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  • #2083
    TheLeen
    Participant

    As reported earlier, German TV channel Sat1 has been working on a German version of The IT Crowd named Das iTeam – Die Jungs an der Maus. The first episode is due next Friday evening.

    Sat1’s web team was a little too slow at first, setting up a sub page for the “new” show but forgot to make any of the buttons work. Now they’ve been a little too fast and put up the entire first episode for watching online. Which means that there will be reviews online before the show even airs. … mostly bad reviews. (I’m psychic!)

    Now if Das iTeam was a new TV programme inspired by The IT Crowd, I suppose it would be a bit unfair to compare the two shows… but as it is actually a re-play of the same show, we’ll do just that!

    Intro: Same music, different pictures. No pixel graphics, rather mugshots of the main cast. Not very exciting but not gruesome either just yet. Gabriel (aka Moss) is shown with a metal detector (at first I thought he was vaccuum cleaning the office), and Tom (aka Roy) is seen playing with a computer mouse mobile which is new, geeky and adorable. Hey, for the record, I said something positive!

    Episode title: “Br?tchen vom Vortag” – yesterday’s breadrolls. This doesn’t really work as a translation (or adaptation) since yesterday’s breadrolls basically are… crap.

    First scene: As even Graham Linehan pointed out in his own blog, they managed to fuck up the first joke by getting the camera angle wrong. What bothers me even more is that the camera movement seems way too slow. Seven or eight seconds in the original version, twelve (!) in this one! I didn’t plan to go into that kind of detail with this review, but this just struck me so hard as “not working… not working at all”.

    Sky DuMont playing concern director Bornholm (aka Denholm) comes across as one big softie. The boss seems quite pitiful rather than scary at all. I’ll mention at this point that I’ve had a peek at the picture gallery on Sat 1’s website and saw Bornholm wearing a Kimono in episode two. Thankfully, I got it wrong – he isn’t wearing it during the speech about WAR on STRESS but the merger scene. I’m pretty sure the war scene will be fucked up anyway…

    Britta Horn as Sandy (aka Jen) seems ok to me, albeit lacking Katherine Parkinson‘s charisma and bold, outgoing acting. Yes, I like her overacting and I think the German Jen is a bit bland. But maybe I’m just a grinch? At least she isn’t outright horrible.

    The dialogue is largely the same, sometimes translated word by word, sometimes adding half a line or leaving half a line out. I’ll only mention it when I think it makes a real change (other than just “being less funny than the original”).

    As soon as the basement scenes start, you can’t help but notice the blueish, greyish tint of… everything. It creates a very cold athmosphere for the IT department office. I’m sorry, this is just a bit… too soviet for me! (And this means that a certain joke of a certain series two episode cannot work anymore! It’s hardly possible to create a setting even… more soviet than this.) There’s hardly any colour in the office room, some robots but all in all too few toys, no posters, very few stickers, not too much there for us geeks to relate to.

    Tom’s/Roy’s first scene (shoe woman from the past is on the phone, right?) is okay. He is wearing the RTFM shirt, so far so good! Somehow he reminds me of my ex boyfriend. If this is good or bad I don’t know. The writers manage to squeeze in an additional joke: “yes… just push the button. … Okay, let’s start at the very beginning: Do you have fingers?” The implication in the end that he was talking to a woman (“That told her!”) is missing for no apparent reason.

    Gabriel’s/Maurice’s first scene, too. This moment did really disappoint me. From pictures, I was mislead to believe that the German (and caucasian – but that’s ok, Tom isn’t Irish either…) version of Moss could work. Two things get in the way of that: firstly, the actor (Stefan Puntigam) isn’t doing a very good impression. Secondly, the writers turned his techno babble (about another thread jumping in there and doing its stuff) into… just babble, really.

    We’re 3 1/2 minutes into the episode, including intro. At this point on Friday, it will occur to many people that it’s a good idea to switch off telly and play a board game with their family.

    But for the sake of completion, we’ll go on. Tom/Roy and Gabriel/Moss are talking to each other. Ah – this is when yesterday’s breadrolls are mentioned. “Yesterday’s sandwiches – that is what we are to them!” says Tom just before picking up a sandwich from Gabriel’s desk. After Gabriel’s hint that it is “vom Vortag” (a day old) he drops it. Now why change a working joke? I’ll never know. Also… they say “Br?tchen vom Vortag” which is kind of the “official” term for it instead of what average Joe would call them: “Br?tchen von gestern”. This isn’t the only occurence of weird, overblown or awkward language in the episode – more examples to come.

    Cut to the unisex toilets scene. Bornholm/Denholm gets it all wrong. After Sandy’s/Jen’s mentioning of Ally McBeal he says, “Nur hier arbeiten alle und haben keinen Sex auf dem Klo.” / “It’s just that here, everyone’s working and not having sex in the bathroom.” Did I miss something? Didn’t Denholm originally say the complete opposite? “That’s the sort of place this is Jen. Lot of sexy people not doing much work and having affairs.” I am fairly sure. It seems to me that in several places the German version’s writers just didn’t get the original joke and thus turned it around by 180 degrees. Oh, hell…

    We’re back in soviet IT department. Penumatic blast first, then encounter with the “98% done” toilet man. Another change that – in my eyes – ruins the comedic timing. I keep telling myself that the laughter in the background can’t be real.

    The IT team meets for the first time. Tolstoi is now Thomas Mann. Not too bad a change since Gabriel finally has a funny-ish new line: “Thomas Mann? I thought we were talking about Spiderman?!” On the other hand, one of my favourite lines was dropped (“I don’t remember this conversation – AT – ALL!”). Gabriel starts talking awkwardly again when he shouts after Tom that he has “… da eine Wunde am Kopf. Wunde am Kopf!” (head wound). It would have sounded a lot better if he’d used the word that people usually use in these situations: Platzwunde.

    Next thing you see is Gabriel comparing not the child’s edition and adult’s edition of Harry Potter, but this year’s and last year’s phone book. With a text marker. Oh, you writers. Bad idea! How do I put this to you? Geeks read and compare books, yes. Geeks do not read phone books. Not in 2007. Excuse me, are you from the past? Have you heard of the internet? Or full-text search? Apparently not. Anyway. Tom comes back from Sandy’s office and picks up a toy in order to call his boss Bornholm. He does not hear it ring, he does not pass out. Just after he hasn’t passed out, here’s where the advertising break will take place. Afterwards, cut to Bornholm’s office.

