Reviews, Television

PEEP SHOW RETURNS: S9 E1 THE WILLIAM MORRIS YEARS REVIEW

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*SPOILER WARNING – DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE LATEST EPISODE OF PEEP SHOW*

It’s finally back. Three years after they left us hanging, Mark (David Mitchell) and Jeremy (Robert Webb) have returned to give us some closure with the final series of Channel 4’s cult hit Peep Show. Things were left up in the air last series, with the final episode seeing Jeremy declare his love for Mark’s girlfriend Dobby (Isy Suttie) as Mark was attempting to propose, leading to Dobby leaving to take a job working for her ex-boyfriend in New York.

Jeremy doing despicable things to ruin Mark’s life is not a new phenomenon, but this seems to have been the final straw, and the opening episode shows the pair living apart. Six months have passed and Mark, who is working for Johnson again at a mediocre bank, is still pretty angry at Jeremy, who is having trouble with the concept of apologising.  They are brought back together by the now sober and juice obsessed Super Hans’ (Matt King) stag do, but Jeremy is annoyed to discover that Mark has a new flatmate, Jerry (Tim Key). Of course, he sets a plan in motion to get rid of Jerry and reinstate the status-quo, which somehow ends up with kidnapping Jerry in a sleeping bag and waterboarding him with beer, naturally.

It’s sad to think that this is the final series, but it is also a smart decision by everyone involved. They have managed to maintain an admirable level of quality throughout, with a mediocre episode still proving to be better than most shows, but the time seems right to bow out. If this opening episode is anything to go by, it’s going to be a strong finish. The writing, by Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain, is as hilarious as ever, and the inner monologues provide plenty of laughs throughout.  Matt King is as superb as ever as Super Hans, and he features quite heavily in the episode. This can only be a good thing – most of the classic Peep Show episodes feature him – and it is hilarious to see him trying to settle into conventional life, with the ‘Sober Hans’ idea falling apart as quickly as you would expect.

peep-show-3We also get a nice glimpse of another fan favourite, Johnson, so hopefully there will be more of him to come. Tim Key makes a nice addition as Jerry, who shows Mark he is perhaps more of a commoner than he thought. It strikes reminiscent to other times Mark has tried to make new friends – such as Daryl the racist or sickly Gerard – before finding himself inexplicably drawn back to Jeremy. Their friendship is more like a toxic marriage – all they do is bring each other down, but they seem to escape the miserable cycle for any length of time.

What I have always loved about Peep Show is the way that each episode tends to build up to a totally ridiculous finale that still manages to be believable within the context of the show, and this episode is no different, with the laugh-out-loud sleeping bag incident. The trailers for the series have included glimpses of Dobby, and Olivia Coleman – who plays Sophie – has been pictured on set, so here’s hoping they will be making an appearance soon, as the one thing the opening episode was lacking was the classic situation of Mark and Jeremy hopelessly pining after a woman.

Here are my five favourite quotes from the opening episode:

“Fuck off. I heard The Strokes before you” – Super Hans

Super Hans, well and truly off the wagon and back at his inebriated best when someone accidentally gets in his way.

“I do want Octopussy and a twirl, but I’m not giving him the satisfaction” – Mark

Mark realising Jeremy is onto the fact that he isn’t as high-brow as he likes to think he is.

“I really don’t think you could call my life a failure – look at that, I’ve got a sleeping bag and a duvey. If this was the olden days, I’d be a billionaire” – Jeremy

Jeremy doing what he does best – deluded self justification and a refusal to accept how dire his situation is.

“I can’t just say things Jerry” – Mark

Mark hilariously summing up his social awkwardness when Jerry questions why he must take such a complicated route of action.

“I’m back baby. The bitch is back” – Jeremy

Jeremy celebrates his return to the flat, and to his and Mark’s dysfunctional friendship.

Here are some of my favourite ever Peep Show moments:

You can watch the first 8 series on the channel 4 website.

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