Friday, June 7, 2013

Day One Hundred and Fifty-eight - The IT Crowd: Series 1, Episode 1, "Yup, Brits have a Big Bang Theory, too."

Laugh tracks.

Why haven't we evolved beyond them as a media-consuming species?

I really don't want to hate on this series, it's just that it bums me out how generic it is coupled with the fact that so many people absolutely adore it. It really is just another Big Bang Theory (though, granted, IT Crowd came first) in that it marginalizes an entire subculture down to Revenge of the Nerd's-style socially awkward stereotypes... a laugh track.

It's not that I don't identify with Chris O'Dowd and Richard Ayoade's respective characters, it's just that they're such gross overgeneralizations of your prototypical geeks and nerds that the series feels less like a theme-driven comedy and more a trip to the anthropological zoo where these two perpetually single males of the subspecies Homo Inconcinnus are introduced to a female of a similar, less-prone-to-extinction, sister species in the hopes of producing a social reaction.

I think I may have gone a bit too far down that metaphor's path.

Anyway, I had never seen any of The IT Crowd before today, but I knew that it existed as the subject of a decently sized fandom out there on the web. Giving it a try, I was instantly turned off by the Python-esque absurdity that hits from the first moment when Jen (Katherine Parkinson) is being interviewed for a managerial position by company owner Denholm Reynholm (Chris Morris).

It's a patently absurd interview that would work as an individual skit on a satire show like Monty Python or A Bit of Fry and Laurie, but not here on a sitcom. It is as if the pilot couldn't decide whether it was trying to invoke reality or surrealism so, instead, the writers decided to try both equally and only differentiate between the two when Chris Morris was in the room.

I think I'll try and give the series due diligence by at least completing the first series. Thankfully, this is a case where the short runs of British television shows are a blessing, not a curse. Still, if this initial episode is representative of the show as a whole, I'm probably in for a rough time.

Honestly, I feel a bit bad because both Ayoade's and O'Dowd's stars have been on the rise in America lately, at least partially due to their work here... and I just don't see it. But, then again, I just don't see the appeal of Big Bang Theory aside from the occasional one-liner.

And the laugh tracks... honestly, who enjoys being told when to laugh?


Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

1 comment:

  1. I'm someone who really enjoyed the little he saw of The IT Crowd but couldn't stand the bit he saw of The Big Bang Theory. I can't quite put my finger on why. My gut says it's because I feel like The IT Crowd is laughing WITH the nerds, while The Big Bang Theory is laughing AT them.