    What you say! Yes, after so far only small changes were made, here are some two or three scenes missing entirely. No Gabriel to connect Sandy’s phone. No pretend conversation. No Tom coming up with a plan, or scheme. No slightly larger glasses! That was a favourite joke of mine! Cut! No water spray for Gabriel (which is kinda weird because he is using some spray later on), no confrontation, no plugging in her computer. We just move on right into Bornholm’s office. At 10 1/2 mintues, we’re halfway through.

    I’d been curious about how they were going to translate the “pair of horrible, old ladies” conversation just before Denholm walks in. They haven’t. It’s missing, too. Bornholm speaks about teamplay. Again, so soft, so friendly, so calm, somewhat dreamy, slightly… senile? I don’t understand his approach at all. Another little comedic climax – “They may have to escort the current security team from the building for not acting as a team” – cut. Bornholm’s speech seems a bit forced. “Teamf?hig” (teamworthy, team compatible) is actually one of all German managers’ favourite words. Bornholm does not use it. Awkward talking. Bornholm now acting camp. He shows them the A-Team (but to my dismay no mention of Tiger, Doyle or the Jewellery Man). The rest of the dialogue is largely the same, except that the IT team repeats the word team over and over while leaving. As mentioned before, Gabriel using spray on his hot ear.

    Back in the basement, Sandy wants to learn what IT’s about. Gabriel: “Ich erarbeite gerade eine ganz einfache Programmierung, in der ich…” again, awkward talking there. I’m certain now that this was intended by the writers. But not even the nerdiest person in the world would use these words. We do not “erarbeiten eine Programmierung”.

    The shoe girl appears on stage. It is sad, but the viewer can’t help but notice that the acting was a lot better in the original show, even for this minor role. Sandy resolves the situation, but the original implication that she didn’t do it on purpose at all – was cut. Her subsequent “people’s person speech” is actually not half bad. After Tom has not passed out for the second time during this episode, the brainstorming takes place. Carbon copy of the original scene, bar one change: in the middle of it the IT team is seen scratching their noses like little Vicky the Viking! Oh my God, they snuck in a telly reference! But wait a second, is Gabriel wearing slightly larger glasses there?!

    The party! Taking place at 19:00 instead of 5.45 PM but whatever. Sandy tells everyone that “IT people and normal people should meet mroe often… to improve teamplay!” Tom goes to get some moe beer instead of wine (of course!), Tom and Gabriel were one drunk in Hamburg instead of Amsterdam (all good changes/good adaptation in my opinion) and the hookers’ names were Kiki and Vicky. Well, you know what happens next. Or actually, no, you don’t. No shouting, no strangling – Gabriel uses the spray on his ear again and that’s that. Cut to the last scene. Sandy calls Tom and Gabriel “zombies” (made me laugh) and then answers the phone “correctly” which earns her commendatory looks by the other two that weren’t there in the original.

    The picture slideshow is missing.

    Last scene: Bornholm is really desperate because his voice activation isn’t working – no sign of rage though. And that’s it.

    I just had another look at Yesterday’s Jam. And I can’t help it… it’s not just the soviet colouring of the German IT department. All characters come across friendlier, more lovable and… cuddlier in the original version – despite all the shouting, screaming, choking, funny voices and, yes, passing out that does not take place in the German version.

    You know how there are both funy jokes and funny people in this world? And a funny person telling a funny joke will make you laugh (and a funny person telling a shit joke sometimes will, too) while an unfunny person just can’t pull of the very same joke? Watching Das iTeam feels just like that – for 18 minutes. At this point I am asking myself whether I should be grateful – the original is 23 minutes of geeky goodness long.

    The actors: Britta Horn (Sandy/Jen) and Sebastian M?nster (Tom/Roy) were okay acting-wise, Stefan Puntigam (Gabriel/Moss) seemed quite bad at least to me, and Sky DuMont (Bornholm/Denholm) was beyond bad – what was he doing? I hadn’t expected much of him anyway, despite him being a respected (or at least, well-known) actor, after reading that interview at fernsehjunkies.de with him a few weeks ago. In the fifth paragraph he states that Das iTeam is going to be successful because it is going to be better than the original. Why? Because they’re going to do a lot of things different, he says. In paragraph seven he states that everything’s been directly translated, and largely the same. Make up your mind! So, what was he doing? He probably doesn’t know this himself.

    The writing: is a pile of crap (see above).

    All in all, there’s not much good to say about Das iTeam, although I tried to be fair and list all the things that I thought were decent or even funny. I tried. I really, really did.

    #118857
    TheLeen
    Participant

    Re-reading it now, the review sounds too tame.

    #118858
    Phil
    Participant

    Didn’t I just send you a message on Facebook asking you to do something like this? Was this an insane coincidence, or do you have the speedy-review capabilities of a superhuman?

    #118859
    TheLeen
    Participant

    Yes.

    #118860
    Phil
    Participant

    Excellent review, by the way. I was really curious about this. If it didn’t seem now like it’s never going to happen, I’d do the same for the stateside debut of the show. I’m most qualified because I speak American.

    #118861
    TheLeen
    Participant

    Thanks!
    This must be the longest text I wrote since uni. Probably G&T’s bad influence.

    It’d be nice to read a full review of the American pilot. But then, I could watch that one myself. But you can’t really watch the German thing, harr harr. But believe me, it’s for the best.

    #118862
    John Hoare
    Participant

    That is fucking excellent, Marleen.

    When Noise To Signal relaunches (hopefully at some point early next year), I may have to mail you and ask if I can use it for publication there…

    #118863
    TheLeen
    Participant

    Oh, sure, take it. Already said to Phil, I’d be honoured.

    #118866
    TheLeen
    Participant

    Haha, I got the episode 2 bit wrong, too.

