The IT Case

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Hey everyone and welcome back to the season 3 finale of The Black Case Diaries! Last week we wrapped up our series on Animation, and today we have decided to completely shift gears to discuss one of our favorite TV shows. 

In February of 2006, UK audiences were introduced to a new multi-camera sitcom created by Graham Linehan (co-creator of another popular sitcom, Father Ted). It followed a young woman named Jen, a new hire at an ambiguous company. She is shocked to discover that she has been placed in the IT department, located in a cluttered space within the darkest depths of the building. There she meets Moss and Roy, two computer savvy nerds lacking in people skills. 

The IT Crowd ran for four regular seasons on channel four, which is a British free-to-air TV network. Each series held 6 episodes, and the show concluded with an hour-long special in 2013. 

Filmed in front of a live studio audience, the IT Crowd aired internationally before being released on DVD and streaming services (it can currently be found on Netflix in the US). This comedy struck a chord with geeks everywhere, whether they worked in IT or not. It has gained a cult status, being one of the most popular British sitcoms in the US, and it made international stars out of Chris O’Dowd and Richard Ayoade (Roy and Moss).  

Today we will take a look at what made this show so special, and what about it has (or hasn’t) stood the test of time. 

The Making Of

  • The IT Crowd was created by Graham Linehan. He is also credited as a series writer and directed almost all of the show’s episodes
  • The show was produced by: 
    • Ash Atalla
    • Jaime Glazebrook
    • Richard Boden
    • Derrin Schlesinger
  • How/where it was shot
    • When the series started, sitcoms with studio audiences were not as popular as they once were, and the choice to film the show this way was considered a bit of a risk
    • Originally the show was shot in Teddington studios, but switched to Pinewood studios for season 2, which would explain why the set looks different, slightly cleaner in the later seasons
    • According to producers Atalla and Glazebrook on the season 2 DVD, many of the members of the studio audience tended to be people that worked in IT and had come to see the show with their coworkers
      • They also revealed that the actors got the most laughs of the night if they “broke” or swore
    • Live tapings could become tedious, taking about 3 hours for each episode. The show would send a “warm-up” out into the audience to get them excited about the show and entertain them between takes
    • Audiences sometimes had to watch multiple takes of the same scenes, so when you hear them laughing, it’s a testament to how funny the writing and actors were, considering they might have heard the joke multiple times 
    • Some segments of the show that have a more cinematic quality to them (the 0118 commercial, anti-piracy ad or outdoor sequences) were shot months in advance and played for the audience. The audience’s view was blocked by the cameras shooting the show, but what they couldn’t see live, they could see on the screens
    • After the first couple seasons, the show put out a call to the audience for suggestions of items to place on the set. If you look closely you will see original art, memes, hand-made props, and many pop culture pieces carefully placed around Moss and Roy’s desks. Some of these include: an image from Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, various band posters, and a red stapler resembling the famous prop from Office Space.  
  • Casting
    • Sarah Crowe was the casting director responsible for finding the perfect actors to bring the absurd characters to life
    • Starring: 
      • Richard Ayoade (I-oh-ahh-dee) as Maurice Moss, a coding genius and lovable goof of the IT Department. Between him and Roy, Moss seems to have the most trouble in social situations. 
        • Ayoade originally studied law at Cambridge, and first received recognition for his work on Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, a science fiction parody show. But, The IT Crowd was really where he achieved stardom. Since the show, 
        • Since the IT Crowd he has done voice work in “Early Man,” “Boxtrolls,” and Pixar’s “Soul” and hosted his own travel TV show for three seasons. Ayoade is also set to reprise a role in “The Souvenir Part 2” which is in post-production
      • Chris O’Dowd at Roy Trenneman, the often frustrated and work-shy member of the IT Department. Roy is an Irishman just like O’Dowd. 
        • Before the IT Crowd, O’Dowd has a recurring role on the series “The Clinic.” 
        • He also had roles in prominent US films such as Pirate Radio and Bridesmaids. Since The IT Crowd, he created and starred in his own semi-autobiographical show called, “Moone Boy” which follows a young boy growing up in Boyle, Ireland
        • O’Dowd recently starred in the TV show Get Shorty, and is currently set to write and star in a new film called, “The Adventures of Super Frank”  
      • Katherine Parkinson as Jen Barber
        • The IT Crowd was Parkinson’s first big role! She also appeared in Pirate Radio and had recurring roles on “Doc Martin” and “Defending the Guilty.” She is set to star in the upcoming film, “Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunchbreak” 
      • Noel Fielding as Richmond, the Goth member of the group who frequently hides in the cold control room. He only appears in one episode of season 3 due to filming conflicts with another project
        • Fielding has been acting since the 1990s and had a recurring role on The Mighty Boosh before and during The IT Crowd. He also had his own show: Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy and was a guest host on The Great British Bake-Off. He also lends his voice to Stan the Executioner in the series “Disenchantment” 
      • Christopher Morris as Denholm Reynolm, the original boss and owner of Reynolm Industries
        • Morris acted in shows, “The Day Today,” and “Brass Eye,” and more recently, “Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle” 
      • Matt Berry as Douglas Reynholm, the successor to Denholm Reynolm. Douglas is irresponsible, sexually motivated, and easily distracted by expensive things or just women in general. 
        • Before IT Crowd, Berry had roles in Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place, the Mighty Boosh, and and Snuff Box. 
        • He quickly became a fan favorite on IT Crowd and has recently starred in “Toast of London,” “What We Do in The Shadows,” and “Moominvalley.”

