jay turned out to be one of these in the only episode where he was actually in a relationship. Unfortunately, his dad gave him some terrible advice that led to Jay acting in a rather possessive fashion, causing him to get dumped.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The only time Neil ever gets even vaguely upset is when the boys bag his dad for being gay, or his sister for being hot. Oh yeah, and when he cuts his cock on a beer can too.
  • The Cloud Cuckoo Lander Was Right: When Alistair has a welcome back function after his illness, Neil reckons that there will be sausage rolls because he got them at a funeral once. Will tells Neil that Alistair isn't dead. Turns out there really are sausage rolls.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Part of the reason the show's dialogue is so realistic is because many of the characters - especially the leads - have potty mouths.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: The show is riddled with it.
  • Cover-up Purchase: In 'Bunk Off', Will buys armfulls of crisps from the off-licence and, as an afterthought:
    Will: And I'll also probably need some... alcohol as well.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Donovan over Charlotte. Jay got pretty obsessive and possessive over his girlfriend though he was quite gentle about it (and following his dad's really bad advice).
  • Cringe Comedy: Every episode contains definitive examples, best example is Will's Yoda-inspired "Feisty one you are!", although there are a lot more.
    • Jay impersonating Crazy Frog in a pathetic attempt to impress Charlotte, while Will and Charlotte standing there in awkward silence as the joke completely bombs.
    • The cock-wig as well is a bit difficult to watch at points, because it's just so embarrassing to Will. In a desperate attempt to get Daisy to sleep with him, he's determined to prove he's a man, while Daisy, unsure of his age, thinks he's too young to have pubes and chastises herself for being a paedophile.
    • Simon's Wardrobe Malfunction at the fashion show is probably one of the best examples, or any scene where he's talking to a girl.
    • Will cockblocking Simon with Lauren. Comes to a culmination when, after making it very explicit that the two of them wanted time alone together, Will continues to stand there and attempt to get Simon to leave with him even as Simon and Lauren are in the midst of a romantic hug.
    • Simon trying to get Tara to put a condom on with her teeth. Not to mention screaming at and manically punching his penis in a bizarre attempt to make it erect, which only succeeds in reducing Tara to tears.
    • Will's explosive reaction to a group of people getting to go on the front row of a ride in Thorpe Park without queueing. And then realising that they all have severe Down's Syndrome.
    • The infamous water park incident...
  • Cultural Translation: The US remake gets off a few of them:
    • The pilot episode's pub crawl is replaced with getting drunk by the football field.
    • They don't take A levels in the US, just their junior and senior year of high school, so the Mr Gilbert Expy of the American version is no longer Head of Sixth Form but promoted to plain 'ol principal.
    • Will is one of a tiny handful at Rudge Park who wear the school blazer (Simon's brother Andrew is the only other named character who does, beyond that there's only the two other new kids who start when Will does and the occasional background extra). Will wears a navy blazer with no badge, which invokes while technically avoiding Transfer Student Uniforms.
    • Action that takes place in the sixth form common room is moved to the cafeteria. Even if Grove High School has a seniors' lounge, the guys are juniors.
    • "Bus wankers" becomes the tame "bus turds".
  • Deadpan Snarker: Will. Simon and Mr. Gilbert also count.
    • Jay tries but is often unsuccessful.
      Simon: You still wet the bed when you were ten!
      Jay: I wet your mum's bed. With my spunk.
      Simon: Brilliant.
  • Death Glare: Mr. Gilbert looks genuinely evil when he gives dirty looks to the students. Donovan also does this from time to time due to his insatiable urge to torture and murder Will.
  • Deconstruction: Simon is essentially this for every Dogged Nice Guy male lead from high school romcoms ever.
    • The Show can be viewed as this for the classic Give Geeks a Chance storyline.
    • The episode "Bunk Off" was a deconstruction of Ferris Bueller's Day Off, showing how foolhardy it is to skip school with your mates when your parents and teachers aren't complete idiots.
  • Decoy Protagonist / Supporting Protagonist: While Will is the narrator, most of the plots revolve around Simon.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Played painfully straight in the series 2 finale with Simon. He finally gets to share a passionate kiss with Carli, but before the episode is even over, she decides to reunite with her jerkass rugby player boyfriend instead and pretends that nothing happened.
    • Also at the beginning of series 3, just as Will and Charlotte are getting on better than ever, she brings him crashing back down to Earth.
      Charlotte: Seriously, all I want is a boyfriend like you. You're funny and you're sweet and you're kind. I would be happy if I had someone in my life just like you.
      Will: ... What about me?
      Charlotte: No, not you! Someone LIKE you! You're so funny. Not you, obviously!
    • And all the more crushing considering they nearly had sex once. Some people...
  • Didn't Think This Through: Jay organises a stripper for Will's birthday, only to realise on the night that the five of them (the foursome plus Patrice) don't have enough money to pay her. Oops.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: Will in general, really. He's just incapable of realizing that the moment where he should probably just shut up and let things drop until he cools down has been and gone. And then even if he does realize it, he's just so stubborn, pompous, humourless and pig-headed about things that he can't back down and admit he's wrong without somehow making things worse.
    • Will does this in the garage on work experience; if he'd just kept his mouth shut and not gone on and on about how he was too 'clever' to work there, he probably would've survived the two weeks without being hazed.
    • In "Thorpe Park", there's the scene where the boys queue for the front-row seats but (apart from Will) lose out at the last minute. Despite being told to by both his friends and the attendant to shut up and sit down, he continues to loudly complain about the "inconsiderate arseholes" who pushed in front. He then sits down next to them, only to find out that he's just insulted two kids with Down's Syndrome. Oops.
    • In "Will's Dilemna", while he started out more or less in the right about the Girl of the Week's overreaction to his fairly gentle rebuff, his righteous indignation leads him to outright verbally abusing her in front of a room full of people, and continuing to play the victim even after he finds out her dad had just died.
    • Also, Will loudly protests against the reserving of poolside loungers in the movie, and then finds out that one of the owners is disabled. However, rather than backing down, he cringingly points out that the disabled girl doesn't even need a lounger (in contrast to a similar incident in the Thorpe Park episode, where Will offended a special needs bus, but at least showed remorse for his mistake)
  • Dirty Coward: Jay to a tee. One of his more dishonourable examples is allowing Simon to get strangled by a Scary Black Man for something he did, then laughing at him about it afterwards.
  • Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery:
    • Alistair was a Jerkass before his kidney transplant left him in a wheelchair and his illness didn't humble him at all. It's made funnier because the people around them see him as Inspirationally Disadvantaged (which of course he exploits to get attention from hot girls). Jay and Will seem to be the only people who see through him.
