Peep show returns this week for a seventh series, making it the longest-running sitcom in Channel Four’s history. It’s great to have David Mitchell and Robert Webb back as odd couple Mark and Jeremy in one of the greatest comedy series of recent times.
The first episode starts where we left off last time, with Sophie in labour and in agony. Mark is her birthing partner, waiting in the hospital for the arrival of his child and contemplating which budget corn-based snack to get from a vending machine, with Jeremy by his side for moral support. Jez is attempting to get over his breakup with bisexual Elana in the only way he can, by meeting a new girl in the hospital. Of course, nothing’s straightforward when it comes to the women in his life, and pseudo-intellectual Zahra happens to have a boyfriend. Who is in a coma. Meanwhile, the real drama comes when the boiler breaks down back at the flat, but luckily Super Hans is on the case.
While series six of Peep Show was still the best situation comedy of 2009, many fans believed it didn’t quite live up to the quality of previous years. Judging by the excellent first episode, series seven is back on form, with loads of memorable lines and laugh-out-loud moments. While some might feel that we know the characters so well by now that we can easily see exactly how each situation will unfold, Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain’s sharp writing keeps things fresh. The enjoyment of watching later series of Peep Show appears to be less about the awkward situations the characters find themselves in and more about the brilliant one-liners (often in the voiceovers conveying Mark and Jeremy’s thoughts – the valuable part of the “point of view” gimmick) and simply being in the company of some characters we’ve grown to love over the years.
That cast of characters is continuing to expand, with the El Dude Brothers being joined by Sophie and Hans in the first episode along with the introduction of Zahra and her boyfriend Ben, who we should expect to see more of in the coming weeks. Old favourites Johnson, Dobby, Big Suze, Gerard and Jeff all make appearances in future episodes.
You might notice that the series is starting fairly late in the year, at a time when most series are heading towards their confusion before Christmas specials take over the schedules. The fifth episode will be broadcast on Christmas Eve and will be themed for the occasion as part of “Peep Show Night”, which will also include a behind-the-scenes documentary, clips of the series best moments and the most popular episode as voted for by viewers. Channel Four will also be holding a themed night dedicated to the channel’s other celebrated sitcom, Father Ted, on Boxing Day. The final episode of the series goes out on New Year’s Eve and will again be suitably festive, with Mark and Jez looking for a party to see in 2011.
Peep Show, Friday 26th of November at 10pm on Channel Four & Channel Four HD. Or watch now on 4OD.
Avaliable now: Peep Show – Series 1-6 – Complete [DVD]