“Crystal Springs” is a nice little half-hour of The Inbetweeners, one that’s comfortable in its character dynamics and, I think, greatly benefits from not being attached to Simon’s broader Carly plot. Instead, the whole thing centers around the other three boys tagging along with Jay on his family RV park retreat, after he tells them it’s super easy to get laid there. Before they can get there, Jay convinces Simon to run his car all the way down to empty, which feels like a completely unnecessary diversion, but does give us one of the better lines of the night. Will’s “There’s something really beautiful about print porn. It’s a lost art.” was a perfect way to show that, beneath all his pretension, he’s just another horny teenage boy.
Which clashes with his later freak-out when the RV park girl starts to make out with him at the dance. The whole sliding bit felt like an excuse to get him to take his shoes off for the next series of gags. It didn’t make much sense, and wasn’t acted or directed in any way to help me understand what was going on. Was it a panic attack of some kind? If so, Will didn’t seem much more nervous than usual, which was a misstep.
It did get a nice callback at the end, when Neil describes the girl who hooked up with as tasting like “chummus.” In fact, despite being relegated to the sideline for almost the entire episode, Neil got the biggest laughs from me tonight. His frantic giggling each time he stole Jay’s “with my dong” joke was the highlight of the opening segment, and my absolute favorite thing that happened was him saying, after Simon asks how he should respond to Becky’s text, “As many question marks as you can type.” It’s just the kind of hyper-specific, more-than-a-little-stupid thing I want to hear from Neil’s character, the verbal version of his dancing (which was also nicely done).
But all of that was side-story to Jay’s main journey towards getting laid. When Becky’s friend was revealed at the park, I was worried the episode would turn into a series of fat jokes at her expense, but those fears were mostly calmed as the episode went on. Instead, she was used mostly to show, once again, exactly how little Jay knows about the stuff he cannot bring himself to ever stop talking about. The way he flapped his lips and blew across her neck in that bench scene was painful (in the good, funny kind of way), and then he jumped right ahead to say “I think we make a good couple.”
The one main problem with this episode, beyond a few jokes that don’t land here and there, is that the voiceover narration from Will feels extremely out of place. Of course, that’s a problem with every episode, and one that probably won’t go away as the series continues, but I think it’s still worth pointing out. We don’t need Will telling us over a shot of a sign that says “RV park” that we’ve now arrived at the RV park. It’s redundant, and doesn’t offer anything new. Beyond that, it seems to purport that Will should be our main focus, the central character of the show, which, if it was true, would be kind of horrible. It’s not true, thank God, and we get to watch the ensemble show that’s much better than that hypothetical Will show. So why are we still stuck with his narrator?