The IT Crowd Review
Graham Lineham, the co-creator of Father Ted and Black Books, has written a new sitcom series, The IT Crowd, shown on Channel 4 on Friday. Directed by Ben Fuller (Dead Ringers) produced by Ash Atalla (The Office), this sitcom is the most bizarre satire of office dramas but one that attracts a lot of viewers. Set in the forgotten dingy IT basement of a fictional British corporation, Reynholms Industries, Lineham has produced the perfect team of characters: the two IT geeks, Roy (played by Chris O’Dowd) and Moss (played by Richard Ayoade), plus the new boss, Jen (played by Katherine Parkinson), who lied about her IT experience on her CV.
The show’s catchphrase: “Have you tried turning it off and on again? ” is actually quite helpful as I guess this is what most IT people do when something goes wrong with a computer. I expect it is going to be pretty hard for those proper IT men to say that now without being a tiny bit self-conscious. So why is this show so successful? On top of the downloadable episodes on the internet a week before the official TV broadcast, the show’s over-the-top silliness and the absurd remarks made by the characters surely catch a lot of viewers’ attention, including mine.
For instance, the staff’s incapability of solving practical problems like extinguishing fires and telling little lies for a good cause are just a few of the many comical behaviour that are brought about in the show. What I like about the show is that you don’t really have to know anything about computers to understand or enjoy the humour in it. In fact, most of the humour comes from the work environment and the everyday chitchat of their social lives. So how did Lineham come up with the idea of The IT Crowd?
Where did all his ideas come from? Maybe he is hopeless with computers as well, that’s why he is in such a good position to produce a sitcom about people who know nothing about computers. Or maybe he is a natural at writing hilarious scripts and makes lots of money. But whatever it is, he has made sure that people who aren’t interested in computers won’t switch off. This show is not about the nuts and bolts of computers, it is about the life moving around them.
Sadly, what we missed was Dylan Moran (creator of Black Books) and Bill Bailey; but in their place we are offered three top-notch actors, each of them emitting a strong enthusiasm to take their characters to extremes for a really good laugh. I have to admit that Richard Ayoade does make an excellent IT geek, Moss, short for Maurice. With his geeky name, side-parted hair, clip-on ties, a variety of checked short-sleeved shirts and trousers that are too short but worn too high, he is absolutely qualified as a geek.
Personally, he is my favourite out of the ludicrous lot; his sophisticated knowledge of all technical things is manifested in his extremely clever but completely inscrutable suggestions, while struggling to communicate with anything that does not have a keyboard. Now, is that not what makes people laugh? It is not because of the clever plotting, but because of the show’s willingness to create the most unreasonable jokes and to exaggerate the most foolish behaviour.
I cannot recall the last time I have laughed so much during an episode of a comedy. Others in the house would just know that I am watching one of those crazy programmes. We are also privileged to have Chris O’Dowd, the Irish comic, who guest starred in Red Cap and has also appeared in Festival. His role as Roy is just as brilliant; always wandering up to the fifth floor to look at all the gorgeous girls but hating being told what to do by women.
Jen, who was made head of the IT department, was hoping to work with the nicer people up on the fifth floor, but ended up in the basement, which is filled with broken chairs, racks of decaying monitors, old system units that are littered all over the floor, and last but not least, she is stranded on the isle of nerddom. What really gets on my nerves about this character is her high-pitched, relentless laugh. Alright, first time it’s funny, but millions and millions and millions in each episode, it is just once too many.
The show is not quite same as Father Ted or Black Books, but it has the potential to be the utmost sitcom series. So if you want to put your feet up and have a good laugh on a night in, then check out The IT Crowd. Commentary The purpose of the review is to give an account and evaluation, together with a reasoned opinion about the qualities of the TV sitcom, The IT Crowd. It also offers a critical assessment of the programme and my reactions to it. The review’s second purpose is to entertain the audience.
Although it would have been easier to review a subject that I have a negative opinion of, as I could make use of a variety of witty language techniques, such as satire, sarcasm, irony and mockery, I decided to write a review on a TV series that I enjoy. This is because I wanted to share the goodness of the show and the laughter that I encounter during each episode with everyone. However, I did manage to make some reference to each actor’s career, “co-creator of Father Ted” and “guest starred in Red Cap”, in order to give a deeper understanding of what is being reviewed, as some background information might be required by some readers.
The review is aimed at anyone (ranging from teenagers to adults) who is interested in what the new sitcom is about and my opinion on it. My writing uses descriptive words such as “inscrutable”, which is suited to the age group of the audience. It also contains humour, mainly for teenagers, to keep the reader amused and agree with my judgement. I used a review of TV programmes given by my teacher as a style model, since that review is about TV programmes as well. I decided to use its sense of humour and the way the text is paragraphed as a guide to help me write my review.
I first introduced the show and the people involved in making it, then I stated my opinion and gave reasons for it. The language of my review is quite informal in some places as I thought this would connect with the audience and would create a friendly atmosphere; we would normally speak informally to one another if we are friends or if we are close. I also used some language techniques such as alliteration, “short-sleeved shirts”, to make the imagery more intense and catch the mind’s eye.
Hyperbole is used for the description of the basement, “racks of decaying monitors”, which is an exaggeration to heighten the effect of the image in the audience’s mind. The list of three, “millions and millions and millions”, is used in my review to make the point about Jen’s laugh stronger. This is also hyperbole as “millions” is exaggerated for emphasis to help stress the point. My review contains questions regarding the show, “why is this show so successful? “; this makes the audience feel more engaged and might even be the questions that they are thinking of themselves.
I have also addressed the audience directly, which makes them feel more involved and think that the opinions are from me alone. When I finished writing my review, I gave it to someone to read and to offer some comments on it. I was told that I needed to add a few more opinions about the show and some humour to it, as it was quite simple and not very entertaining or engaging. Having known the improvements that I had to make, I included some opinions of my own, along with some humour, and incorporated them in appropriate places in the review.
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