So, if, in the last two weeks, I’ve spoken to you in person . . . or on the phone . . . or over email, text, or Twitter . . . or if you’ve seen any of my updates on Facebook . . . or if you’ve casually eavesdropped on any conversation to which I’ve contributed . . . or even if you’ve actively ignored me while within earshot, then you probably have heard about The IT Crowd starring Katherine Parkinson, Richard Ayoade, and Chris O’Dowd. And, you probably don’t need to read this blog (you still could though), because you’ve more than likely heard me spewing a mixture of praises, quotes, and instructions on where to find this hilarious British sitcom from writer/director Graham Linehan. You may or may not recognize Lineham as the successful creator of two other UK sitcoms, Black Books and Father Ted, but, suffice it to say, he has grown into quite the sitcom heavyweight across the pond, having won numerous BAFTAs and even an International Emmy. I can’t speak to these earlier shows, but his third major foray into the wide world of situation comedy is just brilliant, and you have to check it out! I’m not kidding; you can finish reading this, but then, seriously, go check the show out. It’s easy! The first three series’ are streaming on Netflix, so there you go. Wait. Let me actually finish this for real. The fourth season is only available on DVD, and millions of people are very excited that the fifth and sixth series have recently been confirmed for production.
The IT Crowd follows Jen (Parkinson) on her new job as the manager of the I.T. department at the massive Reynholm Industries, despite the fact that she knows absolutely nothing about computers. Though painfully obvious that she is unsuited for the job, Denholm Reynholm (Chris Morris), founder of Reynholm Industries and self-proclaimed “greatest man in the world,” casts her down to the basement to manage the two I.T. technicians. Roy (Chris O’Dowd) spends his time loafing, unsuccessfully chasing women, and trying to fit in despite being awkward and rather shallow, while his cohort Moss (Richard Ayoade), a tech genius who is good at nothing else and is so socially inept that he borders on Autistic. They initially resist Jen’s intrusion into their man-cave, but eventually, and to Jen’s chagrin, begin to rely on her as a connection to the outside world, while Jen sees this job as a starting point and is always on the lookout for an opportunity to start scaling the corporate ladder. The characters seem, at first, stereotypical but quickly become engaging, dynamic, and spectacularly hilarious. The talented cast, rounded out by Matt Berry as the marvelously pompous Douglas Reynholm (Denholm’s son) and the delightfully creepy goth Richmond played by Noel Fielding (The Mighty Boosh), deftly handles the wide range of comedy, which runs the gambit from slapstick to situational. The writing mixes awkward Seinfeldian circumstances and conversions with simple and often farcical situations including a disaster dinner party, a misadventure at a theatre involving mistaken identities, and drunken affairs and adds up to a charming TV show with lots of big, unexpected laughs.