Blog : Posts tagged with 'The IT Crowd'

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“Is it plugged in?”

In which we muse on set design


Imported American telly has spoiled me. When I was a kid, six episodes seemed like an age-long TV series; now, it’s over almost before I’ve realised it’s started. And now, I’m disappointed that Series Two of The IT Crowd is over. It feels as if it had barely began.

What puzzled me about the series, though, was: how come their office has changed so much since series one? At the start, it was maybe bigger than you’d expect, so the actors could move around freely, but had a suitably grey and dusty feel to it. With the new series, all of a sudden, they have a nice office, with a big leather sofa in the middle! Some of the geekery-posters on the walls have changed to slightly obscure music posters.* At least the cast’s taste in clothing and comic books hasn’t changed much.** There’s no danger, either, that the phrase “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” was going to go stale, given it only appeared once in the script.

The set might be a bit luxurious for your average IT department, but never mind. It’s good for geeks to get airtime, even comedy geeks. Now, we just have to sit back and wait to find out if there’s going to be a Series Three.

* My Morning Jacket are hardly very obscure, but Mr Scruff is still fairly unknown.

** At a rough guess, I’d say about about 17.3% of the audience jumped up during one of the episodes to shout: “Look! Jen’s reading a Love and Rockets collection!”

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Short snippets

In which things are fragmentary


Blogging has been sporadic this week, because I haven’t been too well. I’m still not well, but I thought I’d make an effort. In case you’re wondering, it isn’t because of you. It’s lots of little things all building up together: stress at work from my boss, stress at work from the perpetual office redecoration, and the feeling of eternal loneliness you get when you’re spurned on multiple interweb dating sites* at once. I’ve tried not to tell you about that.

Similarly, this post is lots of little pieces. It’s because I’ve been reading Troubled Diva Xtra, which is to normal blogs what crack is to cocaine.

Seeing Dunfermline in the news has brought back memories, particularly of walking past Gordon Brown’s rather nice house. Pointless trivia: he’s a near neighbour of Iain Banks – I wonder if he voted Liberal.

Tonight, for the first time, I watched the DVD which came with the new Belle and Sebastian album. I think I vaguely remember someone putting out an appeal for people to dress up in 70s-style clothes and go to the DVD filming. The main thing I noticed about the audience:** they look just like 00s hipsters trying to dress in a 70s style – because that’s what they are, obviously – and nothing at all like actual 1970s people.***

More search hits: “the it crowd zx81″ and “the it crowd camel”. For reference, if you saw it and were wondering, the camel picture on the set of The IT Crowd is the mascot of Perl, the wonderful and spaghetti-like computer language, whose official documentation includes comments like “if you think this [basic feature] is weird, that’s because it is.” Must get this post finished before the next IT Crowd episode is on the telly.

A search hit too far: “suzie dent topless”. What sort of sick, twisted daytime telly fan are you?

Proper posts I promise I’ll write soon: Jan Mark and Zeno Was Here; a longer piece on the Dunfermline byelection; the return of Books I’ve Never Managed To Read; My Slightly Barking Holiday; a proper review of the B&S DVD; and I might even finish writing about ravens in mythology. Oh, and anyone who can find at least three of my online personal ads will get a Special Extra Bonus Prize which I haven’t thought up yet. In fact, suggestions for a Special Extra Bonus Prize are welcome too.

* Both vanilla and otherwise.

** apart from the woman in nice boots in the front row.

*** I have to admit, I’m going by photographs here.

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Have you tried turning it off and on again?

In which things are true to life


New Channel 4 comedy series The IT Crowd starts tonight; being a big geek, of course, I had to watch it.* And, overall, it’s rather good.

So far I’ve only seen the first episode, and I think you have to give the first episode of any new series a little leeway. It takes a lot of time to make sure the characters are all properly introduced, after all. Nevertheless, it seems to hold up rather well.

In writing this, I’m trying not to take the easy route and start comparing it to Father Ted. It’s written by one of that show’s writers, it has a similar production style, and it has a central trio of characters. Moreover, both have a small kernel of darkness which is occasionally revealed. It might not be as gloomy and despair-filled as, say, Peep Show, but the darkness is there.

Of course, the main reason I like the show is probably the comedy of recognition. The writing isn’t particularly technical, but they do have a ZX81 lurking in the background.* Not to mention the Perl Camel stickers and Flying Spaghetti Monster posters scattered around the set.*** I don’t get beaten to a pulp by the non-technical staff on a regular basis, but only because they think I’d probably enjoy it. And, of course, there is that stalwart technical advice of IT staff everywhere. “Have you tried turning it off and on again?”

* You can get the first couple of episodes from the official website, in case you’re wondering how I’ve already managed to watch it.

** Unlike my own, modern, up-to-date IT office – our last 1980s computer in service was retired last summer, and the last one on the spares shelf was sent off to long-term storage a few weeks ago. Scarily, I’m not joking here – until last summer one department did rely on a mid-80s PC running MS-DOS 3 and with Windows 1.0 installed on it

*** Update, 4/2/06: another thing I’ve noticed in the background of the set: a poster of Hokusai’s Great Wave at Kanagawa

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