We’re now three episodes in to the latest and final episode of Peep Show and the series has returned to see that Mark and Jeremy remain, at their essence, exactly the same as ever.
I was largely prompted to write this post based on a Tweet I saw on my timeline this morning which declared last night’s episode which saw Mark attempting to reunite with the University student he stalked in the second series of the programme, as the best yet.
The episode, which featured Mark manically attempting to arrange an impromptu dinner party in order to woo his intended (now a successful historian and lecturer), felt utterly detached from any semblance of reality. As Jeremy desperately tried to balance his sexual relationships with both his female life coach client and her boyfriend, the episode did at times, feel like an hyperbolic retread of the pair’s earlier exploits.
I am still undecided as to the quality of this series of Peep Show and I am likely to remain so until it is over, but having rewatched the prior episodes in preparation, I can’t help but feel that the series has lost its edge.
Certainly both Mark and Jeremy have dabbled in the ridiculous and farcical plenty of times before, and yet, seeing Mark’s high-pitched crazed giggle as Jeremy wrote on his eyelids in permanent marker, or Mark’s increasingly unhinged attempts to serve dinner (pasta, baked beans and cheese to my recollection) passing off the combination as being ‘Moroccan’ may have been Peep Show‘s ‘jump the shark‘ moment.
It’s not as if Peep Show hasn’t showcased the absurd before but it always managed to skilfully remain grounded, balancing between the insane and the rational. Perhaps, on reflection, it was that the episode demonstrated both Jeremy and Mark at the most unhinged simultaneously. Maybe then, these moments, the central conceit of the series, need to be delicately dispersed rather than featuring a plethora of the ridiculous all at once.
Ultimately the Mark of last night was, despite his moments before (stalking, claiming that every woman that he meets might be the once, his admiration of Alan Johnson) unrecognisable. Where was the Mark who treated Sophie’s new friends with such disdain?