PEEP SHOW HAS RETURNED (and it’s already as moreish as crack)

Yes, you heard us. The beloved TV show is finally back on our screens for its ninth and final season. So far we have been graced with two beautiful new episodes – both of which you can (and should) catch up with on 4OD. Can’t remember what happened in the old seasons? Don’t worry, bite has got you covered with full series review…

Page8_9_peepshowseries1Series 1
The audience are introduced to Mark and Jeremy, two 20-somethings living together in a flat in London. Despite their close friendship, their lives are very different, with Jeremy being a wannabe musician doing nothing productive with his days whilst Mark works at an insurance company. Throughout the series, both try and bed their neighbour, Toni, with little success, Jeremy only getting any results after pretending to be terminally ill. Mark also develops feelings for Sophie, a co-worker of his.

Quote of the series: “Super Hans says he’s come up with a bass loop for our new track that is so good, that when he tried turning it off… he literally couldn’t… he actually physically couldn’t do it.” Jeremy

Series 2
In an unexpected turn of events, life smiles kindly on Jeremy as he meets and marries a gorgeous blonde woman, Nancy, for visa-related reasons. After being persuaded into having an affair with Toni, the marriage becomes loveless and Jez drops to a new low. Meanwhile, Mark is emotionally tortured as he watches Sophie date co-worker Jeff. Sophie and Jeff only break up once Mark tells on Jeff to Sophie after Jeremy tells Mark that Jeff has kissed somebody else.

Quote of the series: “I’ll tell you what, that crack is really moreish.” Super Hans

Series 3
Jeremy’s love life, again, takes an steep upwards turn, followed shortly by a downwards one. Jez starts spending a lot of time with Big Suze, but then seduces Mark’s sister, Sara, who following a recent divorce, becomes enamoured with him. Jez forces Mark to eventually break up with Sara. Mark himself is with Sophie, and amongst getting mugged and spending a night in a gay club, Mark finds himself alone when Sophie moves to work in Bristol. The series finale sees Mark take Sophie to the Quontocks in order to propose to her. Jez and Super Hans join them, the latter has intentions to spend the weekend going cold-turkey, which he almost manages. Mark pulls out of the proposal since he decides he does not have enough in common with Sophie, but after she rummages around his jacket, she accepts a proposal that Mark did not intend to make. Mark does not challenge this on the basis of embarrassment and a fear of dying alone.

Quote of the series: “I’m going to end up proposing on the M4, possibly the M25! How romantic will that be? And it’s going to be her fault. Why won’t that stupid bitch let me propose to her?” Mark

Series 4
Series 4 is the build up to Mark and Sophie’s wedding. This takes place in several stages: Mark and Jez visit Sophie’s family in the countryside where they go hunting, meet Sophie’s brother and burn down a barn in revenge. Mark joins a gym to avoid spending time with Sophie, which Jez also ends up joining to spend time with Mark. Jez begins exchanging sexual favours for money with ‘The Orgazoid’ and also throws Mark a stag-do to remember where they fail to attract two women and instead, burn and eat their beloved dog ‘Mummy’. In the climax of the series, Mark and Sophie are to be married: Jeremy wets himself in the church, Mark almost jilts Sophie but then does marry her. Leaving in tears, Sophie runs from the wedding car, leaving Mark and Jez to return home, alone and smelling of various bodily fluids.

Quote of the series: “Yes, I’m doing it already! I’m so pathetic that as soon as you ordered me to piss myself, I started the procedure. This is what you’ve done, you’ve ground down my sense of self worth over the years, I hope you’re proud!” Jeremy

Series 5
Mark begins to move on with his love life as he explores several new options throughout the series: initially a woman who stands him up on a date who he forces into a date after a chance meeting, an Australian woman who needs a place to live whom he meets whilst he is speed-dating and Dobby, who is interested in Mark, but fearing a PR disaster after a divorce with Sophie, he fails to ask her out. Jeremy finds out he may have chlamydia and contacts all of his ex-girlfriends. He also continues his musical ventures with Super Hans and Sophie’s younger brother Barney, who eventually becomes sexually involved with. Jez almost inherits money from the passing of his auntie Gwen, but his mother does not give him the money. That leaves Jez with very little money and a decommissioned WWII pistol – ‘gunny’. The series ends with Mark receiving a promotion. When he is asked to fire Sophie, she reveals she is pregnant. What Mark does not know is that Jeremy also slept with Sophie and could be the father.

