Friday’s TV: The IT Crowd is Back

November 20, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

With the third series of Graham Linehan’s excellent IT Crowd looming large, takes a look at the incestuous circle of modern British comedy (left).

THE IT CROWD, Channel 4, Friday 21 November 10:00pm Alert Me

With a TV schedule that had already seen the likes of the Mighty Boosh and Nathan Barley, the IT Crowd seemed like a natural progression. The show seems like an amalgamation of a lot of the British comedy that had come before it, with the outrageous stereotypes of Nathan Barley, the sphincter-clenchingly awkward workplace interactions of the Office and the silliness of the Mighty Boosh all having been distilled into an eminently watchable and consistently funny sitcom.

Tonight’s third season premiere sees a greater depth of character imparted upon the main players. Richard Ayoade’s gleefully myopic Moss is built up from his utterly socially oblivious basis and developed into a character well aware of his quirks and desperate for an easier life in the outside world, whilst still holding onto that wonderfully misguided and weirdly efficient approach to any problem he faces as he charges at a group of hooded bullies with a handgun. Similarly, Katherine Parkinson deepens Jen’s neurosis and social paranoia in her character’s excellent tangent with a renegade builder who she suspects intends to go on a “pee-parade? of her house, and Chris O’dowd shows both the affectionate and petty sides of Roy’s personality in his interaction with Moss and Douglas Reynhom respectively.

It is Matt Berry as Reynhom that has the most space to grow into, though, as the influence of his father (played with aplomb by Chris Morris in the first two series) is writ large over the character. It’s only towards the end of this first episode of the third series that we see Douglas turn his back on the original Mr Reynholm – with Chris Morris returning for a hilariously dark cameo – and we’re left wondering where the character will go next. Matt Berry has a lot to live up to, as stepping into Morris’s shoes can’t be easy, but it is he who draws the biggest laughs, particularly with his melodramatic delivery and skewed outlook. This is the closest the IT Crowd has come to a comedy cliffhanger, and you’d be a fool to miss it.

By Christopher Harding