Best British TV Shows - I.T. Crowd
Best of British Comedy - I.T. Crowd
I.T. Crowd is a Channel 4 comedy, written by Graham Linehan. It has been one of the best British TV comedies of recent years.
Graham Linehan had already had enormous success with the Irish comedy, Father Ted and he thought a sitcom about the office geeks would be an interesting project.
He could not have been more right - I.T. Crowd first came to TV screens in 2006 and on paper it should not have looked like a hit but it was.
He used a clever device to get the ball rolling. He placed a completely IT illiterate girl, Jen in the IT department as their new boss and then we get to see the result.
The great thing about the two guys already in the IT department are that they are both very funny characters.
Roy (Chris O'Dowd) is the Irishman, fed up with the job, fed up with the other people who work in his office block and constantly trying to find his way with the ladies.
His stock answer when the phone rings? "Have you tried switching it off and on again?"
Moss (Richard Ayoade) is 100% geek with weird unruly hair, an affected way of speaking and he's just too nice for words.
Jen (Katherine Parkinson) is the inept manager, coping with being an IT boss when she knows absolutely nothing about computers and is desperate to keep that fact hidden. She is also very ambitious in a company where the boss has the biggest ego in Britain.
We also have a fourth character, Richmond (Noel Fielding) but more on him later.
Chris O'Dowd's Roy is a tall, gangly Irishman with a ready wit but a nervous disposition. He is basically 'between jobs', pretty lazy and detests the people he's paid to help(except good looking girls of course).
He always seems to be in some kind of fix or trying to get the most out of a situation.
But Roy is not really clever enough or tough enough to survive in the world of Reynholm Industries. What do Reynholm Industries do? We never find out!
The great thing about the IT Crowd is the fact that they seem to work in a basement below a basement - literally the bottom of the corporate pile and yet, any of us who work in offices know that without the IT Department, most of us would be in trouble.
The real brains of the department is Maurice Moss (he just gets called Moss), who seems to know everything about everything but is a real odd bod - someone so socially inept that its a miracle he even has a job. Moss is a kind-hearted fellow, still living with his mother but bordering on being a genius.
Jen is a smart girl who is introduced to us in episode 1 being promoted to manager of the I.T. Department. Over the episodes, we see her fight off advances from Douglas Reynholm and basically blag her way through situations, such is her ineptitude in almost every area of work. However, she is very likeable and seems to fit in really well with Moss and Roy who end up needing her more for their street cred than anything else.
Meet The Bosses
Mr Reynholm is the first boss - he is egotistical and also terribly dishonest - we get to see him jump out of his own office window when this fact is discovered in the second series of I.T. Crowd and his job is taken over by his son who has an even bigger ego, played by the wonderful rich-voiced Matt Berry.
We get to see bosses in a very bad light but both are played so well by Chris Morris and Matt Berry that we look forward to their scenes as much as those of the rest of the IT Crowd.
Chris Morris' dishonest, spiteful boss is usurped by Matt Berry as his completely useless son - who also happens to have been accused of murdering his wife, whose body has still not been found.
IT Crowd is nothing if not rich on storylines and the comedy arising from them.
Graham Linehan keeps us all watching because he writes characters who are larger than life interacting with characters more like the rest of us.
And Then There's Richmond
Just when you thought you had met the whole I.T. Crowd - ambitious inept Jen, skinny, funny Roy, super-geeky Moss, you get to meet the fourth member of the I.T. Crowd in Episode 6 - Richmond.
Richmond is the person behind 'the door' in the IT Crowd's office. When Jen asks about what's behind the door, Roy and Moss become very defensive and this piques Jen's interest.
What can those 2 be hiding?
Eventually Jen gets through the door and we discover inside of it a tardis like room with throbbing mainframes, lights flickering on and off and their operator, Richmond played by Noel Fielding.
Richmond is a full on 'goth' - black clothing, white face, black eyeliner etc. He is just an amazing, well thought up character who has become something of a cult character in the show.
He only appears in 6 episodes across the 4 years of the IT Crowd but his early incarnation is the best.
Classic IT Crowd Episodes
IT Crowd had a clever way of incorporating popular culture into the show and this gives it a bit of a twist for watchers.
I've called these classic episodes but that's just my humble opinion of course, it may be that other British people have their own idea about the show.
IT Crowd was bought by NBC in the states but they decided not to go ahead with the show because it just didn't spark with their boss, Ben Silverman. Graham Linehan revealed in later 2010 that the show in the USA was back on and he was re-writing episodes, but as yet, no further news has been released.
There was a German version of the show called Das IT Team, Die Jungs an Der Maus (The IT Team, The Boys At The Mouse), it was cancelled after 2 episodes.
So maybe IT Crowd doesn't cross over into other cultures? I don't really care, though it would be nice if it did so that you readers (wherever you are) got the joke.
I can't praise it enough and that's why I have included it as one of my Best British TV Comedy series!