Wednesday, 4 August 2010
Year: 2006 - ongoing
Director: Graham Linehan
Screenplay: Graham Linehan
Starring: Chris O'Dowd, Richard Ayoade, Katherine Parkinson, Matt Berry (season 2 onwards), Chris Morris (season 1) and Noel Fielding.
Running Time: 24 episodes over 4 seasons to date. 25 minutes per episode.
Genre: Situation comedy.
Summary: The show is set in the offices of Reynholm Industries, run by the deeply eccentric Denholm Reynholm (Morris) and, after Denholm's suicide, by his dim-witted, lecherous son Douglas (Berry). The offices, in the heart of London, are a glittering monolith of a building occupied by glamorous, attractive employees "not doing very much work and having affairs with each other". Except in the dingy, messy IT department located in the building's basement. Working in the IT department are Roy (O'Dowd) a workshy nerd who has a reel-to-reel tape recorder playing his standard answer to any enquiry: "Have you tried turning it off and on again?" and his best friend Maurice Moss (Ayoade) who is highly intelligent and knowledgable about science and computers but is completely clueless about pretty much everything else and still lives with his mother. They are pretty much hated or ignored by the rest of the staff and seen as "standard nerds". The newest member of the IT department is Jen Barber (Parkinson) a popular and fashionable woman who lied on her CV that she is an expert in computers when in reality she knows very little about them but manages to work as the "relationship manager" between the IT department and the rest of the staff.
Opinion: This British comedy series created by Graham Linehan (best known as the creator of the popular comedy series Father Ted (1995-1998)) is in many ways a traditional situation comedy which tends to start off the storylines with elements familiar to most people who have to work in offices and then spins them out into surreal extremes. The show is usually extremely funny with clever dialogue that incorporates numerous references to popular culture and most particularly geek culture, including frequent scenes that parody other TV shows and movies. The show features some memorable comedy characters in particular ubernerd Moss and the inept boss Douglas Reynholm (Berry). Unusually every seaon is a genuine improvement on the previous one. The first season was promising but awkward, a prolem shared by many British comedies during the first season possibly due to the short amount of time they get in each block (six episodes per season is usual for British comedy shows). However the most recent seaosn featured moments that were comedy gold. A show that's well worth checking out and sticking with.
A fifth season of the show has been commissioned and an American version is also rumoured to be in the works.