At first glance it would be easy to lump in The IT Crowd with other nerd chic shows like the currently popular The Big Bang Theory. After all, the main cast work in the IT department (“Have you tried turning it on and off?”), the bastion of nerddom in the corporate world. And it has the same basic setup where an attractive, non-nerdish woman has to deal with the shenanigans and social ineptness of the nerds in her life.
However, making that comparison takes away from what makes The IT Crowd such a funny show and what makes it, at least in my opinion, a much better show than The Big Bang Theory. What sets this show apart is that it does not limit itself to one kind of joke (nerds are funny), and like most great British comedies it revels in skewing off course into the absurd and cartoonish.
Jen, played by Katherine Parkinson, knows nothing about computers yet that does not keep her from becoming the new IT director. The department, of course, is located in the dank, neglected basement, and Jen finds herself in charge of the troll of the modern age: the nerd. In this case her trolls are Roy (Chris ODowd) and Moss (Richard Ayoade), whose knowledge of computers and technology is inversely proportionate to their lack of people skills. Surprisingly, Jen, Moss, and Roy end up getting along.
Like all comedies, the source of the laughter comes from stupidity. As smart as Roy and Moss are about technology, they are completely ignorantâ€”grossly stupid, in factâ€”about pretty much everything else. And although Jen is completely computer illiterate she possesses just enough social intelligence that the three compliment each other well. Of course that doesnt stop them from making incredibly stupid, not to mention hilarious, mistakes.
While I enjoyed this show greatly, I have to say that its appeal is limited. As I said before, this show is broader in its base than shows like The Big Bang Theory, but it does aim for a specific type of audience. The IT Crowd is a great example of absurdist comedy. The show has a kind of flexible reality like in The Simpsons, 30 Rock, orâ€”to name another British showâ€”Spaced. Its a type of comedy that I particularly enjoy, but its not for everybody. I mention this because the show tries to capitalize on the fact that its produced by Ash Atalla, who produced the original The Office, and from what I know of the original version the comedy is very grounded, as it is in the American version. So the casual consumer could conceivably stroll through Best Buy or wherever, see that this is produced by the guy who produced The Office, and end up with something completely different from what they were expecting.
Something else that should be taken into consideration is that because this is a British show, the season is extremely short by American standards: only six episodes. Considering that the suggested price is $25.00, that may be more than a person is willing to spend for only six episodes no matter how enjoyable. If you havent watched the show or at least unsure if you would watch it enough to make it worth your money, Id recommend renting this instead of buying.
The show was presented in Widescreen with the sound in Dolby Digital Stereo. As I received a screener copy I do not know the exact specifications.
Deleted Scenes (9:17) – These were funny scenes, but I can see why they were taken out of the episode. Theyre worth checking out, though.
Behind the IT Crowd (13:45) – Hilarious fake behind-the-scenes featurette with a clueless interviewer who grills the cast and crew on their past work without covering the IT Crowd at all.
Hello Friend (11:14) – Funny short movie about an ISP which slowly takes over a persons life.
As much as I enjoyed this show, $25 is too much to pay for only six episodes. Unless youre already a fan and know just have to own this I would pass until it gets marked down to a more reasonable price. Mildly recommended.
MPI Home Video presents The IT Crowd: The Complete First Season. Directed by Graham Linehan. Starring Chris ODowd, Richard Ayoade, Katherine Parkinson, and Christopher Morris. Running time: 144 minutes. Rated NR. Released on DVD: March 31, 2009. Available at Amazon.
Tags: Chris O'Dowd