    Jay: "He's a dick! I never liked him when he was well, I never liked him when he was ill and don't like him now he's getting better... He was a complete bell-end. He was worse than Briefcase... He's not going to have got more interesting in a hospital bed attached to a drip for a year... and he used to stink."
    • The group of people with intellectual disabilities trash Simon's car simply because Will called them arseholes.
  • Disappeared Dad: Will's dad (whose split from his mum is effectively the plot trigger for the entire show) doesn't appear in the series itself, not turning up until the cold open of the first movie. It's suggested he hasn't kept in touch.
  • Disappointed in You: Understandably, Will's mum, Simon's parents and Neil's dad are disappointed with Will and Simon for skipping school, as well as everything else they did. Simon's mum even says to him earlier that if she finds out he's lying, she won't be angry, but she will be disappointed.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Simon is assaulted in front of a girl by psychotic younger boy for accidentally bumping into him.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Carli's friend from the first season finale, who refers to Simon as "Sickboy Boner" and gets with Jay at the party, is basically a female Jay. She chats Jay up with a story similar to one he would use, accuses him of sounding "bent" in the same way Jay himself did with Simon earlier in the episode and even has the same haircut.
  • The Ditz: Neil, although it's less of a disadvantage than you might think. His chosen A-levels (Physical Education and Technical Design) also speak volumes about his intellectual capacity.
  • Does Not Like Men: Tara's older sister, Sophie, comes across this way, given that she's antagonistic towards every male character she is seen talking to. She's hugely disapproving of Simon dating Tara and she had previously warned that Simon would go weird on her. That said, it doesn't help that six of the seven boys in the house that night caused either a disturbance or a mess, while Will instead ate a Bonsai plant.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Simon is the most abhorrent example, volunteering to assist Carli with her A-level Geography revision mere days before his exams, despite the fact he doesn't study it. Simon spends all three series with a hopeless and scary crush on her - even when he lands a date with pretty Irish lass Lauren, he decides to toss her onto the backburner as soon as Carli decides she wants to hang out with him.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Mentioned In-Universe at one point.
    Simon: If it were up to me, we'd all have Big Macs.
    Will: Didn't you see Super Size Me?
    Simon: Yeah, it made me really want a Big Mac.
  • Don't Think, Feel: Neil is pretty much the most successful one out of the four when it comes to the ladies, and he's the only one who doesn't massively overanalyse it. It's even implied he fingered Charlotte and by the end of Series Three he's the only one to have lost his virginity.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: Simon's driving test proctor makes him visibly uncomfortable by touching him inappropriately, and he's implied to only have passed his test because she felt him up, but this is played for laughs.
  • Downer Ending: Besides the season one finale and both movies (the second movie to a lesser extent), each episode goes this way for at least one of the main characters.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Jay gets this response when he flips off an old lady to impress his classmates on a field trip.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Will concedes that Neil is right when he says to him that he's happier that he doesn't worry about things.
  • Dumb Is Good: Neil, the dumbest of the four, is also the most genuinely nice one, and seemingly the most happy, as well as the luckiest.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Neil's is Lyndsey.
  • Embarrassing Nickname:
    • Will quickly earns the nickname "Briefcase" because he carries one around the school, usually embelished with an even more insulting noun tacked on. Examples include "Briefcase Wanker" and "Briefcase Mong"
    • Simon briefly gets dubbed "Boner" for having a raging hardon in the common room after talking to Carli
    • Mr. Kennedy is known amongst the students as "Paedo Kennedy", though to be fair it's not an inaccurate description...
  • Ephebophile: Mr. Kennedy, a perverted geography teacher who's openly made advances towards Neil twice so far in the series. How he's still employed is a mystery to all the pupils at the school. The teachers are clearly well aware of it, as at least two of them have covered for him or steered him away from openly courting students on school premises. Either he's a bloody good teacher, or, more likely, the school prefers to cover it up rather than fire him and reveal it to the public. Gilbert subtly lampshades this in the last episode, noting that police checks on teachers have become a lot more relaxed in recent years.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Jay won't masturbate with his dog present.
  • Everyone Has Standards: The four protagonists all have moments of being a Jerkass, but Will is horrified when he realises he accidentally insulted two boys with Down's syndrome, suffering a My God, What Have I Done? reaction. The others are shocked when they find out, though Jay is laughing at him while calling him out.
  • Everyone Looks Sexier if French: Patrice, Simon's French Foreign Exchange Student, only ever seems to talk about sex, and a number of women comment on how attractive he is. He's the only one to get laid in the episode, with Charlotte.
  • Evil Head of Sixth Form: Albeit an unusually sympathetic one. ...until in the last few episodes he proves just what a wanker he really is.
    Mr. Gilbert: McKenzie? Did you just say your mother is internet dating?
    Will: Erm... sort of?
    Mr. Gilbert: Ahh, interesting! I'm single at the moment and she is very much my type!
    Will: ... Okay...
    Mr. Gilbert: Maybe you could set me up with her and then who knows! If things go well, you could end up calling me Daddy!
    Will: ... Was this what you wanted to see me about sir?
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Virtually every attempt by the group to look cool or get laid will inevitably end in some kind of humiliating disaster by the end of the episode.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • Simon having a Wardrobe Malfunction during "The Fashion Show", with his left bollock hanging out of his Speedos at full-on eye-level for pretty much the entire audience. Word of God says Joe Thomas really did get his balls out for that scene, meaning that the audience reactions — a mixture of surprise, horror and hilarity — are genuine.
      • Simon also gets naked in "The Field Trip" (as a result of falling out of the boat fully-clothed and having to strip in order to avoid hypothermia) and in front of everyone in "The Trip to Warwick" following an unsuccessful attempt to have sex with Tara.
    • Jay's fat, hairy dad walks around half-naked in an early episode, and if that wasn't bad enough he soaks Will at a urinal and then starts farting.
  • Fanservice:
    • Carli and Charlotte's choice of outfits, most notably in The Fashion Show, which counterbalances Simon's accident.
    • Alison in the movie when she goes skinnydipping.
    • The whole point of Neil's sister.
  • Fat Idiot: John, the big lad who eats too much and only ever discusses food. He's part of the blazer gang of noobies along with Will at the beginning of the series, and appears to be below the Inbetweeners in social status.
    • Subverted when the boys witness John present at a closed house party that they were rejected from, with his hand firmly placed on an attractive girl's boob.
  • "Fawlty Towers" Plot: It's all part and parcel of being an adolescent in this case.
  • Fish out of Water: Will transferring to a comprehensive school. Also a literal fish out of water in the first episode of series 2.
  • Four-Man Band: While Only Sane Man and Butt-Monkey are rotating roles - and all four are perverts by most standards - the basic character types are:
    • The Smart One: Will, formerly privately educated, a geek, and at least in his own mind smarter than the other guys;
    • The Only Sane Man: Simon, the everyman, constantly embarrassed by the others;
    • The Pervert: Jay, Casanova Wannabe with a self-created Urban Legend Love Life;
    • The Butt Monkey: Neil is the one who gets the piss taken by the others more than anyone else... although karma has it that he gets more action than anyone else and seems like the happiest of the lot.
  • Foreshadowing: Regarding the power drinks Will has been taken during revision - "Think of your stomach though. Even one of those drinks makes my shits come out too fast."
    • When Will turns up at the pub near the end of the episode, Neil asks why he's dressed the way he is, asking, "Are you doing a fashion show or something?" Come the next episode, Will (and Simon) do exactly that.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Dogged Nice Guy Simon is Melancholic/Phlegmatic, loudmouth Jay is Sanguine/Choleric, control freak Will is Choleric/Melancholic, and cloud cuckoolander Neil is Phlegmatic/Sanguine.
  • French Jerk: French exchange student Patrice, who gets into a closed house party and shags Charlotte with no effort whatsoever, despite knowing absolutely nobody and speaking very poor, broken English. He also appears to be a racist, at one point spontaneously announcing that he doesn't like Arabs (France's most prominent ethnic minority). Will is not impressed. Also a Handsome Lech.
  • Freudian Excuse: Both subverted and played straight. In the film, Will says that he wishes he could blame all his personality defects on his parents splitting up, but he can't as it only happened recently. On the other hand, it seems pretty clear that Jay's abusive father is a big factor behind his neuroses.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse:
    • In one episode, Will is roped into dating a girl called Kerry because Simon wants to date her friend, Tara. Will isn't really interested in Kerry but Kerry takes it very seriously. At a birthday party, however, Will decides to end the relationship before it turns serious and he turns down her offer of oral sex, which causes Kerry to cry. Will discovers from an angry Tara that Kerry's dad died a month prior (something Simon forgot to mention) and he internally realises the hook-up was intended to help her through her grief. Will does offer his sympathies while also doubling down on his decision; he says that her dad's death is irrelevant to their perceived break-up and he still believes he shouldn't be forced to date someone out of pity.
    • In the film, Will invokes this on himself by wishing he could blame all his personality defects on his parents splitting up. However, it only happened recently so he wouldn't be able to get away with this.
  • Friendship Moment: Both season finales have this. The moment where the rest of the gang show up to comfort Will after he loses Charlotte also counts.
    • Although Will alienates most of his classmates during the end of the first episode, he and Simon manage to bond over a similar sense of humor while Simon willingly stays behind to makes sure Will isn't bullied.
    • Actively invoked by Will during the first episode. After Jay humiliates Simon for having a boner, Will takes the opportunity to offer him a seat during their next class as a show of friendliness in spite of his humilation.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Series 3 episode 5
    Jay: You know what golf stands for?
    Simon: No, what?
    Jay: Gay outdoor lifestyle with fellas.
  • Gargle Blaster: Jay mixes Simon up a cocktail consisting of whiskey, vodka and crème-de-menthe into a plastic bottle in order to get Simon drunker before he goes over to Carli's house. He and Will are so royally sloshed by the time they arrive at Carli's that Will ends up explaining about dirty bombs and terrorists to Carli's seven-year-old brother and Simon ends up throwing up over both the kitchen and the seven-year-old brother. The drink is so potent that Carli wonders if she can smell bleach.
  • The Generic Guy: Davey Glover is a fellow student who appears sporadically throughout the first two seasons, starting with the first episode as the first non-new kid that Will attempts to speak to. For a recurring character, even one as minor as him, he isn't given much personality apart from being something of an asshole and having a constant vaguely annoyed demeanour. He isn't even named until his final appearance in the second season finale.
  • Genre Blindness: Neil often encourages Jay when he talks BS, leading to some hilariously inaccurate information about the opposite sex.
  • The Ghost: A couple of different offscreen characters are referenced, notably Sadie Cunningham and the Headmaster. The former is a constant victim of Jay's Sticky Fingers ("I nicked it out of Sadie Cunningham's bag during registration.") and the lads end up in the latter's office whenever they do something seriously bad. Deleted scenes from the first episode show that the Head was intended to play a more active role as an almost omniscient presence around the school (in one scene, he somehow knows what Will is up to), who only communicated through the intercom, but, looking at the scene, this appears to be a departure from the realism of the series.
  • Girlfriend in Canada:
    • Jay claims to have had tons of sex with the girls at Caravan Club. When his friends call his bluff and agree to accompany him to Caravan Club, their suspicions that he has been lying are quickly confirmed.
    • In a different episode, Will tell Charlotte he had a lot of sex on holiday in Australia, an unverifiable story that's clearly a lie as Will is a virgin.
  • Girl Next Door: Simon's on-off (OK, mostly off) love interest, at least geographically - personality-wise she's more of an Alpha Bitch. But of course Simon can't see that.
  • Girl of the Week: Several show up in various episodes to cause Will pain, humiliation and embarrassment, only to never be seen again afterwards, including Lauren, Kerry and Punk Girl. Also Jay's girlfriend Chloe, who serves the same purpose as the others above.
  • Girly Run: Will is mocked for this by Daisy and is left bemusingly upset.
  • Global Ignorance: Simon doesn't know where Swansea is. Jay thinks it's Oop North. Neil thinks it's an animal.
  • The Good Old British Comp: Rudge Park Comprehensive is a pretty accurate depiction of one.
  • Graduate from the Story: Charlotte does between seasons 2 and 3. The four main characters do so some time after season 3 (not during the series itself, which concludes midway through their final year), but are reunited for the movies.
  • Hero Antagonist: Tom, Carly's rubgy player boyfriend, whilst at times neglectful, is generally pleasant to Simon, and certainly much less of a jerkass than the likes of Donovan and James in the movie.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Jay again, as revealed during the first season finale, again in the second season finale, and once more when he is distraught at finding his dog put down. And again in the movie when he hooks up with Jane, despite initially being embarrassed to be seen with a fat girl.
    • Neil and Jay are surprisingly artistic, if crude in their rearranging of some flowers from "Welcome to our village" to "We cum tit village".
  • High School Is Hell: Well, sixth form at least.
