So the weekend saw another of our favourite office-based British sitcoms close its doors for trading for the final time, as we bid farewell to The IT Crowd in Friday’s final 50 minute episode.
It’s probably fair to say that both Chris O’Dowd and Richard Ayoade, the two lead actors in this charming comedy series have outgrown the stuffy office sets of the Reynholm Industries and found fame and fortune in some of the higher echelons of the TV and film industry. Ayoade has carved a career as a burgeoning director, whilst O’Dowd has found prominence as a highly rated feature film actor after successes in Bridesmaids and The Boat That Rocked. Given their escalating careers, the death knell for The IT Crowd was always going to come soon, but has the series bowed out on a high?
The answer to that isn’t as clear cut as you may think. By Series 4, The IT Crowd had become one of the most popular British comedy series on TV, and with Graham Linehan (Black Books, Father Ted) at the helm, the series was always likely to be a success. However it has to be said that whilst Friday’s finale was funny, it is not perhaps the best episode that Linehan has written.
The plot sees Jen (Katherine Parkinson) and Roy (O’Dowd) unwittingly featured in a viral video seen to be attacking women, tramps and short people after an honest mistake by the duo explodes on the internet. Moss (Ayoade) meanwhile has confidence issues in fronting his own board games review video, and leads to him seeking the comfort of female trousers to help calm his nerves. It is as ever exaggerated circumstance which the three play to so well, although their predicaments this time see them about to lose their jobs with seemingly no way out.
The fundamental problem is that it doesn’t really feel like a finale, more of just an extended episode, which would be ok but the pay-off doesn’t really work well enough as an ending to these colourful characters and their story. Indeed, the ending seems somewhat rushed and doesn’t really explain how their situations are solved.
There are however plenty of laugh out loud moments including Moss saving an old lady from a robbery and Roy’s face-off with a rather potent pepper-spray. A cameo addition of Noel Fielding reprising his role as Richmond also adds some warmth to the finale.
The final episode isn’t bad at all, it’s just not as outwardly funny or engaging as episodes from the previous series, and as a last hurrah, the expectation on rounding off their stories in a satisfying manner wasn’t really fulfilled. Having said that, as a collective series, The IT Crowd will undoubtedly rank amongst some of British sitcom’s finest comedy, and has proved once and for all that Graham Linehan is a master of the genre. All eyes will be on his next exploits to see if he can continue his fine form, but, thankfully, The IT Crowd got out while the going was good, and didn’t outstay its welcome. Sitcoms are after all designed to be short term affairs, and 4 series and a special is probably a good amount in which to explore the gloriously geeky world of the IT worker. Here’s looking to Linehan’s next comic creation.