Jay Cartwright (born November 13, 1991) is a fictional character from the E4 coming-of-age British sitcom The Inbetweeners. Portrayed by James Buckley, he made his first appearance during the pilot episode "First Day", broadcast on 1 May 2008. He appears in every episode of the series, as well as appearing in the follow-up films The Inbetweeners Movie (2011) and The Inbetweeners 2 (2014).
Jay is a major character and deuteragonist in The Inbetweeners series. He is a student at Rudge Park Comprehensive , along with Will, Simon and Neil, and is the second oldest member of the group after Simon.
Jay is the most immature and arrogant of the boys. He is also the most vulgar and harbours a generally misogynistic outlook. He is obsessed with sex, with almost all his comments being about the subject. He falsely claims to be the most sexually experienced of the group. He frequently tells wild and fictitious stories about his experiences (sexual or otherwise), and hands out highly ridiculous advice (such as claiming that inserting the testicles into the vagina during sex is something "some girls like and some don't"), which demonstrates that in reality he has very little understanding of the subject discussed, also substituting crude nicknames for the vagina. In fact, he is actually the least sexually experienced of the group, frequently relying on pornography to attain gratification, as he finds it difficult to engage with girls. In addition to his sexual stories, Jay compulsively lies about just about anything to make himself seem interesting, no matter how unbelievable.
It is a well-known fact that Jay is obsessed with sex. He tries to improve his social status by telling extravagant lies, mostly about his supposed wild sexual encounters which are often later proven to be completely untrue. Due to the tendency for his tales to be exposed as false, Will and Simon rarely believe him. Only Neil tends to believe Jay's stories, which might be the reason why he is Jay's closest friend. The fact that Jay had never actually had sex before causes him to feel insecure and therefore he relies heavily on pornography to inform him about sex. This gives him a very false conception of women and sex, which leads to him sometimes coming across as a sex pest or a misogynist. Jay tries bizarre masturbation techniques and often ends up getting caught at an awkward moment.
Jay mocks his friends at every opportunity, although it is mostly good-natured banter. Jay mocks Will for his posh upbringing, maturity and good-looking mother, Simon for his hair (dubbing him "The Statue of Liberty"), his mother's unattractiveness, his father's embarrassing statements and his obsession over Carli D'Amato, and Neil for his father's alleged homosexuality and unemployment; along with Neil's lack of intelligence.
Jay is shown to be quite arrogant towards the other boys on several occasions, particularly when he boasts about his superior abilities in flirting with women, despite being the most sexually inexperienced member of the group. This fact plagues him as all three of his other friends have had sexual encounters, causing him to invent a number of increasingly erotic and unbelievable stories about his non-existent sex life; such as his claim of an encounter with a porn star. Although confident amongst his friends, Jay has also been shown to be socially awkward around other people.
Due to his abrasive and cocky nature, Jay is extremely unpopular with women. However, he has been known to be popular among the men in more ways than one, such as befriending a guy at a house party who Jay claims he met at football trials, to the other's amusement. He often ends up saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, which damages both his and his friends' reputations. He also is the least reliable of the group as his mix of social naivety and lustful sexual desire causes him trouble in all manner of situations, such as asking an elderly ice cream lady for oral sex, throwing a nine-year-old child into a swimming pool whilst on holiday in Greece, or ejaculating in a pensioner's bedroom whilst carrying out volunteer work at a nursing home. Jay's insecurities and excessive lying most likely derive from the emotional abuse he suffers from his father, who frequently belittles him over his bad luck with girls and lack of intelligence, as well as possible sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of a previous neighbour when he was younger.
Despite his claims otherwise, Jay is shown to be quite needy around the girls who give him attention, such as becoming clingy with Chloe which causes her to breakup with him and even travelling to Australia with the hope of getting back together with Jane since she had broken up with him after the events of the first film.
Jay is of average build and height, with straight, medium-length hair and blond highlights. It could indicate this hairstyle adds to his desire to be noticed, and he speaks with an Essex accent. Despite being obliged to wear a uniform at school, he is very rarely seen in a jumper and never in a blazer. He wears his school tie very short and regularly wears football shirts or hoodies outside of school. He walks with a swagger, stemmed from his belief of adept skills at attracting the attention of the "clunge".
