Sunday, November 27, 2011

QNBS: The IT Crowd

As I prepare myself to say goodbye to Chuck, which is on its fifth and final season, I also embark on my Quest for the Next Best Series to search for its replacement. Many series have been recommended but today I will write about The IT Crowd.

The plot: Two geek guys from the IT Department deals with their new boss, a blonde who knows nothing about computers but is a "people person". These three deal with the everyday rigors of living and working in a company's IT department--dealing with each other, the surroundings (which is an obvious fire hazard) and their quirky boss who looks like a crazy police officer.

The IT Crowd


1. It is a 24-minute show. To accommodate my TV show de-stressing needs, my current time concerns and short attention span, the new show I will take on after Chuck must be limited. The IT Crowd's average 24 min. 30 sec episodes fits my time constraints very well. Also, since it is a British show, each season consists of around six to seven episodes. Now on its 4th season, The IT Crowd only has 24 episodes so far--equivalent only to one season of HIMYM.

2. It's a British sitcom, and I love all things British: Rowan Atkinson, Princess Diana, John Oliver in Community, the British accent.

3. Geeks are this millenium's jocks, and I admit I get easily drawn to (or maybe I identify with) geek/nerdy characters (see Chuck Bartowski, Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, Wolowitz). The IT Crowd is like the British The Big Bang Theory. The plot are a lot similar: Two geek guys meet this fairly hot blonde who knows nothing about what the geeks do, and loves only shoes. The blonde helps the geeks with their social lives and the geeks help the funny, I guess.

Jen, Roy and Maurice

4. It's funny. The show mixes wittiness, sarcasm and a paler version of slapstick comedy. Caution: This show may not be funny for everyone. For one, I think my brothers will not find it as funny as much as HIMYM.

5. It's well-cast. Although I'm not familiar with the who's who of the British TV sitcom industry, I think Chris O'Dowd as Roy, Richard Ayoade as Maurice and Katherine Parkinson as Jen were nicely cast. Even Chris Morris' acting as Denholm Reynholm was excellent. I found his character really funny. A British-speaking, black version of Sheldon in Maurice is just amazing. I wonder if The IT Crowd and TBBT writers are open to doing a crossover featuring Sheldon (like when Abed [Danny Pudi] guest starred in Cougar Town).

Roy, Maurice, Denholm and Jen

6. In the few episodes I have watched I find the lines to be very clever.

"Hello, I was just wondering do you want me to connect up your phone?"
"No, no, no. It's working."
"But how??"

"I stole it."
"You stole it?"
"But that's stealing!!!!"

"I can't go to prison, Roy! They'll rape the flip out of me!"


1. The active/action/slapstick-like comedy is sometimes a bit too much. Roy's always falling down on the floor and is always bleeding (in the first two episodes Roy had a head wound and and a thigh wound), Jen's always doing facial contortions to show her delight, pain, panic or disbelief, and (insert Boss character's name here) always doing his weird gestures. Yes, the HIMYM gang may be a little physical as well (with all the slapping, costume-changing, and even whipping!) but The IT Crowd is nearly over the top for me.

Chris O'Dowd (Roy) and Katherine Parkinson (Jen) are (maybe)
going overboard with their acting.

2. The chemistry and comic timing is not as effective as HIMYM's and TBBT's. In a lot of scenes, I found it too obvious that everyone is just waiting for others to finish their spiels. It looks like everyone's making an effort to make the scenes as smooth as, and the jokes as quick as, possible. Maybe they'll be perfect by Season 4...or their 24th episode.

3. I don't see a central storyline. Moreover, I see a bleak future for the show, story-wise. The question we have to ask is: what more can you do with a plot as simple as this show's? The writers of The IT Crowd may try going TBBT way (have one of the geeks date the blonde, have them break up, be really good friends and then bring in new characters). But let us put in mind that Jen, Roy and Maurice doesn't have the emotional/romantic vibe to their relationship like what Leonard and Penny had from the very start. Maybe the writers can put it in but I think it will not be a good idea to do so. Also, the show's overall feel doesn't seem to be suitable for such emotional plots. Okay, the best thing that could happen is that three of them become good friends and be better socially adaptive individuals. That's it.

The IT Crowd is a very straight forward show. The writers don't mince their words, the actors give their all when acting out their roles, and the show is, basically, what you see is what you get. There are no hidden meanings, slowly developing storylines, plot twists or romantic subtexts to focus on. It simply is, and does not pretend to be more than, a sitcom. The IT Crowd is good to watch when you need to watch something for the sake of watching and laughing.

You may want to read other QNBS reviews:

New Girl
Rizzoli & Isles

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