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"I'm told my father was particularly proud of the IT department, run by a dynamic go-getter, a genius, and a man from Ireland."
A British Sitcom written by Graham Linehan (of Father Ted and Black Books fame), set in the fictitious Reynholm Industries: a prominent London-based corporation filled with "a lot of sexy peoplenot doing much work and having affairs". Unfortunately for them, the "standard nerds" who make up the IT Department are not part of this glamorous world. Consigned to the squalid basement, they're looked down upon and disregarded by everyone else despite keeping the entire place running smoothly.The main characters are Roy (Chris O'Dowd), a surly and slovenly comic-book fan who despises his own job and the stupidity of those around him; Moss (Richard Ayoade), a naive and innocently-tactless savant with No Social Skills; and Jen (Katherine Parkinson), a twitchy career-woman with absolutely no grasp of technology but a smidge more social proficiency than the two geeks.Frequent guests included Chris Morris as the aggressively eccentric (to the point of complete madness) company chairman Denholm Reynholm, Noel Fielding as reclusive goth sys-admin Richmond Avenal, and Matt Berry as Douglas Reynholm, Denholm's extremely promiscuous son who appears in the second series to take over the business.The series is produced in the classic Britcom mode (as opposed to the more naturalistic style popularised by The Office and Extras), despite it going out of style in UK television. It has a loyal following and often did pretty well in the audience ratings, running for four seasons. Due to the fifth season frequently hit obstacles, a final episode was made instead, airing in 2013.An American remake was commissioned with Joel McHale as Roy and Richard Ayoade playing Moss again. It was leaked and can be found online. The German remake ran for exactly two episodes due to bad actors, badly translated puns and therefore bad viewer numbers.Has a character page under construction.
Douglas is this to Jen, and apparently the women who took him to court.
Aborted Arc: The S1 ending. All the main cast get drunk at an office party and end up pairing off to sleep with one another, much to their horrified realization the next morning. It even says To Be Continued, but is never mentioned again.
Jen's pronunciation of "COMputers". It is sometimes missed by American audiences who might not realize this isn't just the British way of pronouncing it. Just listen to how Moss and Roy pronounce the word, and how Roy cringes every time Jen says it with the accent on the first syllable instead of the second.
In one episode, Moss when recommended a family restaurant called "Messy Joe's" to Jen and Roy for their dates, Moss pronounces it "Meh-SEE-joes", causing them to think it's foreign.
Moss also pronounces tapas as "tape-ass" and is very insistent that his pronunciation is the right one.
Acting Unnatural: Moss and Roy after Moss shoplifts the Grand Designs DVDs in "Bad Boys". Moss, Roy, and Richmond in "The Dinner Party" in a slightly different variation where Jen tells them to try and look normal to keep up appearances.
Actually Not a Vampire: Richmond, the goth. Nocturnal, sensitive to sunlight, kept locked in a dark basement as a "punishment." Jen even assumed he was trying to suck her blood when he put a plaster on her cut.
Combined with Groin Attack in Douglas' electric pants he has to wear as part of his sexual harassment suit settlement with Jen. They malfunction horribly, sending random jolts of electricity into his scrotum with increasing regularity.note Though, as it's Douglas (see below), they may not have been malfunctioning.
Douglas: It's like being tazed in the balls, only painful.
Anything That Moves: Douglas is extremely promiscuous, to the point that Jen thinks that a "secret meeting" that other workers have with him, involving robes, would be (or not) an orgy. It ended up being an exercise workout meet up.
Moss. Any time he tries to lie on Jen's behalf, he freezes for a few seconds before blurting out "She's dead!"
Jen herself isn't much of a criminal mastermind, doing things like faking a phonecall on a disconnected phone or faking typing on an unpowered computer. She's just lucky that whenever she's lying to anyone in power they're usually too dumb to notice.
Bait-and-Switch Comment: Roy and Moss are pranking Jen into believing she's holding onto The Internet so she can present it to the shareholders:
Moss: I spoke to the Elders of the Internet not one hour ago. I told them about Jen winning Employee of the Month, and they were so impressed that they wanted to do whatever they could to help.
Jen: Wait a minute... "The Elders of the Internet?" The Elders of the Internet [excitedly] know who I am?!
Bedmate Reveal: A threefer at the end of series one. Jen with Moss, Roy with the therapist who looks like his mother and Denholm with Richmond.
