The IT Crowd special spoiler-free review: The Internet Is Coming

Review Pete Dillon-Trenchard
16 Sep 2013 - 07:00

The IT Crowd special has a blisteringly funny script and feels as if it's never been away...

We all have those friends, haven’t we, who we can not speak to for months - or even years - but when we run into them it’s as if they’ve never been away? It’s been over three years since we last caught up with Moss, Roy and Jen of Reynholm Industries, and from the moment The IT Crowd’s final episode begins it’s clear that, a welcome tweak to the opening credits aside, it’s business as usual for our heroes. From Moss and Roy’s opening chat about the latest love of Roy’s life to Jen’s awkward flirtation with a barista at her local coffee shop, it’s reassuringly clear that this is simply the next episode of The IT Crowd, rather than an awkward comeback special in which the cast come on, say their catchphrases and wait for the rapturous applause. 

Not that we would expect anything less from writer Graham Linehan, whose brain has clearly never strayed too far from this, the geekiest of his comedy offspring; it would take away the fun of the episode to go into detail about the plot, but The Internet is Coming comes from the pen of a man who has embraced the internet age with both arms and noticed its many quirks - the story encompasses everything from viral videos to the failings of Twitter (or in Linehan parlance, ‘Chitter’), stopping to take on Anonymous and the bizarre-but-growing Youtube phenomenon of board game shows such as Wil Wheaton’s ‘Tabletop’ along the way. 

That’s not to say that the characters don’t get a chance to shine; Moss and Roy especially, both have interesting things going on in the episode. Roy, in particular, is called on his behaviour in a way that few sitcom characters ever are, and it puts forward some fascinating ideas which had me going back to old episodes and watching them in a different light. Moss, meanwhile, goes in search of his confident side, last seen in Series four's The Final Countdown (An episode perhaps known for its excellent background performances), and Richard Ayoade is clearly relishing the chance to play high-status Moss again. 

In fact, it’s fair to say that all four of the main cast (including Matt Berry, who picks up exactly where he left off, stealing every scene in which he appears) are loving being back in their pre-megastardom roles. This is helped by the fact that it’s a blisteringly funny script. Series four may not have been universally adored, but there is little about this special that isn’t ‘classic’ The IT Crowd. Possibly the biggest complaint is that it feels like Moss and Roy don’t get many scenes together over the course of the hour; they’re together at the beginning and of course they’re together at the end, but the story is such that there are two main plots running separately for the bulk of the special - Roy and Jen and the viral video, and Moss’s quest for confidence. They tie together in a satisfying way, but it’s a bit of a shame not to have one final Roy and Moss caper.

The only other negative point is around the ending; this will be covered in more detail once the episode has aired, but for the most part The Internet is Coming doesn’t feel like a finale; there is an attempt to provide closure in the episode’s final moments, but it doesn’t necessarily feel right for the characters. 

Overall, though, The Internet is Coming is a welcome last hurrah for an old friend; there are jokes a-plenty, the cast is on the top of their game, and there’s a few well-placed callbacks to reward long-term viewers. If, as seems to be the case, we never get to return to those geeks in the basement, this special makes for a fitting send-off.

The IT Crowd Special: The Internet Is Coming airs on Friday the 27th of September at 9pm (just after the Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. premiere).

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