IT Crowd

The IT Crowd

The IT Crowd (or ) is a British sitcom written by Irish director Graham Linehan and produced by Ash Atalla for Channel 4.

Currently, two series of six episodes each have been produced and recorded in front of a live audience, series 1 at Teddington Studios and series 2 at Pinewood Studios. The first series premiered on Friday 3 February 2006, the second series on 24 August 2007.

Writing in his blog, writer and director Graham Linehan confirmed that he has recently finished the script for a third series and will begin filming in early September 2008. He also revealed that Richmond (portrayed by Noel Fielding) will not appear in the third series due to issues with Fielding's schedule.

The IT Crowd is also available on G4techTV in Canada, on the ABC, and UK.TV in Australia, and TV2 Zulu in Denmark, TV2 in Norway, TV4 Komedi in Sweden, and on Comedy Central in The Netherlands. IFC has recently acquired the rights to The IT Crowd.

Situation and plot

The IT Crowd is set in the offices of Reynholm Industries, a fictitious British corporation in central London. It focuses on the shenanigans of the three-strong IT support team located in a dingy, untidy and unkept basement - a stark contrast to the shining modern architecture and stunning London views enjoyed by the rest of the organisation. The obscurity surrounding what the company does serves as a running gag throughout the series- all that is known is that the company bought and sold ITV and once made part-year profits of "eighteen hundred billion billion". The team consists of what Douglas Reynholm describes as "a dynamic go-getter (Jen), a genius (Moss) and a man from Ireland (Roy)".

Moss and Roy, the two technicians, are portrayed as socially inept geeks or "standard nerds". Despite the company's utter dependence on their services, they are despised, ignored, and considered losers by the rest of the staff. Roy's exasperation is reflected in his support techniques of ignoring the phone in the hope it will stop ringing, and using reel-to-reel tape recordings of stock IT suggestions ("Have you tried turning it off and on again?" and "Are you sure it's plugged in?"). Moss's wide and intricate knowledge of all things technical is reflected in his extremely accurate yet utterly indecipherable suggestions, while demonstrating a complete inability to deal with practical problems like extinguishing fires and removing spiders.

Jen, the newest member of the team, is hopelessly non-technical, despite claiming on her CV that she has "a lot of experience with computers". As Denholm, the company boss, is equally tech-illiterate, he's convinced by Jen's interview bluffing and appoints her head of the IT department. Her official title is "relationship manager", yet her attempts at bridging the gulf between the technicians and the business generally have the opposite effect, landing Jen in situations just as ludicrous as those of her team-mates.

Cast

Central

  • Roy - Chris O'Dowd: Roy is a laid back, lazy, Irish IT engineer who goes to great lengths to avoid performing his role within the organisation. He constantly eats junk food and has a low regard for his career in technology, despite signs that he is more than capable. He is a big fan of comics and often reads them when he is supposed to be working. His work attire is very casual compared to his colleagues; he wears a new geek-related t-shirt in every episode. Before becoming an IT consultant, he held a job as a waiter, during which time he would carry the food of rude customers in his trousers until he served it to them. He often attempts to attract women by various methods, such as pretending to be a "bastard" because he believes that that is what women want. In one episode he won a £20 bet with Jen by proving this theory correct. He is rarely successful, but still has better social skills than Moss. When angry, upset or worried, his voice adopts a notably higher pitch and trembles significantly. His last name, if any, is never mentioned in the series, although O'Dowd and Linehan have discussed the possibilities of it being either 'Shepherd' or 'McGonagall.' It is not mentioned in any episode yet that Roy has any close family. Note, in the last episode in the 1st series, he mentions his mother looks like Maurice's psychiatrist, and that his uncle died at the age of 32 in a car crash in 'Rise of the Golden Child'. For all three, no mention of any fathers.
  • Maurice Moss - Richard Ayoade: Maurice Moss ("Moss") (Age 32, although his online dating profile seems to assert it is 22) is a stereotypical computer nerd, and displays characteristics typical of nerd behaviour. The humour in his character is derived from his socially ignorant comments and his intricate and detailed knowledge of specialised technical subjects, including chemistry and electronic engineering. He lives with his mother (in one episode, Moss enters her room while she is asleep, but her body is under the bedclothes, hence, she is not seen or heard). Both Moss and Roy feel they never get the credit they deserve in the company. They also show little interest in anything related to sport, as seen in "Fifty-Fifty" when asked about a prominent sports match that had been on television the previous night, neither of them knew what had happened. Also in the episode "Smoke and Mirrors" Moss and Jen are speaking and Moss loses interest in the conversation after Jen mentioned football. In "Smoke and Mirrors", it is revealed that he wears his glasses in bed. In "Yesterday's Jam", it is revealed that he keeps several pairs of glasses in his desk, and he keeps a spray bottle on his belt to prevent getting a "hot ear". In "Calamity Jen", it is revealed that he keeps a heap of inhalers in his desk. Like Roy, has no known family, except for his mother.
  • Jen Barber - Katherine Parkinson: Jen enters the department in episode one as a new starter, placed there seemingly at random by boss Denholm, despite her lack of technical or technology management experience. Although originally intended to be the Head of Department, her role was changed to that of "Relationship Manager" due to her ability to converse with other employees within the company. She has admitted to a propensity for telling lies in order to further her own goals, as evidenced by her current occupation as a member of the IT support team despite little to no knowledge of computers. She is easily excited by stereotypical female pursuits such as shoes and men. During the second season we learn that she had been quite a heavy smoker several years previously; she took this habit up again, but quit when she realised that due to anti-smoking laws, she was facing social isolation. She drives a Ford Ka in Colorado Red, first shown in The Haunting of Bill Crouse. Unlike Maurice, her mother has only been mentioned, in 'Moss and the German'.

