Peep Show | Series 9 Episode 1 reviewed by Steve Bennett © C4/Angus Young

Peep Show

Series 9 Episode 1 reviewed by Steve Bennett

A lot has been written about the last Peep Show series… and with good reason. Between precious auteurs and impatient commissioners few sitcoms last more than two series these days, let alone nine.

You could say a generation has grown up with Mark Corrigan and Jeremy Usborne…but the pair have not grown up. Twelve years on and they’re still back where they started.

Well, not quite. After they fell out fighting for the romantic attentions of Isy Suttie’s Dobbie at the end of last series, Mark has finally kicked out his feckless flatmate, who now sleeps in Superhans’s bathtub. Six months on from that fateful picnic and the second bedroom is now now occupied by Jerry (Tim Key): a person Mark thinks he has more in common with: conservative, quiet, interested in intellectual pursuits and concerned about the thermostat setting…

No one quite finds the humour in mundanity like Key, and he fits well into the the Peep Show universe. Although only for a short while, as the status quo must be resumed.

Jez (Robert Webb), finding himself homeless, after a rare display of doing the right thing as he takes the rap for Superhans crashing spectacularly off the wagon in his stag do. Thus begins his attempts to wheedle his way back into the flat, taking on the pettiness and pride that so define Mark, a distant descendant of Tony Hancock’s similarly vain character.

So in a wonderful bit of brutal slapstick, Jerry is unceremoniously dragged out of his accommodation and we are back where we started, more or less. And although ‘The El Dude Brothers’ have struck a truce, their co-dependence as misfits of different hues is as toxic as ever. And Superhans the disruptive influence to pressure the fault line between them.

There is one small change, Mark (David Mitchell) now has a job in a bank – though his imagined position of some sort of suburban Wolf Of Wall Street is wide of the mark as he struggles with sales targets. If only there was some gullible, financially naive and desperate person he could exploit.

This opening episode is basically a reset button to put the characters back where they need to be, but it’s written with the elegance that cements Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain’s legacy. Their script nips between big set pieces with savvy dialogue that fizzes with gags and wry asides, while making viewers cringe at the appallingly self-serving antics of the anti-heroes that we now know so well.

Review date: 11 Nov 2015
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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