Man vs Bookshelf

Man vs Bookshelf: The Inbetweeners

This entry is part 72 of 104 in the series Man vs Bookshelf

Last week I spent a lot of time talking about one of my favourite TV shows, and because I think originality is overrated (or I forgot to plan or something), I’m going to do the same this week.

Difference is, this time I don’t have books to review on which said TV show was based. This time, we’re talking about the shooting scrips for the Inbetweeners.

This is not my first script book. I think I’ve done two before. I’ve read and reviewed a set of Buffy scripts encompassing all of season one and at least half of season two, and I think I might have done Doctor Who season one, too.

In both cases, I tried my best to review the scripts as I might review a book, and as though they were separate from the TV show.

This was stupid.

I want to be a writer. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a kid and I would love to write screenplays one day. For this reason, I have purchased a lot of scripts over the years, and there will be at least three more to come further along this challenge.

But I’m not going to review them as though they were disparate from the TV show. They’re not.

There are extras, sure. In this particular book of scripts, there is a foreword, and an introduction and each episode begins with notes from one of the writers talking about its genesis. This is all fascinating but, in truth, there is only one reason to buy script books I can see, and that is because you want to be a writer.

If you do want to write for the screen, I would say looking at completed screenplays is essential. We spend all our lives reading books (well a lot of us do) which makes it easier to write books when we come to them.

It’s different when writing for the screen. We see it on the telly but writing the thing is a different beast.

So if you like comedies, and would like to write a sitcom, I would be rushing out to buy this book. It will be one of the best investments you can make, and it will help you no end.

If, on the other hand, you just like watching the show, forget the book and get on 4OD (or All4 or whatever it’s called these days) and watch them again. It’s free, it’s easy, and it’s always funny.


The Inbetweeners

So, regarding book review, that’s all you’re getting. But, seeing as I’m here and seeing as someone brought up the Inbetweeners, I suppose I should talk about the show.

It’s excellent, right? That much is obvious. It is without a doubt the best comedy to hit our screens since whatever came last out of Fawlty Towers and Blackadder.

What stood out about Will, Jay, Neil and Simon is how real they were. I’m not saying anyone as stupid as Neil exists (although I know a few who are close) I mean their relationship with each other was real.

Sitcoms have this weird habit of showing friends as being nice to each other. Maybe this is true for girls, but I know I’ve not said a single nice thing to my male friends in the last ten years.

We’re friends because we spend every second of every meeting being mean to each other, calling each other twats, mocking each other, etc. etc. That’s what guys do, and the Inbetweeners was the first show I’ve seen to portray this relationship between a group of friends so perfectly.

All round, what this show did best was capturing the sheer horror being an “Inbetweener” can be, and we know this because almost everything that happened in the show, happened in real life – mostly to one of the two creators.

The Inbetweeners did what Skins tried in realistically portraying what it’s like to be an older teen in the modern world, but Inbetweeners did it better. Skins tended to go too far (mad raves at school? I don’t think so) but The Inbetweeners got it perfect, while remaining funny episode after episode, film after film.

For that reason alone, this show will likely never be topped as a realistic comedy in my eyes.

Yeah, even the fish thing.


Next Time

Back into the world of hard to review books is where we go next.

I’ve already looked at a couple of books on writing, and here comes another, this one focusing specifically on editing.

It’s Manuscript Makeover.

See you then.

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International worst selling author Mark Ayre has been writing since before he could pick up a pen (somehow). Recently he is taking the internet by storm with his Man vs Bookshelf Challenge where he aims to read the 210 books on his bookshelf in 210 weeks, reviewing them on his blog and Goodreads along the way. He is also publishing books on Amazon, his most recent being the family suspense novel, Poor Choices, which you can find here.

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