Sitcom lesson plan – IT Crowd

A few days after each session of the “English Without Books” course I send the students a revision email, with a summary of what we did in the session, links used in the lesson and the activities we did.  Here´s the email I am sending them this week.  Dear students, In our previous session we worked with the pilot (= first episode) of the popular British sitcom IT Crowd which I hope you enjoyed as much as I did. Especially the last part where you took on the roles of the four characters, Roy, Moss, Jen and Denholm and revealed some acting talent! I am attaching a short video :)
  • First we read a short introduction text about the sitcom, with gaps for these missing prepositions:

    The IT Crowd

The sitcom is written by G.Lineham
He is the author of another show
IT Crowd is set in London offices of a fictional corporation
It focuses on three staff members
The team consists of Roy, Moss and Jen 

The dirty office is an obvious contrast to the shining modern architecture

  • Then we watched the whole episode with Czech subs on in order to better understand the story and the individual scenes. While watching, you had to answer 10 True or False questions (you can find the full list in the Comments) and learned the following expressions:
To take advantage of sb – „Roy and Moss think the company just takes advantage of them.“
To be disgusted by st – „Jen is disgusted by unisex toilets.“
To pretend – „Moss pretends he´s been reading Tolstoy.“
To tell on sb– „They go to Denholm with the plan to tell on Jen but in the end they never do.“
  • To make it a bit more fun, after we watched you paired up and with your partner you had to find answer to these questions:
1) Who says this? „I´m sorry, are you from the past?“ „Why are you giving me the secret signal to shut up?“ „It´s almost as if she doesn´t know anything about computers.“ „There´s no room for people who can´t act in a team on my team.“ „Ideas are coming, things are happening here.“ 2) Write 2 facts you learned in this episode about each of the  four characters, e.g. „Jen doesn´t know anything about computers” 3) Look at the transcript of the first scene and get ready to explain the meaning of the underlined expressions. I find the best thing to do with a new employee is to size them up with a long hard stare…. Make up your mindYes, really looking forward to getting to grips with..Well, you certainly seem to know your stuff. That’s settledStandard nerds!
  • After watching Scene 1 again, this time with English subs on, and clarifying the answers for everyone, we continued the rest of the activities using open-class and pair discussions.
  • Before and after watching Scene 2 again, with Eng subs on, we discussed these questions:
Can you describe the offices of the IT department? What´s the first question the guys typically ask when someone phones? When Roy is trying to solve the first person´s problem, he talks about a „button“. What „button“ is Roy talking about and which one does the person think Roy is referring to? Moss is also trying to help someone on the phone. What is the problem with Moss´s help? What does „hit it off“ mean according to Moss?
  • With Scene 3 we played the guessing game, where I paused the video several times and asked you to guess before the characters acted it out:

What does Jen say when she looks at the view? When Jen gets to the basement, what does she hear the lift repeat? When the guys find out Jen walked into the office what do they do and why? After Roy throws something at Moss, what does Moss say?

  • The last, and I believe the most fun activity, was with Scene 6, where the guys decide to tell Denholm they don´t want Jen as their boss. We went through the transcript and then you each played one of the characters. We had a good laugh with Tina as Denholm, didn´t we? :)
I hope you had fun, you learned something new and I´m very much looking forward to your short summaries of the episode. It would be great if you could publish them here under the article.
Let me know if you have any questions or when something worries you. I am always here for you!

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6 responses to “Sitcom lesson plan – IT Crowd”

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