The Bet: Roy, annoyed that "have you tried turning it off and on again" has become "like a bloodycatchphrase" bets Jen £100 quid that he can go the rest of the day without saying it. And then walks straight into a situation involving a malfunctioning bomb-disposal robot.
Beware the Silly Ones: Douglas may seem like a harmless sexually crazed moron, but he did murder his wife.
You mean the rumours that he murdered his wife.
There were rumours that there were rumours - but that was just bullshit...
Big Stupid Doodoo Head: At one point Moss finally decides a situation is bad enough to deserve a real cuss word, but all he can come up with is "Ploppers!"note A British euphemism for a turd that makes a plopping sound
Black and Nerdy: Moss. What better visual shorthand could there be for this trope than an afro with a side-parting?
Black Comedy Cannibalism: The episode "Moss and the German", where an advertisement Moss thinks is for cooking class turns out to be a German cannibal fetishist looking for a victim. They both have a good laugh over it.
Black Comedy Rape: Doesn't actually happen, but Moss references it when discussing why he doesn't want to go to prison.
Cuke from the same episode. "It's like heaven in a can!" (oddly enough, later episodes just referenced Coke instead of Cuke).
Played straight and averted simultaneously in the same episode when Roy orders a "Bacardi and Cuke" at the bar.
Chitter from S4.
A lingerie catalog called Penelope's Fancies.
Blatant Lies: "I love that you used to be a man! It's your thing! I love thinking about that operation that you had!"
Break The Motivational Speaker: Roy and Moss stress out the man their company brings in to talk about how to prevent losing one's temper while stressed - they stress him out so much that he loses his temper at them.
Brick Joke: Several per episode, no reference ever seems to be wasted.
"Calamity Jen" probably has the most obvious examples.
In "The Work Outing", Roy gets caught in the handicapped bathroom at a theater and pretends to be disabled so he won't get in trouble. He tells the theater staff and police that his wheelchair was stolen by a bearded, red-haired man with glasses. Later, the police see a man matching that description leaving the theater and quietly take him away. In the same episode, Moss is caught using the employee bathroom and is mistaken for a new employee. Later, Jen goes to a party at the theater to find Roy in a wheelchair and Moss tending bar.
The joke above isn't even the best brick joke in that episode. At the start of the episode Jen is asked out by a man she thought was gay. Moss replies "don't take this the wrong way, but could it be because he thought you looked a bit like a man?". Right at the end of the episode, after Jen is convinced he isn't gay, she asks him an Armour Piercing Question about him borrowing a trashy gossip magazine that causes him to breakdown and admit he is gay, saying he thought it could work because she looked a "a bit like a man."
Another episode has Moss have a Eureka Moment, in which he decides it would be better to leave his phone in his shirt pocket rather than his back pocket, for easier access. Later in the episode, he leans down to flush the toilet and his phone falls out. Even later in the episode, Moss gets stuck in a toy crane machine while trying to get an iPhone, and it isn't until the end of the episode that Jen realizes she forgot to get him out.
Brilliant but Lazy: Roy's entire work-ethic. In one episode he hooked up a tape-recorder to the phone with his side of the conversation pre-recorded, simply so he didn't have to bother answering the same old inane IT questions again and again.
British Brevity: Like most UK comedy shows, the show only has only has six thirty-minute episodes per season. It ended in 2013 after four seasons and an hour-long special.
Broken Ace: Richmond was once one of Reynholm Industries' top executives, before being sent to the basement after becoming a goth.
Broken Glass Penalty: Moss was sued by his mother for accidentally breaking the patio window when he was a child. She even held a Kangaroo Court where she was both prosecution and judge (possibly of the Hanging Judge variety) with a viewing gallery for the cats.
Douglas asks Moss to call 999 in 3, to which he responds that that isn't the number anymore, and starts to sing the jingle from Series 1, Episode 2. "0118 999 88199 9119 725...3"
In the third series, Jen sues Douglas for sexual harassment. During the settlement meeting Jen is wearing a large pair of sunglasses that cover her eyes entirely causing Douglas to accuse her of sleeping at one point which she immediately denies. In the last episode of series four when Douglas' wife is divorcing him, she wears a similar pair of sunglasses to the settlement meeting. During the meeting Douglas suggests she is wearing the glasses to hide her fear, but it's then revealed she's actually just asleep.
In the same episode, Roy calling back to the last time he was in court, after a masseur kissed his bottom.
The plot of "The Haunting of Bill Crouse" is briefly mentioned in the episode "The Speech."