Recurring

  • Denholm Reynholm - Chris Morris: Denholm was a director of Reynholm Industries, and a parody of modern earnest upper management, always ready with new and often ridiculous initiatives, such as mixed-gender lavatories in the office, stress-busting seminars and other equally ludicrous ideas, which is all intended to boost performance in a company he openly boasts as employing attractive people who do very little work and all engage in adulterous relationships. In his office, he has a picture of himself on the wall, and of the A-Team on the desk. Denholm was also very easily distracted, and often paid little attention to the people he happened to be having discussions with. When he gets a new member of staff, he likes to give them a long, hard stare. He committed suicide by walking out of a window after being informed the police wanted to interview him about a scandal involving the company's pension accounts.
  • Douglas Reynholm - Matt Berry: The son of Denholm, Douglas takes over Reynholm Industries after his father's death. He disappeared for seven years after a court case, but returned to attend Denholm's funeral. He speaks in a very dramatic manner, is something of a libertine and has a history of sexual harassment. He attempts to flirt with Jen during his own father's funeral. He shares several of his father's behaviours, including his arrogance and thus appears to be unable to remember any of his employees other than those he finds attractive. He had supposedly killed his wife by setting the house on fire.
  • Richmond Avenal - Noel Fielding: A Goth whose new-found love for the extreme metal band Cradle of Filth instigated his downfall from being Denholm's second-in-command to his current position in the IT Department. He works in the server room behind "the Red Door" all on his own, shunned by the rest of the department, who find his affected sense of gloom annoying, even though he personally describes himself as "cheerful". When Richmond tells stories, he tends to pause and look off into space dramatically, puzzling those around him. He is shown to read Heat, moments after a comment Roy had made that he did not know any heterosexual men who read Heat. It is later implied that Richmond may be bisexual, being shown at the end of the sixth episode of series one waking up with Denholm Reyholm after a drunken party, but also being shown in series two episode four leaving with and later sleeping with Jessica from Jen's dinner party.

