** SPOILER ALERT**
Warning, this blog discusses the third episode of the ninth series of Peep Show in detail.
With Super Hans sober, Mark living with a new flatmate, Dobby shacked up with a new hipster boyfriend in New York and Jeremy experimenting (even more than usual) with his sexuality, the ninth and final series of Peep Show has begun in slightly unfamiliar fashion. But after the first episode introduced – and then quickly got rid of – Mark’s new flatmate Jerry, the focus has shifted back to the nitty gritty of Mark and Jez’s relationship. It started when they conspired to evict Jerry from Apollo House by trapping him in a sleeping bag, waterboarding him with tepid lager and bunging him into a lift, and gloriously intensified when Mark used his webcam to inadvertently watch Jeremy make love to Joe, the boyfriend of Megan, who he’s life-coaching. Last night’s third instalment began with the El Dude Brothers coming to terms with Jeremy and Joe’s relationship, and unravelled into the weirdest, most disgusting and best episode of Peep Show in years. Here’s why.
THE OPENING SEQUENCE WAS GREAT
“Once upon a time I might have woken to the sound of a songthrush,” says Mark’s internal monologue as he stares into the bedroom mirror, “Now it’s a couple of guys pounding the living daylights out of each other. It’s like there are two Jeremys in there humping each other. That would be his dream.” Jeremy and Joe’s orgasmic groans resound in the background. Mark and Jez’s subsequent conversation is gold. After describing gay sex as “like getting your car fixed at the actual dealership, they know all the codes” and calling his life “a 24/7 blowjob bonanza”, Jez worries he’s too old for Joe, that he’s not “young, dumb and full of cum”. “Oh I’m sure you’re… full of cum,” Mark answers, glancing disgustedly at the Fruit Corner yoghurt in his hand.
IT WAS EXTREMELY WEIRD…
The best thing about Peep Show when it started in 2003 was its excruciating weirdness. The first two series used surreal jokes to prod issues including sexuality, race, politics and disease. Remember when Mark led Jeremy to believe their downstairs neighbour Toni’s sister Pauline had cancer? With Jeremy’s gay relationship at the centre, last night’s episode harked back to those good old days in ways recent series just haven’t. After touching on monks, The Atlas Mountains, Moroccan cuisine, Corfu, adultery, The Hairy Bikers, obsession and stalking, it ended with Mark scribbling on a block of cheddar with a blue pen to create a “tasty young Stilton” and drinking a “Moroccan” cocktail made of water, rum, vinegar, lettuce and salt with a theologian called Angus. Mark’s line near the end summed it up neatly: “This is so uncomfortable, it could be my night of greatest triumph.”
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…BUT BRILLIANTLY SUBTLE
Being largely limited to those close up POV shots means Peep Show needs subtlety to keep it fresh. It was lacking in the last series, but there’s been loads so far in this one. Up to now, the best example was the revelation of Jeremy’s homosexual affair – the show’s most explosive storyline yet – via webcam in a bland hotel room. Episode three was full of deft little touches: the reintroduction of old characters; the casual mention of Mark and Jez’s university pal Pej; the Fruit Corner; the camera dipping to show Joe’s bare feet and reveal he’d been up to no good with Jeremy; the background dry humping in the final scene. It’s moments like this that make you believe Peep Show could be signing off with its greatest ever series.
MARK HAS COMPLETELY LOST IT
The episode starts with Mark trying to get his conservative mind around Jeremy’s sex life, but he soon abandons his usual squareness and goes postal. He tracks April (the shoe shop worker and student he attempted to woo in series two) to a book signing and when she doesn’t recognise him his internal monologue goes into overdrive. “Does she… recognise me? I should say something. Could come clean? ‘You sold me some brogues and I followed you 200 miles and faked being a mature student to see you’.” He lures her to the flat for a dinner party, which he prepares for by manically mashing baked beans, shouting about lettuce, cackling wildly and letting Jeremy write ‘I Love You’ as a message to April on his eyelids. He ends up wearing Megan’s blue eyeshadow (her and Joe are the other hapless dinner guests) to hide it, but the old Mark is gone. Here, he’s fixated on his evil plan of destroying April’s marriage. We’ve never seen Corrigan like this before. It feels like something horrible is brewing.