Conor Barry takes a not-so-sneak peek at Channel 4’s evergreen Peep Show
You know those shows that some of your slightly irritating friends say you have to watch, and when you eventually do, you become the kind of slightly irritating person who tells other people they have to watch it? Peep Show is the epitome of that situation, holding the bizarre accolade of being simultaneously one of Channel 4’s most profitable, and yet least-watched, programmes. It is mainly through the wonder that is DVD sales that Peep Show is still knocking about, currently in the middle of its sixth season.
The show follows the depressingly pathetic 30 year old flatmates Mark and Jeremy, played by the That Mitchell and Webb Look pair… eh, Mitchell and Webb. Socially stunted Mark is constantly making embarrassing attempts to become a normal member of society, failing desperately, like when he tries to woo a co-worker only to look back on it and think “She’s ignoring me. Of course, she’s ignoring me. I sent her a swastika.” Then we have Jeremy, the unemployed and overly confident man-child who tries his best to understand the world around him: “I know there’s no proof for Jesus, but we believe in lots of things with no proof… like science, or the stock market…”
The thing that sets Peep Show apart from other British sitcoms is that we can hear the thoughts of both Mark and Jeremy. The technique has been critically hailed as artistically revolutionary, but that pushes it a bit too far into Ulysses territory. Far less highbrow than that, what it does do is allow for some of the best one-liners of any show in existence. Mark’s musings on his failing date: “Low quality TV dinner, low quality film, followed by low quality sexual intercourse.” In fact, even the spoken one-liners are class, such as Jeremy’s druggy buddy claiming “that crack is really moreish”.
The current season follows a similar pattern to the previous. There is the set-up that makes it seem as if Mark may finally get what he wants, and then we watch as his life slides back to the horribly bleak state we found him in at the beginning, laughing all the way. While you can complain the show has hardly changed in its six year run, the Peep Show formula is still going strong and continues to be one of the funniest and wittiest shows around. And while the 10pm Friday evening slot will only attract the kind of audience the show itself makes fun of, be sure to pick it up on DVD. Then you too can become the guy who keeps telling everyone to watch it. What fun!
Peep Show is on Channel 4 every Friday night at 10pm.