Laughing With A British Accent

A Dynamic Go-Getter, A Genius, And A Man From Ireland

In my forty plus years on this planet, I’ve grown very fond of a number of British sitcoms and science fiction shows.  This is probably due to the fact that I grew up in rural Louisiana and had only four or five (if the weather was right) channels to choose from on my television set.  Shows like Mr. Bean, Are You Being Served?, Red Dwarf, Blake’s 7, Doctor Who, and Fawlty Towers became favorites of mine.  They still are to this day.

These days I have BBC America and streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime.  I have access now to more British programming than I’ve ever had before and I’ve grown to love shows like Primeval, Poldark, and a recently discovered gem called The IT Crowd.


Yes, I’m well aware that this show premiered in 2006, but I’ve only been streaming shows on Netflix since earlier this year.  I’ve seen Moss (Richard Ayoade) plastered on plenty of items at conventions but never really sought out the show.  I haven’t even met anyone that has mentioned the program, so I just assumed that its audience was small and cultish and thus the only reason that Moss’ face even made it on a t-shirt at a convention.

Well, if the show is cultish, I’m in a cult.  I laughed until I cried on multiple occasions while watching this show.  Jen (Katherine Parkinson), Roy (Chris O’Dowd) and Moss are a perfect comedic trio.  Jen is the most sane character in the lot, but she lies to get her position as the head of IT and suffers at the hands of Roy and Moss as a result.  Her lack of actual computer skills is exposed on numerous occasions (my favorite being when she is given the “internet” to show off as part of a company presentation).  Moss is the brilliant but socially awkward everynerd.  He doesn’t fit in very well but doesn’t seem to mind that fact.  Roy is a slacker and underachiever who always seems to find himself in bizarre situations like being trapped under the desk of two female workers, accidentally calling for help in the handicapped toilet (and subsequently pretending to be disabled in order to stay out of trouble), and getting kissed on the bottom by a masseur.

This core trio moves the show along, but three other characters inject their own strange humor into the series.  Denholm Reynholm (Christopher Morris) is the founder and CEO of Reynholm Industries, the company where Moss, Jen, and Roy are employed.  He’s over-the-top and makes swift and drastic decisions like firing entire floors for not being team players.  He exits the series in its second season, but in a fashion that is perfectly fitting for his character.


After Denholm’s exit, his son, Douglas (Matt Berry), takes over the company.  While his father was rather eccentric, he seemed to have at least a slight clue as to what was going on in his company.  Douglas, on the other hand, is a womanizer, hard partying, and a general goofball.  His libido guides his every decision and he spends much of the series chasing women, including Jen.  He has absolutely no clue as to what he is doing in the company and is oblivious to that fact.  He’s also oblivious to just about everything else as he pursues feminists, loudly proclaims that he’s on a “secret boss” show, and generally wants to do nothing more than have fun.


Perhaps the most bizarre (and also one of the funniest characters) in the entire series is Richmond Avenal (Noel Fielding).  He’s the resident goth that apparently works in IT but, much like Jen, doesn’t really know anything about computers.  He started out as an executive who was on the fast track to success until the band Cradle of Filth changed his life with their music.  He went full goth and was thus relegated to the basement where even his fellow social outcasts, Roy and Moss, don’t like to be around him.  The character only appears in a few episodes, but these small doses make him even funnier.


I’ve fallen completely in love with this show.  It was only produced for four seasons (series) and a fifth series special, limiting it to only twenty five total episodes, but somehow that limited amount is perfect, as a show as goofy and left-of-center as The IT Crowd could easily slip into a silly loop of unfunny shows.


My favorite episodes include:

Series 1:

The Red Door:  This episode introduces us to Richmond Avenal.  It also features Roy getting trapped under a desk.

The Haunting of Bill Crouse:  Quite possibly my favorite show of the entire series.  In this episode, Jen has a terrible date with Bill Crouse, a fellow Reynholm employee.  Desperate to avoid Bill, Jen asks Moss to “tell him I’m busy” but whenever Bill questions Moss about what Jen is actually doing, Moss lies and tells Bill that Jen has passed away.  Bill then goes about telling everyone that he was the last man to sleep with Jen, but she keeps popping up in strange ways that convince Bill that she’s haunting him.


