With their first new material since the end of series four in July 2010, The IT Crowd parted ways with their loyal audience through a one-off, one hour, last-ever episode special on Friday night.
First appearing on our screens in 2006, The IT Crowd quickly became a sitcom favourite, subsequently winning both BAFTAs and Emmys. The low stakes format follows Roy (Chris O’Dowd), Moss (Richard Ayoade) and Jen (Katherine Parkinson) in their IT department basement at Reynholm Industries, a fictional company based in London. Although Roy and Moss originally didn’t get along with Jen, who doesn’t know a thing about computers, they soon realised the value in her people skills, and many hijinks were subsequently had.
Although the series was renewed for a fifth season, various reasons including the recent successes of the cast (including O’Dowd’s move to Hollywood, Ayoade’s directing debut with Submarine and the birth of Parkinson’s child) meant that a one-episode finale ended up being more realistic, to both give the fans one last look into the world as well as give the characters a good send off.
Each character’s plot is as ridiculous as ever throughout the episode, and it’s what we love about them. Roy attempts to come to terms with being called “emotionally autistic” by his girlfriend and a very short barista ruining his coffee, whilst Jen has an even worse coffee mishap and Moss becomes more confident by wearing women’s slacks.
Delightfully, the ridiculousness of the events in their lives is addressed by Roy, when he asks if the others have noticed that ridiculous things happen to them that just aren’t normal, including when he had to pretend to be disabled and ended up in Manchester, and when Moss spent a whole night in an arcade machine. As well as this being some great, mocking, self-referential humour, it is fun to reminisce along with them about the series’ past.
Matt Berry also popped up again as Douglas Reynholm, who was always verging on being too over the top, but is just right here, from his maintained inability to remember their names, instead calling the three of them just Joan and Ross, to his constant proclamation of “it’s okay- we’re filming Secret Millionaire!” Noel Fielding also appeared briefly as Richmond, and his sudden appearance (and equally sudden disappearance) was easily one of the best moments of the hour.
The episode didn’t match up to some of The IT Crowd’s most iconic and memorable, including Calamity Jen, The Red Door, The Work Outing and The Speech, but did contain some of the elements that made these great, including the face zoom-ins, Moss’ geek project and Roy’s brutal awkwardness with women.
For every joke that fell flat, there were at least five big laugh out loud moments, which is a great proportion compared to many comedies today. The final scene also added an element of nostalgia and poignancy, which erred on the edge of cheesiness but saved itself with a quippy credits sequence.
Frazer says: “It wasn’t the best episode of The IT Crowd but it wasn’t the worst. They underused Matt Berry, but I did enjoy the cameos.”