Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The IT Crowd - Season 1 (2006)

The IT Crowd - Season 1 (2006)

The IT Crowd ('it', not I.T.) is a half hour sitcom that was shown on Channel 4 in the UK last year. The unique aspect of this show, as the title suggests, is that it focuses on the type of people that rarely get much accurate exposure in the media - geeks.

Set in a fictitious company, the show revolves around the IT Team that is relegated to the building's dingy basement while everyone else 'works' from their luxurious offices. In the first episode, Jen (Katherine Parkinson) is assigned to lead the IT Team by the company Director Mr. Reynholm (Chris Morris) because she stated on her CV that she was good with computers. In actual fact Jen knows next to nothing about computers. In the basement she meets Roy (Chris O'Dowd) and Moss (Richard Ayoade), the under-appreciated geeky techies, who immediately realize she's not suitable for IT. Despite an abrasive start, the three eventually get along and suffer the pitfalls associated with being the least liked and respected team in the building.

The six episodes of the first (and currently, only) series are actually quite varied in terms of storylines. The thing that stays the same is, of course, the characters - that's always a formula for good storytelling. The geeky personalities of Roy and Moss and their social ineptitude naturally lend themselves to good situational comedy, with Jen getting haplessly drawn in or getting into troubles of her own. Most of the humour is straightforward sitcom style with absurd situations, but sometimes bizarre imagery is used (in much the same way that Scrubs uses bizarre imagery, only much less frequently). The performances are quite good from all four of the stars, although they lean heavily towards caricature (not necessarily the actors' faults). It's easy to empathize with them despite their quirks (although being a geek myself, maybe I'm not the best judge), which just goes to show that GEEKS ARE PEOPLE TOO! REALLY!

The show's really funny with some incredibly hilarious moments, although there are a few misses littered around as well. I think the show is accurate in its depiction of geeky traits and corporate attitudes towards techies. My only complaint is that in order to make these guys relatable to the average Joe, they are somewhat watered down. They're not hardcore geeks. Which is fair enough, because watching people trade movie quote quips or make references to Linux and Microsoft and open source software is not particularly entertaining to those who aren't in on it. Nonetheless, there's much on offer for geeks to appreciate - from the opening credit sequence to Roy's t-shirts to the posters in the basement, the show is littered with geek references.

The IT Crowd's first season is short but entertaining, and while not stylistically much different from a lot of modern comedies it has a lot of trappings that make it a unique experience that no geek should miss. It's funny enough that even regular boring people (I kid, I kid) ought to enjoy it.

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