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The IT Crowd
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this British sitcom trades heavily on stereotypes, focusing on the tech department of a generic corporation. The top executives are womanizing lechers, the tech workers are socially inept geeks, and the comedy comes from watching these two incompatible tribes try to communicate. There's some drinking and language and plenty of sexual references, so it's probably not appropriate for kids and tweens -- and it may give older teens a distorted view of the corporate world.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
The top executives at Reynholm Industries have bright, spacious offices with amazing views of London; the three-person technical support team works from a dingy, cluttered basement warren. And that really explains the social divide between THE IT CROWD and the people they both help and mock. Maurice (Richard Ayoade) is the standard nerd, a wizard with machines and few social skills. His colleague, Roy (Chris O'Dowd), is equally geeky, while Jen (Katherine Parkinson) is a bit out of place as a non-techie who's bluffed her way into a job managing the IT department. That makes her the conduit between the geeks and the non-geeks, responsible for supervising the barely controlled chaos of the tech team and serving as translator for people who rarely seem to speak the same language.
Is it any good?
Misunderstanding and condescension are the heart of The IT Crowd, and though the show manages tto mock everyone almost equally, the series is clearly on the side of the techies. The executives come off as incompetent, sexist idiots, while the lads in the basement seem like fun-loving savants who can repair almost anything but can't land a date. Both groups look down on each other's very obvious flaws.
It's fertile ground for comedy, and some of the situations are quite funny, though other conflicts are somewhat predictable and the focus on stereotypical geeks might seem offensive to some people. And don't expect all the jokes to be about computers; many are about sex and the lengths to which people will go while pursuing a romantic connection. Not surprisingly, few of those efforts succeed, giving the characters more fodder for their entertaining tales of social ineptitude.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about stereotypes. Why do so many TV shows and films portray people who work with computers as having poor social skills? Do you think that's accurate? Do you think it’s acceptable to make fun of “geeks”? Why or why not? Do you think the British geek cliches are any different from the standard-issue techies seen on U.S. shows?