New UK Sitcom Portrays the IT DepartmentBy Sheena Mohan | Posted 03-06-2006
They're ill-dressed, cloistered in a dank basement, and incapable of talking to womenthey're your IT department, as portrayed in the British comedy The IT Crowd. Moss and Roy, the two computer geeks charged with IT support at the fictitious Reynholm Industries, are hardly aligned with their glamorous business counterparts. The IT/business relationship becomes downright adversarial when one female staffertired of being told to switch her computer off and then on againgives Roy a savage beating with one of her Manolo Blahnik heels.
Whether or not the show depicts a realistic IT department, much of the humor in The IT Crowd rings true with its most-likely fan basecomputer geeks. From Roy's "RTFM" T-shirt, to the piles of aged PCs that adorn their basement office, the show looks to capture authentic IT culture. "I've waited all my life for a truly geeky comedy, and I think that this is it," writes Cory Doctorow on the popular blog, BoingBoing.net.
Channel 4, the U.K. network that carries the series, offered the first two episodes online before the initial broadcast, but encoded each download with digital-rights-management restrictions. This caused a minor flap with eager fans on both sides of the Atlantic, until the episodes became readily available on BitTorrent.com. Channel 4 finally relented on its own site, lifting the restrictions in February.
Channel 4 has no plans to bring the sitcom to the U.S., but its online following could help make it The Office for tech workers.