Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Inbetweeners (U.S.): “The Masters”

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“The Masters” is the first episode of The Inbetweeners to seriously depart from its British model, and it’s much the better for it. The racial dynamics of a senior slave auction, the absurd country club, and even the whole Jay-meets-Jacuzzi adventure had a dynamic to them that wouldn’t make as much sense in the U.K. After a few stilted weeks, the show is picking up the excellent comic territory it began in, growing quickly into a force beyond a British remake. With more episodes like tonight’s episode, there will be no doubt that The Inbetweeners is one of the best MTV comedies to come along in the past few years.

After his failed cooking club venture last week, McKenzie—who is transitioning to being simply “Will”—still has his hopes pinned on wooing Charlotte Allen. “It’s over dude,” Simon advises. “She defriended you. You can’t come back from that.” But Will still has dreams, and senses an opportunity in the senior slave auction. Neil offers to chip in his most prized possession to help Will out with funding: “[They’re] baby teeth; I never cashed them in. They accrued interest. It’s going to be massive!” The delivery of that line alone earns Neil a place in the pantheon of comic characters to watch.

After collecting every bit of money his gang has to offer—mostly the $100 that Simon collected from golf games—Will sets off to bid on Charlotte. But he psychs himself out in a very teenage way. Charlotte will no doubt think it is lame that he bid on her, so he has to try for someone else, whoever’s up next. Unfortunately for the gang, the next senior is a star athlete, appears as a chewed torso on Teen Wolf, and is black. “We just bid on a black guy at a slave auction,” Jay hisses. “What does it matter? We’re going to return him,” Neil argues, a master at making everything just a little worse.

Amid the heckling that the dudes get—one table throws a paper boat at them that says “Amistad”—it’s decided that the slave activity will be accompanying all of them to Simon’s Dad’s country club, where Simon can win money off his father with his secretly impressive golf game. Jay, meanwhile, is suspiciously amped about the club’s Jacuzzi. “You know you can put hot water in a bathtub, right?” Neil asks. When they get there, it turns out that his enthusiasm comes from an American Pie-ish scheme to use the hot tub vents. It works, but too well. He gets stuck by the side of the hot tub, desperately waving to Neil, who’s jamming out obliviously with several tiki drinks. He remains there until their slave-for-a-day parses the situation and helps get him out of the vent as some dozen old country clubbers watch.

Meanwhile, Simon and Will are stuck in a golf game with Simon’s hyper-competitive father, who also happens to be bad at golf and a poor sport about it. When Simon lets loose his actual golfing talent, his Dad goes to pieces. They get into a huge argument on the green, and Will steps in to take over Simon’s game. Luckily, Will’s terrible golf game soothes Simon’s dad’s ego, and everyone ends up happy, or at least sane, at the end of the day. Oh, and Will’s fond farewell to their auction buddy? Now his mother thinks he’s gay.