Quote of the series: “Jez – can you tell me, yeah, as a mate, someone who knows me really well, is the bottom half of me on fire?” Super Hans

Page8_9_peepshowseries6Series 6
JLB credit – Mark’s workplace – closes down, leaving Mark and Jeremy (employed for one morning at JLB) unemployed. Mark goes on to work at a Mexican restaurant whilst trying to start a company with his previous boss, Alan Johnson. Jez’s love life kicks up a notch as he falls in love with a Russian woman, Elena, who lives downstairs. What Jez does not know is that Elena is bi-sexual and has a long-term partner, Gail. Mark discovers Elena’s relationship with Gail. The series ends with Mark and Jeremy trying and failing to drive Sophie to the hospital after she goes into labour.

Quote of the series: “You should just get a van. With a van, it’s like you’ve got an MBA, but you’ve also got a fucking van.” Super Hans

Series 7
Sophie gives birth to her and Mark’s child, and throughout the series, Mark does his best when it comes to parenting whilst also keeping a close eye on Dobby, who at this point is going out with Simon, a younger, more attractive graphic designer. Jeremy falls in love with Zahra, a woman he meets in the hospital whilst caring for her boyfriend, Ben, who is in a coma. Ben, once he has recovered, appoints Jeremy as the head of development at his music label. Jez uses his new-found responsibility to almost sign Man Feelings – Super Hans’ newest band whilst Ben sniffs out Zahra’s infidelity. After a rocky period where Mark misses his son’s Christening and a turbulent Christmas meal, the series ends on New Year’s eve, where, in a heart-wrenching turn of events, it appears Mark will move in with Dobby and Jez is out of the flat.

Quote of the series: “You what? No turkey?! You fucking idiot, Jeremy! You total fucking idiot! That was YOUR job, you fucking moron! You CRETIN! You’re a FUCK-HEAD! That’s what you are! A fucking SHIT-HEAD!” Mark

Series 8
Dobby is set to finally move in with Mark, the only small hitch being Gerrard, Mark’s co-worker, who is also in love with Dobby. Mark suspects that he is stalling and preventing Dobby from moving in. Jez leaves and is about to move to Super Hans’ for the foreseeable future but immediately realises this is not tenable for any stretch of time. He then reconnects with Sara, Mark’s sister, and lives with her as pseudo maid/boyfriend/nanny. Jez also begins Lifecoaching after failing one course and having Mark print him a fake certificate. Jez connects with Dobby on a paintballing weekend for Simon’s birthday which leads both Mark and Jez to go on a countryside date with Dobby, where they both propose their love to her. Dobby reveals she has a job offer from Simon in New York and the audience are left without knowing what she chooses to do.

Quote of the series: “So great that Dobby’s agreed to move in. Just gotta close the deal. Get her into the flat and keep her locked down like Fritzl. No, not like Fritzl, like a nice normal loving guy who knows where she is at all times. Which at no point would be locked in the cellar.” Mark

After what seems like millennia, Peep Show is back, and with it, so is our love of life. Mark and Jez have been off our screens (but in our hearts) for almost three years, and with such a long gap, it was fitting that series 9 kicked off with a return to their world 6 months after the last episode and ‘The Dobby Thing’ where Jeremy and Mark left us on anything but good terms.

Episode Review: The William Morris Years (Series 9 Episode 1)
Dobby had received a job offer from Simon, a good looking, successful graphic designer. The job was in New York and with both Mark and Jeremy fighting over her, tensions were high.