Neil Sutherland: Neil is the only one of the boys gullible enough to believe Jay's lies, and Jay sees Neil as his best friend. He frequently uses Neil as his wingman when going after girls/when he tries to "pull" girls and he often peer pressures Neil into assisting him with his main activities. Neil's low wit/dim-wittedness and poor intelligence does annoy Jay on occasion, but Jay is often the quickest in the group to forgive him due to the fact that Neil is his closest friend. In the final episode of the series, "The Camping Trip", Neil reveals he had lost his virginity to a work colleague and Jay remarks how he knew that Neil would be the first of the boys to do so and welcomes him into "The Shagger's Club". Simon then states that only 50% of the members have had sex, proving Jay is a liar.
Simon Cooper: Jay and Simon have known each other since they were seven years old. Although close friends, they regularly fall out and argue. Jay's selfishness and rudeness affects Simon the most out of the boys, as Jay's behaviour often causes most of Simon's problems. Whilst most of the problems Jay causes for Simon are inadvertent, such as breaking his car door on a lamppost, Jay occasionally deliberately gets Simon into bother. Examples of this are when Jay allows Simon's car to roll into a lake, gives Simon poor sex advice, or pretends that Simon stank out the toilet at a party to diminish Simon's chances of impressing Carli. Jay and Simon clash constantly, with Jay's bragging and Simon's sexual frustration being a focal point in their friendship. Whilst in Malia (Greece), Jay and Simon have a major argument which leads to them physically fighting and creates a split in the group, though they reconcile later on. Jay sometimes shows his softer side around Simon, and also revealed that he hoped that he and Simon could start their own business together.
Will McKenzie: Jay and Will have an on-off friendship, always having their ups and downs. Jay shows a disliking to Will when he first meets him but soon accepts Will into the group. Whenever Jay tries to mock Will, he retorts with dry humour. Will is the wisest of the group to Jay's hyperbolic boasting and often the first to call him out on his lies. Although they often argue, Jay does show care and remorse for Will such as when he and Simon come round to Will's house to comfort him about Charlotte breaking up with him. In The Inbetweeners Movie, Jay prevents Will from falling asleep on an ants' nest and even gives Will his own bed, implying Jay care for Will. In "The Inbetweeners 2", when Jay introduces the group to his uncle Bryan, he says that "these are my friends from England; Simon and Neil", ignoring Will, perhaps implying that Jay doesn't regard Will to be of the same status as Simon and Neil.
Chloe: By his own admission, Chloe is Jay's first true love. After beginning a relationship with her, Jay starts to behave in a less vulgar way, even around his friends and his dad. The relationship was damaged due to Jay's father telling him to keep tabs on Chloe to make sure she wasn't cheating on him. Jay begins to send her text messages constantly, which overwhelms Chloe to the point where she realises that Jay is too needy. Mr Gilbert also notes that "she can't be too keen" when he confiscates Jay's mobile phone, as he points out that the phone "didn't buzz once". Chloe ultimately breaks up with Jay at The Black Horse. After Chloe dumps Jay, he breaks down and reverts to lying to cope with his sorrow, telling his friends: "I broke up with her, make sure you tell people that". In Series 3, Will mentions Chloe and Jay winces, hinting that he still feels upset over the break-up.
Jane: Originally, Jay was put off by Jane's weight, but after a while, he begins to see her in a different light. When the boys and girls go out skinny-dipping, two men make fun of Jane's weight. Jay, having just been threatened by James earlier, chickens out. This upsets Jane who gives him the cold shoulder but soon forgives him. After Jay and Jane officially become a couple, Jay shows a more chivalrous side, chastising Neil for mentioning her size, swiping Simon's hospital pillow for her to sit on and eating pizza with her instead of having sex.
In "The Inbetweeners 2", it is revealed that Jane dumped Jay, despite Jay stating that he no longer thought about her during his text to Neil. Jay begins a gap year in Australia so that he can find Jane and get her back. He mentions this to Simon at the campfire. The next day, Jay begins his search at Splash Planet, where he is told by an employee that Jane is no longer working there and now works on a farm in Birdsville. After getting her address from Lucy, Jay, Simon and Neil search for Jane and are later joined by Will soon afterwards. After the car runs out of fuel and the four lads become stranded in the Outback, Jay is rescued by Jane and her boss. Jay apologises about getting her a Wii Fit and attempts to get her back and asks her to marry him, despite her being pleased and honoured by his effort of finding her, she does not take him back.
