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White Gold is BBC2’s new 1980s comedy about double glazing, and it was already being compared to The Inbetweeners long before the first episode aired. The show has exactly 50% of the components similar to the two of Inbetweeners movies, and White Gold is surely Damon Beesley’s difficult second album. He has teamed up with half of his Inbetweeners actors – Joe Thomas and James Buckley – for this show.
From the moment Ed Westwick’s Vincent Swan stepped out of his front door to see the word ‘wanker’ keyed into the side of his car, we knew we were in trouble.
With 50 per cent of the ingredients of The Inbetweeners, White Gold is still pretty funny, because even all these years later, The Inbetweeners still feels as sharp and neatly observed today as it was in 2008. White Gold itself is a curious beast and almost seems like a comedy of two halves. On one side, you have the more grown-up element with smarmy bull-shitter Vincent and his quest to dominate the sales world of Essex. He’ll lie through his teeth and do anything to get a deal and climb the social strata. On the other side, the Rudge Park blazers have been swapped out for grey nylon suits where James Buckley has just put on a moustache and Joe Thomas has gelled his hair down rather than up. This is the half where everything isn’t new and shiny. There’s constant immature, banter, lying and competitiveness between Fitzpatrick (Buckley) and Lavender (Thomas).
There are quite a lot of insult in the movie, and insults like that felt funny in the sixth form common room, but it just feels even sadder here. It all acts as a distraction and actually detracts from the comedy of White Gold. It’s understandable why Beesley would want the comfort of Buckley and Thomas, but if White Gold movie had had the same script with entirely different faces the comparisons wouldn’t be quite so stark.
In the second episode there’s a whole incident where Fitzpatrick has the bright idea to go dogging. The entire scene felt so familiar that it could very easily have been lifted from The Inbetweeners’s script slush pile. In fact, there are so many Inbetweeners moments, we wrote a round-up.
If you’ve never seen an episode of The Inbetweeners, you will probably find White Gold hilarious, fresh and innovative. However, if you snigger at signs for Caravan Clubs, describe shiny suits as “too jazzy” and can’t walk past a group of people waiting for public transport without muttering “bus wankers” to yourself, then White Gold movie series may well seem something of a pale imitation of its former and funnier whole.