Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

The IT crowd, for me, is one of those happy accidents in television where the writers, producers, and actors all manage to capture the humor of a subculture without patronizing it. When I saw the first episode, I knew that these folks had done something special and I'm quite tickled that they are bringing it back for even a single episode.


The exact opposite of the Big Bang Theory.

The IT Crowd has 24 episodes, BBT has 134 and is still running. IMO that makes them kinda hard to compare.

And weren't the earlier episodes of BBT a bit different? I seem to remember they had more "hard" science/tech jokes that actually made sense (jokes that seemed like they would be quite obscure without an exact/tech background).

So, what if BBT had squeezed their ideas into a smaller amount of episodes?

Of course one could say that it was exactly that choice, that makes the one better than the other. And I'd have to give you a sort of kind of "yes, maybe". Because I don't know, sometimes the UK format series are a little bit too short (indeed, like The IT Crowd!!), but some US format series go on for way too long[0]. I would hope there is some optimal middle road.

(but then maybe not, the first example that came to mind of mixing US/UK serial styles was Torchwood: Miracle Day, the worst of the series, IMHO. There may be better examples I'm not thinking of right now, though)

[0] How I Met Your Mother being a prime example. If only they would push it a little bit further, and then some more still, so it would turn back upon itself in a somewhat post-modern sense, by actually making the viewers just as bored as the "Kids, ..." at the beginning of each episode, their inner voices silently screaming at Ted to get to the bloody point and finish up the story already. This would of course kill the ratings, but they could sell the show to Belgium, the Netherlands and other countries where anti-humour is still appreciated :-P There is time ...

Was The IT Crowd shown in the US? (at the same timeslot?)

There was a US version of the IT Crowd.


It feels like an alternate universe version of the show.

Top Gear USA is the same way it's painful to watch.

It felt like I was watching The Soup.

BBT makes fun of nerds and geeks (without mentioning Science itself). I still watch it, because you gotta be able to laugh about yourself.

Now, the IT Crowd, along with Futurama, are shows that celebrate nerds and geeks. Our quirks, our good parts, and our bad parts. But its not us who are being made fun of, but the world around us.

I really don't understand the hate for Big Bang - is it because I'm British? I think the characters are actually quite sympathetically drawn. Sure, it's not as sophisticated - it's just a very straight sitcom - but it's still funny, has some relatively intelligent references, and Jim Parsons' acting is often outstanding.

Well, I don't hate it. Its a funny show. What you must understand is that is it not a show for nerds, but for regular people. The IT crowd is for nerds. Otherwise you would not understand the humour. Take for example the episode where Jen is fooled into thinking a black box with a blinking red light is "the internet". Everyone believes her, because he is the head of IT (which itself is quite funny, given how she is clueless about IT, something many IT managers have in common). Watch the episode. On the other hand, BBT humour seems to be about nerds. But look at the main characters. A somewhat functional genius (sheldon) with the social skills of a rock, a socially shy astronomer (or is it cosmologist?), an engineer (portrayed as being smart but puny and weak), and Leonard which is the bond that ties nerds between normals (his relationship with Penny portrays this). He constantly explains the context of the situation or of the characters. And let's not forget the comic book shop owner ( I forget his name). He is portrayed as a weak loser who has no other option in life. All of them stereotypes. Real to some extent, but stereotypes.

I'm just not sure I buy that. Maybe it's because I DO know non-nerds that like The IT Crowd; like all sitcom, the situation is merely a vehicle for the humour on top of it. in just the same way that you can find Father Ted funny without being a catholic priest. And there are plenty of non-nerds who would get the 'Internet as small black box' joke. And there ARE gags in BBT that non-nerds wouldn't get (not a huge number, but they are there)

If you're Irish, there is another layer to Father Ted that you'll get. Basically it's mostly a very good satire of Ireland and Irish culture. Most of the personalities are based on Irish personalities, and there is a lot of references to Irish society (the Bishop with the son happened, the Dancing Priest existed, the Lovely Girls Competition is the Rose of Tralee, etc.)

I checked out the Pirate Bay's top 100 section the other day, and was astounded to see that The Big Bang Theory was the top TV show.

A lot of sitcoms aren't funny, but Big Bang Theory is like being held down by your older brother while his spit drips on your face.

Maybe it's supposed to be ironic? Like it's so bad it's good?

In high school my friends and I had bad-movie nights, where we'd do our own Mystery Science Theater. Is it like that? Do friends get together and smoke pot and have a Big Bang Theory marathon where they make fun of how terrible the jokes are?

Just trying to understand.

It's 20 minutes of cheap entertainment and it's still better than a bad sitcom that is not about geeks.

Maybe it helps that I can't really identify with the characters because everything is so American (and I'm not)?