Terry Cartwright (Father):
Jay and his dad has a complicated relationship, due to Terry's constantly insults, contradicts and undermines his son; especially in front of his friends. Terry proclaims any of Jay's attempts to stand up for himself as womanly fits and ignores them. Terry either doesn't know or doesn't care how damaging he is for his son, he seems merciless when it comes to insulting Jay. Terry's behaviour is perhaps the reason why Jay acts the way he does. Jay, although despite his dad's complicated behaviour, seems desperate to earn some form of approval from his dad.
Mrs Cartwright (Mother): Having walked in on Jay masturbating on more than one occasion, she is not fazed by Jay's behaviour. Also, she is shown to stick up for him against his dad's bullying.
Benji the Dog: It is revealed in "Home Alone" that Jay has a dog named Benji. Jay appears to find Benji's presence frustrating at times, as Benji often interrupts him while masturbating. However, it is revealed that Jay has deep feelings for Benji by being extremely upset when he was put down, and demanding he could be the dog while playing Monopoly as it reminded him of his beloved pet.
Jay's Sister: Jay's younger sister made a brief appearance at the beginning of The Inbetweeners Movie.
Uncle Bryan: Bryan is Jay's uncle who lives in Australia. He appears in The Inbetweeners 2, where Jay spends a year living with him. Bryan's personality is similar to Jay's dad's, and is revealed when he mocks Jay's tiny penis and reveals to Neil that all the things that Jay has texted to him was a complete lie. However, Bryan has been shown to stick up for Jay when he told Terry he presumed that he taught Jay how to fight like a girl which causes Terry and Bryan to brawl it out.
Michelle (Cousin): Neil mentions that he fingered Jay's cousin; Michelle.
Neighbour (Unidentified): It was hinted by Neil that when Jay was younger he played a "game" with his neighbour and was sexually abused. This maybe the cause of his psychological and social problems.
In his first appearance, Jay is seen bragging about his latest imaginary conquest, only to stop when Mark Donovan glares at him. He takes an instant dislike to Will, nicknaming him "Briefcase Mong".
In "Caravan Club" the boys question Jay's stories about Caravan Club secretly being a sex/orgy club. Jay invites them to prove himself right and sets Simon up with Becky, one of the caravan owner's daughters. He almost got away with his lies until Simon exposed himself to Becky. On the ride home, Neil reveals that he had a mutual masturbation session with a red-haired punk girl in Simon's car, which Jay eagerly uses as evidence that he wasn't lying. Further evidence maybe that, the punk girl had earlier offered to have sex with Will, Jay just picked out the wrong girl for Simon. At the end of the first series, he opens up to Big John, admitting that many of his stories are somewhat exaggerated because he is worried that people don't notice him, and that he is afraid of being ignored.
In "Field Trip" Jay and Neil travel to Swanage in the hopes of finding a housewife that supposedly gives blowjobs to schoolboys. Since Jay was absolutely committed to this rumour, it may be possible that it wasn't a lie.
Jay is later recruited into Will's Duke of Edinburgh scheme where the boys have to do volunteer work at an old folk's home. Jay spends the entire time masturbating over articles and pictures in women's magazines he finds laying around the home. This would backfire on him, when having run out of available magazines, he was caught tugging himself off to a photo of a young lady in a bathing suit from the 1940s, by the now old woman from the picture, startling him so bad he ejaculated all over his hand. Her son then mistakenly shook hands with Jay, "He did that looking at me" the old lady proudly tells her son and thus Jay's perfect job at the home is over ( "I'm getting paid to wank") and he and the other inbetweeners are kicked off the DoE awards scheme. In the final episode of the second series "End of Term", Jay finally gets a girlfriend called Chloe and he is more interested in her than for just sex; he genuinely has feelings for her. Following his dad's advice he begins texting her and messaging her over the Internet frequently, and this leads her to dump him at the end of the episode, citing that he is too sensitive and needy for her. Jay attempts to twist this into him dumping her when the rest of the gang find him crying, but as per usual, they don't believe him.