    He’s wearing the Kimono in the merger scene, not war scene. :x

    #118868
    Tanya Jones
    Participant

    Good review, Marleen! The misunderstanding of the original is pretty startling; after all, YOU understood it! As you say, it’s not even true to colloquial German, so God alone knows what they’re up to.

    Katherine Parkinson’s performance is often misunderstood over here, too. The acting HAS to be big to work with everyone else’s performances. Linehan writes a lot of shouty stuff, and it’s odd that everyone who complained about the shouting in the IT Crowd don’t complain about the shouting in Father Ted.

    #118869
    Tanya Jones
    Participant
    #118870
    TheLeen
    Participant

    Well, try and watch the German version and you’ll find that without the shouting… it just doesn’t work.

    Okay, it doesn’t work for many reasons. But that’s one of them. Everyone seems so tired and uninspired. Not even the girl with the shoe seems passionate.

    But like I said, I didn’t mind the “over the top” Jen in the first place; on the contrary, I was a bit sad that they toned her down for the second series.

    #118871
    Tanya Jones
    Participant

    Yeah, exactly! People I know who didn’t like the first series that much have said that the second series is better. I still don’t see what makes the second series superior, though. It’s defintely funny, and holds up to repeated viewings very well, but, with the possible exception of the first episode of series 2, I think the first series is still the best. Jen’s catchphrase of ‘TAXI!’ is marvellous.

    #118872
    Tarka Dal
    Participant

    > it?s odd that everyone who complained about the shouting in the IT Crowd don?t complain about the shouting in Father Ted.

    That’s a fair point. I imagine it’s a personal thing. From my own perspective the shouting in Ted is never as whiny. Whereas the squeal that comes out Jen’s mouth during a lot series one causes much the same feeling as hearing Catherine Tate’s voice.

    #118873
    TheLeen
    Participant

    Denholm shouts *all the time* and people *love* him.

    Roy does a good deal of shouting as well.

    I like the shouting. There’s a German saying: The IT Crowd “has pepper” ;) The original version anyway. No pepper in the German version :(

    #118876
    Tanya Jones
    Participant

    Hmm. I can’t help but think ‘whiny’ equates to ‘female’ when it comes to IT Crowd complaints ;)

    #118878
    Phil
    Participant

    The shouting in series one worked so well because those were situations that CALLED for shouting: the first-day abuse, the fire/stress test, etc. The shouting was structurally appropriate.

    I don’t know if Jen was actively toned down for series two…she may well have been, I won’t pretend to understand what goes through somebody else’s mind when they write something. But it seemed that the situations would have called for something a little less explosive as a response. I’m pretty sure the change was just natural, owing to the content of the stories.

    Well, whatever. They’re both excellent…series two I’d say is slightly stronger because it contains my two favorite episodes, but they’re both just about equally great.

    #118879
    Jonathan Capps
    Keymaster

    I certainly don’t think Catherine Parkinson is *ever* whiny. That’s not her character at all.

    I will say, though, that is someone is not keen on Jen or Roy’s shouting in series 1 then the fact that Chris Morris and the cast of Father Ted are great at shouty comedy is utterly irrelevant, surely? I hate Catherine Tate’s catchphrase comedy, but would you defend her by saying The Fast Show was brilliant at it?

    #118881
    TheLeen
    Participant

    It would depend on whether someone said “There’s too much shouting going on in The IT Crowd” or “Katherine Parkinson’s way of shouting is getting on my nerves”.

    #118884
    Tarka Dal
    Participant

    > I will say, though, that is someone is not keen on Jen or Roy?s shouting in series 1 then the fact that Chris Morris and the cast of Father Ted are great at shouty comedy is utterly irrelevant, surely?

    Surely given that the dialogue comes from the same writer then it makes sense to question whether the difference could be due to the standard of delivery by the actor?

    > Hmm. I can?t help but think ?whiny? equates to ?female? when it comes to IT Crowd complaints ;)

    As Cappsy led onto Roy is ‘whiny’ a lot too. I still think it’s all just a matter of personal taste.

    #118889
    Tanya Jones
    Participant

    >It would depend on whether someone said ?There?s too much shouting going on in The IT Crowd? or ?Katherine Parkinson?s way of shouting is getting on my nerves?.

    Well, exactly. Most of the complaints I’ve heard are about her. But are the jokes as funny, or is it just a dislike of her? I think Catherine Tate delivers unfunny material AND has an irritating delivery, so I don’t think she’s really relevant.

    #118895
    Tarka Dal
    Participant

    > I think Catherine Tate delivers unfunny material AND has an irritating delivery, so I don?t think she?s really relevant.

    If a line has truly awful delivery then it doesn’t really matter how good it was on paper. Sure purists and devotees can argue later that the material was great, but the damage is allready done.

    #118897
    Tanya Jones
    Participant

    So is the complaint that Katherine can’t deliver a funny line? Because I don’t buy that, really. Or is it because she’s shouting in a higher pitched voice than the others? There isn’t much she can do about that, though…

    #118903
    Tarka Dal
    Participant

    For me it’s a simple matter that I don’t like the way that actress delivers those responses. It’s not that she can’t delivery a funny line as plenty of other people find them funny. Neither is it a pitch issue or simply the sound of female voice doing shouty, mentioning Tate probably muddied the waters a bit and implied it was all women shouting.

    #118920
    Nakrophile
    Participant

    The IT Crowd is bollocks. Apart from Matt Berry and his voice.

    #118930
    pfm
    Participant

    > I don?t know if Jen was actively toned down for series two?she may well have been

    I think that’s a definite. Katherine IMO is loads better as Jen in series 2. That’s not totally down to her not shouting as much, I reckon she plays her as a more sympathetic character. That’s down to the writing too though. It shouldn’t feel at any point that she is seperate from Roy and Moss, which I think happened quite a bit in series 1. It wasn’t until the last episode (Aunt Irma) that everything gelled (possibly my favourite moment in series 1 is Roy being slapped in the face in the Denholm high fives).

    They all improved really, and it was sad that Chris Morris didn’t stick around because the dynamic of the whole cast would then have been perfect. Instead the main three just didn’t fit with Matt Berry’s character. He’s just too surreal to be as funny IMO. Sadly series 2 wasn’t THAT spectacular, with some parts like ‘Peter File’ just being plain bad I’m afraid.

