Peep Show

James McCoull looks ahead to what is to be the final series of cult Channel 4 comedy Peep Show

9th November 2015

It’s been a while since we last checked in with Jez and Mark – three years this December, in fact, and its with more than a little excitement that I received the news we’d be going back to them one last time.

Peep Show is an undoubted classic: a milestone in British comedy and an instant hit right from the get-go in 2003. Not only is its internal monologue style of narration extremely unique, it’s also one of the funniest comedies to ever grace Channel 4. And that’s the channel that gave us The IT Crowd.

Jeremy and Mark’s perennial inability to catch a break never stops being hilarious, and their odd-couple squabbling and cycles of mutual sabotage create the perfect setup for good old-fashioned cringey comedy. The show is at its unquestionable best when legendary duo Mitchell and Webb, Mark and Jeremy respectively, are bouncing off each other. Remember the episode when they were trapped in the ‘airlock’ of Zara’s apartment? Yeah, me too, because I’d never laughed so hard in my life.

On top of the loveable and yet detestable protagonists’ infinite capacity for self-defeat, and the outrageous situations they find themselves in time and time again, the show is brought to life by a cast of unforgettable supporting characters. Crack-smoking, wisdom-dispensing Noel Gallagher look-a-like Super Hans has become a bona fide cult icon in his own right, and Dobby - even arriving late to the series as she did - has earned herself a devoted fan following with her take-no-shit attitude and irrefutably loveable geekiness.

On top of all this, as absurd as their problems are, Mark and Jez are ultimately very relatable characters. Every student knows the existential crisis of having to actually do things and be a functioning member of society, and more or less every student responds in the exact same fashion as Jez: by staunchly denying any kind of accountability and adamantly refusing to grow up. And similarly, Mark’s neurotic stresshead personality is a mirror of any adult’s crumbling-and-crying response to real-world pressures. Maybe you or I wouldn’t join a cult like Jeremy or dump our fiancée at the altar like Mark – or maybe you would, I don’t know you – but we all have flaws, and they’re extremely recognisable in the laughable psychological profiles of Peep Show’s identical-yet-opposite leading duo.

So where did we leave off? For those for whom it’s simply been too long, Mark had whisked Dobby off to the Quantocks (‘can you only propose in the Quantocks?’) and Jeremy had awkwardly tagged along, hoping to steal the adorkable object of the pair’s affections in the eleventh hour. Inevitably, shit hit the fan and both found themselves literally fighting for her love as she fled to the hills. And that’s the last we saw of them: running after a long-gone woman and screaming threats at each other. Par for the course, all things considered.

Who knows what lies ahead for the hopeless El Dude brothers? I haven’t the foggiest, but I know it’s going to be amazing, and hopefully it’ll give the series the grand, hilarious seeing off it so richly deserves. Personally, I’ve got my fingers crossed to see the opening of the Swan & Paedo.

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