In Series 3 we can see Jay can now drive (albeit incredibly carelessly, confusing whose right of way it is, and only on a provisional license), calling his mum's red Nissan Micra 'The Mingemobile'. He is very confident in his own abilities, although none of his friends believe any of his outlandish claims.
We see in Series 3, Episode 5 ('Home Alone') that Jay has a dog called Benji who is mixed-breed terrier, who was eventually put down in the same episode. Jay claims that he has played for West Ham and always wears football shirts. Jay also likes motorbikes although in Series 3, Episode 3 ('Will's Dillemma), Neil gets a new motorbike and because Neil broke his wrist, Jay had to ride it and crashes. In the final episode of Series 3, it is briefly touched upon that Jay was sexually abused as a child by his neighbour - and Jay's Dad reveals (in a text) that Jay went to see a psychologist when he was younger.
The Inbetweeners Movie
In the feature film, Jay's grandfather passes away leaving him a large inheritance and a shit load of coke and weed. Jay decides to spend his newfound wealth on a 'mental lads holiday' for him and his three friends: Neil, Simon, Will (it is stated in the film that everyone's parents pitched money in as well). The holiday gets off to a bad start when the boys discover that Neil has booked them into a 1-star hotel. Jay, however, is still optimistic and later that night sets off to find some ' holiday clunge'. Jay is pleasantly surprised when an attractive woman starts flirting with him and tells him to wait for her at a bar. In the bar, four girls walk in and Jay begins talking to a girl, whose name is Jane. The pair have some kind of connection, but Jay is put off by Jane's weight and the fact that there is a "better" looking girl outside. It turns out, however, that the attractive girl only flirted with Jay so he would go to the bar. Feeling rejected, Jay goes off alone for the night.
The other boys find him the next morning, passed out in an ant's nest. Jay goes with the other boys to another hotel where the four girls are staying, although Jay has no intention of meeting with Jane. Instead, he tries to show off to some girls at the poolside but is publicly humiliated when a child pushes him into the pool and then pulls down his shorts, and makes fun of the "so little" size. After this humiliation, Jay throws the child into the pool, nearly drowning him. He gets the boys thrown out of the hotel, and Simon does not get to purchase his Party Boat tickets. Jay gets frustrated over Simon's obsession with Carli and the two have a fight of sorts in the street. Jay storms off after this, taking Neil with him. Jay becomes determined to have a better time than Simon, so he and Neil head to a bar to pick up some girls; however, they have accidentally made their way into a "decadent" exotic bar. They are mocked for this by obnoxious holiday rep James, who aggressively threatens Jay. Jay leaves in tears and he and Neil head back to the bar where they first met the four girls. They find Simon and Will there and Jay uncharacteristically apologises to Simon.
They then meet the girls again, and Jay realizes how much he likes Jane. The groups decide to indulge in some skinny dipping. Jay and Jane are about to kiss when Jay notices people laughing at Jane, and all the while Jay does nothing to come to her defence. Jane realizes Jay is embarrassed to be with her and storms off, leaving Jay confused and upset. The boys decide to spend the night drinking away their sorrows, and back at the hotel, Jay gets quite upset when he learns Will and Simon are going to university when they get back home. Jay also reveals to Simon that he bought tickets to the boat party the previous night, but he had torn them up in a fit of rage after his fight with Simon. The friends go to find their own individual girls at the boat party. Jay apologises to Jane for his behaviour; she gives him a blowjob in the ship's toilets for his apology, leaving Jay stunned because this is the first sexual experience he has encountered. The pair bump into James, who makes fun of Jane's weight, but Jay gets revenge by giving him euro bill to snort coke with that has spent some time in Jay's ass crack. Jay spends the rest of the holiday enjoying himself with Jane, before returning home ready to start the next part of his life.
The Inbetweeners 2
Jane has broken up with Jay since the events of the first film. Like Will, Simon and Neil, he has gone his separate way. While Will and Simon went to study at university and Neil began work; Jay decided to take a gap year to go travelling. 6-7 months later he sends a text to Neil revealing he is now in Australia and claiming he has had a very successful DJ career in a night club, lives in a luxurious mansion with many attractive women living there, that regularly have oral and vaginal sex with him. As usual, only Neil believes his strong claims and is first to suggest going to visit him for the holidays. Will and Simon, due to them not enjoying their lives at university, agree to go to Australia for their Easter vacation (hoping Jay's strong claims were true for once).
