Inspired by Casey‘s post, let me nominate for cult status the relatively-new BBC sitcom “The IT Crowd” (yeah, I wondered too: IT meaning I.T., information technology — like I have to tell anyone here — but also it seems deliberately obfuscated to be a play on social popularity). Following close on the heels of both the rise-of-the-nerd trend in popular culture over the last decade (which, if he agrees, I’d love to hear a perspective on from Bill) and the popularity of “The Office,” the show follows the workaday trials of three lovable misfits who make up the I.T. department of Renholm Industries, a faceless corporate workplace whose actual business is in true Kafka-esque fashion never explained.
In contrast to the dulling plainness of the floors above though, their basement dwelling is an underground clubhouse festooned with winking geek-culture references, and the three main characters in all their maladjusted glory seem infinitely more interesting than the drones that populate the rest of the show’s world. Although it’s plagued by some of the same production values I find annoying in many BBC shows — clunky sets, bad lighting & makeup, laughter from a studio audience so cloying it seems canned — it also shares in the best qualities of my favorite Brit comedies: a proudly surreal sense of humor, a championing of the socially awkward, and a general rebelliousness against a life of quiet desperation. It also boasts guest roles from Noel Fielding (“The Mighty Boosh”) and cracked UK comedy genius Chris Morris. I’d recommend Netflix-ing it (if you do that kind of thing) if only for the genius in-jokes of the DVD menus, which are remakes of Nintendo games featuring characters & events from the show.