Jen: I've won employee of the month.
Roy: I thought you had already won that.
Jen: No, everyone thought I was dead.
And again in "Aunt Irma Visits", where Moss reveals that he was forced to attend therapy sessions after making that up, as it was seen as a sign of serious mental disturbance.
In the final special, when Jen and Roy are despised by pretty much everyone on the internet, Jen thinks she has a solution. She goes into her office and gets the black box with a red light on that Moss and Roy convinced her was "The Internet" in S3, and suggests that they hide it. Apparently they hadn't told her they'd been joking
Also, Douglas' robot hand from "Something Happened" which he uses to break into a car.
In ruing how unusual their lives always seem to turn out being, Roy refers back to the time he ended up pretending to be a gay man in a wheelchair which resulted in him being ferried to Manchester after a trip to the theatre ("The Work Outing") and the time Moss ended up trapped in a toy crane machine game after finding an iPhone inside ("Italian for Beginners").
Additionally, the final spoken words are this:
Douglas: This internet's not working, I can't connect. Roy: Just try turning it off and on again.
Camp Gay: "A gay musical... called Gay!. That's quite gay."
Chekhov's Gun: At least one per episode, it's hard to find one where a comment or event will not return later to catastrophically affect the plotline. Bonus points for Douglas randomly looking into a drawer he never opened before and finding his grandfather's service revolver in it, making it a literal example of the trope.
I came here to drink milk... and kick ass. And I've just finished my milk.
Chew Toy/Butt Monkey: Roy, who's arguably the most notoriously unlucky of the cast, qualifies as either of these, depending on how sympathetically he's portrayed in any of the episodes.
Church of Happyology: Beth Gaga Shaggy and the Spaceologists, whose opposition to the massage industry parallels Scientology's hate of psychiatry. The show's Guy Fawkes mask is very prominently shown throughout the episode, of course.
Jen shouts a string of mostly profanity at a Japanese executive after he stomps on her injured foot by mistake. The executive is confused for a bit... until his interpreter begins to repeat the tirade for him in Japanese. Played for Laughs even more in that all the cursing by Jen was bleeped out - to the characters and not just the audience, as it is revealed one of Denholm's subordinates was slamming a big red "Profanity Button" on the wall at every cuss word. Denholm follows this up by immediately turning to Jen and shouting "You fucked up!" at her, which the subordinate is too late to bleep out.
In Series 2, Roy's outburst at Denholm's funeral when his phone vibrates so violently that he thinks he's having a heart attack.
A minor one, when Jen applies for a new job, she references that she knows and is a fan of Guided By Voices, a band she admits she wouldn't know if she wasn't at the IT. This is a nod to the song "Game of Pricks", by the same band, that appears at the end of The Dinner Party episode.
"Reynholm vs. Reynholm" has a bunch, including a reference to Douglas's fight with his transsexual ex-girlfriend, Roy testifying about getting kissed on the bottom, and the return of Richmond.
Crazy-Prepared: Denholm creates a tape that predicts his son Douglas dramatically gatecrashing his own funeral and chatting up a random woman during the process, which of course, happens to a tee. He also predicts his own mode of suicide in the note he leaves for Douglas with his service revolver.
Graham Linehan appears in the chaos at the end of Jen's Employee of the Month speech, as a member of the Mariachi band in the episode "Fifty-Fifty," the "Blind Irish Sorcerer" from "Men Without Women", and as Guru Beth Gaga Shaggy (No relation to either Lady Gaga or Shaggy), the leader of Spaceology (Remember - Spaceology is a Religion, not a cult).
The producer makes a cameo at the beginning of series 2 as the gay, disabled man who comes on to Roy. Bonus points because of the fact that he actually IS disabled.
Damned by Faint Praise: The poster reviews for Gay! A Gay Musical: "The audience applauded;" "More than tolerable;" "Not as long as some musicals."
A Day in the Limelight: The season 4 finale "Reynholm vs Reynholm" focuses primarily on Douglas - while Jen is still heavily featured, Roy and Moss have only very brief appearances.
Delayed Reaction: Lampshaded. Roy continues to promise Jen that one of these days, they'll prove she knows nothing about computers, even after Moss shows him that the computer she'd been pretending to use wasn't plugged in. When he storms out, Moss tells Jen "He'll realise in a minute," and they patiently wait until he leaps back through the door gesticulating wildly at the plug.