Favorite Episodes

  • Yesterday’s Jam 1:1
    • In the premiere episode we meet Jen Barber, a woman who lies her way into a job at a large ambiguous company called Reynolm Industries. Jen, thinking she will have a glamorous role and beautiful view atop the London skyscraper, is shocked to learn that she is now the head of the IT Department located in the basement. 
    • Enter Roy and Moss, two computer nerds about to have their delicate ecosystem disrupted by Jen’s presence. What’s worse: Jen is now head of a department of which she knows nothing about
    • Fun facts: 
      • This was the beginning of the joke that Jen doesn’t have a good understanding of some English phrases, when she calls them “Social Piranhas” instead of Pariah. This joke returns near the end of the show when she says “Pedal Stool” instead of “Pedestal” 
      • Roy’s shirt has the acronym RTFM which stands for Read the Fucking Manual 
  • Calamity Jen 1:2
    • In this episode Denholm declares a war against stress. He invites a stress expert in to lecture, and Roy and Moss attend. Jen however is preoccupied with a size 5 pair of shoes that causes her more physical and emotional pain than she anticipated.
    • Within the episode it is revealed that the new emergency number instead of 999 is 0118 999 881 999 119 725 3.
    • One of the jokes within this episode is that anything that is “made in Britain” does not work.
    • Trivia
      • The scene where Moss and Roy proceed to take their seats at the lecture is based on a Laurel and Hardy skit from their 1933 film “Sons of the Desert.”