  • Hong Kong Dub: The guy who throttles Simon in "A Night Out in London" has clearly had his dialogue dubbed over. The acoustics of his dialogue don't match the rest of the characters, and he speaks without moving his mouth.
  • Horrible Camping Trip: The Season 3 finale. Jay and Neil burn all of Will's possessions and Simon's car ends up rolling into the lake (after which a confused Neil smashes the back window with a rock). Finally, the lads projectile-vomit all over each other inside the tent after eating some badly-undercooked sausages, courtesy of Neil.
  • Hot for Teacher: Neil to his unfortunate biology teacher.
  • Hypocrite: Will spends most of The Fashion Show protesting against his involvement in the show itself, right up until the moment Charlotte flashes him a smile and asks him to join her on the catwalk. He himself acknowledges this.
  • I Banged Your Mom: Because Will's mother is so attractive, his friends all frequently give him this retort. A typical exchange involves Jay saying something crude about sex, Will snarking at him, and then Jay retorting back that he used the sex act in question on Will's mum.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Jay has a brief heart to heart with John at Will's party where he admits that he exaggerates to be noticed and that being a DJ lets him ignore that impulse and it looks like it might be a genuine moment of growth...until he meets a girl and immediately reverts to his normal Jerkass personality.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Tara bullies Simon into buying an outfit consisting of a green-and-purple button down, a plaid bow tie, a pink cardigan, and shorts. Simon is horrified by the look, as are all his friends, but Tara and the shop assistant think he looks amazing.
  • The Internet Is for Porn: From series 2 episode 6.
    Jay: He's probably on the internet looking up the answers to the exam questions.
    Neil: And then having a wank.
    Jay: What?
    Neil: Well, it's impossible, innit? I don't think I've ever been on the internet and not ended up having a wank.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: After shitting his pants in the middle of an exam and probably failing, Will rocks up at the pub and quickly downs four pints of lager in quick succession, content that his life cannot get any worse.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Fashionable: Simon discovers he's not just Tara's boyfriend, but also "her new project" when she gets him to buy a ridiculous but fashionable outfit.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: In series 2 episode 5, Jay masturbates over a photo of a hot-looking young woman he finds in the care home. It turns out to be that very room's elderly resident from fifty-odd years previously.
  • Jar Potty: During the lads' trip to London, Neil uses a beer can to urinate in, sticking his penis right in. Unfortunately, he ends up cutting his helmet on the ring, leaving him spending the rest of the episode complaining about how much it stings.
  • Jerkass: Mr Gilbert, Donovan, Rachel, Jay's dad, Patrice and Simon's younger brother Andrew. All four protagonists have their moments.
    • Neil's co-workers at Thorpe Park. We don't see them, but they've stolen Neil's clothes from his locker at least three times, the third occurring in the episode itself, and the last time they stole his clothes, they set them on fire.
    • James, the rep from Carli's resort in The Movie is perhaps the biggest Jerkass to date. He runs Simon down on a quadbike and cons him out of his clothes. He also makes Jay cry at one point and openly insults Jane for being fat.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • In general, any scene where Will loses his temper. He often has a good reason to be annoyed, but by being insensitive or stubborn, he makes sure that others won't sympathise with him. The most notable example is his falling out with Kerry. He was rude to her for shallow reasons, but the fact that her father died recently still doesn't obligate him to date her, or even pretend to date her.
    • Jay refers to Carli as "Little-Miss-Stuck-up-Cocktease" at one point and generally gives Simon abuse about his feelings for her and constantly telling him that she's not interested. He's completely right.
    • Jay is also right that Alistair is an asshole, despite nearly everyone else giving him sympathy due to his disease and wheelchair-bound state. Will immediately discovers that Jay is right.
    • Alistair might be a total bell-end, but he's right that Will is ruining the event for his own reasons, and that he's a total hypocrite for later modelling some clothes himself just to impress Charlotte.
    • Mr. Gilbert notes that for once he actually agrees with Will when he objects to the fashion parade — namely, that it's just the self-described attractive students using charity as a hypocritical excuse to satisfy their own narcissistic craving for everyone's attention. Of course, being Mr. Gilbert, he still makes Will manage the donations.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Mark Donovan (well, he has his moments), and Jay.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Mark Donovan's bullying never gets him in trouble, even when blatantly detected by teachers.
    • Jay often manages to escape punishment or embarrassment due to being a Dirty Coward.
      • He was responsible for breaking the door of Simon's car at the theme park after he opened it while the car was still moving, despite being told not to. Yet he blithely points out that he can't be expected to pay for the damage, since it's not his car. In the final episode, he is the one responsible for said car ending iup in the lake.
      • Perhaps the most dishonourable example is the "bus wankers" incident when he allows Simon to get strangled by the Scary Black Man for something he did, and then laughs at him about it afterwards.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Although Jay tends to escape misfortune more than Simon or Will, there are a few times where he gets embarrassed or humiliated:
    • Gets caught masturbating in an old woman's home.
    • Fails to ride a motorcycle properly after bragging about it, even crashing it into a door.
  • Kavorka Man:
    • How the mildly-retarded Neil ends up with all the booty he gets on this show is beyond mind-boggling. He takes nearly all of Will's leftovers, including Charlotte, with far more success than Will ever had with any of them, and is the only one of the four to lose his virginity prior to the movie (to a single mother at the cheese counter in the local supermarket where he works). That said, the movie shows that he has no standards whatsoever.
    • Will has shades of this too, although he is never able to beat his five seconds of non-penetrative robot sex with Charlotte.
  • Kick The Son Of A Bitch: When Will finds Patrice in bed with Charlotte on his birthday, he tells Donovan where Charlotte is, knowing that Donovan will almost certainly find Patrice and beat him up.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Everybody under the age of fourteen are at best incredibly annoying or at worst downright psychotic.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Jay, regarding all things sexual. Will is convinced that he makes it all up, Simon usually falls for it, and Neil - while seemingly inadvertently pointing out the various holes in Jay's warped logic - is perfectly happy to go along with it because unlike the others, he actually does have a sex life.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Jay at one point becomes a Casanova Wannabe In Love, and repeatedly tells Neil off for saying the kind of crude things about her that Jay is always saying about his fake conquests (you know he's serious about her when he doesn't even pretend they've had sex). Tragically he gets so worried that she's seeing other guys he manages to blow his chance with her.
  • Lame Comeback: Frequently, usually lampshaded with a deadpan "Brilliant."
  • Larynx Dissonance: Simon unsuccessfully tries to impersonate his own mother when phoning the school in Bunk Off.
  • Last-Name Basis:
    • Mr. Gilbert refers to all the students by their last names only, treating them like army conscripts.
