American television has a hard time remaking British comedies. For every rare success story, such as “The Office,” there’s a graveyard of failures: “Spaced,” “The IT Crowd,” “Coupling.”
After MTV bailed on its remake of “Skins,” I expected a similar fate for “The Inbetweeners,” a raunchy high school-set comedy that earned four seasons and a movie in Britain.
To my surprise, the pilot for MTV’s “Inbetweeners” (Mon., 10:30 p.m.) stands on its own fairly well. Rather than attempt to copy every plot point and line from the original, it combines the first two episodes into one, injects some new dialogue and tweaks a few characters. More importantly, it keeps the vulgar sex jokes and awkward situations that made the U.K. one so outlandishly funny.
It’s also a show that seems tailor-made for MTV’s audience: All the creators had to do was update the setting and change some slang.
Take the scene where one of the four main boys gets hammered and visits his longtime crush while she’s baby-sitting her little brother. After chugging some more liquor, he tries to make a move and vomits all over her and her brother.
Some things are universally funny.