Friday, January 13, 2012

"Have you tried turning it off and on again?"

There will be times at work where you can't access your e-mails or certain programs, or you computer decides to crash as you are compiling reports that are due in a hour. So what do you do? Call the IT department of course. The IT department is an integral part of any company and we depend on them so much when technology betrays us. But as employees we tend to take them for granted. Probably because they might be 1,000 miles away at a call center or tucked away in the bowels of the basement of a shiny and massive corporate office. Such is the case behind the those who run the IT department in the British comedy series, The IT Crowd

Created by Graham Linehan, (Father Ted, Black Books) the show centers around the three IT department employees in the London offices of Reynholm Industries; workshy Roy (Chris O'Dowd) who tends be apathetic about his job. His greeting when he answers the phone is "Have you tried turning it off and on again?" Maurice Moss (Richard Ayoade) who's an IT genius genius but can sometimes be socially inept, and their department "relationship manager" Jen Barber (Katherine Parkinson) who got the job without having any IT knowledge. Add to the mix their strange boss Denholm Reynholm (Christopher Morris) and his sexually inappropriate son, Douglas (Matt Berry) who shows up in season 2. 


It takes a couple of episodes to find its pace, but once it does it's really fun to watch. In some ways it reminds me of another geek centric show I like, The Guild. Both involve a group of people that form unlikely friendships over that they do, (as in this case work in The IT Crowd and a World of Warcraft type game on The Guild.) while navigating through awkward situations. Although unlike on The Guild, the social situations in The IT Crowd always end up badly. Always. 

Interesting fact. There was a US adaption of The IT Crowd developed for NBC which was going to have a midseason debut during the 2007-2008 TV season. Richard Ayoade reprised his role as Moss with Joel McHale as Roy and Jessica St. Clair as Jen. The show ended up being scrapped and the pilot never aired. I found a clip on youtube that compares both versions:

However this isn't the last time that Ayoade and McHale worked together. Ayoade directed the season 2 Community episode, "Critical Film Studies" which McHale stars as Jeff Winger. 

All four seasons of The IT Crowd is streaming on Netflix right now, as with most British shows, there are only 6 episodes in a season. It's the perfect show to watch in a weekend, or heck even in a day.

Some my favorite clips from the show:

No comments: