The IT Crowd is a British sitcom by Channel 4, written by Graham Linehan, produced by Ash Atalla and starring Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade, Katherine Parkinson and Matt Berry. The “IT” in the show’s title can be pronounced as either the word it /ˈɪt/, as in “the ‘it’ crowd”, or as the letters IT /ˌaɪˈtiː/, as in the abbreviation for information technology.
Set in the London offices of the fictional Reynholm Industries, the show revolves around the three staff members of its IT department: a geeky genius named Maurice Moss (Ayoade), the workshy Roy Trenneman (O’Dowd), and Jen Barber (Parkinson), the department head/Relationship Manager, who knows nothing about IT. The show also focuses on the bosses of Reynholm Industries: Denholm Reynholm (Chris Morris) and his son Douglas (Berry).
The comedy premiered on Channel 4 on 3 February 2006, and ran for four series of 6 episodes each. Although a fifth series was commissioned, Graham Linehan announced on 20 October 2011 that there would not be a fifth series, only an extended special in 2012 with the possibility of a film afterwards.
The show was the third successful sitcom creation of Graham Linehan, following Father Ted (co-written with Arthur Mathews) and Black Books (co-written with Dylan Moran).
The IT Crowd is set in the offices of Reynholm Industries, a fictional British corporation in central London. It focuses on the shenanigans of the three-strong IT support team located in a dingy, untidy, and unkempt basement – a great contrast to the shining modern architecture and stunning London views enjoyed by the rest of the organisation. The obscurity surrounding what the company does serves as a running gag throughout the series – all that is known is that the company bought and sold ITV (a fact which Denholm Reynholm forgot completely), and once made part-year profits of “eighteen hundred billion billion”. Douglas Reynholm claims his father Denholm Reynholm described the IT department as being run by “a dynamic go-getter, a genius and a man from Ireland”.
Moss and Roy, the two technicians, are portrayed as socially inept geeks or, in Denholm Reynholm’s words, “standard nerds”. Despite the company’s dependence on their services, they are despised, ignored, and considered losers by the rest of the staff. Roy’s exasperation is reflected in his support techniques of ignoring the phone in the hope it will stop ringing, and using reel-to-reel tape recordings of stock IT suggestions (“Have you tried turning it off and on again?” and “Is it definitely plugged in?”). He expresses his personality by wearing a different geek T-shirt in each episode. Moss’ wide and intricate knowledge of all things technical is reflected in his extremely accurate yet utterly indecipherable suggestions, while he demonstrates a complete inability to deal with practical problems like extinguishing fires and removing spiders.
Jen, the newest member of the team, is hopelessly non-technical, despite claiming on her CV that she has “a lot of experience with computers”. As Denholm, the company boss, is equally tech-illiterate, he is convinced by Jen’s interview bluffing and appoints her head of the IT department. Her official title is “relationship manager”, yet her attempts at bridging the gulf between the technicians and the business generally have the opposite effect, landing Jen in situations just as ludicrous as those of her team-mates.
The first series of the IT Crowd sees the entry of Jen, and how geeks such as Roy and Moss can build up a relationship with someone hopelessly computer-illiterate like Jen.
Throughout the second series, Moss and Roy make an attempt at becoming more social by trying to make new friends. Meanwhile Jen has trouble with the new head of Reynholm Industries, Douglas Reynholm.
Roy gets himself into more awkward situations with football fans, builders and general nerds. Jen shows how tech-illiterate she is to an even further extent, while Moss also loses some of his computer skills and, on top of that, there are run-ins with cannibals and bank robbers.
The final series generally concentrates on the IT Department’s interactions amongst themselves, and their relationship with outsiders: Roy’s breakup from a long-term relationship, Moss’s combat with his inner rebel, Jen’s relationship with a new boyfriend, and Douglas’s acceptance of the “loss” of his wife.
Learn more about the concepts, principles and symbolism behind the subliminals found in this television series: