The IT Crowd: Tramps Like Us
The One With…
Roy losing his shirt and thus (obviously) becoming a tramp, Jen going for another job, Moss getting concussed, and Douglas and his electric sex pants. (Four plotlines… that all link up and work brilliantly. Fancy!)
I Love Willies
“Goddamn these electric sex pants.” Yes.
Jen’s expression as said electric sex pants go off down the phone to her. Yes.
Moss’ mind rebooting to the Windows startup sound after the electric sex pants electrocute him. YES.
I like electric sex pants jokes.
Douglas’ brilliant “Fuck off!” in front of representatives from all the world’s major religions immediately became one of my favourite IT Crowd moments ever. Weirdly, unlike in Lab Rats, the fact that the scene isn’t set up in the slightest really works here. Setting up the scene would have legitimised it - the point here is that this is pretty much a parody of this kind of joke, in both how extreme it is, and how deliberately badly it’s set up. Which makes having the scene brilliantly undercut by Douglas, instead of the usual long protracted scene of embarrassment, really bloody work.
Oh, and the visual gag of Jen’s silhouette slumping past the interviewer’s window, only for her to immediately walk in standing tall and proud, was tremendous. Some lovely visual comedy this week: see also, a concussed Moss sitting with his back to camera…
You’ve Got Shit On Your Head
OK, OK. So in my review of the first episode this series, I had a big rant about the show being shit at resolving cliffhangers. Turns out that it can resolve them… it just waits until three episodes into a series before it does it.
Now, Graham’s response to this was “It wasn’t a strong enough opener”. Now, firstly, I’d entirely disagree - I think this episode is far stronger than Ep 1, for reasons I’ll go into below. But secondly… if you’ve actually done a proper cliffhanger resolution, does bumping it third place really help the series? It just feels odd and strange. True, there’s no storyline reason why it can’t be here - note that Douglas didn’t interact with Jen at all in the first episode of the series, although the fact that he interacts with Roy and Moss, who also involved in the settlement, feels odd. But to suddenly resolve the cliffhanger in the middle of the series feels hugely jarring to me.
I found very little to complain about in the actual episode itself, though. Only one thing occurs: did Roy actually care about Jen leaving? I’m sure he did - but I’m not quite sure his reaction to Jen conveyed this enough to us. Perhaps a little moment between him and Moss talking about it would have helped. Or do I just want to be spoon-fed?
What Graham Says
All from Graham’s blog:
“More bad language, I’m afraid. In my defense, we did try and come up with an alternative, but nothing felt as funny.” There’s a bit of debate as to whether the language in The IT Crowd suits the show. Part of the reason it’s an issue is that Linehan made it one - right back when the first series aired, he said is was something he didn’t really want to do in the show, and the show is something he wants the whole family to enjoy. (Although let’s not forget he also points out in one of the Series 1 commentaries that a family can enjoy a bit of naughtiness together too.) I generally find the swearing very funny indeed in the show, and completely justified, rather than using it as a crutch (the humour with Douglas’ last line isn’t just that he says fuck, clearly). There does seem to have been a policy change this series though - in Series 2, all the fucks were bleeped out, but not this series.
There’s also some debate on Graham’s blog as to whether Jen’s “Piss off, June” was out-of-character - Graham agrees that it was, slightly. I’m not so sure - but more to the point, I think it was neccessary. Jen needs to burn her bridges with June - the whole point of the end of the episode is her going back to Moss and Roy. The idea that she might turn round and give June a call at any moment would have lessened that.
Oh, and to anybody who noticed that Matt Berry wasn’t credited in the title sequence this week? “Shit, Matt wasn’t credited? Fucknuts. That’s the untreated credit sequence still doing the rounds. It shall be corrected.” I presumed that it was deliberate, back when this was meant to be the first episode broadcast - and that Berry was always meant to be credited from the second episode onwards. But no, it just looks like a mistake. Presumably it’ll be fixed for DVD, then - it’ll be interesting to see if they bother changing the master for future TV broadcasts. (Well, interesting for me. Look, seriously, just fuck off.)
Bodie, Doyle, Tiger, The Jewellery Man
As well as the return of Tom Binns as Nolan, we have:
Lucy Robinson as June, Jen’s interviewer. Was Mrs. Hurst in Pride and Prejudice, and the Mayoress in the second series of The Thin Blue Line, that had Raymond all of a flutter.
Laura Patch as the tour guide, a regular on Star Stories, playing Baby Spice, Rebecca Loos, Christina Aguilera, and others.
Lewis MacLeod, the narrator at the start of the episode, plays the Earl in Cartoon Network’s excerable Skatoony (stop it) links… and was also the BBC Scotland presenter Mario Abdullah-Levy in the Sport episode of Look Around You Series 2. Dougal!
Have You Tried Turning It Off And On Again?
No catchphrase this week - but in other IT references, we do have the whole scene with June: “What does IT actually mean?” Interestingly, this is actually a riff on a deleted scene from Series 1, as featured on the DVD, with Jen talking on the phone to her mother in her office: “What does it stand for? It stands for… well, somehow it stands for computers.” Nice to see it pop up in the actual show.
Don’t Google The Question
“Who wants tea?” An episode that again has more than enough hilarious moments… but also brings back what - for me, anyway - the core of the show is about: Moss, Roy, Jen, and the relationship between them. Douglas is reduced to complaining about his electric sex pants, and bouncing off our three heroes - and quite right too, as that’s when he works best.
And again with storylines that ACTUALLY join up properly! Lots of crossover, cumulating with Moss and Roy, both in rather a state, being looked after by Jen. Everything fits together - which is the reason why it confuses me that From Hell was deemed the best episode to start the series with. Sure, it had loads of good moments - but the show as a whole just felt bitty and unsatisfying. Not so here.
The standout scene in the episode is Jen’s rant to June, the interviewer: “Have you heard Guided By Voices? They’re a band. I have. I’ve heard everything they’ve ever done.” Oh, it’s simple enough - a statement that Jen’s being transformed - and yet not entirely assimilated - by Moss and Roy. But it’s character stuff that speaks to me.
But it’s the final scene that makes the episode for me. This is a restatement of the core of the show: Jen looking after Moss and Roy. It’s a relationship that’s far more interesting than the straightforward idea of Roy and Jen getting together (and thank God Linehan has dropped that, at least for the moment). It’s warm, and beautiful, and lovely - and is why I’m in love with the show. Whenever the series starts moving away from it, it falters slightly.
This episode brings it right back to the fore, and is why it’s my favourite of this run so far. The electric sex pants are the icing on the cake.