The IT Crowd – out now on DVD

The slapstick tech support based sitcom written by Father Ted creator Graham Linehan returns to Channel 4 tomorrow night. If you’ve not seen The IT Crowd, now is the perfect time to get acquainted with Moss, Jen and Roy, who make up the entire IT department of the London-based Reynholm Industries, a company which once turned over “eighteen hundred billion billion,” in profits.

Moss and Roy are, in the words of Denholm Reynholm (the CEO, played by Chris Morris), just a pair of “standard nerds” who are outcast by the rest of the firm despite their reliance on their technical expertise.

The glamorous and ambitious Jen is appointed their manager after blagging her way into the job, even though it’s clear she knows next to squat about computers.

Despite the episodes being all over YouTube and the like, the two series of The IT Crowd are worth checking out on DVD, due to the many quality Easter Eggs and neat little features tucked away inside each 3-inch shiny plastic disc (OK, these are all over YouTube as well, but they’re not interactive, and are all fuzzy, compressed, and crappy).

For a start, all of the series one (or ‘Version 1.0’) DVD menus are laid out in the style of classic Spectrum titles from yesteryear, and it also comes with ‘1337’ as a subtitle option; things like ‘ringing.wav’ appear on screen whenever a telephone goes off. Btw, 1f yu0 d0n’t kn0w wh4t 1337 15, th3n yu0 sh0uld’NT b3 4ll0w3d t3h 1nt3rn3t5, n00bZ.

As the style set of the first series is based on classic games of the pre 8-bit era, the menu styles of ‘Version 2.0’ (or series two, for regular humans) are based on 16-bit hits. The start up features a brilliant parody of Zero Wing, (pictured) more famously known as the All Your Base Are Belong to Us game, during the menu start up, which contains 16-bit renderings of the characters and deliberately badly spelt Engrish.

The Choose an Episode screen is a parody of the Mortal Kombat character selection screen, and the Extras menu is based on point and click puzzler Lemmings.

There are also outtakes, ‘making of’ specials and the usual DVD fare. And then there’s the series itself, which is also very funny. Whist some of the jokes depend on how much time you’ve spent working in and around the IT department office, it doesn’t require you to have an extensive working knowledge of Ubuntu to enjoy it; in fact the majority of the humour is of the slapstick variety, accidents involving fire extinguishers, shoes that don’t fit and getting stuck under desks.

If you’ve not yet logged on to The IT Crowd, you can order Versions 1.0 and 2.0 as part of a single order, as they now come packaged together in the shops as a nice shiny box set. 0rd3R 1t n00w!!1!

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