    • Mr. Gilbert himself does not like being called "Phil". This is normal for the UK, where you are expected to address a teacher as "Mr/Miss ____" or as "sir/miss".
    • The parents' first names are only listed in the credits.
  • Likes Older Women:
    • Neil, who makes a shockingly embarrassing pass at biology teacher Miss Timms during the school disco, swiftly taking the spotlight off of Simon who was making just as big a dick of himself with Carli. Not to mention that he got off with a woman who was at least three times his age on holiday in the movie. Later on, the other lads have to physically restrain him from going off with another.
    • Jay's attempt to find a "sexy housewife" in Swanage is the only reason he studies Geography.
    • Will, too; his most successful romances, if you can call them that, have been with his former babysitter, a girl in the year above (Charlotte) and the more mature Alison.
    • Jay, Simon, and Neil have expressed an attraction to Will's mum, as has Donovan.
  • Limited Social Circle: Comically enforced by the main characters. Generally, they are each other's only friends and try to keep it that way. The minute Jay seems to have gained a new friend, the others immediately mock him for it. Lampshaded by Will who points out that he only has five contacts on his phone, and three of them are Neil, Simon, and Jay.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: Happens to Simon when he gets into bed with Tara; the inevitable consequences of listening to Jay's very bad advice.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: Carli has this effect on Simon.
    Carli: Can I come to yours and revise Sociology with you?
    Simon: Yes! God, yes! Come over anytime! Come over now!
    Carli: I can't come over now...
    Simon: No, of course not.
    • Arguably this also happens to Tara. She goes from a reasonably down-to-earth Deadpan Snarker to a goofy lovestruck teenager who dresses Simon likes a mannequin.
  • Marijuana Is LSD: Will's experiences after consuming dope in Season 3. He's possibly demonstrating psychosomatic reactions (especially the random twitching), behaving the way he thinks dope affects you, but on the other hand he did eat a whole lump of resin. What he describes are not hallucinations, but very unusual sensations - 'everything is flat'; 'I think I might be dead' - which is exactly what happens when most people take marijuana, even when they're smoking it: just to a lesser extent, because the amount he ate was ridiculous.
    • This is discussed in the commentary - the incident is based on the real experience of one of the writers, who accidentally ingested marijuana and experienced random arm motions, feeling like everything was flat, thinking he was trapped in a bubble, etc.
    • It should be noted that marijuana has different effects on different characters. Simon and Tara just seem to act like they've been drinking (though Tara may have been concussed). Jay gets extremely paranoid about being arrested, even fleeing when an ambulance turns up. Donovan seems to be more aggressive on dope.
  • Mercy Kill: After the lads accidentally catch a fish, Neil says that it'll never survive if they put it back in the water and that the kindest thing to do is kill it. Neil's solution? Punching it to death.
  • Missing Mum: Neil's mother is the only parent who doesn't appear in the series. She divorced his dad for "unknown" reasons.
  • Mistaken for Masturbating: "A Night Out in London" sees Neil thrown out of a nightclub because he is believed to have been masturbating in the toilets. In fact he had been treating a cut on his penis, caused by urinating into a drinks can earlier. The reason was that he made some moaning sounds which was, of course, due to pain, but this wasn't obvious to the onlookers.
  • Mistaken for Pedophile:
    • Jay and Neil force Simon to ask out some girls on the street to Will's party; turns out they're eleven. Cue them calling them paedos and getting their older brother to beat them up. Actually inverted in the American series in which Jay goes out with a 12 year old - a line even the perverted British Jay would never cross.
    • In "The Camping Trip", a drunken Simon attempts to express his love for Carli by climbing through her bedroom window at 3 in the morning. Unfortunately, he ends up in her kid brother's bedroom. This later leads to a very awkward conversation between Simon and his father about why it is never okay to touch children (and his father spending several hours googling chemical castration).
  • Mistaken for Racist: Jay and Neil spot a guy dealing drugs and ask him to buy some marijuana. The guy chews them out for assuming he must be a dealer just because he's black.
  • Mood Whiplash: At the start of the movie, just after Carli dumps Simon, Simon whistles and walks home happily. Once he lies down on his bed, he bursts out crying.
  • My Eyes Are Up Here: Neil's sister when she opens the door to his friends in a bathrobe.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Will's reaction when he realises he just called two boys with Down's syndrome "inconsiderate arseholes" at Thorpe Park. (To be fair to him, he didn't know until he looked over and saw them.) His reaction says it all: "I'm the worst human being in the world."
    • More or less Jay's reaction when he hears that his dad's had his dog put down after believing his lies about it crapping indoors in the third series. To make matters worse, all he wanted to do was get it out of the way for a bit so he could have some... time to himself.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits: Neil's sister is second only to Will's mum in the amount of perving she gets from the others. Leads to a scene where the boys are debating which of the two is hotter, and despite being offended at them talking about his sister Neil still enthusiastically joins in the discussion of Will's mum.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Each of the lads have wound up naked at some point in a situation played for laughs, particularly Simon, who seems to have this happen at least once per series.
  • The Napoleon: Will is this. He's shorter than the other boys and has a fuse to match.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The advertising for Series Two implied that Lauren would be a new, female member of the main gang. As it happened, though, she was only in the show for one episode before being Put on a Bus.
  • Non-Uniform Uniform: The blazer Will wears is part of the Rudge Park uniform, it's just apparently optional and no-one else wears one, barring "the freaks" and some of the lower years. Gives the same effect as Transfer Student Uniforms (presumably Will's old school had everyone in blazers). To a lesser extent is the blue jumper that Neil and Simon wear, but Jay never really bothers with.
  • Noodle Incident: Simon never tells anyone what actually happened on his driving test.
  • Not So Above It All: Will is frequently shown to be just as stupid, callous and inept as the rest of them. Simon lampshades this in his rant in the last episode, pointing out that Will is just as stupid and as much of a prat as Neil and Jay and the only reason people think he's the clever one is because he has a posh accent.
  • Obliquely Obfuscated Occupation: Aside from Jay's dad, who is shown running his own plant hire yard, we never see what the lads' parents do for a living. Simon's dad works in an unspecified job that was apparently downsizing at the end of series 3, Neil's dad is stated to not be making much money, and there's an implication that Will's mum might possibly have done a shoot for a porn mag to help ends meet.
  • Of Course I'm Not a Virgin: Will blunders this one badly with Charlotte, claiming to have slept with an eleven year old when he was thirteen. When it's clear he has no idea what he's doing when it comes to sex, Charlotte dumps him. He later compounds this by claiming to have had sex with her lots of times during the work experience episode, a lie that's easily found out. Thankfully, he learns his lesson by the movie and is honest with Alison about his lack of sexual experience. It works.