Description Cut: In "Jen the Fredo", Jen assures Roy that businessmen are different from what they were in the seventies. Cut to Reynholm laughing with a pack of visiting businessmen, apparently having just finished a discussion about their balls.
Deus ex Machina: In the final episode, Roy and Jen become social pariahs and are due to be fired by Renholm. After then screwing up further trying to fix things, Renholm shows up a fugitive, and asks them to take over Renholm Industries while he stays hiding in IT, fixing everything.
Digging Yourself Deeper: Roy tells the psychiatrist she looks like his mother, and it's all downhill from there. Waaaaay downhill.
Digital Piracy Is Evil: An anti-piracy ad compares digital piracy to stealing a handbag, a car, a baby, killing a policeman, then stealing his helmet to defecate in, then sending it to his grieving widow, and re-stealing it from her. The ad ends with an FBI agent shooting a young girl in the head after catching her downloading a film from the internet.
Denholm: God I miss Jen. She reminded me of me at her age. (beat) I mean, when I was her age, she reminded me of her age. (beat) She reminded me of my age at her age. (beat) When I was her age, she was reminded of me?
Jen and the smokers being banished to increasingly desolate places in "Moss and the German" is played like a Soviet forced resettlement.
Also in "Italian for Beginners", Moss giving birth to an iPhone.
Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: In the first episode, a woman gives Roy a rather brutal beating using her shoes. Jen defuses the situation (after letting it go on for a while) but no one seems to be seriously concerned by it.
Somewhat subverted in the first case. Every character save for Jen takes what happened to Roy very seriously.
Subverted in the second case; Roy and Moss get a bigger payout in the sexual harassment case due to being trapped in an office with a very horny Douglas.
Drop-In Character: Richmond. At one point Jen apologises that "I keep forgetting you work here." Another time Moss says "Oh look! Richmond is still alive."
Early Installment Weirdness: A key element of series 1 is the relationship between the IT department and the rest of the company: the IT department are generally shunned by the general staff, who are only interested in them briefly when they want their computer fixed. This is phased out from series 2 onwards however, which simply uses the IT department setting to do wacky sitcom shenanigans. Referenced by Graham Lineham in the DVD commentary for Episode 1 Series 2.
Embarrassing Cover Up: Roy grows obsessed with his girlfriend's bizarre story about her parents' deaths, and when she catches him researching the matter on his laptop late at night, he covers by quickly claiming that he was masturbating.
Epic Fail: Moss points a fire extinguisher at a fire. The extinguisher catches alight. And why? Because it was made inBritain.
Eskimos Aren't Real: Reynholm is interviewed. His favorite non-fictional character is Sherlock Holmes. When he's told that Sherlock is fictional, he tells the interviewer to check her facts. She decides to ask him who his favorite fictional character is, which turns out to be The Elephant Man.
Roy uses a handicapped toilet and accidentally yanks an emergency signal. When the cinema crew kick the door down to get to him, he pretends to be disabled. This snowballs into him getting loaded onto a bus on a wheelchair, bound for Manchester with lots of other disabled people.
Jen tells Moss to tell a man she had a bad date with that she's busy in order to avoid him. He tries, but when that doesn't work he tells the man that Jen is dead. This snowballs until the entire office thinks she's dead. Jen mistakes the monuments and grievances as celebrations for her winning Employee of the Month.
Douglas burst into his father's funeral, ran up the aisle screaming"FATHERRRRRRRRR!" and got into a slap fight with The Vicar. This was after Roy's phone went off in his pocket making him think he'd had a heart attack, and Moss had compared the death to losing a pen.
A flashback in Richmond's introductory episode shows Richmond attending Reynholm's father's funeral in full makeup (Reminiscent of Alice Cooper) and giving Reynholm's elderly mother a Cradle Of Filth album to cheer her up.
Gag Sub: The official DVDs of the show have an option for 'l33t' subtitles, which vary from Leet Lingo to ROT13 to Base-64 encoding depending on the episode.
Game Show Appearance: Moss wins Countdown and joins 8+, a swanky, exclusive club of Countdown winners, where he participates in the illegal, unlicensed and highly dangerous Street Countdown.note Unless you dress up warm for the chilly air. Then you're probably fine.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: In 4x1 ("Jen the Fredo"), the visiting out-of-town businessmen say "Eiffel Tower" a few times while high-fiving. "Eiffel Tower" can mean a high five in a different context.
