The IT Crowd: The Complete Series

| November 11, 2016

For four seasons, The IT Crowd delivered consistently hilarious and surreal comedy for fans.  The series centers around two I.T. Professionals at a massive corporation in London: Roy (Chris O’Dowd; Bridesmaids) and Moss (Richard Ayoade; The Double).  The boys are completely content to laze around and play video games in between berating the employees of the company on the telephone for not understanding that their computer needs to be turned on to work properly, but when the head of the company, Denholm Reynholm (Christopher Morris) hires a new manager for their department, it forces them to get their act together.  Or, at least it would force them to get their act together if their new manager, Jen (Katerine Parkinson; Sherlock) knew anything about computers.   The three end up forming a bizarre little family amid the chaotic and absurd world that is Reynholm Industries.

I’ve been a fan of this series for a while and was thrilled to have the opportunity to revisit this new complete series set, which for the first time has all four seasons as well as the special finale episode “The Internet is Coming” all in one set.  I can’t say the series is perfect.  I get a little bored with the nerd stereotypes being exploited for cheap comedy, but as long as I’m entertained, I can enjoy the likes of this and The Big Bang Theory alike.  Fortunately, the characters to develop over time to break free of their one-dimensional facades as they branch out and get roped into strange situations.

Highlights of the series include Jen discovering what’s behind the mysterious red door in the I.T. Department, Roy and Moss convincing Jen the entire internet is in a small metal box, Moss competing on Countdown and joining a secret society for Countdown champions, Roy betting Jen he can go one day without using his catchphrase: “have you tried turning it off and on again,” and of course the London emergency services changing their phone number from 999 to 0118 999 881 999 119 725 3, resulting in Moss needing to send the fire department and email when a fire breaks out in the office.

The little jokes that pick away at the realism of the series are always unexpected and that makes them that much more entertaining.  The show’s also not afraid to get into a satirical area and use it’s irreverent style to comment on the real world.  In my class, when I talk about satire, I always show my students the clip from IT Crowd where Roy and Moss are watching a DVD and there’s an extremely over the top anti-piracy ad at the beginning, implying that downloading films illegally is the same as shooting a police officer and kidnapping a child.  It’s ridiculous and over the top and pokes fun at real anti-piracy ads that aren’t that much less intense.

The show may not be remembered as one of the all time greats, but it will always have a special place on my DVD shelf and it’s a shame there won’t be anymore.  Of course, I say that and they did try to bring it to America with Richard Ayoade still playing Moss and Joel McHale playing Roy.  Not to tear Chris O’Dowd down because they worked to make him look unattractive in the show, but Joel McHale is way too handsome for that role and it was difficult to see him struggling to talk to a girl because he’s just such a weirdo nerd guy.  Still, the original exists, it’s awesome, and it’s here for you to pick up.

Available now on DVD from MPI.

About the Author:

Joe Sanders Joe Sanders is a podcaster, playwright, and college instructor in Kalamazoo, MI. He has a master's degree in playwriting and a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Western Michigan University, where he currently teaches thought and writing, and is the host of the Quote Unquote Guilty podcast, part of the Word Salad Network.
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