TV’s most awkward odd-couple continue to be uncomfortably watchable.
Peep Show has just finished its eight season. Eighth. Most decent British comedies manage around 2 outings before folding into folklore, but not here. Somehow, ten years after its inception, Mark and Jez are still pottering around London leading their cringey, hilarious lives.
The formula is so familiar by this point that sitting down with season eight feels like hanging out with an old mate (an embarrassing, toe-curlingly awkward mate, but still). The big development after the last season is Dobby’s decision to move in with Mark, thus forcing Jeremy out into the big wide world. Shockingly enough, neither of these things go particularly swimmingly, and David Mitchell and Robert Webb do another wonderful job in guiding their characters through further avoidable pitftalls. The inevitability of their failure is almost numbing at this point, but it’s down to the quality of the writing that even though Peep Show feels overly predictable at this point, it’s still very enjoyable.
Dobby (Isy Suttie) takes on a bigger role this season, which is dealt with well. Jeremy falling in love with her, however, isn’t. Jeremy has always been the more likable of the show’s protagonists, but he’s stuck in second gear for much of this season, dancing between therapy, life coaching and once again falling in love with someone else’s girlfriend. The latter has become the character’s unwelcome shtick, and when it reaches the levels of season eight’s climax, it wears unfortunately thin.
Thankfully, it doesn’t bog down the whole season. The reliable cameos and supporting cast are just as unsupporting and reliably funny as ever, including another devastating cameo from Paterson Jospeh as Alan Johnson, surely the best creation of the series’ history. Super Hans (Matt King) seems to have managed some personal growth, becoming Mark’s manager in his new job but still finds time to warn Jeremy against upsetting the many uncaged snakes loosely dotting his apartment.
Season eight offers enough proof that Peep Show still remains defiantly funny, despite the occasional sign of ageing. Even if Mark and Jeremy never get things quite right, watching them get it wrong is still great television.