Take two hopeless I.T. nerds (one a slob and one a bespectacled social misfit), and add one pathologically lying people expert. That's the setup for "The IT Crowd," a fun little workplace sitcom that sits on the other end of the comedy spectrum from "The Office" -- in particular, hardcore farce. These four seasons are crammed full of pure weirdness and mild surreality, starting with simple workplace comedies and then piling on the weird.
As the story begins, Jen (Katherine Parkinson) is hired by the deranged CEO Dernholm, whom she has told that she knows plenty about computers. Unfortunately, he doesn't plan to have her working on the levels that are full of "lots of sexy people, not doing much work, and having affairs." So he sends her down to the I.T. department, a filthy basement occupied only with "standard nerds" -- an embittered slob named Roy (Chris O'Dowd) and socially oblivious Moss (Richard Ayoade).
Despite the fact that they keep the company from imploding, nobody appreciates them ("Have you tried turning it off and on again?"). Initially the guys loathe Jen and vice versa, but gradually they start to appreciate one another. And as the series goes on, the trio of awkward weirdos has to deal with countless strange occurrences, problems, disasters and the occasional criminal undertaking.
"The IT Crowd: Series 1-4" has a few bumps in the road ("The Haunting of Bill Crouse" way overextends some of its jokes) but is overall a pretty solid sitcom -- think a more farcical version of "The Office" with a dash of "The Mighty Boosh." It even has Noel Fielding as the supremely freaky goth that lives down in the basement like a vampire (mostly in the first two seasons).
And it's got some great running jokes like Douglas Reynholm's ("I don't think I've ever looked in this drawer... WOW, a gun!") and the idiots who call IT because their computers are unplugged. But each episode has its own running gags: toe-deforming shoes, iPhones, bottom-kissing, "manly" behavior, flaming bras, erotic calendars and Douglas offending the top five major world religions. And the dialogue is a big oozing bundle of hilarity ("My trouser hams are not for sale sir!").
The core three actors are all brilliant at their very different characters -- Parkinson (who looks like a slapstickier version of Gillian Anderson) is wonderful as a pathological liar and girly-girl with the worst office on Earth. O'Dowd is deliciously sloppy and resentful about the way the rest of the employees treat him (a necessary evil), and Ayoade is gloriously monotonic and clueless about real life.
It has a couple weak episodes, but "The IT Crowd: Series 1-4" is the funniest Britcom in years -- and thankfully, it's still going strong.