  • Oh, Crap!: Will and Simon at the end of "Bunk Off" when they see Simon's parents' car and Neil's dad's car outside Will's house and realise that their parents know they skipped school.
  • Once a Season: Simon finding himself naked is quite frequently played for laughs.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: In the season two finale, Will drinks energy drinks to help him take an exam. This causes him to have irritable bowel syndrome, and when Mr. Gilbert refused to let him go to the bathroom, Will soils himself during the exam. A prominent running gag in season three is people bringing up the incident to Will.
  • One-Hour Work Week: Jay claims students in Upper Sixth only have to come for in two hours a week. As usual with Jay, it's utter bollocks.
  • Only Sane Man: At first, it seems like Will is, but Simon probably fits the role more often, when he isn't wearing piss-filled tramp's shoes. Mr. Gilbert counts too, although he's often a bit of an ass about it.
  • One-Steve Limit:
    • Averted with Ben, the major antagonist of the second movie, and Benji, Jay's dog.
    • There's also Chris Groves (Jay's year 13 friend who tells him about the "nympho" in Swanage) Chris Warton (A guy Jay claims got his head stuck in the recycling bin and arse-raped 18 times), Chris D'Amato (Carli's younger brother) and Chris Yates, wo gets kicked off of Carli's fashion show for having "a really hairy back". Knowing Jay, though, the existence of the first two isn't guaranteed...
    • The amount of minor characters called Steve borders on a Running Gag: the tough bloke who buys Will and company pints in the Black Bull; Carli's father; one of the rough mechanics at Will's work experience; the black drug dealer who Neil and Jay score weed from.
  • Opposites Attract: Nobody ever truly understood how the gorgeous and popular blonde Charlotte came to hook up with the briefcase wanker.
  • Parental Sexuality Squick: Simon often suffers from this. Justified, considering how shamelessly open his father is about his sex life.
  • Perfectly Cromulent Word: Will, in the middle of a drunken tirade against Neil's Ambiguously Gay dad, calls him a bumder, later explaining that it's a cross between 'bummer' and 'bender' (both of which are perjorative British slang terms for a homosexual man).
  • Pet the Dog: In the final episode of the American version, Mr Gilbert cheers up Jay by telling him not to care what the other pupils think of him, as he's never going to see most of them again after school anyway. Jay is surprised that Mr Gilbert is capable of being nice, but it turns out he was just drunk.
  • Poor Man's Porn: Jay uses the problem pages from women's magazines as masturbation material. When he uses those up, having even wanked over Fearne Britton, he uses a photograph of an old woman who is staying in the retirement home from her younger days.
  • Precision Bumder Strike: Will's misguided attempt to create a new insult, which he uses on Neil's dad before hurtling out of the house.
  • Put on a Bus: Charlotte who is one year above the main characters and thus graduates sixth form after the second series. She makes a return in the first episode of the third series as a guest star at the fashion show, but afterwards she is the only one of the regulars to not appear for the rest of the series nor the movies.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Will has quite a few in the series, but Simon has an epic meltdown in the final episode when Jay and Neil push his car in the lake. He cools down when Neil offers him a lager.
  • Raging Stiffie:
    • Simon gets one in the first episode when Carli leans over in front of him and he gets a look at her cleavage. Jay calls him out on it and tells everybody. This earns him the nickname "Boner" for the rest of the series until Neil attempts to kiss Miss Timms and then gets one himself.
    • In Series Three, Simon doesn't get one of these when he actually needs one - when he tries to have sex with Tara. Jay had previously told him to have a quick wank and he would "recharge" during the act, but as this advice came from Jay...
  • Rape as Comedy: Considering how sex-driven the show is, it generally does a pretty good job of averting this, apart from the Mr Kennedy Running Gag; but in the last episode of season 3, there's an implication that Jay was molested by his neighbour that's played for laughs.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Simon delivers an epic one in the last episode after Jay and Neil let his car roll into the lake. Not even Will is spared.
    Neil: It's alright, Si. We'll just wait for the morning and rescue it when the tide's out.
    Will: Come on, Si. Come out of the water and dry off. I'm sure we'll think of something.
    Will: Bit harsh.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Will attempts this a few times, usually without much success (his various Strawman Has a Point moments also count as this). Perhaps the most memorable is when he insults Neil's dad (who's in the process of trying to tell the boys off for drinking) by calling him a "bumder".
    • The one time Will really pulls this off is in the aftermath of the "shitting himself in the exam" incident, a low point even by the standards of this show. Several hours later Will, who is at this point still seventeen, rocks up to the pub wearing his school blazer and a pair of replacement tracksuit trousers from lost property while carrying his soiled clothes in a plastic bag. He orders a pint and is pleasantly surprised to actually get served. He then orders three more pints and downs them in quick succession. He also cheerfully and shamelessly tells the full unvarnished story to anybody who asks - on the grounds that since his reputation is already literally in the shitter, there's not much point trying to cover it up or deny it.
  • Right Behind Me: Will enters his first class just after an unpleasant encounter with Mr. Gilbert. He goes on a long and increasingly impassioned mocking rant about Gilbert, but everyone else just looks uneasy. After a while, Will says "He's behind me, isn't he", and sure enough Gilbert has entered the classroom.
  • Running Gag:
    • Simon changes his appearance and entire personality in order to impress a girl he fancies.
    • Neil has a tendency to go for Will's sloppy seconds and get further with them than Will ever did.
  • Sadist Show: Makes The Office seem tame by comparison.
  • Satellite Character: Given that there's four protagonists, pretty much everyone else fits the bill.
    • Averted to an extent with Carli, while she seems to be playing the role of Satellite Love Interest for Simon as she only seems to figure into the story when he's after her affections, she's given more character depth than most of this trope.
    • Rachel largely seemed to be this to Carli as she was only shown silently tagging along Carli in any given episode, though she's given more prominence in "A Night Out in London" when Will quite mistakenly believes she's into him.
  • Selective Enforcement: When Will responds to one of Jay's characteristic tirades of insults and innuendo with a snide remark about his bursting into tears when his girlfriend dumped him, the other three respond with Dude, Not Funny!
  • Sex as Rite-of-Passage: The main characters all seem to share this view, though their chances of actually being successful at losing their virginity seem far lower than in most plots with this theme. Except for Neil, who manages to get laid by the end of the series without really trying. They do all finally seem to manage it in The Movie, though.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend:
    • More accurately, he is not my friend.