When they arrive they discover that Jay does work in a night club, but is only the toilet attendant and is fired by his boss when he pretends to own the club. Will, Simon and Neil also discover that he has really been living in a tent, outside of his Uncle Bryan's house. Jay's uncle is very abusive towards Jay and humiliates him in front of Will, Simon and Neil when they first arrive. Jay begins to insist that they should go to a water park called "Splash Planet", which provokes Will to suggest that they should go camp at the youth hostel in Byron Bay as it is close to the water park, which they all agree to. Simon also asks Jay if he could use his computer to break up with Lucy via Skype. When Simon logs on, he sees a photo of Jane wearing a "Splash Planet" uniform on Jay's computer. The next morning, they travel in Jay's car to Byron Bay by following the campers coach. Jay drives disturbingly close to the tour bus and due to its sexual decoration, it disturbs Katie and the other travellers. When they arrive at the youth hostel, to the delight of Jay, Katie invites the group to come to Splash Planet the next day.
When they arrive, Simon agrees to go round with Jay to help him find Jane (as Jay admitted to Simon that he came to Australia to find Jane the previous night at the campfire), while Will goes off with Katie and her friends and Neil goes to visit the dolphins. Simon and Jay find a children's ride, which went round the whole park, Jay believes this ride will easily help him find Jane. However, before entering the ride, Jay makes Simon seem like a paedophile by claiming to a member of staff that he was one when Simon insisted that he "loves children" and pushing him onto a little boy. While Simon is attacked by the little boy's father, Jay runs off and continues his search for Jane. Jay finds a member of staff and asks where Jane is, she reveals that Jane quit her job at the water park months ago and that she moved to the outback, she also claims that Jay will "never find her". Jay, extremely upset and distressed by this, leaves the park. When the park was closed down after the incident with the dolphin and the water slide, Will, Simon and Neil find Jay in the car park, extremely depressed. Jay admits to Will and Neil that he only took a gap year and came to Australia to find Jane, he also reveals that he got Jane a Wii-fit, which resulted in Jane becoming offended (due to her being overweight) and therefore, she broke up with him. Simon, touched by Jay's claims reveals that due to him and Lucy becoming engaged, she asked Jane to become one of her bridesmaids at their wedding and she would therefore, know where Jane is. Lucy tells Simon via Skype that Jane is working on a stud farm in the remote settlement of Birdsville. Simon and Neil agree to go with Jay, but Will, angry by discovering why Jay was even in Australia in the first place and by the fact that Jay couldn't accept that he had been dumped just like how he and Neil had been, decides to stay with Katie. Will also decides not to help Jay because he knows Jay would never do the same for him and due to the fact that Jay never treated him like a real friend. Simon, Jay and Neil all leave angry and offended, but at the same time upset over Will breaking up with them.
While driving through the Birdsville desert searching every farm for Jane, Will finds them and apologises to them for what he had said back at Byron Bay. They all reconcile and continue the search for Jane. Mid-way down the desert, Jay's car runs out of fuel and they all become stranded in the desert without any water. All of them become very dehydrated and believe they will eventually die. Jay and Will then develop a full friendship and make amends for everything they ever did and said to each other. All four of them hold hands and close their eyes believing they are soon to be dead. Moments later, Jane and her co-workers find them and reveal that they had only been stranded for two hours. Jay apologises to Jane for buying her a Wii-fit and begs her to get back together with him. Jane is touched by how far Jay came to find her, although she is touched by this gesture, she does not take him back. After being rescued, they are all taken back to Bryan's house. Jay finally shows some backbone by slapping his uncle when he makes fun of Jane's weight, instigating in a fight between his uncle and father. Jay agrees to spend the rest of his Easter holiday with Will, Simon and Neil in Vietnam. In the credits scenes, Jay is having an enjoyable experience in Vietnam with the others. When he returns to Britain, he is welcomed by his father, albeit makes fun of him due to his new hairstyle that he acquired during his holiday in Vietnam.
- Jay Cartwright on the official E4 Inbetweeners site