Series 2:

The Work Outing:  This one is tied with The Haunting of Bill Crouse as one of my favorites.  Roy and Moss tag along with Jen and a new suitor, Phillip, to a musical.  Roy and Moss assume that Phillip is gay and provide Jen with multiple reasons as to why they’ve come to this conclusion.  Jen sets out to prove them wrong.  While at the play (which I won’t reveal the name of because I don’t want to spoil anything), Roy and Moss end up using the handicapped toilet and employee toilet respectively.  They both end up in crazy situations, particularly Roy.  Of note in this episode is that Richard Ayoade’s wife in real life, the lovely Lydia Fox, portrays one of the actors in the musical.


Series 3:

The Speech:  Jen wins “Employee of the Month” in this episode and asks Roy and Moss to help her write her acceptance speech.  They decide to make fun of her and entrust her with the “internet,” a black box with a light on it.  They sit in on the speech to see her embarrass herself but instead find out that the rest of the company is just as clueless about the web as she is.  Meanwhile Douglas has fallen in love with a woman that used to be a man.  Misunderstanding her at first, he falls madly in love with her.  The duo go about doing things together and having an epic time.  When Douglas realizes the truth, however, the pair break into a huge (and humorous) fight that ends up with them crashing into Jen’s speech and knocking over the “internet” when they make their entrance.  Chaos ensues.


Series 4:

Italian For Beginners:  Jen attempts to impress Douglas by claiming that she can understand and speak Italian.  She can’t, so Moss comes up with a translation program that she uses on her laptop during meetings.  When it comes time to translate an Italian businessman in the same room, however, Douglas prohibits the use of the laptop in case it’s “connected to the internet” where someone can listen in and steal their business plans.  She mumbles jibberish until the Italian becomes enraged and storms out of the office.  Moss attempts to get an iPhone after he drops his old phone in the toilet and gets stuck in a crane machine.  Roy drives himself nuts attempting to figure out how his girlfriend’s parents died in a terrible fire….at a Sea Parks (“Ya know, like Sea World”).


In all honesty I could list pretty much every episode from the series.  It’s that funny.  There was an American and German attempt at recreating the show for those respective countries, but both failed miserably.  I’ve seen Chris O’Dowd in other work, but I haven’t seen the rest of this stellar cast in anything.  I’ve got to track down more of their work!

If you’ve ever watched The IT Crowd, let me know what you think about it.  Do you have a favorite episode?  What else have you seen the cast perform in?  Let me know in the comments!

As always, thanks for reading.  I plan on posting about the upcoming Louisiana Comic Con in Lafayette next month!  Keep an eye out for it!



Ahhhhhh!!! After Ten Thousand Years….

Okay, Maybe Not Ten Thousand Years

But you’ve got to admit that it seems like a rebooted or reimagined Power Rangers film has taken its sweet time to get to the big screen.  I was a junior in high school when the first Power Rangers series hit televisions in the United States.  Although I was on the older end of the spectrum, I was (and still am) a pretty big fan of those original mighty morphin’ teenagers with attitude.  My favorite ranger was the Blue Ranger, Billy Cranston (David Yost).  He was intelligent, nerdy, and while not the best fighter, still better than those Putties.  I also had a major crush on the Pink Ranger, Kimberly Hart (Amy Jo Johnson).  Heck, I still have a crush on Amy Jo Johnson!  Who doesn’t?


Over the years I’ve managed to watch at least a few episodes of every incarnation of the Rangers.  Once I had children of my own, I really started to watch the show again.  My daughter became a fan during the Power Rangers S.P.D. years and my son was first introduced to them through Power Rangers Samurai.  Both of them have watched the original series and my son continues to religiously watch the Rangers in their current Ninja Steel incarnation.