    #118931
    Phil
    Participant

    Well, as I say above, she HAS been toned down, but the question is whether it was a conscious decision or whether it grew out of the scripts and situations. I don’t think the episodes of series two called for her to be quite as reactionary as she had been in series one, which could have allowed her to settle into the character in a different sense than she had been. That doesn’t NECESSARILY mean it was a deliberate choice though…

    This kind of thing fascinates me. There’s nothing more intriguing to me than character-development, especially when there’s more than one force at work. (In novels, for example, you have only one force: the author. On screen you always have at least two: the writer and the actor. Even if the writer and actor is the same person each avenue of development is separate–just because a writer could imagine something doesn’t mean he’ll be able to act it out exactly as intended, and certainly the process of acting it can reveal things to him that his own writing did not. Very interesting subject.)

    #118932
    Phil
    Participant

    Also: why does this topic rate a “read more” link on the main page, and the other forum threads don’t?

    #118933
    TheLeen
    Participant

    > Also: why does this topic rate a ?read more? link on the main page, and the other forum threads don?t?

    Been asking myself the same! :x

    *Outing*

    I started to like the Douglas character after I’d realised who he reminds me of very, very, very much.

    Zaphod Beeblebrox O_O

    #118940
    John Hoare
    Participant

    > Also: why does this topic rate a ?read more? link on the main page, and the other forum threads don?t?

    Been asking myself the same! :x

    It’s because I’m an idiot.

    #118946
    Danny Stephenson
    Keymaster

    Does that just appear for larger starting posts? I’d noticed that if they’re of considerable size. Of which this post is MASSIVE!

    #118959
    John Hoare
    Participant

    Yep, that’s it. I’ll put it on the list of things to fix, but SOME DECENT FUCKING NAVIGATION has to take priority…

    #118997
    TheLeen
    Participant

    Additional. Just saw the telly release of this episode and something sensational happened – all the missing middle scenes are back in! Amazing. Now the plot makes remote sense. They’re decently done (as in: not totally terrible) as well. Also, and I hadn’t noticed this before, the picture of Bornholm behind his desk is moving in the last “hello computer” scene. As an added bonus, during the credits in the end there were some snapshots of Tom and Gabriel with Kiki and Vicky (which seem to have enjoyed the fair a good deal more than Brandy and Chrystal).
    This certainly doesn’t save the show – but well, at least one of the major holes fixed…

    #119000
    TheLeen
    Participant

    Oh by the way:

    Online mag netzeitung.de says in their iTeam review‘s “see also”:

    > “ganymede.tv” compares “IT Crowd” und “iTeam” (engl.)

    *g*

    #118998
    Ian Symes
    Keymaster

    Cor!

    #119002
    Tanya Jones
    Participant

    Woo-hoo!

    #119010

    Wowee! Good work there.

    #119100
    TheLeen
    Participant

    Because I can’t get enough of it:

    Video comparison @ youtube

    #119102
    pfm
    Participant

    > Video comparison @ youtube

    Please, kill me now…

    #119103
    Phil
    Participant

    Did you make that, Marleen?

    #119104
    TheLeen
    Participant

    Nope, not mine. Love it, though. It should have included many more scenes. Like, the entire episode. Yes.

    #119105
    Phil
    Participant

    I think there’s a ten minute limit for youtube, which may have dictated that. But a side by side for the whole episode would be very interesting.

    #119106
    Danny Stephenson
    Keymaster

    Can’t you apply for a ‘director’ account at youtube to extend your limit?

    #119117
    John Hoare
    Participant

    Can?t you apply for a ?director? account at youtube to extend your limit?

    Not any more.

    #119118
    John Hoare
    Participant

    And that video is possibly the best thing on YouTube ever. Brilliantly made.

    It makes the German version look at the very least a likable show… but then there’s absolutely no way I can judge it properly when I don’t know German.

    God, I wish I was doing Standard Nerds now! I WILL do it as a column on Noise To Signal instead when I get the chance.

    #119121
    Tarka Dal
    Participant

    > > Can?t you apply for a ?director? account at youtube to extend your limit?
    > Not any more.

    DivX Stage 6 seems to have no limit on length and the picture quality is better than Youtube too.

    #119123
    Phil
    Participant

    “Hallo! Compu-ter!”

    That guy really doesn’t seem to know how to play that scene at all. Granted, Chris Morris was doing his in front of an audience, so he was kind of able to ride that energy, but this German guy just seems to have been told, “Alright, say hello computer six or seven times and periodically look like you’re angry.”

    Also, the scene spent plugging in Jen’s computer…in the German one, “Roy” pops back in with a very satisfied look on his face when he realizes what’s happened, and even his tone of voice implies a sort of “I told you! We got you now!” kind of thing.

    In the original version it’s about a thousand times funnier because Roy’s emotion is so enormous and vague. It’s not satisfaction that he feels when he jumps back in the room and points…there’s a huge amount of panic in there as well, and a lot of fear that he’s also just exposed HIMSELF as an idiot. Much more complex, and much funnier.

    Like John, though, I don’t speak German. Which is why I’m glad we have Marleen here to assure us we’re not missing much.

    #119147
    TheLeen
    Participant

    > God, I wish I was doing Standard Nerds now!

    Get back on it John! I’ll help you out! I’m an IT Crowd addict!

    > assure us we?re not missing much.

    You aren’t. Even if it looks a BIT like a show that actually somewhat likable, they’ve messed up too many things. First and foremost, the actors are no comedians. And the script is shit. It’s just not funny. I’ve read about three dozen (or more) reviews and blog entries about “Das iTeam” now and *not a single one* was positive. At the official Sat1 (tv channel) board, there’s only hate going on. The show had the lowest viewer rating of all shows that night (and I reckon the other ones were shit too, alas don’t get the amount of hate that iTeam does). I have read a total of ONE individual forum posting at a random discussion board that said “I don’t know the original, but this was actually okay.”

    Believe me, there’s not much to like. :(

    #119178
    Tarka Dal
    Participant

    > the actors are no comedians

    They don’t really need to be to pull off a successful sitcom. They just have to be good actors with a funny script.