Gilligan Cut: In "Are We Not Men?" Roy promises Moss he won't go in too deep pretending to be a football fan. Cut to them sitting in a crowded stadium decked out in West Ham colours.
Girlfriend in Canada: In "Jen The Fredo", Moss talks about a girlfriend he had "on holiday", causing Roy to snap "They're always on holiday, aren't they Moss?".
Go Look at the Distraction: The entire plot where Roy is stuck under an employee's desk. Moss fails at this completely because what he says isn't much better than actually using the phrase "Go Look At The Distraction." (Jen employs a different method.)
Denholm Reynholm: "Gentleman, when I first started Reynholm Industries, I had just two things in my possession: a simple dream, and six million pounds. Today, I have a business empire the like of which the world has never seen the like of which. I hope it doesn't sound arrogant when I say, that I am the greatest man in the world."
In the last episode of series 1, Jen is trying to tell the boys that she is 'getting a visit from Aunt Irma' and Moss keeps misunderstanding her. Roy finally comes up with a pop-culture reference, which gets through to him.
Jen: I've fallen to the Communists.
Moss: Well, they do have some strong arguments.
Hypocritical Humor: Jen's purpose in the IT department. She is supposed to be the one with social skills, but she is actually just as socially inept, awkward and consumed with her obsessions as Moss and Roy are, with the only real difference being that her particular tastes and obsessions are seen as more socially mainstream than the geeky fixations that the guys have. This enables her to get away with it more than they do.
She frequently chides Roy for not being honest and telling the truth to the girls he dates, but she often weaves one enormous ball of lies after another (and she is not even good at it).
Her attempt to convince Roy that nude female calendars are "empowering", after previously deriding them as sexist and sabotaging his attempts to photograph the girls of the seventh floor, due to Douglas threatening her job if the calendar didn't sell well.
Juggling Loaded Guns: Douglas opens a random drawer and finds a unloaded revolver. Whilst attempting to conceal it, he accidentally shoots himself in the leg after putting bullets in it, and spends the rest of the episode trying to hide his injury from his staff. Amusingly, that happens after he checks if it's loaded by putting the gun in his mouth and pulling the trigger five times. He is supposed to be Too Dumb to Live, but damn. In The Stinger, Moss waves the gun around to drive off the bullies in the park. "I've got a gun! I've got a ruddy gun!"
Douglas, a fat, hairy oaf with mild mental retardation, has a pretty good record with hot women, with Jen and a few rumours and court cases being the exceptions.
Roy manages to snag dates, hook-ups and even relationships with some seriously hot, model-calibre women throughout the series, despite his dead-end job, scruffy appearance and geeky demeanour. However, his relationships never last.
Lampshade Hanging: The cast will usually point out and comment on things that exist in the environment purely to advance the plot and don't look like they belong there. Examples include the grandfather clock in the church during Denholm Reynholm's funeral.
Both Reynholms. "FATHERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!" Douglas comes across extremely unintelligent and oafish at first, but becomes more eccentric like his father in series 4.
Roy and Moss also have their over the top moments but when she gets going, Jen can out-ham even Douglas.
Laser-Guided Karma: Through an improbable series of events, Roy ends up walking the streets dressed as a tramp begging for 50p for a phone call to allow him to get back into the building. Then he meets the very tramp he'd heckled earlier for having too improbable of a story.
Left the Background Music On: Twice in "The Haunting of Bill Crouse" Moss seems to have a dramatic epiphany accompanied by a DUN-DUN-DUUUN!, only for the music to turn out to be his mobile phone's ringtone.
Line-of-Sight Name: How Roy comes up with his football team name when he sees a ham, and says "West Ham", but subverted in that West Ham is a real team.
Living Emotional Crutch: Jen. Roy and Moss fall apart when she's not around. In just one episode, Roy loses his shirt and jacket, gets thrown out of the building and becomes a wandering tramp living in a cardboard box while Jen had been gone for two hours.
Love Potion: Subverted, in that the "potion" is actually just Rohypnol, and lampshaded in The Previously on a later episode, where the narrators point out that Rohypnol doesn't cause arousal - just tiredness. Pre-lampshaded (and possibly making the later example a Hypocrisy Nod) when Moss asked Jen if she was drinking it because she was having trouble sleeping.
Jen, which Roy frequently makes fun of. She gets her own back when he uses the phrase "damp squid" in a courtroom (although his explanation of why it should be "squid" rather than "squib" actually makes sense).
