‘The Inbetweeners’ and Its Disgustingly Accurate Depiction of High School

“How much LEGO can you get up your bum?” Honestly, if this isn’t a question you’ve asked your closest pals, are you even really friends in the first place? In The Inbetweeners, it’s just another casual conversation between classmates. Scaringly, though, it’s the most accurate depiction of what it’s really like to be in high school.

You see, Hollywood lies to you all the time. Not only did it try to convince us that the cast members of The O.C. were actually teenagers, but it also portrays high school as an OK place where you just need to find your crowd to fit it.

Well, it’s not. It’s literally hell on Earth where the teachers hate you for even daring to breathe and the children taunt each other mercilessly if they don’t offer any form of social clout. If you’re lucky, though, you might encounter some other heathens to kill time with, even if your friendship is only skin-deep and they’d rather be balls-deep in your mum.

Look at Will, Simon, Jay and Neil from The Inbetweeners—would you actively seek out their friendship? Will is two steps shy of being an incel. Simon is a simp for Carli. Jay is a compulsive liar and a sexual deviant with serious jail time in his future. And Neil will certainly put his penis in an electrical socket at some point in his life.

They’re not the sort of friends your parents would encourage you to meet, but they’re exactly who you’ll find in every school system. You won’t find them discussing how much studying they need to do for a test or career aspirations; instead, they’ll be making up tall tales about their sexual conquests or discussing who they suspect is a paedo in their neighbourhood.

While it might seem shocking, their behaviour is strikingly genuine and real—and that’s what made The Inbetweeners so successful and popular. It didn’t sugarcoat the high school experience like many other sitcoms or TV shows do. It showcased the true nature of teenage hormones and the vulgar conversations and actions they inspire. Teenagers are filthy, little creatures struggling to find their place in the world, and they couldn’t give a toss about what’s considered socially acceptable when they’re among each other.

As much as teachers and parents claim to have a handle on things, they never understand the dynamics of high school. There’s a natural pecking order based on age and what you can offer. If you’re a bully like Mark Donovan, for example, you’re instantly popular with the other kids because you’re older and can provide protection. No one cares if you have a good heart and save the planet on the weekend, because it means nothing to them.

(Plus, don’t think that kids believe that crap that everyone should be treated equally and with respect. High school is exceptionally cruel and operates as its own Guantanamo Bay).

What The Inbetweeners demonstrates is that you need to be resilient enough to survive the high-school experience. No teacher or parent will protect you from your peers or this unique set of rules that operates outside of society’s accepted norms and standards. It’s up to you to decide how you’ll deal with the issues—whether it’s by becoming just like them, fighting back, or building a thick enough skin to handle taunts like “briefcase wanker.” In many ways, it’s the ultimate test for life after school.

The Inbetweeners prepares you for a future where no one actually cares about you or your feelings. It teaches you about resilience, being comfortable in your own skin, and finding the strength to stand up for yourself. Because people will kick the crap out of you if you give them the chance. It’s up to you to decide if you’ll take it. Like Will famously said, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, except for polio.”

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