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Joe Thomas thinks US Inbetweeners didn’t work because they didn’t cast ‘weird looking people’

Joe Thomas thinks US Inbetweeners didn’t work because they didn’t cast ‘weird looking people’

The Inbetweeners is a very 'British' show

Inbetweeners star Joe Thomas has made a suggestion for why the US version of the show was not as successful as the original British one.

It's a common question when it comes to television series: which is better, the UK or US version?

Sometimes it's a genuinely tough one, like the US Office or the UK Office.

Joe Thomas as Simon in The Inbetweeners.
Channel 4

Other times it's far more clear cut, like the UK version of the BBC's Ghosts is clearly superior. Meanwhile, some US versions of UK shows should never have even been attempted, like the ill-fated US version of cult classic Red Dwarf, which just didn't work.

For my money, The Inbetweeners falls squarely into the third category.

The self-effacing humour feels distinctly British, and is based on very specific observations of going through sixth form.

Joe Thomas, who played Simon, has a different idea as to why the show didn't work well in a US version. The problem wasn't so much the style of humour, as the casting choices.

Put bluntly, the US casting choices weren't weird-looking enough to be believably 'inbetweeners'.

The cast were answering questions from the audience at Comic-Con North East 2023, with the question, 'what's your opinion of the American version' drawing a chuckle from he audience.

Thomas answered: "I think we can say it didn't work. The reason it didn't work is it's a very British show.

"It's ironic because in a way we were bouncing off that American genre of teen comedy. They did it first and then we were riding on their shirt tails.

Members of the cast take questions at Comic Con North East 2023.
YouTube / Monopoly Events

"There's a sense of loserdom and failure in British comedy that is represented in the Inbetweeners."

Simon Bird, who plays Will, chimed in, saying: "It was just too sort of glossy wasn't it? The cast was just too handsome. I mean look at us!"

Thomas agreed, saying: "You've got to cast weirdos. Find some weird looking people. When they first thought the show might work was when they saw the four of us standing next to each other and thought 'oh yeah, that's actually quite funny'.

"That one's quite tall, he's got a weird haircut. I think there's a sense of parochialism as well. I don't [know] if America feels bigger and more precarious, a country where the stakes are a bit higher.

"In Britain it feels like, although they'll fall, they're going to be caught somehow, they're going to be okay even if they messed everything up."

Also, I challenge anyone to find the US equivalent of shouting 'bus w**kers' out of an awful yellow car. Not to mention the repeated, grovelling apology afterwards.

The UK certainly wins this one.

Featured Image Credit: Channel 4 / MTV

Topics: TV and Film, Celebrity, The Inbetweeners