Moss is utterly convinced that the correct pronunciation of tapas is "tape-ass", no matter what anyone else says - and nobody else says it right either!
Denholm: I am declaring war... what am I declaring war on? Stress. Stress is a disease, people, and I am the cure. ...I'm a doctor with a cure. No! I'm a general, and it's still a war! ...a war on disease!
Minor Flaw, Major Breakup: Jen dumping Michael for "looking like a magician". And also dumping Peter File for, well, being called Peter File.
Mistaken for Racist: In "The Internet is Coming", a strange chain of events conspire to make the internet brand Jen as a female misogynist who hates the homeless, and Roy as bigoted against little people. Their attempts to fix matters only make things worse. Roy does not help by continually pointing that he cannot be racist against little people as little people are not a race.
My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: Jen cannot speak Italian, despite her misguided belief that she sounds like she does which is sort of the same. Moss reminds her that Italians and people who speak Italian would strongly disagree.
Deconstructed and Reconstructed in "Tramps Like Us". Jen comes to the realization that, as the only thing she does is take care of Moss and Roy and play Guitar Hero, she is wasting her life and potential in a dead end job. Roy points out that idea that he and Moss require babysitting at all is a bit insulting, as they're both grown men. By the end of the episode, however, Moss and Roy prove that they really do need Jen to balance out their lives because they're terrible at coping with real life situations, and Jen finds the feelings of fulfillment in simply being needed by them (as she has no other skills to offer).
No Periods, Period: Averted; an episode from Season 1.0 focuses on Jen experiencing an angry period, with Roy and Moss discovering the male period and that theirs are synching up with Jen, demonstrating sympathy symptoms and eventually culminating in worldwide computer technician riots.
No Social Skills: Roy and Moss. Jen's job is based on the fact that she's (marginally) better at socializing than them, and she certainly likes to think she is, but in truth she's practically as socially awkward as they are — she just lacks their overt geekiness.
In the second episode of the first series Moss and Roy reference an incident in which a unattended soldering iron caused a golf... I mean fire.
One of Roy's girlfriends told him how her parents were killed in a fire. At a Seaparks, while watching a sea lion show, in an outdoor amphitheatre with at least a dozen exits. At this point she refuses to go into further detail, and Roy spends most of the episode trying to figure out how it was possible. Eventually he does, after building a scale model of the amphitheatre - but before he can tell anyone, the model burns out of control, putting him in hospital, and he likewise refuses to talk about it.
That time Moss lost his glasses in Amsterdam. This one is an inversion as the story he's actually not meant to talk about is the one about when they got drunk and decided to hire prostitutes, also in Amsterdam. He gives a full account of that story to the entire staff that attended the IT office party, but we never hear the glasses story which is the one that was fine for him to tell.
"Eiffel tower!" *high fives*
"Do you think it would be helpful to role play?" "It certainly helped me learn how to buy sandwiches." (The incident not so much being the role play as whatever Moss did that prompted its necessity.)
Otaku Surrogate: Jen may be building up to be a subtle or soon-to-be uncloseted example, judging by the decorations in her office (the most obvious being the poster on the wall to the right of Jen starting in late Series 3, but a Freeze-Frame Bonus shows a few significant examples on her shelf).
Out of Order: Series 3's episodes were changed in broadcast order; especially noticeable when the episode resolving the series 2 cliffhanger that opened with a recap of said cliffhanger was broadcast third in the run.
Overused Running Gag: Roy frequently gets sick of saying "Have you tri-" oh you know what he says. They actually turned his annoyance at his own catchphrase into a Running Gag in its own right.
Perky Goth: Richmond, at times. At others he's capable of making everyone else thoroughly depressed.
The Peter Principle: Jen is the poster girl for this. Not only is she not competent for the job she does have (she became head of IT by lying about her nonexistent computer skills) but she keeps applying for jobs she is even less capable of handling. Hilarity Ensues of course!
It's even lampshaded by multiple characters in one episode: "It's not for you, Jen."
Platonic Prostitution: Moss tells about the time he and Roy were so drunk in Amsterdam that they hired a couple of prostitutes, but were too scared to do anything so they took them to a fair instead. In the end they only charged them half price.
Public Exposure: In the third season finale, the company decide to do a sexy calendar to raise money for a charity for the "boss-eyed". Roy's original attempt to use the ladies from Floor 7 is stopped by Jen, the attempt to do grannies fails and the "geek" calendar produces unattractive male geeks, instead of the Tina Fey sort.