      Aww, football fwiend? [thumbs up]
    • More literally with Will and Kerri. Will makes it very clear that she is not his girlfriend despite one date, but nobody seems to listen to him.
  • A Simple Plan: So many of the schemes dreamt up by the boys end up an unmitigated disaster, where everything goes wrong and then some.
  • Snipe Hunt: Will nearly embarks on one of these whilst on work experience at a car garage. However, the know-it-all way he reacts to seeing through the prank results in a much worse hazing by the mechanics, with Will being abducted, locked into a car boot, stripped and thrown into a freezing lake.
    Jimmy: Didn't think of that one did you, Mastermind?
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Despite taking place in a Crapsack World, the series is surprisingly idealistic. Whilst the four main characters suffer enourmously, they bring most of it on themselves by either being dishonest, jerks, or too spineless to stand up for themselves. On the rare occasions when they act honestly and selflessly, things start going their way.
  • Sock Slide Rink: Will does this in the recreation centre at a caravan campground, sliding around on a highly polished floor in hope of impressing a girl, however this instead annoys her and ruins his chance of getting laid. note .
  • Spiritual Predecessor: Can be seen as such to Drifters, given that two of the actresses from the first movie, Lydia Rose Bewley (Jane) and Jessica Knappett (Lisa), played two of the main characters in the former.
  • Stacy's Mom: All the guys with regard to Will's mum, to his considerable displeasure. Jay brings it up the most, Neil seems the most serious about it, and Simon pretty much just goes along with the joke.
  • Stereotype Reaction Gag: When the boys approach a black man they believe is a drug dealer in a club, he gets offended and accuses them of racial stereotyping. Of course, he is a drug dealer, but "that's not the point."
  • Stop Saying That!: Neil randomly starts saying "No problemo!" in a terrible pseudo-Mexican accent, for the duration of one episode for no reason. Simon gets more and more agitated and annoyed with it each time.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Simon prepares to swim from a yacht to shore as a big romantic gesture, to massive, raging cheers and applause from all on board. Minutes later, the whole boat is silent as Simon begins to drown, and winds up being airlifted to hospital by the coast-guard.
    • Will is set up on a double date with a girl called Kerry in order to help Simon date Tara, Will isn't interested in her and is forced to breakup the relationship before it turns serious. Kerry is upset by this and Tara furiously reveals to Will that Kerry's dad died a month prior, Will does offer his condolences but still stands by his decision to dump her because her dad's death had no relevance to their break-up and he tried to do it like a gentleman until Kerry portrayed him as an arsehole who took advantage of a grieving woman for sex and he is forced to leave the party by Neil's dad. Will is right about the death of Kerry's dad and he has the right to stop a relationship if he doesn't share Kerry's feelings. At the same time though, whether he intended to or not, he still insulted and shamed a woman in mourning. Because of this, the party-goers take Kerry's side in the argument since she has a more believable and convincing side of the story.
    • When Simon discovers that Carli had a liking to him, he drunkenly decides to break into her room at night to impress her. But, he ends up entering the wrong room and traumatising a child. It's very clear that Carli would react in the same way. While Simon's dad was able to talk things out with the horrified parents, Simon still has to go away for a bit until things fully calm down.
  • The Movie: Released to the general public August 19th, 2011.
  • Tall Poppy Syndrome: On many occasions when one of the boys starts making some form of progress, the others team up to bring him back down to their level. Examples of this include the time Jay's football friend and Will's attempted romance with Daisy.
  • Take That!: "You've got until Monday to find out, otherwise it's goodbye first rate education, hello University of Lincoln." Ouch.
  • Technical Virgin: Each of the lads is this to a certain degree. Jay gets a handjob "outside the trousers" in the series 1 finale (though, since he's Jay, he may be lying about it; he did initially claim that it was a blowjob). Simon receives unfinished handjobs in at least two episodes and unsuccessfully attempts sex with Tara. Will spends about ten seconds incompetently writhing around on top of Charlotte before she tells him to stop (Will actually has to ask her if he's technically lost his virginity or not). Neil fingers a couple of girls over the course of the series and actually loses his virginity during Series Three, the only one of the main gang to do so prior to the movie.
  • Tempting Fate: Will says things can't get any worse after he and Simon leave Carli's house... only to see their parents' cars outside his house and realise they're in trouble.
    • Will's narration says he hopes the others won't find out he accidentally insulted two boys with Down's syndrome. Moments later, they do, and even they are shocked.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Mr. Gilbert falls victim to this after the fashion show debacle — not that he'll admit it to Will and Simon:
    Mr. Gilbert: There is nothing funny about testicles, Cooper. As you'll discover tomorrow, in my office.
    Simon: What?!
    Will: [a bit grossed] Sorry, sir, but that sounds a bit weird.
    Mr. Gilbert: No it does not.
  • There Is Only One Bed: When the lads drive to Warwick to stay at Tara's sister's house, Will and Neil have to share a tiny single bed, while Jay sleeps on the floor. This is a cause of major disturbance when Neil wets the bed and pisses all over Will and Jay.
  • This Loser Is You: The main cast. We have Will, the socially inept posh twit, Simon, the hopeless romantic, Neil, the village idiot and Jay, the self-proclaimed ladies man.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Any episode that ends with the protagonists reasonably content, as opposed to the typical episode when they end up humiliated and failing to achieve their goals.
    • In particular the end of the first season ends with Will actually gaining respect from other students for throwing a successful party, and Jay actually manages to get a girl interested in him. The episode ends on an upbeat note with the four friends jumping on a trampoline together.
    • Also, The ending of The Movie where each of the boys ends up with a girl.
  • Toilet Humour: As to be expected, a LOT of the references and situations are based on this.
    • Taken literally in The Movie, where the boys have to contend with a bidet; being British, they're not entirely sure what it's for.
  • Training from Hell: Will is subject to institutionalized bullying on his work experience at a car garage, after being a bit too cocky and brash about his intellectual abilities. On the other hand, on his work experience placement at a newspaper, Neil is rewarded and showered with praise for having no intelligence or sentient thought at all. Given that the guy he's working under rolls his eyes when he hears he has a kid on work experience, it's possible that he's relieved not to have someone hanging around constantly asking questions and getting in the way.
  • Truth in Television: And how. It's almost as painful to watch as it was to go through the same shit at school. Basically, if you went to a British secondary school at any point since the 1980s, there will be at least a couple of moments per episode where you can relate perfectly to something that has been said or done. Chances are, you will have known someone who was just like one one of the four main characters; if you're a man, you may have even been one of them.
  • The Unreveal: The details of Carli's response to Jay's text from Simon's phone are never revealed.
