The IT Crowd series 4 episode 3 review #2

Jen finds love, Douglas finds religion and The IT Crowd loses the plot a little in this third episode...

Something happened

Douglas has become the figurehead for the hottest new cult in town, Spaceology! Now firmly convinced of his own potency, he brags about attaining a new helicopter through the mystical art of Spacestar Ordering, where he treats the universe like a cosmic Argos by drawing what he wants on a piece of paper, then throwing it over his shoulder.

Roy and Jen, meanwhile, both go along to a gig by Sweet Billy Pilgrim, while Moss is at another ‘entertainment’ establishment. When Roy goes up front to throw some shapes, he ends up throwing his back out instead and heads off to see a masseur – despite warnings from Douglas. Jen, however, finds herself literally becoming a music lover by starting a romance with geeky keyboardist Norman.

It all starts off very well with an excellent FX-filled sequence of Douglas espousing the virtues of Spaceology. And it does carry on well throughout the concert scenes – Jen and Norman’s first meeting of eyes being another highlight. Warning signs go off, though, when Roy makes a callback to series three episode Are We Not Men?, laying on his front while a male masseur works on his lower half.

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Now, if you sniggered at that last sentence you may as well stop reading here and go back to doing whatever it was you were doing before. The rest of this review is not for you.

So we have Roy feeling a bit uncomfortable about being naked and vulnerable in the presence of another man. And there’s something about this that makes this reviewer feel uncomfortable too. What exactly is the joke here I wonder, and wasn’t this already covered by the opening episode of series two? Anyway if this wasn’t bad enough, the masseur plants a kiss on Roy’s backside and it all goes downhill from there.

There follows an absolutely painful scene which revolves around the word ‘bum’ especially written for anyone who thought Balls Of Steel was too sophisticated. The IT Crowd has always had a silly streak in it, but this is just puerile.

After such a strong episode last week, it’s frustrating to see it descend into such laziness. Graham Linehan has criticised other sitcoms for using swearwords as punchlines, and yet here he is having his cake and eating it.

The worst aspect of all this, though, is its trivialising of sexual assault cases. Yes, what happened to Roy is ridiculous, but the way the subsequent trial is played for laughs is deeply unpleasant. Again, it’s hard to see what the joke is here.

Ho ho, Roy is scared of being touched by another man. Hee hee, he’s had his fears confirmed. Ha ha, he’s not being taken seriously by Jen. HA HA casual homophobia, ha ha sexual assault, ha ha victim giving evidence at trial. Ha ha haaaa!

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Not The IT Crowd‘s finest half hour. And it really hurts to say it.