Reset Button: If it wasn't for Richmond's later appearances, "The Red Door" would be a textbook example. Jen finds Richmond in a room off the IT office, to where he had been banished from the office mainstream a few years before. She encourages him to rejoin the office; Reynholm reinstates him, then capriciously changes his mind and sends him back to IT. Moss has taken Jen's suggestion to clean the basement's window and let the daylight in, which makes Richmond retreat back behind the red door.
Prime: "The first rule of Street Countdown is... that you really must try to tell as many people as possible about it! Itís a rather fun game and the more people we tell about it, the better."
Rule of Funny: When it comes to Jen's towering ignorance about computers.
Rule of Three: Played straight, as Linehan's other series all feature three main characters. Averted, as it's the first of his Channel Four sitcoms to make it to a fourth series. But it's his third sitcom for the channel! My head hurts.
The catchy new emergency services jingle is said thrice; twice by the advert, and once by Moss.
Running Gag: It is never made explicitly clear exactly what Reynholm Industries does.
Sanity Ball: Depending on the episode, it can be held by either Roy or Jen, and in some very specific situations, even Moss. Generally speaking, Roy and Moss tend to lose it over geeky things or matters of social interaction they are ill-equipped to handle, while Jen will go completely crazy over something which is seemingly more 'normal' but which she just goes way overboard in taking seriously.
Scrabble Babble: Moss plays the word "TNETENNBA" during a game of Countdown and wins.
Screaming Birth: Parodied in "Italian for Beginners" when Jen helps Moss "birth" an iPhone.
In one scene, Jen tries to distract an office full of women by telling them that a builder outside the window has taken his shirt off, "just like in ads" (a reference to the Diet Coke Hunk). It's true ó but the builder is not hunky.
Roy loses his T-shirt because of Moss's trick (he spilled coffee on it), and he had to lend his jacket to a lady who was cold (emergency situation). He ended up running crazily in the premises. Not exactly eye candy, but it's not Fan Disservice either.
Every piece of British 80s computer gaming nostalgia ever. The range runs from an Underwurlde poster on the wall to huge piles of Spectrum ZX81s to the menus from the DVD release being ripped off from Head Over Heels.
The menus of the DVDs are also shout outs in their own right:
Season 1.0 menus have animations of the cast in ZX Spectrum graphics.
Season 3.0's Episode Selection menu has a Grow Cube-style, IT Crowd themed animation.
Season 4.0's menus feature "levels" identical in design and gameplay to Vectorpark's Windosill.
In one episode, Roy tries to break up with an old girlfriend who wears a lot of make up which melts when she cries making her look like The Joker. The episode ends with Douglas hitting on her in the same manner as Heath Ledger's Joker hitting on Rachel Dawes in The Dark Knight, scars and all.
Peter File's unfortunate name is a call back to a similarly named person in the infamous Brass EyePaedogeddon special.
The IT department's set is decorated with various Alternative Comics and their related merchandise:
Jen also displays some qualities from this trope, being neither quite as competent, upwardly mobile or deserving of being such as she seems to believe she is. It particularly kicks in after she wins Employee Of The Month in "The Speech", however.
Moss telling an unwanted suitor of Jen's that she was dead to keep him away from her.
Also seen when Roy says that he's disabled, and Moss that he's a barman, both due to being caught using the wrong toilets, and having to keep up the lie for the rest of the episode.
Snub by Omission: An Overly Long Gag during a company meeting where the Boss goes around thanking all the departments, such as the lawyers and the accountants and even the janitors, but not our titular heroes. Upon each announcement, he describes something that could potentially describe IT, only for it to be another department.
Taken to extremes when he's filling the champagne glasses of Roy, Moss and Jen while talking about "these three people," - and then turns to the toilet cleaners. One wonders if he really had been trying to praise them while messing with them. He later sincerely thanks Roy in the corridor later in the episode, so it's possible.
Inverted at the end of the episode, when the three unexpectedly show up at a work party at a glitzy nightclub, and the boss immediately ditches who he's with in order to hang out with them.
Sophisticated as Hell: "Jorg... such fire! I am too tired for revolution. And we've walked f***ing miles!"
Sound Effect Bleep: Subverted mercilessly. A character's vitriolic tirade is full of bleeped-out swear words... then Denholm congratulates an employee on "being so quick on the Profanity Buzzer", which we see is a labelled button mounted on Denholm's wall. Later in the episode, another F-bomb is dropped, and the employee is a second too late on the buzzer.