Guest appearances

  • Daniel Carey - Oliver Chris: Daniel is the security guard that Jen falls for, but unfortunately her plans for romance go pear-shaped after she fails to help him as a "phone a friend" on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? While he is charismatic and good-looking, his is shown to be quite violent after he beats a clown with its own shoe for mocking his failure on T.V.
  • Patricia - Alice Lowe: A woman who goes on a date with Roy. The date ends badly because Roy somehow winds up with a smear of chocolate on his forehead, which is perceived by Patricia to be faeces. She works as a receptionist.
  • Paul - Danny Wallace: Fired by Denholm from his position as cultural adviser for his choice of gift to a Japanese company, but regains his position after a quick hand on the "Profanity Buzzer" - never shown to actually speak.
  • Bill Crouse - Adam Buxton: Goes on a date with Jen and after being told by Moss that she'd subsequently died, told the entire office that he was the last person to sleep with her. Nicknamed "The News" because of his propensity to announce those who he has slept with. When Jen found out what Bill was saying about her and him, she inadvertently, and unknowingly scared him by making him think she was a zombie.
  • Dr. Julian Holmes - Toby Longworth: A stress expert who visits the company to give a presentation, and ends up very stressed himself due to Roy and Moss's behaviour.
  • Dr. Mendall - Frances Barber: The company psychiatrist who has a crush on Moss, and the feeling is mutual. Roy claims that she looks exactly like his mother.
  • Judy - Cheryl Fergison: A horribly ugly woman that Roy gets entangled with while trying to meet a woman named Julie. Roy claims she has hair on her eyes and three rows of teeth.
  • Derek Pippen - Silas Carson: One of Denholm's top employees, who becomes the head on Reynholm Industries after Denholm commits suicide. He hates the IT department, and says he wants to use the basement for something a lot more useful, like "a big toilet", but is fired by Douglas Reynholm when he takes over the company.
  • Johann - Philip Rham: A German man, who Moss intends to learn to cook from, however he turns out to be a cannibal (cf. Armin Meiwes).
  • Margaret - Sarah Hadland: Margaret is a divorced friend of Jen's who tends to become "friendlier" to men after she has had a few drinks. She is partnered with Moss at Jen's Dinner party the two end up squabbling in a way that would make them seem like a couple with marriage problems.
  • Jessica - Catherine Shepherd: Another of Jen's friends who attends the dinner party. She talks very quickly in short bursts and is considered annoying by the rest of the characters due to her speech patterns and constant use of air quotes - apart from Richmond who was attracted to her by her skull, and with whom she has sexual intercourse twice. This happens first at Jen's party and secondly in Richmond's "office" behind the red door in the Reynholm Industries IT basement. The couple is so loud that Roy and Moss have to play loud music on the highest volume setting to drown them out.
  • Paula - Dolly Wells: A Model friend of Jen's who was in a very bad car accident, and now has her face obstructed by bandages. She is partnered with Roy who tries to figure out what she would look like underneath the bandages. She has a large and flashy apartment and turns down Roy's date option because he isn't her type physically.
  • Helen Buley - Amelia Bullmore: The head of BHDR Industries, who are "the top makers of that product that has something to do with our company", according to Jen.
  • Peter File - Orlando Seale: A former boyfriend of Jen's with whom she hosted a dinner party with several friends of theirs. A gag made in the episode is that his name is a play on the word "paedophile". At the end of the episode when he and Jen are at the airport waiting for a flight to Paris for a minibreak, his name is called several times over the intercom, other people interpretting it as 'paedophile', and Jen is seen outside calling a taxi. This character name originates from Brass Eye, a faux-news programme co-written by Graham Linehan and his writing partner Arthur Matthews, as well as others. It was created by IT Crowd actor Chris Morris.
  • Jeff - James Bachman: A fellow film fanatic, he calls Roy in "Moss and the German" to inform him of the twist in "the new Tarantino film". He refers to himself as "Dominator", but Roy refuses to call him that.
  • Philip - Jamie Michie: A former boyfriend of Jen's whom Roy suspected was gay after learning he wanted to borrow Jen's copy of Heat magazine. Throughout the episode, he was shown doing many gay things, including taking Roy, Moss, and Jen to a musical called "Gay, A Gay Musical", and being friends with a number of gay men. He denied being gay at first, but came out in tears when Jen mentioned the copy of Heat magazine he borrowed. He speaks with a Scottish accent.

Episodes

Broadcasting

In a first for Channel 4, each episode of the first series was available for download via the station's web site for the seven days preceding its initial TV broadcast. Downloads were only available for UK and Ireland viewers and were supplied in Windows Media Video format. All but the first two episodes were encoded with DRM restrictions. The program attracted the interest of the software development community worldwide, resulting in almost immediate cracking of the DRM protecting the episodes and widespread availability on peer-to-peer networks like BitTorrent.

The first series of The IT Crowd was broadcast in Australia on the ABC in 2006 and the second series began on the 16th of April 2008.

