At the beginning of the episode, the premise of “The Field Trip” feels remarkably similar to The Inbetweeners last outing to an RV: overnight trip, opportunities for meeting strangers, girl trouble. It ends up being something quite different though, over-the-top comically, and, judging by the preview for next week’s episode, introducing some characters that are going to continue to play a part going forward.
The main plot, in which Will sits next to a new girl on the bus and accidentally charms her via silence before Simon swoops in and “steals” her from him, was standard “romantic competition” fare for this show, and nothing within it felt particularly creative or useful. Of course, there were some solid bits in there; Carly delivers the casual bitchiness of her lines well, and Will putting toilet paper down on the seat before vomiting everywhere was a nice touch. I could have done with a much shorter vomiting sequence, though.
Likewise, the next stop on Jay’s sexual humiliation tour, falling for a thirteen year old girl, was an obvious twist, and didn’t really do too much for me. I will admit, though, that it’s an uncomfortable enough idea (without really crossing any lines; Jay is supposed to be 14 or 15, right?) that I can see it having some good payoffs later on. I’m just sad we didn’t see any of them already.
Fortunately for the episode as a whole, these two plots were framed by the large, ridiculous conceit of a bargain-basement Civil War reenactment. There were lots of fun bits in here (I’m a sucker for a dog in a costume), and while they probably didn’t need to draw twice from the “slow motion/dramatic music” well, the mishmash of historically inconsistent costumes going at it with each other tickled me. Especially the wizards.
The best part of “The Field Trip” by far, however, was Neil, who’s really coming to be the breakout star of The Inbetweeners. Mark L. Young really brings something special to the role, embodying the kind of idiot enthusiasm that the writers are putting into each episode. Watching him discover the Civil War was a delight, and his horror at the fact that “We fought ourselves?!” was hilarious. The character could get annoying if overused, but this was just the right amount, and I hope The Inbetweeners keeps it up for the rest of its run.