The E4 comedy first aired just over a decade ago in May 2008 and finished in 2010, and followed four teenage boys as they figured out life, fitting in, and attempting to talk to girls as they ignored their A-levels
While the show proved hugely popular at the time, James has now admitted he’s not sure it would be so well-received if it came out today.
He told Digital Spy: “It seems to be cool at the moment to be offended by stuff, and that’s a shame.
“It seems to be in vogue at the moment, and I’m hoping it will pass, because I do think that possibly people would maybe be more offended by ‘The Inbetweeners’ if it was to be made today. Which is really weird, because it’s only 10 years. It’s only four years since we finished.”
James continued: “I think that when ‘The Inbetweeners’ was around, everyone understood the context that they were kids.
“There used to be a sympathy, where you could almost forgive them, because you can’t really have a go at someone for being stupid, that’s not really their fault.”
“Nowadays, it feels very black and white with comedy. There’s no in-between, it’s just, ‘This person said this on television – isn’t that terrible?’ and it’s killing comedy, because you’re not allowed to joke about anything, it seems. There seems to be a joke police, nowadays.”
Of all four of the main characters Jay was the the most shocking, and would regularly make bold, but usually untrue, claims about his sexual prowess in the most lewd way possible.
James said: “I like playing characters like Jay, it’s a way I wouldn’t want to behave, but it’s sort of freeing in a way. There’s an abandonment where you can play an obnoxious little shit bag, and have people say, ‘We really like you because you did that’.
“I guess the extreme would be if you were allowed to murder someone, and for there to be no consequences – like that movie, ‘The Purge’, Jay was my ‘Purge’ for a while. Because anyone that does meet me will see that I’m a little, twitchy, nervous wreck shuffling his way through life, and too scared to talk to people. So it was nice to pretend to be that [other] person for a while.”
‘The Inbetweeners’ series was followed up with two movies continuing the boys coming of age adventure, first in Malia and then Australia. Both of the films were successful commercially and critically.