“Ahhh.” We all sighed, sliding back into the warm duvet of awkwardness and self-doubt that Peep Show smothers us in. Welcome home.

The episode kicked off with Mark and Jez making their separate ways to Super Hans/Sober Hans’ stag, having not seen each other since their fracas over Dobby.

After a juice filled start (“This stag is one load of PG rated, Disney-assed, Which magazine approved, childproofed, high vitamin fucking bullshit”), Super Hans is dragged once more to the dark side in a drink and drug-fuelled night of fun. Jez, who has been living in Hans’ house, the bathroom, to be exact, takes the fall for Hans as his anti-drug fiancée finds drugs in Hans’ coat pocket.

Jez, not for the first time, turns to Mark for help. Mark is renting out Jez’s old room to a colleague, Jerry. After debating the issue and much ruminating, Jerry is evicted, following feeble resistance from a willing Mark and a cheerful Jeremy, all with a trademark helping hand from their very own Super Hans.

After ‘bagging-up’ Jerry (picture what you will) and water-boarding him with lager, he is thrown into the lift, sentenced to a night on the streets.

Jeremy is back. The team is back together and our hearts are mended and we can sleep soundly.

On the face of it, Peep Show sounds like an utterly underwhelming TV show: Two guys live together in London, one of them is a layabout and the other is a bit boring and has a job. They have some girlfriends and some drugs and things don’t work out for them most of the time.

But this ignores the soul of Peep Show – other than The Office, the most accurate representation of the English existence on television. With all of its pessimism, pitfalls and hopelessness, Peep Show finds a way to take Mark and Jeremy’s rather pathetic lives and eke out all of the crumbs of humour which live between the sofa cushions of English life.

This week’s return was fantastic, it showcased Mark’s internal turmoil, Jeremy’s pathetically endearing tendencies and Super Hans’ unpredictable, eccentric, nightmare-like personality, but more notably it reminded me why I, and so many others love Peep Show differently to other shows.

Everything is just right: the way it’s shot with the first person camera angle, the pace of conversation interspersed perfectly with their internal monologues, even the length of each episode is just right, it feels fulfilling but we are always left wanting just a bit more.

It was always going to be difficult to live up to the hopes of almost 3 years of anticipation, but writers Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain have managed it – there was progression in the storyline, there were memorable quotes to be repeated by all us fans ad-nauseum (“If you look like a sausage-dog fucker, then I look like a sausage-dog fucker”) and the next step on the El Dude Brother’s descent to their depressing future was believable and hilarious.

This episode was a good example of why Peep Show is fantastic – you watch, simultaneously laughing, cringing and feeling a pit form in your stomach.

It’s back, and it’s brilliant.

Episode Review: iSpy (Series 9 Episode 2)
After the beautiful disaster of episode one’s reunion between Mark and Jez, the second episode of the series takes absolutely no time to heat up. After some expert cyber-stalking, it is clear Dobby is still on Mark’s mind. His adoration is rekindled further after Mark sees Dobby on the guest list to Super Hans’ wedding. A wedding which Mark is asked to be Best Man for despite barely knowing anything about bride nor groom, let alone either one of their Christian names.

One would be forgiven for thinking Jeremy has been rather quiet up to this point, but after a life-coaching session, Jeremy proceeds to strike up a homosexual affair with his client’s boyfriend which is broadcast over the internet to an audience of 4 in Mark’s hotel room, thanks to his webcam.

After late-night hitchhiking and threatening murder, Super Hans’ wedding goes off without any major hiccups, crack-related or otherwise. Mark and Jeremy are left dejected (the former) and sexually confused (the latter).

The story-arc of the episode felt more rushed than usual for Peep Show standards but was funny in a typically hopeless way, with Mark and Jez’s lives looking bleaker than ever, leaving us all that bit happier with the way our own existences are shaping up.

Don’t miss episode 3, out on Wednesday 25th November

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