Ideal and IT Crowd (with Arctic Monkeys)

Two new comedies on IFC (although old hat to fans of the BBC not living in the U.S.) have had me watching and in stitches for a few weeks now. One features Moz, a drug dealer, the other Moss, an IT guy at a corporation.

Ideal is set mostly in the apartment of Moz, a low-level drug dealer. A succession of bizarre characters, including a guy named Cartoon Head (who has a cartoon head), parade through, seeking a fix, or sometimes something more dangerous. The series is dark humor at its finest–truly hilarious but you have to adjust to the vibe of the show. I watched two episodes, decided I hated it, but watched a third anyway. Then watched a fourth and it suddenly all clicked into focus for me. It’s hard to explain just how funny (and at times disturbing) Ideal is, except to say that when the next door neighbor admits to necrophilia it’s a laugh-out-loud moment, or that when Moz, trying to comfort her says “don’t go down on yourself” when he means “don’t get down on yourself” it’s worth a huge chuckle. No, this show isn’t for kids, and it’s gloriously tattered, decaying around the edges, realistic in its approach, foul, and yet hypnotically watchable. Moz makes it work because even though he’s a drug dealer, he’s much more sensible, sane, and moral than anyone around him. There are also odd moments of sweetness mixed in. Although I’ve included a clip above, I don’t know if any single clip can really convey how the show works, because it’s almost a cumulative effect. More clips here.

The IT Crowd, on the other hand, is sillier, and not as darkly funny. It’s instead just outright hilarious beyond belief, as Moss and the other members of the IT department at a seriously screwed up company get entangled in mess after mess. In a favorite episode, Moss develops the perfect bra for his boss, except it has one flaw: it tragically overheats. In another episode, a fire breaks out and Moss methodically goes through various processes to fight it; when the fire extinguisher doesn’t work, he starts typing an email for help while the flames are blazing all around him. For anyone who’s worked in an office or with computer, this is a must-see. More clips here.

Finally, I’ve bought a lot of CDs recently, but the one that’s stuck with me is the new Arctic Monkeys, which I wouldn’t have expected. I’ve liked their prior material, but not loved it. On this CD, however, they deepen and darken their sound, and create additional texture that really appeals to me. It’s a rewarding CD that only gets better with repeated listens. Of course, the single is a little closer to their prior material, but at least it gives you a taste.


  1. GB Steve says

    We love Ideal but wasn’t sure anybody else watched it. We’ve just finished series 5 (only 6 episodes) but a new one has been commissioned for next year. It’s suprising how many catch phrases you can accumulate in one sitcom but Ideal has plenty and the joke hasn’t worn thin yet. Not sure about Fist though.

  2. says

    Humbug is a very satisfying CD. My favorite track off of it is “Pretty Little Visitors.” I love how it oscillates between something akin to a funeral march and then straight brit punk.

  3. PhilRM says

    A friend burned the first two seasons of the IT crowd onto DVD for us and we finally caught the third (and regrettably final) season on IFC a while back. I couldn’t even begin to pick a favorite moment; the whole show is hysterically funny. That’s not really a surprise, since it’s the handiwork of Graham Linehan, who also gave us the equally hilarious “Father Ted”.

  4. says

    Did you know that Richard Ayode, the actor who plays Moss on the IT Crowd, directed that thar Arctic Monkeys video, or are the powers of the mind obscure and mysterious in their synchronicity? Hombre is all kinds of together; I especially love his collaborations with Matthew Holness, Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place and the less even but still fun Man to Man with Dean Lerner. Personally, my favorite IT episode is the one where Noel Fielding cameo’s as the employee who discovered Cradle of Filth, to the detriment of his life and career.

  5. m. says

    My favorite IT Crowd is the Haunting of Bill Krause episode or maybe the Aunt Irma episode. They’re avail on Netflix streaming service for seasons 1-2. I think one of the DVD box set features was subtitles in leet. need to track that down sometime.

  6. says

    Y’all are familiar with The Mighty Boosh, yes? Jeff’s description of Ideal has a lot in common with my canned description of Boosh, particularly the bit about having to adjust to the vibe of the show. I watched it on my wife’s laptop while trapped in my in-laws’ house over Christmas, late at night after everyone else was asleep, which was apparently the perfect growth medium: it set up camp in my skull and refuses to leave. Yet I’ve shown episodes to many of my (otherwise discriminating) friends and gotten only mild chuckles in return.

    To link it to The IT Crowd, Richard Ayoade plays a cranky shaman named Saboo who is constantly squabbling with Tony Harrison, a cephalopodic shaman with an idiot grin played by Noel Fielding’s pink-tentacled head.

  7. Hellbound Heart says

    ….just interested to know….what’s your favourite church album/song? do tell…..i’m a rabid church/steve kilbey fan…..

    peace and love….

  8. Hellbound Heart says

    ….hmmmm…..arctic monkeys….very good, have heard a few of their other songs and i have one of their earlier albums but that’s pretty damn fine……there’s so much crap music around these days that it’s often a little difficult to come across anything of any quality….what other albums take your fancy?

    peace and love…