The show is broadcast on S4C in Wales on a one week delay during the popular Friday night line-up.

In Latin America, the show is broadcast on Sony Entertainment Television. In Canada, the series made its North American debut on July 16, 2007 on G4techTV Canada.

In Poland, the show had been broadcasted by TVP 2 and Comedy Central channels with the title Technicy Magicy (Technicians - Magicians).

In the Czech Republic, the show was broadcast in spring 2008 by the public TV Česká televize with the title Ajťáci (The I.T. Guys). Contrary to common practice with foreign language series, it was not dubbed but only subtitled.

The show has been broadcast in Spain since November 24, 2007, on Canal+ with the title Los informáticos.

In Bulgaria, the show is broadcast by GTV Bulgaria with title Компютърджии.

In India, the show is broadcast by STAR World since May 27 2008.

In Iceland, the show is broadcast by Skjár 1 since June 2008.

In The Netherlands, the show is broadcasted by Comedy Central

In Japan, the show is broadcast by digital satellite channel wowow

In Sweden, the show is broadcast by TV4 Komedi.

DVD

Season 1

The first season was released in the UK as "The IT Crowd - Version 1.0" on November 13, 2006 by 2 Entertain Video Ltd. The DVD start-up sequence and subsequent menus are designed to resemble a ZX Spectrum.

The DVD also included a short film written and directed by Linehan called Hello Friend, which starred Ayoade in a silent role, and also had an appearance from Little Britain's David Walliams.

The first season DVD was also released in Australia on December 6, 2006.

An American version of the DVD was slated for a September 4, 2007 release, but on August 14, 2007 it was announced that since the American version of the show has been pushed back to an early 2008 start, the DVD would be released on February 18, 2008. This date has since passed with no apparent release or any updated date.

Season 2

"The IT Crowd - Version 2.0" DVD was released on October 1, 2007, together with a box set containing both the first and second season. Initial plans to release season two without region encoding did not go ahead. Retail chain HMV sold an exclusive limited edition version featuring a set of four postcards in the style of popular viral photos such as Ceiling Cat—here replicated as Ceiling Goth.

The disc contains a commentary track, outtakes and "Recording The IT Crowd" featurette. Whereas the first season DVD menus parodied 8-bit games, the season 2 DVD menus parody 16-bit games and make reference to Zero Wing (all your base meme), Mortal Kombat, Tetris and Lemmings. They were animated by London animation studio, CHASE. There are also several 'hidden' extras encoded into the subtitles. These are done in much the same way as the base64 subtitles from Season 1, and include two JPG images and a text adventure game file. Episode 4 has a BBC BASIC listing, and Episode 6 has light bars in the corner of the screen which can be decoded using a light reader.

Cultural references

The show features a large number of references to geek culture, mostly in set dressing and props. Dialogue (both technical and cultural) is usually authentic and any technobabble used often contains in-jokes for viewers knowledgeable in such subjects. Some of the more obvious references include:

Foreign remakes

  • A pilot for an American version of The IT Crowd was filmed by NBC before an audience on February 16, 2007. Jessica St. Clair played Jen, Joel McHale played Roy and Richard Ayoade reprised his role as Moss. The show was originally reported to have a midseason debut in 2007-08. However recent reports indicate that NBC may not move forward with the show.
  • A German version of the programme has been in production since June 2007, starring Sky du Mont, Sebastian Münster, Stefan Puntigam and Britta Horn. Originally titled Das iTeam - Die Jungs mit der Maus (The iTeam - The Boys with the Mouse, where "Maus" is also a slang term for a young woman), the title was changed to Das iTeam - Die Jungs an der Maus (The iTeam - The Boys at the Mouse) at the last minute. The premiere episode was aired on January 4, 2008 on Sat.1. After the first episode was broadcast online, the adaptation received a mainly negative response from Internet forum users and blog writers. It was criticised for the quality of its translation and direction, and the poor performance of Stefan Puntigam as Gabriel (German version's name for Moss). The show was dropped by Sat.1 in January 2008 after the second episode due to low ratings.

Awards

The series won the Best Sitcom prize at the 2008 Rose d'Or ceremony. The website "The British Sitcom Guide" voted The IT Crowd to be the "Best New British Sitcom of 2006", and it won the "The BSG Readers' Award" in 2007.

References

External links

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