    #119179
    Phil
    Participant

    >The show had the lowest viewer rating of all shows that night

    Forgive the question, but what were the viewing figures like for the UK version’s first run? Were they high or was this show a slow burn?

    #119180
    Andrew
    Participant

    > Forgive the question, but what were the viewing figures like for the UK version?s first run?

    “Poor”, basically.

    > They don?t really need to be to pull off a successful sitcom. They just have to be good actors with a funny script.

    I suspect Marleen meant they lacked comic timing, not that they weren’t also gainfully employed as joke tellers. And timing’s vital for a comic performance. A great dramatic actor can still kill a joke.

    #119181
    Tarka Dal
    Participant

    Fair point. Now go check your email.

    #119196
    TheLeen
    Participant

    Oh, the acting was just as bad as the comedic timing. The latter may be down to the director? In the end it was just poor anyway.

    #119200
    Ian Symes
    Keymaster

    Oh, the acting was just as bad as the comedic timing.

    Faithful to the original in that respect, then.

    #119202
    John Hoare
    Participant

    > God, I wish I was doing Standard Nerds now!

    Get back on it John! I?ll help you out! I?m an IT Crowd addict!

    I haven’t got time to run another site, sadly – even to run it with someone. But thanks for the offer!

    But I’m DEFINITELY going to write about it on NTS when it relaunches. Maybe you could get involved then.

    #119421
    TheLeen
    Participant

    I’d love to, just let me know when you’re ready.

    #119434
    TheLeen
    Participant

    Show cancelled as of yesterday. After the second episode, that is. Somewhat sad, I really wanted to see all six.

    The second episode was on last Friday, but with the holiday and all that I had it taped and have yet to find out how to play the thing, I’ll probably get to watch it this weekend.

    #119436
    Andrew
    Participant

    Ooh, interesting – so they made six, but stopped broadcast after two?

    Is that normal for Germany/the station? It’s rare here that anything short of a total, total tank will be pulled mid-run, especially so early. Even then the other eps tend to be ‘moved’ rather than ‘dumped’.

    #119439
    TheLeen
    Participant

    Normal in Germany? I wouldn’t know about that, I don’t usually watch German programmes (for obvious reasons) but it seems odd to me as well. They could’ve ditched it right after the first episode. Ratings got better, but only very slightly so, for the second episode.

    I suppose it really was all the poor reviews on the internet on top of that.

    Guilty.

    :\

    #119440
    Dave
    Participant

    >I don?t usually watch German programmes (for obvious reasons)

    Why? What’s so obvious?

    Did you ever see the German version of Big Train?

    #119442
    TheLeen
    Participant

    No, afraid not… didn’t even know there was a German version, what’s it called? I might or might not know it…

    German television is generally shite. There are very very few programmes and telly films that are watchable. Off the top of my head I can name… not a single one actually. But I’m sure they’re out there somewhere.

    Why did you think I hop around all the British telly websites ;)

    #119444
    Phil
    Participant

    >didn?t even know there was a German version, what?s it called?

    Die Big Hitler Train

    #119449
    Dave
    Participant

    Es tut mir leid aber mein Deutsh ist schlecht.

    Did you ever see the British version of Big Train? There are a couple of sketches in Deutsch on the DVD, and they are the same shot for shot.

    #119453
    TheLeen
    Participant

    Nope :(

    #119459
    Phil
    Participant

    I’m actually sad they won’t be airing the remaining four episodes, as I was quite looking forward to a breakdown / comparison of each one.

    Marleen gave me a taste, and now I can’t get enough.

    #119466
    TheLeen
    Participant

    I know :( (I’ll do a shorter one on the second episode later.)

    The thing I can’t believe is that they don’t even show the remaining episodes on the “repeat slot” early sunday mornings or late at night or whatever. They don’t want to waste precious Friday night slots, fine. But they usually do show “the leftovers” in an unpopular place to not waste anything. Not this time, as far as I can see…

    #119484
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    Reading this review has reminded of me just how much I enjoyed the UK version and has prompted me to actually buy the DVDs. Shocking, I know.

    #119476
    TheLeen
    Participant

    The (German) IT Crowd Nightmare – Episode Two Review

    I have now seen the second episode in full (and, sadly, several times) and can comment a bit on it and compare it to the original like I did with the first episode, “Br?tchen vom Vortag”.

    Sandy ~ Jen
    Tom ~ Roy
    Gabriel ~ Moss
    Bornholm ~ Denholm

    The second one is named “Stressige Zeiten” (translation: “Stressful Times”) as opposed to “Calamity Jen”, a reference to Calamity Jane that would probably be lost on German viewers. I know I didn’t get that joke until recently, myself. So while the first German episode title was a nightmare, this one is actually okay.

    The episode opens with Sandy walking down a street and seeing red pumps in a shopfront just like Jen. But right here’s where the similarities end. While Jen seems slightly crazy (kind of like My Little Pony infected with mad cow desease) in her innocent, child-like craving for the shoes, for Sandy the shoes are clearly sexual – she moans and drools all over the window glass. Both interpretations are acceptable, but I do prefer Jen’s “christmas eyes” to Sandy’s “sex slave to the shoes” approach. In the original version, the shoes are shown in tunnel vision, in order to show that the shoes are all Jen can see now, all that matters. In the German version, the tunnel vision is missing. The sparkles as well as a metallic “sparkle” sound effect are still there. I will get back to the subject later!

