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TV Review: The IT Crowd

A cult-classic British sitcom, The IT Crowd stars Chris O'Dowd, Richard Ayoade, and Katherine Parkinson as the oft trod-upon, three-person IT department of Reynholm Industries. Roy (O’Dowd) is a slacker and slob whose best friend is geeky, awkward Moss (Ayoade). When Jen (Parkinson) is hired by CEO Denholm (Chris Morris) to be their department manager, even though she has no knowledge of computers, the dysfunctional duo is forced to into a new dynamic.

The workplace hijinks of the three lead characters are amped up by their eccentric, billionaire boss who is liable to create new rules for his workers at the drop of a hat. Later, Denholm’s son Douglas (Matt Berry) steps in and proves to be even more troublesome than his father as Douglas is purely driven by his libido (and very prone to sexual harassment lawsuits). There is a long-running joke about how badly the IT department is treated, even though Reynholm Industries is ostensibly an IT company that relies heavily on Roy, Moss, and Jen.

However, work is not the only venue for chaos and comedy: Roy, Moss, and Jen’s lives outside the office are just as weird and idiosyncratic. For Roy and Moss, they struggle to act like “real men”, meaning being able to scare off bullies, talk about football (which is to say “soccer” over in North America), and chat up ladies. For Jen, she manages a busy social life with a series of short-term boyfriends including, to the delight of Roy and Moss, one who looks like a magician. Although initially antagonistic towards each other, Roy, Moss, and Jen become good friends and step in to help each other with their personal problems.

The IT Crowd is very quotable (“Have you tried turning it off and on again?”) and rewatchable. It is my go-to on Netflix when I think there is nothing else to watch. The three leads are incredibly funny and endearing, especially socially-stunted and innocent Moss. As in the British TV trend, there are a mere 24 episodes and one special episode in the entire series, making it very easy to binge watch. The show also has a certain lack of continuity: one episode may end with Jen finding a new boyfriend and by the next episode, she already has a new one or dropped the last one. The office itself changes decorations and configurations without explanation. Thus, it is easy to introduce the show to others even when you are no longer at the beginning, although the first episode is a knockout. Go and watch it!

Ratings (out of 5):

Directing: 4

Story: 5

Acting: 5

Dialogue: 5

Editing: 3

Visuals: 5

Music/Score: 3

Overall Average: 4.3

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