The IT Crowd Review: Much Better Than Sweet Corn

June 24, 2010 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

THE IT CROWD: Friday 25th June, Channel 4, 10pm ALERT ME

There are two types of people.

In the first group come those of us who think Graham Linehan is a deific familial sacrifice whose existence here on earth means religious types must re-write their out-of-date holy books. In our creed his sperm should be harvested in the hope that the Large Hadron Collider will turn humanity into grey goo, so that the planet can be repopulated with tall, shambling, Irish, Twitterholic, comedy writers, bent on turning this savage world of Steve Joneses, Pol Pots, Fearne Cottons and George Osbornes into a massive Craggy Island full of lovely horses. Then there are bastards, who secretly like picking sweetcorn out of other peoples’ poo.

The bastards have had their moments. As the Linehan Bible says: “And yea, forsaking the gospels of Father Ted and Black Books, the sweetcorn-pickers did smite him with forked criticism of The IT Crowd series one.?

Well burn in hell now sweetcorn pickers, because not only were series two and three of The IT Crowd more satisfying than a cup of tea and a chocolate Hob Nob, series four looks even better. In it, Linehan, the writer and director (whose credits also include Father Ted and Black Books) has brought Reynholm Industries and its basement-dwelling IT department back to Channel 4. It reprises the roles of IT-no-hopers, Roy and Moss, who hang out in a room so replete with nerdy popular culture paraphernalia that it makes my own girl-free childhood bedroom seem Armani-chic, by comparison. Also returning is computer-illiterate IT director Jen, who despite being the type of woman teenage nerds hope they might one day make actual eye contact with, is neurotic enough to be almost equally inadequate.

The beguiling comedy cocktail represented by that triumvirate of inadequacy hardly needs bespoiling with a deconstruction of style and language. Recounting gags from a TV series should, after all, be left to Monty Python pub-bores. But, at the risk of ending up in Pseuds Corner, it is worth noting that on the evidence of the first episode, Linehan’s writing maintains its habit of seeking big laughs in banal behaviour while his directing takes great pleasure in subverting genre, mashing up, for example, the cod-portentous drama of The Matrix with the utilitarian time-wasting of Countdown.

But then, that’s an observation you’ll be making shortly yourself. Unless, of course, you’re hanging around in a sewer hoping for a 2-for-1 on cans of Green Giant.