THE IT CROWD. (2006-2013) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. PS, HAVE YOU TRIED TURNING IT OFF AND ON AGAIN…?

THE IT CROWD. (2006-2013) CREATED BY GRAHAM LINEHAN.
STARRING CHRIS O’DOWD, RICHARD AYOADE, KATHERINE PARKINSON, CHRIS MORRIS, MATT BERRY AND NOEL FIELDING.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This is one of the funniest, un-woke-est sitcoms I’ve ever seen, and no wonder, as it’s written by Graham Linehan, the guy responsible for FATHER TED and BLACK BOOKS. All three sitcoms are modelled on the same, seemingly fail-safe, formula:

Take two blokes with hopeless social skills and poor life skills in general (Fathers Ted and Dougal, Bernard Black and Manny Blanco, Roy Trenneman and Maurice Moss) and put them in the sort-of-care of a woman who’s nearly as bad as them (Mrs. Doyle, Fran Katzenjammer and Jen Barber), and off you go; you’re away to the races!

The London-based show is set in the building of Reynholm Industries, a sort of media and communications business of whose exact purpose we’re kind of unclear.


It’s owned by the bombastic, moustached, corrupt and arrogant Denholm Reynholm, who commits suicide by jumping out a window when there are found to be ‘bizarre irregularities’ in his accounts, just like in FATHER TED. That’s an example of Graham Linehan borrowing from himself, lol.

Down in the dingy, untidy basement room in Reynholm Industries, we have the titular IT or Information Technology crowd. (Even Jen doesn’t know what IT stands for!) Chris O’Dowd plays Roy Trenneman, ‘a man from Ireland.’

He’s a big fan of Internet pornography and trying to get women to go out with him (maybe if he did the former less, he’d achieve the latter more!), he has lovely curly Irish hair and he always looks like he’s just crawled out of bed, a look that women do generally seem to find attractive. (Well, the girls on the seventh floor might dig him, I don’t know…!)

He’s horribly work-shy and resents the customers who phone him looking for assistance with their computers. He invariably responds with the by-now-famous line, ‘Have you tried turning it off and on again…?’ and beyond this he’s not really prepared to go, the lazy article.

He’s got a great selection of T-shirts and looks like the kind of big, tall, lopey, hairy Irish guy who might be in the band the Coronas or something. (I wonder are they still called that, or did they change their name after the COVID-19 pandemic??? I would have.)

I love when he’s out for the night at GAY: A GAY MUSICAL, and pretends to be ‘leg-disabled’ when he gets caught out using the theatre’s ‘Disabled’ bathroom. Hilarious. I also love the episode in which he tries desperately to convince a more-successful-than-he-is friend from school that he’s absolutely, definitely, positively not a window-cleaner, lol.

The funniest thing in the whole entire show is probably when the barrister asks Roy to place a cut-out of Ralph Ineson’s face on the exact place on the diagram of Roy’s buttocks where Ineson kissed him after he gave him a massage, it’s just too flippin’ funny. Maybe google this particular bit to see what the hell I’m talking about here…!

Richard Ayoade plays the adorable genius-nerd Maurice Moss, who definitely passes the autism test and who should never be allowed to run after his bullies with a gun, but there you go.

He loves counting and watching COUNTDOWN, being on COUNTDOWN and, when he’s not engaged in any of these worthy pastimes, he adores playing STREET COUNTDOWN with various former COUNTDOWN winners. Me? Well, I’ll have a ‘P,’ please, Bob…

The ravishing red-headed Jan Barber (Katherine Parkinson) hasn’t the first idea about computers but convinces the CEO to take her on as ‘relationship manager,’ or the person who liaises between the IT department and the rest of the company.

She’s only moderately good at doing this, but her personal relationships with men are a disaster, lol. I love the episode where everyone thinks she’s dead and she appears to be haunting a boastful tosser called Bill Crouse, who will certainly never tell anyone he slept with her again…!

Noel Fielding from THE MIGHTY BOOSH plays sometimes-character Richmond Avenal, the strange and forgotten goth who lives in the building behind a red door in the basement, a door which Jen has been warned by her colleagues, Roy and Moss, not to open, so naturally the first thing she does when their backs are turned is… open the door…

Douglas Reynholm, the work-shy son of the late Denholm Reynholm, is a fantastic character. ‘You don’t need to tell ME where to sign on a sexual harassment suit…!’ Loud, super-sexist and with a fantastically booming, carrying voice, he dresses like a reject from SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, he has no idea what his father’s company does, even though he’s just inherited it, he hits on every woman he meets and has fabulously funny lines such as, ‘Damn these electric sex pants!’ and ‘You there, computer man, fix my pants!’ I love when he tells Jen to ‘dress up like my sexy dead wife!,’ and he has the outfit already there and ready to go, the pervert…

The #metoo crowd would make mincemeat of poor Douglas. Would a super-sexist character like his even get written into a sitcom anymore, or is that day gone now too? I can imagine what he might say, in his dramatic booming voice, to such a bunch of marauding feminists as might confront him in his office in Reynholm Industries:

‘You there, ugly hairy men-women! There’s no need to be bitter, and jealous of your prettier female counterparts! My massive knob is an Equal Opportunities Employer! Mind you, I’ll have to shag all of you from behind; I don’t want those earnest, make-up-less faces putting me off my stride while I’m poking the fireplaces, haw-haw-haw!’ The ‘woke’ crowd would tar and feather him, and then run him out of town on a rail…

THE IT CROWD, which also features a great theme tune with nifty graphics, is as funny as Graham Linehan’s other works, FATHER TED and BLACK BOOKS, as I said earlier. He just has a genius for writing about these types of ordinary situations that turn farcical, ridiculous and out-of-control very quickly when you put the right characters into the mix. The show is on Netflix now and is so well worth watching. I’ll leave you with some classic lines…

‘Did you catch that ludicrous display last night?’

‘What was Wenger thinking, putting Walcott on so early…?’

‘The thing about Arsenal is that they always try to walk it in…’

‘Moss, you’re saying football things…! In a football voice…!

Classic lines indeed. Happy Christmas, folks.
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