Reviews

The IT Crowd: The Complete Third Season

The IT Crowd: The Complete Third Season brings back Moss, Roy, Jen and Mr. Reynholm for more of the sharpest computer-centric comedy around.


The IT Crowd

Distributor: MPI
Cast: Chris O'Dowd, Richard Ayoade, Matt Berry, Katherine Parkinson
Network: Channel 4
US release date: 2009-09-15
Amazon

Initially, the premise of The IT Crowd may have seemed a little behind the times, with the technologically clueless new boss sent in to oversee the two comic-book-loving, socially stunted, computer geniuses, but writer and director Graham Linehan (Father Ted) and executive producer Ash Atalla (The Office) have managed not only to make the idea work, but to make it into one of the sharpest comedies on television.

With Series three now available on DVD, Reynholm Industries' IT Department, Roy (Chris O Dowd), Moss (Richard Ayoade) and Jen (Katherine Parkinson), and its riotous throwback of a boss, Douglas Reynholm (Matt Berry), can dispense for the most part with explaining the set-up and get straight into the hilarity. Unlike some other shows about nerds, geeks and computer savants, The IT Crowd keeps most of its characters' symbols of geek-dom in the background (literally, if you pay attention to the brilliant set), preferring instead to let basic human foibles and misunderstandings form the foundation of the comedy. The IT Crowd: The Complete Third Season also brilliantly makes use of classic physical comedy the whole cast, but especially O'Dowd, excel at this), funny facial expressions (Ayoade is priceless in this capacity) and perfectly delivered dialogue ("God damn these electric sex pants!").

And while it is the pratfalls, pulled faces and ridiculous wordplay that often gets the most laughs, it's also the little touches, the not-quite-inside-jokes—like when Moss is rebooted after a concussion, or the point where Jen realizes she has become "one of them" because she is now a fan of Guided By Voices when she "shouldn't even know who they are!"—that really sell the show.

These six episodes are all self-contained, and could be viewed in any order (commentary with Linehan explains his choices, though), but if you're watching straight though, the first will be "From Hell", which is probably the weakest of the lot. Jen is having work done on her home and Roy is convinced he saw her contractor on a reality show called Builders From Hell, so she spends the rest of the episode trying to ensure the guy isn't pissing in her sinks. Not that it's bad, the episode is still amusing, especially the bits with the boys while Jen's out, but it's not quite the opener I'd have chosen.

"Are We Not Men?" gets things back on track, however, when Moss and Roy pass themselves off as "real men" using a website that teaches them how to talk like footballers. They fall in with a hard crowd, and are in mortal peril, but not to worry, everything ends with a kiss (two, actually). This episode is, arguably, the best of the series for Moss speaking in a Cockney accent alone.

Other highlights include the "Tramps Like Us" episode in which Jen discovers she doesn't know what "I.T." stands for and Douglas is ordered to wear the electric sex pants; "The Speech", in which Moss and Roy convince Jen that the whole internet is contained in a small black box and Douglas dates a post-op transsexual journalist and of course, "Friendface", which may be the most scathing and spot-on commentary on the dangers of social-networking sites ever made. It's definitely the most entertaining ("Don't think about germs.").

Series three ends with "Calendar Geeks" with Roy volunteering to be the photographer for a nude charity calendar, only to have Jen meddle and change the assignment into something no man needs to see, let alone preserve on film. There's really no way to do justice to this episode in a review, because it is built on visual gags, so it's one of those things that really just has to be seen.

The IT Crowd: The Complete Third Season includes the expected special features like commentary by Graham Linehan, an interview with Linehan, deleted scenes, outtakes, a set tour and the original title sequence animation. Additionally, there's an option to play subtitles in "geek", which is a great concept, but it gets old quickly. Each feature has a unique menu showing games based on various episodes, so be sure to check those out.

Like the "Calendar Geeks" episode, The IT Crowd: The Complete Third Season must be seen to be truly appreciated, descriptions can't accurately convey it. That's probably true of the entire series. Obviously, much of the humor is dependent on the interactions between the three main characters, and their individual character flaws. Once you see it, however, you realize that The IT Crowd's brilliance is that the show is far funnier the sum of those flaws.

7

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less
3

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image