Luke Owen reviews the second episode of Peep Show series eight...
last week’s Peep Show. I felt that the series had started showing signs of growing stale, the characters were getting bored and the jokes were getting tired. However, based upon the feedback I received in the comments section (the one who insulted my career choice notwithstanding) seemed to really enjoy the episode so perhaps I was wrong. But with the damp fart smell of the first episode still hanging in the air, I walked into episode two with much trepidation. Could it make me change my mind?
After Jeremy’s successful stint with the therapist last week, he has decided that his new job career will be that of a life coach. To do this, he has to take a one week course at the end of which he’ll get a certificate (they have to be legit, they have a website). Meanwhile Mark is working on getting his book published by British London – a publishing agency who doesn't seem to be on the level.
It seems weird that Mark of all characters would fall for such this fairly obvious scam but his attempts to impress Dobby seem to be more than he can handle. As she is the only one who likes his book (“you think it’s going to be really boring, but then you read it and you think – hmmm, maybe not?”) and with her leaving her IT job to work for her ex-boyfriend’s business start-up, Mark needs to whatever he can to keep her in his grasps. With this in mind, perhaps this character decision would make sense – but none of this was ever addressed and I am purely speculating. It could have just been lazy writing.
Unlike last week’s episode where I only had a handful of chuckles, this week’s episode brought out some laughs that reminded me of the early days of Peep Show. Well written dialogue exchanges, funny sexual encounters and Mark’s social awkwardness made this feel like the Peep Show I used to love. However, it did make me think – haven’t I seen this all before?
A lot of moments felt recycled from earlier seasons – Jeremy having sex with a woman who is into strange taboos, Mark in a nightclub hating hipsters and even Jez’s “get rich quick” scheme all felt a bit ‘been there, done that’. Not to say that they weren't funny (Jeremy’s sex scene with his life coach tutor was a standout moment), but it backs up the argument I made last week about the show running its course. On the other hand, I do have to say that Super Hans' character change has been a real highlight (“these percentiles are looking at me funny” he says looking over Mark’s book publishing contract).
One of Peep Show’s crowning achievements in the world of comedy is the final cringy scene that has you hiding behind your hands and peeping through your fingers. This series however seems to have missed this trick as, once again, the final moments of episode two felt rushed. The episode should build towards its final cringy scene so we have to sit through every agonising moment. Scenes such as Jeremy urinating in a church or eating a beloved dog where all given time for the comedy to breath with fantastic results – it’s why there are so remembered. In this episode however, Mark’s book launch is left to little more than a couple of lines and some half decent sight gags. It should have been the episode’s money shot, but instead it was just another scene with some funny lines.
This series has been far from perfect or even great. I didn't really like episode 1 and episode 2 was sort of a mixed bag. There were some funny moments, but they all felt like rehashed funny moments. I am remaining hopeful that Peep Show will find its feet again and return to its former glory, but its recycled jokes are not going to help its cause. Sadly, episode 2 has not changed my mind on this series just yet.
Luke Owen is a freelance copywriter working for Europe’s biggest golf holiday provider as their web content executive.