    Next, the commercial for the new emergency number. Here the makers of Das iTeam cocked up several times.
    Cock-up One: An old lady falls down several flights of stairs in what quite clearly is a traditional German appartment building’s staircase. But comes to a halt next to her phone, inside her flat, you can even see the kitchen (or bathroom?) in the background behind her. Ed Wood comes to mind – as he used to say “don’t worry, once it’s on the big screen, people won’t notice!”… of course he was wrong.
    The phone is a dial plate one. Not sure if this is relevant or what they were aiming at with this (do you even get them anymore?) just thought I’d mention it.
    The phone number is 0188 999 881 999 119 981 3 – the digits at the end were changed (by someone, I reckon, who doesn’t understand the humour of the original line – but only a small change so let’s move on).
    The tune itself is quiet close to the original melody, if not even a little catchier (yay!). But there’s another only slight change for the only slightly-worse there: In the original version, the number is displayed in groups of three digits which (towards the middle) does not meet the rhythm of the jingle. Displayed is 0118 999 881 999 119 725 3, but they sing “0118-999. 881-99, 9119-725-3”. I always thought this discrepancy was part of the joke. In the German version, the number is spread over two lines, the linebreak being in the middle of the “split” three-digit-group, in sync with the jingle’s rhythm. The feeling remains that whoever is responsible for this change does not grasp the humour of the original version. Or I’m just a niggler and a grouch with too much time on my hands.
    Cock-up Two: Speaking of “in sync”, when the number is repeated, sound and image are not. The numbers sung are three digits ahead of the numbers displayed on Gabriel’s tv screen. That’s just bad.
    Between the first and second number jingle, the line “that is:” was changed to “and again, because it is so easy!” which, at least to me, doesn’t seem to make much sense.
    Gabriel gets to sing the line, and just as in the first episode, the actor over-emphasises and over-acts – I really want to blame the director for this. For example, at the end, the pause before the “…3” is just too long. Comedic timing is ruined. Subtlety is an art form that the makers of Das iTeam are not proficient in, this shows in many other details as well.

    Enters: Tom. Tom is not wearing a t-shirt identical to Roy’s in this episode, but a pink one which says “liquid pistol” on it. I wondered what they were going to do with Roy’s mixup of the numbers “999” and “911” in the German version – the German emergence number is “112” and no one really gets it mixed up with “911” over here. But this was solved by using “112” and “110” – the German police number. These two do get mixed up in reality, I myself dialed the wrong emergence number once! I was quite happy to see that they got a joke translated into German at last!
    But my euphoria didn’t last long because it was followed by a silly new bit of conversation which I will henceforth refer to as “yeah no yeah no”. Transcribed from memory:
    Tom: “110”
    Gabriel: “it’s 112, 110 is the police!”
    Tom: “That’s what I said.”
    Gabriel: “You said 110!”
    Tom: “No I didn’t!”
    Gabriel: ” yes you did!”
    Tom: “No I didn’t!”
    Gabriel: “Yes you did!”
    Tom: “No I didn’t!”
    Gabriel: “No you didn’t!”
    Tom: “Yes I did! … Damn!”
    Sorry, but this is silly… in an unfunny way. (Besides, I remember this game from kindergarden, and the reverse-thing never really worked on anyone!)

    Enters: Sandy. I was particularly looking forward to this scene – Jen’s shoe mumbling monologue is one of my favourite pieces of text and I have quoted it on numerous occasions myself – as the significant other will confirm (the poor man). Alas, Jen’s monologue has had a lot changed – for worse. Again: while Jen is making a slightly mad, definitely out of order but lovable impression – Sandy’s monologue is purely sex-driven. In this case, I don’t like it one bit! All my favourite lines cut or changed. At one point, Sandy leans on Tom’s shoulder, who tries to comfort her but ends up looking slightly embarrassed because having a woman so near makes him awkwardly insecure. This on the other hand is a change I can live with (although I do still definitely prefer “come on, you crazy bitch”).

    Now for the first bit of unbearably awkward language. (Remember, in the first episode there were bits of text already that made one think of babelfish translations.) As they all exit to go upstairs for the boss’s meeting, Moss’s line has been translated literally: “I bet he declares war on something. He loves declaring war!” – “Ich wette, er erkl?rt irgendjemandem den Krieg. Er liebt es, den Krieg zu erkl?ren!” This sounds so weird. I would think that in German, it is grammar-wise not allowed, or at the very least not common, to “declare war” without an object – without saying who on. The next scene starts just like that: “I am declaring war!” – “Ich erkl?ren den Krieg!”. Another bit of seemingly mindless translation. There would have been so many phrases that could have been used, meant the same, and sounded more natural: “Ich rufe den Krieg aus!” – “Ich rufe den Ausnahmezustand aus!” – or even short and catchy: “Es herrscht Krieg!” – “Wir sind im Krieg!”

    But let’s forget the shoddy dialogue script for a second and see what else they did to ruin the comedy. Right – original version: close-up on Denholm’s face, he declares war, camera zooms out, the ridiculous biking outfit is revealed. Funny. German version: close-up on Bornholm’s face, he declares war, camera zooms out, the ridiculous biking outfit is revealed… or not? Bornholm is wearing a bike helmet – apparently they wanted to make him look even more ridiculous (this worked) but at the same time, ruined the zooming-out-revealing-outfit gag. Again: someone must not have understood why the original is funny in the first place.

    Sky Dumont, the actor of boss Bornholm, got a lot of flak from me in my first review for making the impression that he doesn’t really have a clue of what he’s doing. Now let’s see if his performance has changed for the better or worse. I was hoping that whatever direction he would take his character in (that was originally written for Chris Morris, to be played by chris Morris, to be funny when Chris Morris does) – it would be a clear one. A clearer idea of the character Bornholm, as opposed to Denholm. First thing you notice is that Sky Dumont apparently has changed his mind – his performance is a lot closer to Chris Morris’s one, a bit more aggressive and powerful. More on this subject later.

    The “say, I hate stress – ” joke falls flat for two reasons – one, he’s not reaching for water immediately before, like in the original version (another fun moment cut). Two, the (again) literal translation of this line does not work in German. If we say “say, …” – “Sagen Sie, ich hasse Stress -“, we mean the kind of “say” that Roy & Tom understant it to be. There is no room for ambiguity. We say “Angenommen, ich hasse Stress…” – “Let’s assume I hate stress…” or at the most “Sagen wir mal…” – “Let’s say…”. And if the joke was toned down anyway (what with the water drinking missing in the beginning) I think this is one joke I would have cut entirely – better than breaking it in this horrible way. Or I would have sat down and tried to come up with a clever replacement. (Just because I can’t think of one doesn’t mean there is none – maybe there would have been a way to pull the same joke in German.) Anyway, this would have needed to be changed.

