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The IT Crowd: Series 3 [DVD]
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All six episodes from Season 3 of the award-winning Channel 4 sitcom set in the dingy subterranean IT department of the otherwise sparklingly modern Reynholm Industries. Episodes are: 'From Hell', 'Are We Not Men?', 'Tramps Like Us', 'Speech', 'Friendface' and 'Calendar Geeks'.
If you’ve not met Moss, Jen and Roy before, then here’s as good a place to start as any. As the IT Crowd of the show’s title, the trio find themselves relegated to the basement, only called upon when the company above them has a computer problem that needs solving. And as viewers of series one and two can testify, this provides a superb setting for one of the best comedy shows currently running.
Written (and directed too) by Graham Linehan, one of the geniuses behind Father Ted and Black Books, The IT Crowd this time lacks Noel Fielding, but has plenty to fill the gap he leaves. If there’s a particular favourite episode, it’s the one that rips apart the Facebook phenomenon by uncovering some information that it’s fair to say was best left covered up. And you’re unlikely to forget the box that apparently holds the entire Internet, too. Not for the first time in the show, a genius idea, superbly executed.
It’s a slightly uneven series, and one that saves its weakest episodes for first and last. But across the six episode run of The IT Crowd, there are plenty of laughs from a show that continues to deliver time and time again. Series four, fortunately, has already been commissioned, and off the back of what we get here, it’s got a high standard to aim for. --Jon Foster
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I have always been a fan of the show and it continues to go from strength to strength despite its simple format. This series includes the episode with the seminar when Jen demonstrates the whole Internet in a box! Not to mention the revolutionary anti-sex pants!
The IT Crowd feels as though it keeps up with current times (essential I suppose for a series where technology features highly) and it reflects on modern life by including such things as social networking websites and the recent trend for nude charity calendars. It might feel a bit naff at times but it is peppered with moments of pure brilliance, for example; Moss pinning Roy to a garage door as he kisses him (twice!), the prank on Jen involving the entire internet in a box, and of course Douglas' two-word outburst to a group of religious figures (currently my text message alert tone).
Noel Fielding is absent from this series so unfortunately there's no Richmond, but Matt Berry gets more screentime as Douglas becomes a bigger role. Berry's delivery has been utilised for comedy in the past and it's used well here, throwaway phrases become laugh-out-loud moments as he powers out an obscenity or strangely pronounced syllable - all adding to a strange yet weirdly likable character.
By now the IT Crowd is well aware that Moss and his `Moss-isms' provided some of the golden moments of the last few series and we are treated to more to add to the collection. Not only is the series aware of this but it actually acknowledges it when Roy makes a comment about "another classic" Moss line - the creators of the IT Crowd know that there's a fan base out there and it's great that they play to it. Despite this though, the series is accesable to anyone, you don't have to have watched the previous two series to enjoy this, but if you already like the characters then it does add to the experience.
This DVD follows the trend of the previous series and the menus are presented in a `techie' way - in this case a Facebook (or should be 'FriendFace'?) style web page. And if you leave the main menu on for a few minutes you're treated to an Easter Egg (a hidden DVD feature for the less geeky out there!).
In a nutshell: The basic premise remains the same; Roy and Moss are IT support guys in the basement along with their technophobic boss Jen, and between them they find themselves in a variety of outlandish situations. This time round there's more of a focus on the actual characters rather than visual gags, but this is the third series and you expect to see more depth to the characters. This is a quirky series with genuinely laugh-out-loud moments which don't depreciate; the re-watch value of the IT Crowd means that it keeps making you laugh no matter how many times you view it, if anything - it gets better the more you play it.
Over here across the Atlantic, there was a thankfully aborted attempt to transplant the show, dropping at least Pansy Parkinson, who, I think, is a consistently brilliant comedienne. Her deadpan and timing are flawless. British comedy is best done by Brits. And Irish. And Scots. Ok, and anybody who was brought up with British weather and boiled food. Or whatever the secret is.
The standout episodes, if there had to be any, were "Friendface", "The Speech" (In which the guys convince Jen that a black box with a red light they've thrown together IS The Internet) and "Calendar Geeks", but, again, it was solid season all around. Thanks Graham Linehan.
Jen is horrified when Roy identifies a builder working on her home as a "Builder From Hell" who has a penchant for urinating in sinks; at the same time, Douglas uncovers an old revolver in his desk. Guess how well THAT goes. Then Moss and Roy pretend to be "proper men," hanging out in pubs with soccer fans... but when the "proper men" turn out to have some criminal plans, Roy ends up sandwiched in the middle.
Additionally, when Jen steps out for a brief job interview at another company, the IT department starts to fall apart -- Moss gets concussed ("Jen, can I call you back? I've just got Jen on the other line"), and Roy is ejected from the building after his jacket is stolen. And when Jen is selected as employee of the month, the boys decide to play a prank on her.
When the IT trio sign up for the networking sight Friendface, they find themselves reconnecting with some old friends and exes -- and Jen ends up dragging Moss to her school reunion as her fake husband, while Roy goes on a date with the Joker. Finally, Roy is enlisted to photograph a nude calendar to raise money for "bosseyedness" -- but after Jen convinces the women that it's sexist, he finds himself having to photograph some less attractive subjects.
Electric sex pants, nude calendars, screaming Japanese businessmen, near-death experiences ("That looked like Hitler!"), girls who look like the Joker, misfiring guns, and the Elders of the Internet. "The IT Crowd: The Complete Second Season" piles the increasingly bizarre problems on our already overburdened, underappreciated IT personnel. And while it's a bit more sitcommy than the season before it, there's a sly satirical edge to the comedy.
It still has plenty of brilliant writing, riddled with surreal situations (the electric sex pants!) and weird dialogue ("Revenge, that would be uppermost upon my mind! I'm going to wee on everything! I'm going to strain my personal potatoes throughout her premises!"). And while the IT department's social awkwardness is still the main theme, their problems have become even stranger with time (Roy ends up homeless on the streets, holding a cardboard sign that says "I want to get back to work").
The three main actors are still utterly brilliant -- Katherine Parkinson's Jen keeps falling afoul of her own technological ignorance ("How do you record? ROY?"), Richard Ayoade's twitchy Moss remains socially inept and twitchy (but has some shining prank moments), and Chris O'Dowd's Roy has to deal with The Joker, a gang of thieves, and the horrifying prospect of having to photograph naked old ladies ("... and the last one... has a gangrenous arm. But she still wants to do it!").
Matt Berry also has a bigger role as the hyperdramatic, deeply oblivious Douglas -- he has a gun mishap, deals with the aftermath of Jen's sexual harassment suit, and has a torrid affair with a very unusual woman. Too bad Noel Fielding is absent from this season.
It's not QUITE as surreal and goofy as the second season, but "The IT Crowd: The Complete Third Season" is a staggeringly funny, slyly clever little show. I'm 99% sure you'll enjoy it.
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