    • Though, considering that they are together at the start of the movie, it's probably positive.
  • Ultimate Job Security: Mr Kennedy, however, this is lampshaded.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Will and Jay. Simon skirts the line.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Clunge" is quite a popular one, and has since become embedded in the common British vernacular. Others such as "bellend" note  and "wank bank" note  were already staples of British student slang but further popularised by the series.
  • Urine Trouble: In Warwick, Neil wets the bed and Will when he goes to bed.
  • Valentine's Day Episode: "Work Experience" opens with Jay showing the Valentine's cards he supposedly received, each with sexually explicit messages inside, which Will and Simon instantly suspect are all fakes written by Jay himself. Simon, however, receives a genuine card from Hannah Fields.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: All the protagonists to each other. Questioning each others' sexuality, openly doubting each others' ability to win over women and generally insulting each other is commonplace, but they're good friends and nothing is going to change that. They've shown a particular tendency to rally round after bad breakups.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: A drunken and heartbroken Simon engages in this all over Carli's kitchen counter. And little brother.
    • There is also a Vomit Discretion Shot when Simon pukes in her sink.
    • In series 3, Simon first kisses his new girlfriend Tara mere seconds after she throws up over his shoes - orange vomit is still trickling down her chin. Eww...
    • The final episode has Simon, Jay and Neil projectile vomiting all over each other inside a tent.
    • In one episode, they're also watching the infamous "Two Girls One Cup" video...
    • Plus Will for most of the last half hour of The Movie after a heavy night on the town.
    • Tara does this as while high and concussed and then kisses Simon.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: Simon is convinced by Carli to take to the catwalk with her in Speedos and ends up with his left testicle on display.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Used on Will after he brings up Jay's girlfriend making him cry after too many insults. Treated as serious business and completely ignoring all the other insults Jay uses against Will. Possibly justified, in that while the guys humour Jay's Blatant Lies, Simon and Will at least seem pretty aware that she was probably the only girl he'd ever been with, and certainly the only one he'd ever had real feelings for. It seems to be an unwritten moral norm (more or less the only norm) in the group that bad break-ups are serious business and the victim should be respected. When Will was dumped somewhat cruelly by Charlotte, Simon and Jay were quick to try to cheer him up, and they avoid bringing up his short relationship with her unless Will himself mentions it. So when Will points out Jay's break-up in a rather blunt way, he breaks the norm even though Jay has complied with it to him. That way, it actually makes sense, though Will (who is not always good with unwritten norms) finds it weird.
  • Wild Teen Party: Not so much played down as realistically depicted. For the UK, at least.
    • The lads don't really get invited to these. The one party we're shown that they are invited to is a tame affair with the parents of the hostess waiting upstairs to send everyone home at 11 o'clock. When Charlotte unexpectedly turns up, it's noted that it's the coolest party they've ever been invited to.
    • At Louise Graham's "Sexy Soiree" that the boys manage to gatecrash, the wildest thing we see happen is Charlotte in bed with Patrice and the implication that Donovan beats the shit out of Patrice for it. Neil, Simon and Jay end up standing around talking to nobody, as they know very few people there note . What partying is shown just basically involves everyone sitting in random spots around the house drinking.
      • Actually this is very much Truth in Television, as most British teen/student house parties never devolve into the over-the-top, pseudo-raves that are usually shown in the media. In general, it is mostly sitting around drinking and hoping you'll get lucky.
    • Will discusses the pitfalls of this trope in "Home Alone", when he's worried that if he holds one of these, 4,000 people will turn up and the roof of the house will end up being stolen.
    • The movie ends with one of these on a boat.
  • Will They or Won't They?: The essence of Carli and Simon's relationship. They don't.
  • Wimp Fight:
    • Will (a short nerd) and Alistair (who's in a wheelchair) get in a physical altercation that consists of Alistair trying to run over Will's feet with his chair, while Will tries to strangle/blind Alistair by throwing a tablecloth on his head. It does not make either of them look very good.
    • Jay and Simon's fight in The Movie is more like agressive hugging. Will, Neil and some passersby watch idly.
      Will: We should do something.
  • With Friends Like These...: Jay and Will's dynamics are like this among the four main characters: Will and Simon are best friends, and Jay and Neil are best friends. Will and Simon both consider Neil a friend in the end due to him being generally nice though his stupidity often annoys them. Simon and Jay often seem to hate each other, but they have been friends for thirteen years, so in the end, they have some grudging respect for each other and stick together due to simply having known each other for so long. However, Will - the newcomer to the group - and Jay have basically nothing in common. 98% of their interaction consists of them insulting each other (even interrupting each other's conversations to do it), and Jay trying to get Will in trouble. Jay has a very, very few Pet the Dog moments towards Will that may suggest they're really Vitriolic Best Buds deep down, but most of the time they are this trope.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: Mr. Gilbert's opinion on the fashion show speeches. He even starts correcting the spelling errors out loud, while reading them out to the audience.
    Mr. Gilbert: Christ, who wrote this?
  • World of Jerkass: The main characters are rather selfish and insensitive as befits teenage boys. Their personality flaws are realistic and relatable due to their age, but they are nevertheless frequently awful to bystanders, all played for Cringe Comedy. On the other hand, they're surrounded by cruel teachers, bullies, and social hierarchies that all conspire to punish them for their ways.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • Jay pushes a kid who can't swim into a pool for making fun of (and de-pantsing) him in The Movie.
    • Simon claims he would have battered Danny Moore if it wasn't for Northwood backing him up ... and, in all fairness, he totally deserves it.
  • Your Mum: Frequently towards Will's mum.
    Will: Great. Now even the Head of Sixth Form is making jokes about my mum. At least I hope he was joking...
  • What The Hell, Costuming Department?:
    • In-universe is the outfit Simon has to wear for the fashion show's sexy finale. Lampshaded by Will.
    Will: Why'd you even agree to wear it in the first place?
    Simon: Carli told me to.
    Will: Even with your whole sack covered, you'd look ridiculous. Speedos, DMs, Top Hat and a Leash? What maniac designed that and thought "I know what's fashionable; dressing up as an upper class mental patient!"?
    • Another in-universe example is Neil's tuxedo from the Christmas prom complete with Impossibly-Low Neckline. His justification is that girls will go for him because he stands out. It's met with bewildered reactions from the rest of the lads.
      Simon: And I thought our suits were shit.


Video Example(s):


Feisty one you are (The Inbetweeners)

'The Field Trip'.
Will's Yoda impression fails to impress his crush.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / CringeComedy

Media sources: