22 November 2014 | brando647
One of the Funniest Sitcoms I've Ever Watched
For those who complain that "The Big Bang Theory" is too artificial and panders to mainstream audiences, there's a fantastic option for getting your geek/comedy fix in the U.K.'s "The IT Crowd". The sitcom, from writer/director Graham Linehan, is one of the funniest shows I've ever watched. In my opinion, sitcoms have always been a cheap form of laughs that cater to the lowest common denominator with themes reused over and over again for the same gags. But this one felt genuine and original with a fun twist on common life foibles as seen through the eyes of two antisocial computer techs toiling away in the basement of a major corporation. We introduced to their world in the beginning with the arrival of Jen Barber (Katherine Parkinson) when she's hired as the manager of Reynholm Industries' IT department. A computer- illiterate woman intent on faking her way to success, she meets Roy Trenneman (Chris O'Dowd) and Maurice Moss (Richard Ayoade): the company's crack IT team. Over the course of four series (and a total of 25 episodes), the three of them will endure everything from cannibalism to viral menstruation as they attempt to break out of their sheltered world and, you know, do things grown adults are supposed to do. The show has a fun balance of humor that will appeal to the more geek-centric viewers while keeping most of it broad enough that anyone can find something hilarious. This show is everything I'm pretty sure "The Big Bang Theory" wanted to be.
What makes "The IT Crowd" so much fun? The characters. I freakin' love the characters in this show. All of them. The show manages to keep the roster down to a manageable four (five, when Richmond is around) to give each plenty of screen time for us to get to know them. Roy is the IT team's more
member, and that's not saying much. He has a general hatred for the common populace (which I can get behind) and finds most people to be blithering idiots, but he's also a lech who uses his position to try and troll the upper floors of the building for his next hot (unsuccessful) date. Chris O'Dowd (who I'd only previously seen in BRIDESMAIDS) injects the character with the perfect level of charm and exasperation. The fan favorite of the show is Moss and his endless list of eccentricities. He's a more prototypical nerd: hyper-intelligent, naïve, and utterly inept when thrust into social situations. He's the sort who'll faint at the thought of a woman opening discussing her unmentionables or find a website to aid in engaging in casual conversation with sport fans. Richard Ayoade is perfect in the role. Every time Moss is on screen, you can bet the best laughs will come from him. Fun fact: Ayoade was the only cast member to be ported over to the States to star in the American version and even he couldn't save the unused pilot from becoming an inferior copycat of the original that saw a fast, merciful death before reaching air. The final member of the IT crew is Jen. She's the "normal" one. She's got no computer experience (outside of checking her email) and she can actually engage in personal relationships. She's a manipulative go-getter who initially hopes her management role in the IT department could lead to bigger and better things. As Jen, Katherine Parkinson is the audience's vessel into this absurd show and the best moments are when it becomes apparent that she's become ingrained in the world of geek culture. The final character (or characters, I guess, since we went through two over the course of the show) is the big boss of Reynholm Industries. The first series featured Chris Morris as Deynholm Reynholm, a hyperactive man with a few screws missing and a passion for motivating his workforce. I honestly can't find the words to describe Morris's bizarre line deliveries and the quirks he brings to the character but they're awesome. Morris was with the show until the beginning of the second series when Matt Berry stepped in to run the company as Douglas Reynholm and we got a whole new level of insane. Rather than ape what made Morris's character of Reynholm so fun, Berry's Douglas is sexist (renowned for his collection of sexual harassment suits), melodramatic, and a total buffoon. While I can understand why people seem to love the character of Moss the most, I'm honestly torn between Moss and Douglas Reynholm as my favorite character in the series.
"The IT Crowd" is more than just it's fantastic characters. I was also impressed that its plot lines never seem to retread old sitcom ground. Each of the episodes felt more original than you're average TV comedy. Granted, most of the episodes are focused on the same thing: the IT crowd attempts to integrate/interact with normal people and it goes horribly wrong. The IT crew is invited to a dinner party at Jen's flat when her usual guests were unavailable. Roy establishes a bogus dating site profile to win a bet against Jen and prove that women only want bad boys. Moss and Roy become friends with a group of "real men" and bond over soccer, beer, and armed robbery. It's a common thread in the series, but it's not their only trick. Graham Linehan has got enough material that it kept the series fresh over the course of its four-series run. If I had to choose a personal favorite, I would agree with a good portion of it's fan- base and go with "The Speech", wherein Jen is award the title of Employee of the Month and must give a speech on technology to the company's shareholders. When Jen's ego inflates and the boys decide to have a little harmless fun with her acceptance speech, it's
it's just perfect. I can't recommend this show enough and only wish that it would've continued on longer than it did. Four series just wasn't enough.