The IT Crowd
The Complete Third Season
Written and directed by Graham Linehan
Starring Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade, Katherine Parkinson, Matt Berry
MPI Home Video
Release date: September 15, 2009
For the uninitiated, The IT Crowd is a British-made sitcom and the story so far goes something like this: Jen (Katherine Parkinson) is hired as the new head of department in the IT basement. Her new ‘team’ is Roy (Chris O’Dowd) and Moss (Richard Ayoade), Reynholm Industries’ computer support nerds. Roy and Moss are very comfortable in their geeky treasure trove office. They don’t need a head of department and their frustrations spill out onto their computer-illiterate colleagues. Roy and Moss are intimidated by women and ‘real men’, learning to interact with both by researching on the internet.
The IT Crowd Season 3, like the two seasons before, is written and directed by Graham Linehan, responsible for many excellent comedy series like Father Ted, Black Books, and Big Train. The IT Crowd follows the familiar brand of surreal humour with some outrageous characters.
Richmond – who had an improved role in Season 2 – disappears altogether from Season 3. I think this was a good idea. Richmond always seemed to have potential but no one really knew what to do with him. I don’t know whether Linehan made the decision to leave him out or if Noel Fielding (of The Mighty Boosh) was unable to commit to playing him for a third season. This allows Douglas (Matt Berry) to take more screen time. Douglas gets much bigger story lines including a love story and fist fight in one of the funniest episodes. In the same episode, Linehan makes a brief appearance shouting ‘we’re all gonna die!’ after ‘the internet’ gets broken.
What could easily be used as a one trick pony – the fact almost everyone at this huge company (and especially the boss) is useless with computers – is actually used sparingly and very effectively. Douglas calls Roy to his office because he is having a problem with his laptop. The problem is he can’t get it open. This leads into a storyline to show how tight Roy is with money. Also, computer problems for the girls on the 7th floor (Roy’s idea of paradise) leads to him being offered to shoot a sexy nude calendar with the girls as his models. What transpires is funnier than I could give credit.
Season 2 established this as a great sitcom. The characters were fully formed, the writing was more confident and the situations were bigger and more bizarre. For Season 3, Linehan has kept up the high joke rate and fast tempo. The whole series is really into its stride and Linehan and the actors seem more confident in their ideas and ability to get the laughs. The stories are now more extreme and more surreal and it feels like he is really having fun with the series.
By the time Season 3 came around the show had already won an International Emmy and would later go on to win a Bafta award for best situation comedy. It has been commissioned for a Christmas special this year and a new series to follow next year.
This disc has a decent selection of extras. Graham Linehan again provides an interesting, informal commentary on the whole series. What’s fun about these is he doesn’t read from a script, he says whatever pops into his head as he is re-watching the episodes recounting funny stories from the sets or ideas for alternative story lines he had in mind for the episode he is watching. There is also An Interview with Graham which is kind of cool but when you have a whole series commentary to listen to it seems a bit pointless.
Cracking The IT Crowd is incredibly fascinating but is totally baffling. Three computer programmers tell us how they created a ridiculously elaborate competition, the clues of which were hidden in the show and the Season 2 DVD. These guys are geeks, no doubt about it.
In the Set Tour with Graham Linehan he shows off all the geeky set dressing which includes Buddy Bradley toys and a whole heap of Fantagraphics comics, Lol Catz pictures, V For Vendetta Guy Fawkes mask, a Joss Whedon Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along blog print among many others. It’s fun to try and spot things as you’re watching the show but it’s cool that these things have been pointed out.
There is also an Original Title Sequence Animatic which isn’t as good as the one used in the actual show, two Deleted Scenes, one of which is very funny but neither deserve to be in the final edit and a selection of Out Takes to round out the special features.