Once upon a time, there was a melodramatic but thoroughly addictive British teen drama called Skins. Due to its salacious storylines, shippable couples, high drama, irresistible accents, killer soundtrack and occasional use of ridiculous plot devices such as MDMA-laced brownies, the show became a cult phenomenon on both sides of the Atlantic, helping further advance the careers of the likes of Nicholas Hoult, Kaya Scodelario and Dev Patel. In 2011, MTV tried to recreate the first season of Skins for an American audience, swapping Bristol for Baltimore and Maxxie for Tea and toying with a few key character traits. The remake didn’t jibe with the young people quite like the original did, and MTV called it off before a second season.
Now, MTV’s trying again with another adaptation of a popular British TV show, this time, a brash and rude but ultimately lovable high school comedy called The Inbetweeners. The plotlines and character names appear to be the same this time: when posh Will’s parents get divorced, money’s tight and he’s forced to go to a public high school. He shows up for the first day sporting a blazer and donning a briefcase, leading to almost instant ridicule. He ends up falling in with a group of guys that are either here nor there on the popularity scale, and there they go, chasing after booze and birds and getting into all sorts of shenanigans. Bearing in mind that it’s a show about teenage boys talking and acting in the manner teenage boys do, it’s actually pretty funny and relatable, considering how many high school comedies are focused on the most polarizing ends of this imagined and overexaggerated social ladder.
Anyway. The show hasn’t quite hit the popularity stride across the pond that Skins has, but it’s certainly got an international fanbase, so MTV is trying their luck with it. Having watched the original series, the trailer is a bit surreal—many of the jokes from the series premiere are repeated, including the bits with the briefcase and blazer and Simon’s longtime love of Carly D’Amato, but there’s something that just seems amiss. It’s too early to tell, of course—we’ll see how things pan out with the first episode. The show’s true test of being able to stand the translation will be how self-appointed group lothario Jay’s catchphrase is translated for the Yanks (can you say “clunge” on MTV during primetime?).
The American version of The Inbetweeners premieres on MTV Monday, August 20th. Watch the trailer here until it becomes embed-able, and then maybe send it to your super Anglophile friend spamming your Tumblr feed with Doctor Who gifs for a good wind-up.