With Peep Show ending it was always going to be interesting to see how writers Jesse Bain and Sam Armstrong would finish. Would Mark and Jeremy finally come up trumps and get what they want, or not?
Well, for those of you who haven’t seen it, and don’t mind the ending being spoiled, Mark lost his job to his long-term enemy Jeff, Jez lost his youth by passing 40, and both lost the love of their lives. Peep Show ended badly – which is the way it should end.
The whole point of Peep Show is, or rather was, the fact that both of the lead characters are complete failures. Mark is a history buff trapped in useless business jobs which he repeatedly loses, whether it is banking, loans, or writing business books connected to the Ancient Egyptians. Jez fails to make it music, ending up wasting his days on drugs and sex with numerous men and women, while knowing that he will never really be young, dumb and full of cum.
Both of them also completely failed to win the people they love, with Mark annulling Sophie, losing Dobby stateside, wrecked his chances with April, and once wondering if he had feelings for Alan Johnson; mwanwhile Jeremy felt too old to be with Joe, couldn’t cope sleeping with Mark’s sister, had the “bad thing” with Super Hans, and lost Nancy due to “stupid honesty”.
If Peep Show had ended with Mark whisking April away and Jez being able to build a stable relationship with Joe (or anyone really) it would have felt wrong. The reason we like Peep Show is while you root for El Dude Brothers you know that they will not get a happy ending. They fit into the great British sitcom tradition of heroic failures. All the best sitcom characters in Britain are hopeless, whether it is the snobbish Basil Fawlty, the tactless Alan Partridge, or the ironically named Victor Meldrew. Mark Corrigan and Jeremy Usborne are the 21st century continuation of this. Not just failures, but taking the failure to new extremes, from eating badly cremated dogs to even being raped.
Peep Show is brilliant not just because of the writing, not just because of the performances from David Mitchell and Robert Webb, but because of the situations that were created. Also there was the reason why Peep Show got its name from the first place: the fact that the show is entirely filmed from the point-of-view of the characters… except that this too is imperfect. The final shot of the entire series is one of Mark and Jez looking at the TV, from the point of view of the unseeing TV screen. This last moment is proof that what made Peep Show brilliant were the imperfections of everything.
Peep Show is certainly one of the greatest sitcoms made in recent decades. It is the show that we comedy connoisseurs want to take to all those people who watch Mrs. Brown’s Boys, broadcast in front of them, and tell them that this is the show they should have been watching.
I’ll miss it…
*MIMES PULLING CORD* Ehhhhhhh!! Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!