It seems that the US version of the cult British sitcom THE IT CROWD has been canned. Perhaps all for the best. This gives IT CROWD (and FATHER TED) creator Graham Linehan the chance to give his advice on how to make the show more palatable to the US audience. It’s MUST reading.

As far as I can make out, even the oddest US mainstream sitcom–’Seinfeld’, say– is rooted in the real world. Mainstream American audiences aren’t used to characters who can cling to ceilings, or sit calmly playing computer games while a fire is raging beside them…all that crap that makes me laugh. I’m not saying they’re incapable of handling this kind of humour, I’m just saying that if you really intend to do this kind of nutty show, you can’t just grab the scripts and slap a few American actors on it. You need to rethink the whole thing, so that people who haven’t seen, say, ‘Blackadder’ about a thousand times, don’t get turned off by all the silly.


  1. Well that sucks–kinda. I looooove “The IT Crowd”,and ive been waiting desperately for the region1 disc of series 1,this show is so funny. So when I heard they were going to remake the original I was nervous but then I heard they had hired Richard Ayoade,so my fears subsided.This show would have been a perfect companion to 30 Rock and The Office.

    p.s.:Does anyone know if any studio will be releasing a region 1 dvd of “Garth Merenghi’s Darkplace”? :)

  2. Whoa! Father Ted is one of the best comedies out there and it’s so awesome to hear about The It Crowd. Gotta hunt this down! British comedy revels in the absurd and it’s generally more chaotic and dark than American shows. It’s like the takee absurdity as the norm, and put totally normal characters in an absurd universe, whereas I find the opposite tends to happen across the pond.

  3. I’m not surprised at all really (though I never knew this was on at all in the US). Coupling failed miserably in the States and the original series (to me) is the funniest sitcom that’s not The Simpsons of all time.

  4. I’m sure this will be considered a “mercy killing.” But he’s right — every American should watch the last couple seasons of BLACKADDER to enjoy the mirth and the mayhem.

    Jonathan – Agreed on COUPLING. While the last season wasn’t as strong as the first three, it’s still one of the most creative and hilarious sit-coms of all time. I still reference the Giggle Loop on occasion.

  5. The US tradition of surreal comedy is spotty. Sid Caesar, LaughIn, Saturday Night Live, Soap… The closest example of the British model is Arrested Development, which used all of the techniques from Britain, and gained a cult following. Unfortunately, it relied on continuing storylines, and people today don’t invest that much effort on a series.

    All situational comedy is surreal, as you take a normal situation and add an incident that starts the comedy. It can be a Broadway producer visiting a deserted island, or a children’s television host being killed by a rogue elephant, or a former President moving in across the street. HOW surreal depends on the writers and the viewers.

  6. Can I just come in here and say:


    And then just disappear as if I was never here?

    And Kevin? Buty a multiregion DVD, find the non-region code for your existing DVD or get it chipped. No excuses.

  7. You spelled “Marenghi” wrong, Rich !

    And forgot to say that “Russell T Davies’ Darkplace” is the correct name of “Torchwood”.

    But yeah, no loss at all re US/IT Crowd.
    Watch the original.

  8. The Beat is planning a special Focus On GARTH MARENGHI’S DARK PLACE, the greatest TV show of this century, in the very near future.

  9. Heidi, I hope you’ll be following it up with DEAN LERNER’S MAN TO MAN as well as pieces on GMDP alumni projects such as SNUFF BOX, THE MIGHTY BOOSH, NOBLE AND SILVER:GET OFF ME, NATHAN BARLEY and the like… 8-)

  10. Darkplace Quotes:

    Garth Marenghi: I have never exploded. But, I know what it would be like. Don’t ask me how, I just know. I’ve always, just known.
    Dr. Lucien Sanchez: Have you ever been to Scotland Dag?
    Dr. Rick Dagless: Once.
    Dr. Lucien Sanchez: What was it like?
    Dr. Rick Dagless: I remember it much as one recalls a dream… or a nightmare. I was on a budget flight to Norway, when a storm hit and forced us to ditch in Glasgow Prestwick. I was stranded, and it’s so hilly up there you can’t get any signal on your car phone. It looked bad…it looked like I was going to have to spend the night in Glasgow.
    Dr. Lucien Sanchez: Jesus Christ.
    Dr. Rick Dagless: The cabin crew suggested we all go out and club it. I had no option, it was that or one of their B&Bs. I figured it’d be safer on the streets. For the first time ever I saw the Scotch in their natural habitat…and it weren’t pretty. I had seen them huddling in stations before being loud, but this time, I was surrounded. Everywhere I went it felt like they were watching me…fish-white flesh puckered by the highland breeze, tight eyes peering out for fresh meat. Screechy, booze-soaked voices hollering out for a taxi to take them halfway up the road to the next all-night watering hole. A shatter of glass. A round of applause. A sixteen year old mother of three vomiting in an open sewer; bairns looking on, chewing on potato cakes. I ain’t never going back. Not never.
    Dr. Lucien Sanchez: My aunt lives in Scotland, she says it’s quite nice.
    Dr. Rick Dagless: Well she’s wrong.

  11. I’ve only seen the pilot of DARK PLACE and loved it. SciFi channel really dropped the ball on that one. But please, more joyless updates of FLASH GORDON, I beseech you.

    There are a few truly silly American sitcoms, like SCRUBS (“Dr. Acula,” anyone?) and the sadly neglected ANDY RICHTER CONTROLS THE UNIVERSE. But it’s harder for any sitcom, good or crap, to get a foothold nowadays, when cheap reality shows and primetime game shows are queued up four-deep to take their places should they at all stumble out the gate.

  12. AH! This is the sort of thing I have been looking for. Great article. Doing some research for an article. You should add buttons to the bottom of your posts to social bookmarking sitest.