By John Magee
This week I’d like to take a look at a television show Netflix, The IT Crowd. The IT Crowd is a British comedy that began back in 2006 and ran for four seasons and an additional finale episode.
The IT Crowd is a show about two nerdy guys working in an IT department, Roy and Moss, and their under qualified boss Jen. Many of the now famous workplace sitcoms like Parks and Rec or The Office seem to evolve over time and become more heartfelt and more genuine as the show goes on, this is not of these shows.
Instead, the IT Crowd focuses on what makes a workplace comedy funny, weird characters an even weirder boss and ridiculous situations. What makes the IT Crowd so particularly funny though is how believable the characters actually are which is no easy task when it comes to writing about nerdy characters. It seems that many shows simply cannot write nerds realistically usually sticking to the same tired clichès, and while the characters in the IT Crowd seem like they are apart of that same clichè it is clear that it is for effect, every character in the show is wildly exaggerated so the nerd stereotype fits in perfectly with the crazy boss stereotype and leaves the viewer with the feeling that actual nerds aren’t so weird.
Unlike a certain show on CBS, with a name taken from a popular theory of the origin of the universe… it’s The Big Bang Theory. The writing of the show is also very good in that every episode has a gradual upping of the stakes, so there is no need for the characters to make a weird purposeful mistake that will clearly lead to some wacky hijinks later down the road. Every time something happens the response we see is pretty natural, or at least understandable.
The best example of this when Roy, Moss, and Jen all go to see a play and at one point Roy and Moss need to go to the bathroom. Since the regular bathroom is filled Roy decides to use the handicapped bathroom and Moss tries the employee bathroom, while both men are using the bathroom each is discovered and pretend to be handicapped and an employee respectively to try and avoid getting in trouble, which naturally leads to ridiculous situations. This all takes place within Reynholm Industries a company that the show hilariously avoids describing, and is run by Denholm Reynholm and later his son Douglas Reynholm who are incredibly rich and even more out of touch with society.
The two are also not-so-secretly embezzling money from the company, which again shows off how well the show takes something that would be the subject of serious drama and turmoil in a different sitcom and just plays it off for laughs. The IT Crowd is a sitcom pure and simple there are no underlying plots or dramas, no plot twists or emotional moments just funny people doing funny things which is a nice respite when it seems like every show seems to try and make their characters more real by giving them real problems and challenges to face.