The cast/crew bit: Written & directed by Graham Linehan, starring Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade & Katherine Parkinson
The 10-word synopsis: Computer-Illiterate woman gets job in IT with two geeks.
Graham Linehan is clearly a man with genius in his blood. In a world awash with unfunny sitcoms and so-called ‘comedies’ that couldn’t raise a laugh if they wore those glasses with fake moustaches attached over their nose and their nans’ pants on their head, Linehan has struck gold for the second time, following up the brilliant Father Ted with 2006’s equally fantastic The IT Crowd.
What makes the IT Crowd so good is simply the fact that it’s funny, and consistently so. Throughout all four series, (The latter three shall no doubt be examined at later dates on EverBirdd) rarely do three or four minutes pass without something laugh-out-loud funny coming up. If anything, the first run is the weakest of the four, with no real stand-out episode.
As a result, it’s easier to speak of it as a series. While the character of Moss initially comes across as an irritating stereotype, it doesn’t take long to warm to him. The voice Richard Ayoade puts on for Moss was, at first, my main downer about the series, along with what I felt was frankly poor delivery of some rather funny lines. However, after about two episodes, I found it hard not to be entranced by Moss. His delivery is not poor, it’s just knowingly different to typical sitcom speech patterns and some of his lines are given much gusto by Ayoade’s performance. The fifth episode of this series, entitled The Haunting of Bill Crouse, is a particularly strong showcase of Ayoades’ talents, with Moss convincing everyone that co-worker Jen is dead. It’s just very funny.
The other founding member of the titular crowd is Chris O’Dowd’s Roy. Roy is a straighter creation, the Ted to Moss’ Dougal if you will. O’Dowd has his timing and delivery nailed down and is one of the main reasons I gave the show the chance it so dearly deserved once the average opener was watched. Denholm Reynholm, the pompous head of the ambiguous Reynholm Industries, where the series is set, is the other. Actor Chris Moss may be channelling Will Ferrell in Anchorman, but he’s a pretty convincing (metaphorical) spirit medium and really very funny. That ‘f’ word seems to be coming up a lot.
The first series focuses mostly on the building relationship between Roy, Moss and the new girl, Jen, who infamously knows nothing about computers. Jen is passable in this first series, but, to be honest, isn’t given that many of the big lines or moments. She’s more there to make the plot linking the jokes tick along, although she does begin to mix this with some comedy of her own in future instalments.
Other notable elements of the first series include Roy’s excellent range of geeky t-shirts, (a number of which I’d like to confess to searching for) the ‘Have you tried turning it off and back on again?’ runing joke that remains funny every time it’s mentioned and the theme tune. Oh man, the theme tune. I mentioned Chris O’Dowd and Mr Reynholm, but the real reason I got hooked was the theme tune. It’s a very catchy piece of work, extracts played teasingly in between scenes. The titles sequence that accompanies it is also a thing of wonder, with pixelised versions of the cast bashing a computer in time with the music. Well, I love it anyway.
Normally at EverBirdd, we like to try and get sort-of ‘under the surface’ in our ‘reviews’, we like to look into, not at. However, with The IT Crowd, there’s not really that much to look into. The series is funny. It’s original, and it’s funny. All you want from this kind of program is for it to be funny, and it only really loses points because it’s not as funny as some of Linehan’s other (genius) work, including the later series. Now there’s something to look forward to.
7 Aunty Irmas out of 10