When the feature film was first announced, both of my kids showed interest in seeing it in theaters.  I planned to see it as well.  As luck would have it, though, my weekends were booked solid.  I did manage to find one open Sunday afternoon and I asked both of my kids if they wanted to see the movie.  By then, however, their interest in the film had seemingly waned.  I was also slowly losing interest in the film, mainly because the more I saw of it promoted in the media, the weaker my faith grew.  It just didn’t look that appealing to me.

A few months go by and the film is released on Blu-Ray.  Weeks before its release, my son started to remind me that the film would soon be available to own.  His birthday was also coming up, which might have been why he was consistently reminding me of the release date.  Eventually I bought the film and sat down with the kids to watch it.  I was prepared to be disappointed by the film.  Boy, was I wrong!


!!Mild Spoilers Ahead!!

I really liked the movie.  Sure, they changed a few things here and there and it definitely wasn’t perfect, but it was a very enjoyable film.  Briefly, the plot centers on the origin of the Rangers in the film, starting with how Rita was defeated by Zordon’s Rangers (there’s a bigger story here, but I won’t go into it), and how the current Rangers come to be just in time to face off with a freshly revived Rita Repulsa.  Rita is gathering up gold in order to raise her faithful sidekick (and my favorite as well), Goldar.  As Rita prepares to conquer the planet, the Rangers train to become powerful warriors ready to take her on.

The cast was solid.  Dacre Montgomery (Red Ranger), Naomi Scott (Pink Ranger), and Ludi Lin (Black Ranger) all gave exceptional performances.  All three of these characters developed in a believable fashion as the film moved along.  R.J. Cyler’s portrayal of the Blue Ranger was perhaps the best in the film.  Billy Cranston was portrayed as an intelligent and gentle teen who desperately wanted to belong to any group.  He was also autistic.  I had quite a few emotional moments watching Cyler on the screen.  Bryan Cranston as Zordon was sufficient.  Elizabeth Banks was gleefully over the top as Rita Repulsa and she was also the biggest surprise in the film.  I was sure that she would fall flat as the legendary villain, but she did an excellent job.


There was really only one weak link in the cast, and that was Becky G as the Yellow Ranger.  She didn’t gel that well with the rest of the cast in my opinion.  Yes, her character was built up as the outsider, but even the most unlikable outsider will usually grow on the audience by the end of the film.  Becky G’s Trini was just flat.  I know that a lot of people made a big deal about the character’s sexual orientation, but even that doesn’t add or take away from how dull the character is in the film.  Here’s hoping that if a sequel is made, Becky’s performance will be better, or the character will be fleshed out enough so that we get to know more about her.


Alpha 5 was somewhat annoying as well, but he was annoying in the original series, so I guess that I really can’t gripe about that!  Many people also seemed to be put off by the design of both the Megazord and Goldar in the film.  I actually liked the Megazord design.  Goldar wasn’t that terrible to look at, but I would have preferred to have that cute and fluffy face of his from the old TV show!


Ultimately the film was pretty good.  Could it have been better?  Absolutely, but even with its imperfections it still managed to hold my attention and the attention of my children.  I’ve watched it multiple times already and am hoping that a sequel will eventually be made.  As of this writing, Lionsgate is still determining on whether or not to move forward with a sequel.  Solid home video and tie-in merchandise sales have been solid, though, and hopefully that will be enough to make a sequel a reality.

Oh, be sure to keep an eye out for a couple of really cool cameos during the climax of the film.  You won’t be disappointed!  Stick around during the credits for a mid-credit tease of who might be showing up in the sequel if it happens also!


As always, thanks for reading.  Did the film do your favorite classic Ranger justice?  Feel free to drop me a comment about this film or about this post.  Let me know if you enjoyed the movie as much as I did.

If you happen to know Amy Jo Johnson, tell her that I’m no longer available.  Once she dries her tears, though, tell her that I’d love to get an autographed photo from her or even a phone call!!!  Here’s a photo of me with the original Green Ranger, Jason David Frank.  I’d love to add Amy Jo to my collection.