The seventh series of Peep Show came to a terrific conclusion last night, with flatmates Mark and Jeremy seeing in the new year a couple of days before the rest of us. It’s been a fantastic series, one of the very best. There are few, if any, situation comedies that have been able to maintain such a high quality in their seventh year.
The series had a great start, with Mark pacing the corridors of a hospital while Sophie was giving birth, eventually finding himself wandering out for a KFC and arcade shoot-’em-up, while Jez began his pursuit of Zahra, who was visiting her comatose boyfriend Ben. This was followed by two, let’s say, quite good episodes – still very funny, but not classics. They saw Mark and Dobby get together (with Mark purchasing something he called Kenneth to liven up their relationship), while Jez continued to go after Zahra despite Ben waking up and becoming his new boss.
But the series ended with a trilogy of episodes that were, quite simply, some of the best in Peep Show’s seven years on air. First, on the day of Mark’s son’s Christening, he and Jez found themselves trapped in the “Nether Zone”, locked in the hallway outside Zahra’s flat, ending up with the boy being named Ian. The following episode saw Mark’s family visiting for Christmas dinner, with Jeremy getting anxious about following the “right” Christmas Day traditions (even turning down another bunk-up with Mark’s sister) and Dobby walking out after being insulted by Mark’s father at the dinner table.
Last night saw the El Dude Brothers go from party to party on New Year’s Eve, with Mark searching for Dobby and Jez looking forward to moving in with Zahra while simultaneously making moves on the beautiful Yoko, the non-English speaking love of Super Hans’ life. They started with fancy dress at Johnson’s (one of the great sitcom characters, starting on a pedestal before slowly descending to near-insanity), moving on to the unspeakable hell of Super Hans’ flat, then the classy do at Big Suze’s place and finally Gerrard’s role-playing spectacular. The episode ended at midnight, as Mark got Dobby back by asking her to move in with him, while Jeremy was being kicked by an upset Super Hans, perhaps leaving us with a “three’s company” situation to replace the “odd couple” for the next series.
Peep Show has never had any large audiences, despite being, in my opinion, the most consistently good sitcom of the last decade on either side of the Atlantic. Thankfully, it has always performed well on DVD, which has kept it on our screens. The good news is that, with series eight and nine already commissioned, we’ve got plenty more to look forward to.