    So, does anybody have an idea how to fight stress? “Have a bath?” you might say now, as Moss did. Gabriel suggests to “go for a lunchbreak walk” though. Okay, let me get this straight. This absolutely uncritical line was changed, for no apparent reason, at least I can’t think of one. And the bit before that doesn’t work in German – wasn’t. Next thing, the writers again slavishly follow the original: Denholm cycles to work every day, 70 miles! Bornhom cycles to work every day, 112 kilometers! Someone else work out the pattern behind these decisions, please. (Actually, I think 70 miles are closer to 113 kilometers really.)

    Bornholm claims that his calves (not thighs) are hard as steel (not red as a fire engine). This is the sort of change I really wouldn’t care about – if not for Sky Dumont patting his calf in close-up which behaves more like pudding. Of course, Sky Dumont is not nearly as wiry of built as Chris Morris. Also, his biking outfit actually emphasises his belly in bright orange. I would have thought that this was part of the joke – a conceptual idea of Bornholm pretending to be sporty and really not being. But it’s probably another case of “no conceptual idea at all”.

    Worse yet, Bornholm asks if anyone would like to feel his hard-as-steel calves. Now he’s back to his former senile/doped grandpa self (see episode one). And worse yet, Gabriel is actually tempted to go and feel his boss’s leg. An additional joke that shouldn’t have happened.

    Sandy’s asked what she’d do against stress, the answer being “shoes”. In this scene in particular you can see that Britta Horn lack’s subtlety – but that goes for the entire production, so again, I really want to blame the director, not the actress.

    Bornholm announces that anyone who still experiences stress at the end of the day – WILL BE FIRED! at the top of his voice. Now he’s back to impersonating Denholm. He really can’t make up his mind. When I watched the first episode, it was just a feeling – now I know for certain: Sky Dumont does not have any concept for his role at all.

    The shoe store scene has been shortened and significantly toned down, don’t know why.

    Europe’s leading stress expert lacks the tranquility and calm tone of voice of the original one – he’s more of a slightly wacky, nutty professor type. His name is Friedemann Jansen. “Frieden” meaning “peace”. A bit blunt but whatever.

    When Tom’s sitting in place and the stress lecture continues, Tom sees the buffet – which sparkles just like Sandy’s shoes did, including the sound effect! Tm’s excited face is actually a bit closer to Jen’s original christmas look! Now there’s a change I actually like. Reminder: iN the original version, the buffet is just shown very quickly, and next thing you see is Roy eating a chicken. Filmed in an understating, kind of dry way – no need to further comment. It is very British, so to speak. And it’s lovely! But they said they needed to change things to make the humour work for Germans and here is the one example where they’ve actually achieved exactly that. I like how Tom and Sandy have a parallel experience there – something I think Graham Linehan had in mind for Jen’s and Roy’s love lives as well. Good job, this would have been the way to go.

    But again my euphoria (this time it actually is euphoria) is killed by one of the next lines. When Tom wants a go at the stress machine and Gabriel wants to see him punished for nearly killing their colleague, another “yeah no yeah no” happens. I’d been afraid they were going to try to turn this into a running gag.

    Commercial break.

    Next, the “shoe presentation” in the IT office. Just as the bit with her walking down the road in her new shoes, this is decently done; except for the end: after “The shoes, you dorks!” there is no further conversation between TOm and Gabriel. The two of them are equally puzzled. And this means that another favourite of mine (“… but I only know one woman ,and she just left the room shouting THE SHOEEEESAHHHH…”) was cut. (PS: the little scene with Jen in the elevator wasn’t there either, but no biggie that.)

    The soldering iron scene. Ah, there is a lot to be said about it from a script point of view. Gabriel always gets mixed up between “Feuer” (fire) and “Feier” (celebration). Which kind of works because the word do sound quite alike so it is (well, somwhat) realistic. The mix-up between golf and fire is quite absurd, and therefore also funny. Oh, don’t ask me. I don’t see why they needed to change this bit at all, but at least it’s not the worst case. The dialogue has been changed some (insignificant changes) and at the climax, has been simplified. Also, pay attention to the last two lines.

    Original dialogue:

    Roy: “Just make sure it’s off.”
    Moss: “It is off. I think.”
    Roy: “Well, just make sure it is.”
    Moss: “I will make sure it is.”
    Roy: “And if it’s already off…”
    Moss: “… … … I’ll just walk away!”

    German dialogue:

    Tom: “Turn it off.”
    Gab:” It is off.”
    Tom: “You sure?”
    Gab: “Fairly sure.”
    Tom: “And if it’s still on?”
    Gab:” Then I’ll turn it off… and just walk away!”

    Next, Gabriel walks over to the soldering iron, mumbling, “if it’s on… I turn it off… and just walk away”. Of course he turns it on instead of off. This shows that the scene also works with the simplified text, without the little “And if it’s already off” detour. I actually like the simple version. However, there is absolutely no reason why Gabriel would say “… and just walk away”. Twice. Because the “And if it’s alerady off” detour wasn’t taken. It’s really coming out of nowhere.

    Next thing, the office is on fire; Gabriel tries to call the emergency number but reaches Tony’s Pizza Place (instead of a foreign country) which actually makes more sense than the original – since Moss did definitely get the area code right… some more (small) changes… The “Made in Britain” joke ist missing… then Gabriel writing the email, but without Moss’s “No, too formal!” – Gabriel just writes the “Fire! Help me!” version.

    Scene with Jen at the doctor’s. The doctor’s actress has less timing than any of the others. I know it’s a small role but… argh! Again, you see Sandy’s left mangled foot, but where’s the right one? They saved some special effects money there… and now for the really bad part (I know I’m being a drama queen here): “but if I can’t wear them, what am I supposed to wear?” became “Am I suppose to walk in socks?” – erhm… what socks are they talking about?

    Tom meets stressman by the snack machine (not elevator), and they get involved in a fight – which is not a fist fight really but looks a lot like bunny rabbits slapping each other. The guy playing the stress expert doesn’t know that his is a supporting role and that it is not his job to act funny. That the protagonists are funny because the supporting roles act perfectly normal. Again, I want to blame the director.

    Sandy comes back (on bare feet, of course) and a woman passes out after seeing her foot. Wait a minute! I think (I can’t be 100% certain) that this is the shoe girl from episode one, same actress (can’t be the woman from the elevator since the elevator scene never happened). A bit of additional continuity there, nice one.

