The IT Crowd

The IT Crowd

Although the IT Crowd is filmed in front of a live audience, it sounds more like canned laughter and it just makes it sound dated – but then some of the jokes feel dated, too

Sam Wollaston, Friday 25 June 2010

I don't like being told when to do anything – when to eat, when to wash, when to go to bed. Or when to laugh. If something's funny, I'll laugh, OK? So I'm not keen on canned laughter. All right, I know that, strictly speaking, this isn't canned laughter, that The IT Crowd (Channel 4) is filmed in front of a real, live studio audience, and that it's them we can hear. But, oddly, it sounds more like a laugh track than real laughter – maybe they did something technical to synthesise it? Weird if they did, like serving real peaches for dessert but with the syrup from a tin of peaches poured over the top, so that people recognise it as dessert.

Anyway, the modern sitcom audience is sophisticated enough (even I am) not to need to be told when to laugh (see The Office, Green Wing, The Thick of It). It just makes it feel dated.

But then some of the jokes feel dated, too. "I love culture," says Jen, and you know that what's about to follow is something that shows she doesn't really love culture, or know much about it ... "I've seen We Will Rock You four times." There it is.

And similarly, also from Jen: "That was the 1970s, things are different now, businessmen are different." Cut to today's businessmen not being different, behaving in a very 70s way.

I'm sure I miss a lot of the in-jokes, the IT stuff, like all the junk in their room, the old Commodore computers and what-have-you. And the Dungeons & Dragons went over my head, though I did enjoy – and laughed, unprompted – at a line from Moss. Phil, one of the un-PC, 70s-style visiting businessmen, isn't best pleased that the entertainment consists of a role-playing game with the geeks in the basement, and complains it's all a bit gay. "Are dragons gay, Phil?" asks Moss. It's a different kind of humour, unexpected, and conjures up a nice image – of a gay dragon. The laughing machine/studio audience didn't like it as much as I did; it only got a murmur.

conjure up: wywoływać

consist of: składać się z

geek: maniak komputerowy

in-joke: hermetyczny dowcip

junk: rupiecie

murmur: pomruk

pour: nalewać

recognise (as): uznawać za

sophisticated: wyrafinowany; doświadczony 

unprompted: spontaniczny

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Wszystko do nauki języków


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