      • Roy dons a Space Invaders t-shirt that says “10 Points.”
      • One thing that may slip by is that when Denholm goes to talk to Jen at the end about all her stress he is a couple doors down. If she had not gone out to stall him he may have walked away. This would have avoided the cover up of the office fire and the stolen stress machine.
  • The Red Door 1:4
    • Moss, in order to keep track of his white mug, puts a picture of himself on it. Jen gets curious about a red door in the office but the guys warn her that to keep the office in correct balance she must not open the door for any reason. She of course opens the door to find Richmond, a vampiric employee inside. The IT Crowd: “Fifty-Fifty”/“The Red Door”
    • Trivia
      • Richmond’s name is revealed to be “Richmond Avenal”
      • A recording artist named Tino Ghost wrote a song based on the character Richmond titled “Richmond Syndrome.” 
      • The image on Roy’s shirt is the kill screen from Pac-Man’s level 256. When the game was only on arcade games it lacked the memory to display the whole screen so the right half of the maze was corrupted. 
  • The Haunting of Bill Crouse 1:5
    • Jen has a bad date with a coworker named Bill. In order to not see him again she persuades Moss to lie for her. Cracking under the pressure Moss ends up making a lie he could not control by saying that Jen died.The IT Crowd S1E5
    • Trivia
      • Plays on The Haunting of Hill House.
  • The Work Outing 2:1
    • Jen’s new guy interest invites her, Roy, and Moss to a controversial play. Attending this play unleashes a slew of hilarious misunderstandings and consequences.
    • IT Crowd (S02E01): The Work Outing Summary - Season 2 Episode 1 Guide
    • Trivia
      • Richard Ayoade’s wife (Lydia Fox) plays Laura Knightly, the lead in the play.
      • On the poster for the musical you can spot members of the IT Crowd production listed in the credits for the musical.
      • Before they leave for the theater Jen asks if they should walk instead of drive. Roy replies that he doesn’t like walking. Later he is of course faking a disablement and is being wheeled around in a wheelchair.
  • Return of the Golden Child 2:2
    • When their boss unexpectedly dies, the gang must attend his funeral. Roy, meanwhile, is terrified of dying after a website predicts his death for that afternoon
    • This is the debut of Matt Berry on the show, and was a favorite episode by a lot of people on Twitter
      • IT Crowd (S02E02): Return of the Golden Child Summary - Season 2 ...
      • It’s tough to see, but there’s actually a spider in this episode that was caught while filming
      • The website predicts Roy will die on Thursday, May 3rd, which means that the episode probably takes place in 2007
  • Moss and the German 2:3
    • The situation in this episode is based on Armin Meiwes who is a real man from Germany who did in fact eat a man. After finding a willing person online, he killed and then ate the man over the course of a few months. He is currently incarcerated for murder
    • Moss refers to the German as a “fine young cannibal,” which might be a reference to the band “Fine Young Cannibals”  
  • The Dinner Party 2:4
    • Jen is dating a normal person called Peter. When some friends cancel on a dinner party Moss, Roy, and Richmond are invited to her dinner party. IT crowd - Album on Imgur
    • Trivia
      • The pronunciation of paedophile is specifically tied to the British pronunciation. Moss even counters that Peter should move to America because they pronounce it as ‘pedophile’.
      • In Brass Eye: Pedophilia(2001) written by Christopher Morris(Denholm) a character named Peter File is attacked after being mistaken for a paedophile. 
      • The song Jen turns down and then back up is Game of Pricks by Guided by Voices.
  • Are We Not Men 3:2
    • Roy and Moss fake their way through conversations with other men by making broad statements about football. They befriend a group that attempts to commit an armed robbery, and Moss has to come rescue Roy when he ends up being the getaway driver.
    • The card Jen’s magician boyfriend pulls from his hat is the three of clubs, which is the Penn and Teller default card of choice because they consider it to be the most boring card in the deck 
  • The Speech 3:4
    • When Jen is named employee of the month, she gets a big head. Having to give a speech as leader of the IT Department, Roy and Moss convince the unsuspecting Jen that the internet is a tiny black box in order to embarrass her.
    • This joke was brought up again in the final episode, when the group addresses the fact that the men never told Jen the truth about the internet
  • The Final Countdown 4:2
    • Moss becomes a member of an elite group of people who have won the game “Countdown” a certain amount of times. Roy tries to locate a window cleaner who left a ladder in his apartment. The IT Crowd: “Jen The Fredo”/“The Final Countdown”
  • The Final Episode 5:1
    • After a season 5 was planned and then scrapped, the show decided on one hour-long special instead. The cast reunited and filmed The Final Episode, and it aired in September of 2013 according to IMDB. 
    • Moss discovers the power of women’s slacks, Roy and Jen become the most hated people on the internet, and Douglas has to lay low after commiting crimes on the show “Secret Millionaire.” The show ends with the group finally getting to leave the basement. 

Twitter

On Twitter we got a lot of resounding answers for “The Work Outing,” “The Speech,” “Return of the Golden Child,” and “The Countdown”…. Being some of everyone’s favorite episodes.

Sources:

IMDB

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2010/jun/21/graham-linehan-the-it-crowd

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