The IT Crowd
The Complete Second Season
Written and Directed by Graham Linehan
Starring Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade, Katherine Parkinson, Matt Berry
MPI Home Video
Release Date: June 30, 2009
The second season of any TV show is usually a vital one (the difficult second album syndrome). If the first season was brilliant the pressure is on those involved to make it as good as, but hopefully better, for the second. The pressure is not felt as strongly however if a second season is commissioned on the basis that it must be better than the uncertain first. This is where The IT Crowd sits. The first season displayed a lot of promising signs but was ultimately shaky.
If Season 1 of this sitcom was a sign of the show finding its feet, then The IT Crowd Season 2 is proof that it has found them. This season immediately feels more confident and relaxed, as though Graham Linehan (who continues to write and direct) feels more assured in his characters and the series as a result.
It gets off to a tremendous start and the best episode yet in The Work Outing which features the funniest theatre show I have ever seen. A trip to the theatre is the first time we really see Roy (Chris O’Dowd), Moss (Richard Ayoade) and Jen (Katherine Parkinson) outside the office and we see how well (or not) they cope in the outside world. Roy and Moss are very socially difficult. Not just at the theatre but when Jen is forced to invite them to her dinner party. Jen spends the evening trying to make sure her colleagues don’t embarrass her in front of her friends and her boyfriend. Not easy when the man she is trying to impress is called Peter File.
The IT Crowd Season 2 also sees a change of management at Reynholm Industries. Due to the unexpected – and hilarious – death of Denholm Reynholm, his son Douglas (Matt Berry) makes a brilliant entrance at his father’s funeral and signals his intentions for (what is now) his company. Douglas is a horrible, lecherous, stupid, wealthy brat – a character ripe for comic stories and Linehan duly picks them off. I’m a big fan of Matt Berry. He was excellent in Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place, an equally brilliant and also very geeky British action-sitcom in which he starred alongside Ayoade. He has a very distinctive voice which is perfect for playing a despicable boss and his comic timing is impeccable. Chris Morris who played Denholm is a very funny man but the character of Douglas seems written perfectly for Berry and as such is used more effectively. True to the series, Douglas is useless with computers (he calls Roy up to his office because he can’t get his computer to work. Only it isn’t a computer, it’s a briefcase).
Richmond (The Mighty Boosh‘s Noel Fielding), a dramatic Goth who appeared towards the end of Season 1, features more prominently. In the first season he was used tentatively, and now he is used far more effectively. In the episode where Jen is hosting a dinner party, Richmond is also invited and this is the first time he is used throughout a whole episode.
This is the Graham Linehan I have always been a huge fan of and with the introduction of Douglas you really get the feeling he is enjoying the process of making The IT Crowd and making it not with any expectations hanging over him or hoping people like it. You sense that he is writing these jokes because they make him laugh, not in the hope it will make other people laugh.
Linehan makes another appearance as a ‘blind, wizened old man.’ I think it’s safe to say none of the cast will be worried about being acted out of the scene when he is onscreen!
In its six-episode run it doesn’t always keep the momentum right the way through. But this season features three of the best episodes and some very funny moments. I would recommend this above the first series, but you’ll get a much bigger reward if you watch some of the earlier shows.
Like the DVD of the first season, the extras here are sadly lacking. A selection of Outtakes are always funny to watch. The actors struggle their way through the very funny lines and are often hit with fits of giggles.
Recording The IT Crowd: goes behind the scenes of the recording of the show narrated by producers Ash Atalla and Jamie Glazebrook. There are interview clips with members of the live studio audience before and after the recording and a slightly nervous looking Graham Linehan.
The third extra is Graham Linehan’s commentary tracks over the entire series. Linehan has a tendency to ramble but is very talkative and funny. He is obviously very proud of the show and his cast.