Springtime for Hitler: Moss and Roy feed Jen a bunch of ridiculously nonsensical IT 'facts' to use in her Employee of the Month speech, in an attempt to utterly embarrass her. Too bad that nobody in attendance at the speech is computer-literate enough to notice anything remotely wrong. It ends up working out for them when she breaks 'the Internet' and sparks a major panic, however.
Stage Magician: Jen breaks up with her driving instructor boyfriend because of his uncanny resemblance to a stage magician, looking like an expy of David Blaine.
Status Quo Is God: The three will never escape their basement office ghetto or get any respect from the rest of the company. Until the final episode
Despite reporting catastrophic losses nearly every episode in addition to the embezzling of Denholm and squandering of Douglas, Reynholm Industries is still very much in business.
Stock Sound Effect: There's a surreally justified version in one episode, where Moss has a concussion and has lost his memory. When he knocks his head again and regains it, there's a close-up on his eyes opening, accompanied by the most hilarious possible choice of music: the Windows XP log-on tone...
Straw Feminist: Jen in "Calendar Geeks", who convinces the girls on seventh to make a nude calender featuring unemployed men or grannies instead of them, arguing it's "oppressive" and "sexist". Of course, when Douglas tells her she'll be accountable if it's not a success, she immediately tells Roy to use them, calling it "empowering". It appears to be a combination of jealousy, and screwing Roy over by forcing him to photograph old women until she is made responsible for it.
And when she ropes in Roy into not quitting the project because of the old ladies fiasco, she quickly shifts it away from using attractive women to nerdy male geeks. The project fails as badly as you would think.
Stupid Crooks: The bank robbers dupe Roy into being their getaway driver by keeping him completely oblivious to their motives, and are surprised when he calls the police on what he assumes to be an unrelated robbery.
Team Mom: Jen. Roy is offended at Jen's suggestion that he and Moss need her to take care of them, but when she leaves for a job interview at another company, Moss goes amnesiac and gets his hair singed while Roy becomes homeless and starts sleeping in an old box on the street. All in the span of merely two hours.
Technobabble: The very first time we meet Moss he gives us an earload ("Have you tried forcing an unexpected reboot? You see, the driver hooks the function by patching the system call table so it's not safe to unload it unless another thread is about to jump in there and do its stuff. And you don't want to end up in the middle of invalid memory!"), which is an accurate description of a common problem with Windows drivers. This is in contrast to Roy's rather more concise troubleshooting.
This Isn't Heaven: In one episode Douglas has a near death experience. His father is welcoming him towards a big white door, and it's all very white and glowy. Then Hitler pokes his head out, and Reynholm unconvincingly tries to explain that "we're having a Heaven party. That was a Hitlergram".
Title Drop: Subverted in the finale, during which Moss asks, "Who are we?!" to which Jen and Roy respond, "The IT department."
Token Trio: Averted. One of the male characters is black and the other is Irish, but, aside from a few token mentions of the latter, ethnicity never really comes into play. Unless Nerd is an ethnicity. Jen often tries to be The Chick but fails miserably.
Too Dumb to Fool: Why Roy and Moss's plan to humiliate Jen backfires - none of the senior staff know anything about computers either. Some of them do know a bit more then Jen (or at least are less gullible), as none of them bought that when you type Google into Google, it breaks the internet.
Training from Hell: Nerd-style. In series three, Moss is having trouble with some bullies in the park he walks through to get to the office. Roy tries to help him with some roleplay, upon which Moss bursts into tears as it was "too realistic". He eventually solves the problem when he finds Douglas's grandfather's old service revolver...
Wall Crawl: Richmond occasionally does this. He has magic goth powers or something.
What, Exactly, Is His Job?: Richmond has no idea what his job is. He learned the pattern of blinking lights on the servers, but he doesn't know what any of it means, and pretty much everybody had forgotten he was even there aside from Roy and Moss who did everything they could to prevent him from leaving his room to depress everyone.
Jen pronounces "computer" with the emphasis on the first and third syllables (rather than as more commonly on the second syllable). This serves to highlight her lack of expertise and interest in the area.
In series two, when discussing Jen's boyfriend Peter File's unfortunate name, Moss mentions the US pronunciation "peh-duh-fahyl" in comparison to the UK's "pee-duh-fahyl".