Peep Show, Series 8 Episode 1: Review

After a two-year wait, Peep Show returned last night for a nigh-on unprecedented eighth series, and Channel 4 has been proudly reminding all and sundry that the show is now the channel’s longest-running sitcom. Fair play to them, it’s a notable achievement. In a post-The Office landscape (one that British comedy has struggled to escape from over the past ten years) many writers seem content to do a couple of series and a special of a popular show before bailing out to work on lesser projects. It’s admirable Peep Show has lasted so long and remained so consistently funny, so kudos to Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong for keeping the show fresh and hilarious.

Series eight continued as series seven left off: the El Dude Brothers still bound together, with Mark waiting for Dobby to move in and Jez to move out. Jez is still delusional – he plans to sell the headline ‘3-0 Walcott’ to tabloid newspapers when the soon-to-be ex-Arsenal winger hits 30. There are a few changes though: newly-besuited Super Hans has joined the army of shitmunchers and found himself a real job. Meanwhile, Gerrard’s health took a turn for the worse and he became the first regular supporting character to pass away in the show. Rather than reaching for the Kleenex to mourn the passing of Mark’s (likeable) foe, Peep Show reverted to glorious type; indulging in dark humour to highlight the selfishness of its two characters, and it was naturally very, very funny.

The exchange between Mark and Jez after discovering Gerrard’s fate had me bawling with laughter. Upon hearing the news from Dobby, Mark calls out to Jez (who is off-screen, sitting in in the living room) almost in disbelief. “Gerrard’s died of flu!â€? Jez, offering trademark misplaced cynicism, bellowed: “Bullshiiiit!â€? by means of a response, taking umbrage with the stated cause of death and offering no empathy to the grieving Dobby. “That is so Gerrard!â€? said Jez slightly angrily, realising it wasn’t a wind-up.

Mark seemed quite excited about the funeral: “I can buy a wake cake!” he exclaimed, rather insensitively. Even Jez acknowledged the inappropriateness of Mark’s remark. Captain Corrigan duly delivered, producing a ‘Gerrard 8’ cake aimed at Liverpool-supporting children, rather than Gerrard’s grieving middle-aged friends and relatives.

Mark offered to pay for Jez to have a therapy session, which the latter skipped to have a curry instead, on the basis that his would-be therapist was eating a Twix. Mark spotted him through the restaurant window, and rather than confronting Jez there-and-then, responded the only way Mark can – by ordering a huge passive-aggressive curry takeaway for Jez to eat on his return.

Peep Show is back and it feels like it’s never been away. Long may it continue.

David Lintott is on Twitter. Follow him.