The stars of MTV's "The Inbetweeners" face a rather daunting task: Following in the footsteps of the beloved (and brilliantly blasphemous) British version of the show, one that perfectly meshed the painfully awkward with the pointedly hilarious — and did so with a palette of profanity that would probably make Al Swearengen blush.
And while the U.S. version — which premieres tonight at 10:30 p.m. on MTV — certainly won't be able to match the original's, uh, colorful dialogue, it will attempt to strike the same spirit: Namely, that awful adolescent age when everything goes horribly wrong, and all your friends are there to watch. And make fun of you.
"It's all the same concept. If you get guys and girls that are that age anywhere around the world, this stuff is going to happen," Bubba Lewis, who plays Simon Cooper, explained. "It just depends on where you are located in the world that changes it and makes it specific."
"But, it's different from anything else on TV, because there is a huge part of the show that is very relatable and very real," Zack Pearlman, who plays Jay Cartwright, added. "And as silly as it might get sometimes, it all comes from a very real place. Almost all of the things that were written was stuff that happened to people, so it's definitely based in some version of reality."
So while they know they're taking a risk by bringing the show Stateside — U.K. series creators Damon Beesley and Iain Morris are along as executive producers — Lewis and Pearlman say they're not trying to replicate the original show. Instead, they're building on it and bringing its spot-on, no-holds-barred legacy to U.S. audiences.
"I think a lot of the similarities between the two are that a lot of the themes are universal, and a lot of the problems and things that happen are universal," Pearlman said. "What makes it different is that this is a show written for Americans. Whereas that show is literally written for people from Britain, this is written from people who came from the U.S. and went to high school here.
"If the Germans remade 'The Inbetweeners' — Das Inbetveeners — it would be very specific to them," he continued. "It's not that we're stealing an idea; it's more like we're taking an idea and running with it."
Catch the premiere of "The Inbetweeners" tonight at 10:30 p.m. ET on MTV!