Let’s clear this up right off the bat, it isn’t that kind of peep show. This is Peep Show, the British sitcom created by David Mitchell and Robert Webb. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Oh great, a British sitcom, so I can look forward to laugh tracks and cultural references I don’t understand. Well, no on the laugh track front, and only occasionally on the cultural references you won’t get. No, Peep Show is simply the most hysterical, uncomfortable, and deranged show you will see. Think It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but somehow darker and more twisted (and British). Ah, I see I have your attention now. If you still need more motivation, here are five reasons to watch.
1.Jeremy, AKA “Jez”
Not only does he have a nickname which sounds suspiciously like “jizz,” but Jeremy, played by Robert Webb, is also my new favorite lovable, selfish idiot on the square box I watch things on. He rarely has a job, and simply suckers Mark, the show’s other lead character, into letting him live in his apartment for free.
He seems to be a sex addict (if such a thing actually exists), seems to usually be on drugs, or hanging out with his strange friend “Super” Hans who is actually always on drugs, and he’s delightfully slow. His career aspiration is to be in the music industry, but he doesn’t know how to play any musical instruments, and the songs he writes suck.
Think a British version of Fry from Futurama, with the selfishness of Dennis from Always Sunny. He’s simply a treasure trove of failure. Yet, he always manages to do quite well for himself, despite his lack of regular employment, or any sense of responsibility.
Mark, played by David Mitchell, has virtually no self-esteem, yet has a good office job, and provides for both himself and Jeremy. He’s your typical bookish shut-in, who is clueless about dating and is perpetually negative and complaining. He never sticks up for himself, and may be the most awkward character ever created. It makes for good entertainment, though in typical British fashion, it’s very cringe worthy.
3. The Inner Monologues
As you’ve probably noticed by now if you watched the videos posted, this show goes to great lengths to immerse you within the heads of each of the two main characters. To aid in this goal, they use inner monologues very frequently in addition to regular spoken dialogue. But, whereas in David Lynch’s Dune it became obnoxious and ridiculous, in Peep Show, you grow to wait with eager anticipation for the next inner monologue. Unhindered, and usually extremely funny, these inner monologues elevate Peep Show to an even more unbearably painful level. And it’s amazing to witness.
4. The POV shots
Another way the show puts you into the world of the characters is through its use of POV shots. So, when Jeremy is talking to Mark, the camera takes on that of Mark’s perspective, and vice versa. As if things weren’t agonizing enough to watch (in a fun way) with this technique, things are even more uncomfortable as you get to be even closer to the action.
5. The Banter
Jeremy and Mark are constantly bantering, and it’s the best part of the show. Mark will take on the intelligent, pessimistic angle, and Jeremy will take on the ill-informed, yet more positive angle. They make a really good team, and compliment each others’ neurosis well.
Peep Show has seven seasons up on Netflix instant, and Season 8 started recently. I have no idea when you’ll get to watch it in the US (legally). In any event, do yourself a favor and give it a whirl, if you like warped situational comedy, and British people.