(it's hard to explain, I never exactly realized which parts of US series--comedy or not--were "show" and which parts are just how US culture is, before I visited the USA. Maybe imagine all the tiny things that are slightly "different" when you watch a European series? Related, there's probably a lot of scenes in European series that make me cringe because they're a little bit "closer" than for a US viewer who maybe assumes it's just part of the show's quirkiness. Dating culture is one of many examples)

>bad movie night

This is how/why my family and I watch it. It's fun(ish) if you go in with that mindset. Even so, it can be a complete cringe-fest at times.

Kind of the same thing as BBT.

A lot of people just don't find BBT funny, which is a reasonable opinion to have, but they both manage to poke fun at their respective sub-cultures.

The IT crowd subculture is generic "IT support." The subculture of BBT is the pseudo-intellectual crowd who took biology 101 and are now experts in everything "science."

As I said, I would never begrudge anyone who doesn't find BBT funny (it rarely is!) but let's not pretend that IT crowd is somehow magically different, it is just better written.

Of course the difference is "just" better writing, but it's still results in exact opposites. In both cases they try to laugh at geeks, in one of them it's in a way that makes geeks laugh, in the other it makes geeks cringe.

> The subculture of BBT is the pseudo-intellectual crowd who took biology 101 and are now experts in everything "science."

That's just the thing though, people can't tell the difference and I don't think the show even knows it, having all those characters around who apparently know very little about science but who are being portrayed as prodigies.

I learned about this show when friends told me "hey, you're a science type, you'll love BBT. It's so funny and clever!"

Then I watched it and it wasn't clever at all. But it is designed to look as if it is.

Well, there were a couple of good episodes. But overall no, it's not funny. Plus all the comic-book geekery made me cringe.

When will we get our own show where a vim user and an emacs user, both contributors to the linux kernel, have to share an apartment next door from a frontend web developer writing ruby in SublimeText?

You've probably missed the episode where they make fun off all the idiots who think the Elders of the Internet let the wireless Internet-Box leave Big Ben.

Interesting you bring that one up, cause I found parts of that episode brilliant and hilarious, but other moments kind of tedious and cringy. The idiots/supposedly "normal" people, weren't quite consistent in what they were clueless/knowledgeable about, IIRC. I'd normally overlook such a thing, but with the extreme levels of clueless required in this episode, it felt a bit off-balance. Though I don't know how exactly they should have fixed it without damaging the brilliant+hilarious Internet-Box premise.

Of course, it's wireless, everything's wireless these days!

It's not just better writing though, it's the difference between laughing with and laughing at.

BBT isn't just "not funny", it's actually rather obnoxious.

Big Bang Theory is not a very funny show. It does appeal to fans of Dharma and Greg though (like my mom).

The only consistently funny show I would recommend is Archer.

Archer is very crude though. I don't think I could recommend it to my Mom, I think she'd be a bit shocked.

I don't get the hate for Big Bang Theory. I don't think they are laughing at or poking fun at geeks. I think it's pretty good natured. I think the science in it is meant to be above-average (is it?) but it ain't meant to be proper nuclear physics and stuff. Granted, it is not even in the same league as IT Crowd (which is easily one of my favourite shows) but it's not that terrible, is it?

Don't recommend Archer to your mother — words to live by.

I try not to hate anything — words to live by — but have to say that the writing is really poor in Big Bang Theory. I don't like poor writing.

What the IT crowd has in its corner is some absolutely absurd moments that make up for the hokey bits (laugh track, etc.):


My housemate hates the laugh track, I never noticed it until he mentioned it - so now I try to ignore it. I like your words to live by, I will live by them. I think the writing in Big Bang Theory is poor in parts but it is quite decent in others. Then again I do not watch much telly so I'm no official arbiter of sit-com taste.

I thought that the first season was much better than the others. The first seemed full of unique humour that captured the frustrations of IT support rather well, the subsequent seasons seemed to just move towards generic sitcom territory.

I think it went downhill when they brought Matt Berry in, as too much screen time was just devoted to him doing silly things.

True there are a few gems in the other seasons though: like the piracy Ad http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALZZx1xmAzg

I agree with you, but I love Matt Berry doing silly things. Losing the "straight" Chris Morris did wacky-sitcom everything up, though.

Agreed, it was taking Morris out rather than bringing Berry in that appears to have changed the show (a tiny little bit) for the worse.

OTOH I doubt the show could've handled both of them :) (without losing too much sight of the IT nerds in the basement)

Especially the earlier episodes with Chris Morris in it :) Not that the other characters weren't good, I just enjoyed the spark of absurdism he brought to the show--but WHAT an exit! hahaha

Brilliant - I've love that gag.

Is it bad that I can still recite that number from heart?

Rhetorical question, of course it isn't!

It's funny how the number is both really long and sort of easy to remember due to the repeating patterns.

It's /definitely/ not my password for anything super important...

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact