Peep Show (2003)

Peep Show is a British sitcom starring David Mitchell and Robert Webb. The television program is written by Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain, with additional material by Mitchell and Webb amongst others. It has been broadcast on Channel 4 since 2003. The show’s seventh series (broadcast late 2010) makes it the longest-running sitcom in Channel 4 history. On 17 December 2010 it was confirmed that the show had been renewed for both an 8th and 9th series, but that they would not be aired until at least mid-2012 because the writers were busy with other projects. Stylistically, the show uses point of view shots with the thoughts of main characters Mark and Jeremy audible as voiceovers.

Peep Show follows the lives of two men from their twenties to thirties, Mark Corrigan (Mitchell), employed as a loan manager, and Jeremy Osborne (Webb), an unemployed musician. The pair met at the fictional Dartmouth University, and now share a flat in Croydon, South London. Mark is initially a loan manager at the fictional JLB Credit, later becoming a waiter. He is financially secure, but awkward and socially inept, with a pessimistic and cynical attitude. Jeremy, having split up with his girlfriend Big Suze prior to the first episode, now lives in Mark’s spare room. He usually has a much more optimistic and energetic outlook on the world than Mark, yet his self-proclaimed talent as a musician is yet to be recognised, and he is not as popular or attractive as he would like to think himself, although he is more successful with the opposite sex than Mark.




PLOT SUMMARY

In the first series, Mark and Jeremy start out with similar aims of bedding their next-door neighbour Toni, though Mark is also tragically obsessed with his workmate Sophie, who is more interested in the more macho Jeff. Both endure awkward situations; Mark suffers a sexual admiration for his boss, Alan Johnson, while Jeremy remembers having oral sex with Super Hans during a drug binge. The two desperately team up to prank call Sophie and launch a pepper spray attack on Super Hans, who has begun a relationship with Toni. By the end of the series, Mark nearly succeeds in having sex with Sophie but this chance is ruined by Jeremy’s apparent overdose, while the latter claims that he has a terminal illness in order to receive sexual favours from Toni.

In series 2, Jeremy meets and falls in love with Nancy, a free-spirited American, and has some success with his music career with Super Hans. Meanwhile, Mark is on a downward slope: Sophie plans to move in with Jeff, and Mark forges a short friendship with a neo-Nazi, and falls for a similarly socially inadequate student, before losing her after an ill-judged return to his old university, where she is currently studying. However, the tables turn once more at the end of the series when Jeremy admits to Nancy — now his wife (for visa documentation) — that he accidentally had an affair with Toni, leaving his marriage a husk, while Sophie dumps Jeff after Mark finds out that he has been womanising and subsequently tells Sophie. Super Hans also develops a crack cocaine addiction.

Series 3 sees Big Suze re-enter Jeremy’s life. Meanwhile, Mark and Sophie have finally become a couple, yet Mark is left alone once again when she is relocated to Bristol. Jeremy seduces Mark’s sister while Mark falls for Big Suze, and Jeremy and Super Hans attempt to run a pub. In the last episode, Mark plans to propose to Sophie but changes his mind upon realising that they have very little in common. Nonetheless he ends up agreeing to marry her to avoid “embarrassment” after she accidentally finds his engagement ring and accepts a proposal which he has not actually made. Meanwhile Jeremy’s efforts to get back together with Suze are hindered somewhat by Super Hans’ attempts to go cold turkey.

During series 4 Mark and Sophie visit Sophie’s parents after their engagement, and Jeremy has sex with Sophie’s mother. Big Suze breaks up with Jeremy once again after he tries to prostitute her to Johnson and subsequently starts a relationship with him instead. In an attempt to get away from Sophie, Mark joins a gym, and discovers that Nancy is working there and Jeremy tries to win her back. Sophie leaves on a foreign business trip, leaving Mark to consider a fling with a woman from his school reunion. Jeremy finds some highly-paid work as a handyman for one of his musical heroes but discovers that his employer expects Jeremy to give him “a hand”. Mark and Jeremy spend a weekend on a canal boat for Mark’s stag do, where Mark meets a businessman with contacts in India and attempts to secure a job there as a means of escaping his impending wedding: however, the plan falls apart when Jeremy accidentally kills the businessman’s daughter’s beloved dog and attempts to disguise his crime by eating the remnants of the dog. In the final episode, as the wedding approaches, Jeremy is having difficulty juggling a hungover Super Hans, the wedding, Nancy and his desperate need to urinate. After several attempts to get out of marriage, including jumping out in front of a car, proposing marriage to a cafe employee and hiding in the church, Mark ends up marrying Sophie. However, she runs out on him after the ceremony, planning to seek a divorce or annulment because Mark is “horrible”.

Much of series 5 revolves around Mark’s search for “the one”. He asks out the new IT girl, Dobby, although the date ends badly when they find a disheveled Sophie in the toilets. Dobby remains interested, even when Mark is forced to reject her offer to be his date at his upcoming birthday party as Mark has to take an Australian he met while speed-dating. Meanwhile, Jeremy runs out of money and goes on a mini crime spree stealing from Johnson’s credit card and is temporarily evicted by Mark. He asks Big Suze if he can stay with her and Johnson, but is turned down. He tries to obtain money from his mother after his great-aunt dies, and his poor relationship with his mother is revealed, while Mark thrives in her company and is given the job of writing her boyfriend’s military biography. Jealous, Jeremy ruins Mark’s ambitions by revealing how Mark was raped by the veteran’s daughter, after she had sex with him while he was asleep. In the final episode, Mark fails to ask Dobby out and she finally moves on. He is promoted to Senior Credit Manager by Johnson but is unable to fire Sophie as ordered, after she reveals that she is pregnant with what may be his child. In the series’ closing moments, it is revealed that Jeremy too has recently slept with Sophie and that her baby might be his.

Series 6 begins with JLB Credit closing down and the mystery of who the father is being solved, Sophie revealing that Mark is the baby’s father. Meanwhile Jeremy meets Elena, a beautiful Russian woman and occasional marijuana dealer who lives in their building. Jeremy quickly falls in love with her, but things deteriorate when it is revealed that Elena has a long-term partner, Gail, who is returning to London. Mark looks for work, starting a company with a recession-frazzled Johnson, almost landing his dream job as a guide for historic walks, and finally becoming a waiter in Gail’s Mexican-themed restaurant, all the while trying (and failing) to get anywhere with Dobby. To resolve their woman troubles, Jeremy and Mark host a party, which ends in Jeremy rekindling his love for Elena, Mark drowning a snake in a bucket of vomit, and Gail and Elena deciding to get married. In the final episode, Mark pledges to take driving lessons in order to drive Sophie to the hospital when the baby arrives, but lies to her when he fails his test. Jeremy spirals into despair over losing Elena especially after she reveals that she is moving to Quebec with Gail. Sophie goes into labour early, and with Mark forced to reveal he cannot drive, a drunk Jeremy attempts to drive Sophie to the hospital and nearly runs down Gail. Jeremy then admits that he and Elena were having an affair, and the series ends with Sophie driving herself to the hospital with the two boys in the back seat.

Series 7 introduces Zahra and Ben, whom Jeremy meets while Sophie is giving birth. Jeremy is instantly attracted to Zahra and is selfishly pleased when he discovers that Ben, her boyfriend, is in intensive care, potentially making Zahra single. However, Ben recovers fully, and, as thanks for being so friendly to Zahra, offers Jeremy a job with his record company, which Jeremy accepts as he hopes it will allow him to get closer to Zahra. The job itself does not go well, and his attempts to sign up his and Super Hans’s band fails badly and ends up with him being fired from the band. Meanwhile, Mark beats off competition from Gerard to finally become Dobby’s boyfriend, although he continues to behave awkwardly in her company. Jeremy sleeps with Zahra, and when Mark comes to meet him the next morning the two find themselves locked in Zahra’s flat, causing Ben to discover them and Mark to miss his son’s christening. At the end of the series, after discovering that Ben and Zahra have split, Jeremy resolves to leave the flat and move in with Zahra, while Mark needs to salvage his relationship with Dobby, and determines to ask her to move in with him. Dobby agrees to move in with Mark, but Zahra rejects Jez after she learns he has been flirting with Super Hans’s girlfriend, leaving him on his own at the end of the series.

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