    Another highlight of The IT Crowd is up next – the scene with the Japanese business delegation. As all other scenes, it is a bit lifeless and lacks the original’s energy. Even the Japanese businessman. But there’s more. In the original version, Denholm’s (inadequate) gift is “a pair of Doc Martens with extremely thick and heavy soles” (is Denholm breaking the fourth wall there, the sneaky bastard?). In the German version, Bornholm (who, by the way, is wearing a kimono) offers a pair of “original Bavarian hiking boots”. Fair enough! (Sadly no mention of the extremely thick and heavy soles though.) Of course we Germans know Doc Martens well enough, so there was really no need for a change. But maybe Bavarian hiking boots were thought “more German”. Ironically, Doc Martens were originally a German product

    What else comes to mind about this scene? Oh yes. “Clap him, man!” becomes a whispered “Godzilla? Didn’t he stomp entire Tokyo?” and basically, all the aggressive energy of that scene is… absent.

    Instead of cultural advisor Paul, we have here personal assistant Seifert-san.

    They never talk about a merger, only “future business relations” and “a million (euros) deal”. So Jen’s/Sandy’s hazardous cock-up there was made less… hazardous.

    Sandy’s swearwords are profanity-buzzed, but the profanity-buzzer (another sneaky attack on the fourth wall in the original) is never shown nor mentioned. Sorry Seifert-san, you’re not back on the payroll.

    The Japanese businessman actually apologises when Sandy has a go at him (hehe, you can see her calling him a cocksucker), keeps bowing and saying sorry. Not happy with that. Also, his assistant has actually translated the swearing to him, but there’s no focus on this fact (like it isn’t funny at all?), I actually only spotted the translating when I rewound to the scene to specifically look for it. In the end, the Japanese man just grabs the katana – Bornholm doesn’t devoutly offer it back like Denholm did. You do not see the Japanese delegation exit with sword AND shoes (a hightlight missed) and the sword in a plastic bag (another highlight missed).

    The definite anti-climax is Bornholm telling Sandy that she’s walking on socks, which is a sign of stress – again: what socks?

    Back in the IT office, Gabriel is car racing on his wii (Moss was playing a first persion shooter). Some dialogue was changed / lines shifted around a bit in the following scene but I don’t want to go into too much detail – I just realised that this review is even longer than the last one… Anyway: the third installment of the annoying “yeah no yeah no” occurs, and by now I really hate it. A little later, Gabriel is looking for more water spray to calm down his hot ear – another positive change since it adds to the continuity between episodes. In the original, Moss was looking for his asthma spray.

    Another occurance of awkward language as Tom is helping Sandy into her shoes – she tells him to “pressen” (press) but well, I don’t know anyone who would use the word “pressen” there; unless Tom was giving birth to something, the correct term would have been “dr?cken”. Just another example of rough translating that results in unnatural, forced language. Similarly Gabriel: “they’ll rape the flip out of me” becomes “I will have to bend over and pick up a bar of soap”. Erhm. If you can’t come up with a catchy line, and on a touchy subject too, just leave it out…

    The scene with Bornholm trying to measure Sandy’s stress level is shorter than the original one and (again) Sky Dumont isn’t very convincing. Sandy is pretty close to Jen in this one.

    Upon leaving, Bornholm looks at the fire again and says, “Wait a minute! …” pause… “I’ve got to go!” Now where’s the joke gone? “I’m late for golf” would have worked even better in the German version than in the original for the golf is now a “Feier”, a celebration. Something you can perfectly be late for. It could have been at least decent.

    Gabriel wonders why the stress machine didn’t work. The question remains unanswered. The “Made in Britain” joke was neither translated nor adapted nor replaced by something entirely different. I’ve read a lot of critique in German blogs about the fact that it isn’t explained why Sandy’s stress level didn’t set off the stress machine alarm – but for once, I am not going to complain along with them. During the stress test, you can clearly see that Sandy is not wearing the blood pressure sleeve. If she isn’t connected to the stress machine, it can’t give her away. This shows nicely that both Bornholm and Sandy are blissfully uninformed where technology in concerned. I just wish they’d put an emphasis on this during cutting the episode – then I could believe that it was intended to be this way, rather than a fortunate accident of an absolutely clueless team…

    Overall, slightly better than the first episode but still far from acceptable; and I’m sad that I won’t get to see and compare the other four episodes already produced.

    For your viewing pleasure, here is also a 10 minute video comparison of the second episode for you.

    #119501
    John Hoare
    Participant

    That is excellent, Marleen!

    #86720
    TheLeen
    Participant

    I just found out that all iTeam episodes are available for Video on Demand.

    … at the horrible, horrible VoD portal “Maxdome”. I tried to register there but failed so far. But one day… !

    Anyway. Expect more reviews.

    #86732
    pfm
    Participant

    Can I just say that Britta Horn (who plays the German Jen) still does it for me. In fact, *insert ‘she gives me the horn, get it, Horn! that’s her fucking surname, Horn!!’ reference*. What makes me laugh is how they, for whatever reason, decided they wanted her to have exactly the same hair as Jen (funny how the concentrate on that and yet mess up loads of other trivial things, like the performances). You’d think they might be interested in actually improving on the original version.

    #86736
    TheLeen
    Participant

    Huh? Jen has ginger hair and a fluffy, shoulder length cut; Sandy’s hair is blonde, long and straight down.

    To me, they don’t look alike *at all*.

    It’s funny though how they re-created Moss’ afro for Gabriel.

    #86738
    Andrew
    Participant

    To boys, that is the same hair.

    #86742
    Phil
    Participant

    I’d do them both. Bye!

    #86743
    TheLeen
    Participant

    I see.

    #86753
    ChrisM
    Participant

    It’s the parting I think.

    #100696
    TheLeen
    Participant

    A friend of mine works for MTV, and she told another friend of mine (who then told me), that she saw that Comedy Central Germany is going to show The IT Crowd (not iTeam), German dubbing, from September – all three series. The internet says it’s true, too.

    Yay!

    More to review :D

    #100701
    Tanya Jones
    Participant

    Woo!

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