Monday, 31 December 2012

Kangaroo Court of Love: "Peep Show" 8.6

TX: Channel 4, 24/12/2012

'Friendship is a disinterested commerce between equals; love, an abject intercourse between tyrants and slaves.'
- Oliver Goldsmith, The Good-Natured Man (1768)

To follow that 'Celtic Tiger' of a comedy (Mrs Brown's Boys), we thought we would watch a slightly different sort of sitcom, also broadcast around this Christmas period. If MBB takes a condescending view of its audience's intelligence, then Peep Show probes the absurd human frailties of its protagonists for the amusement of a no doubt smaller audience. There are aspects of Usborne and Corrigan in most of us 'young men'; MBB's figurines are barely human.

David: Anyway, this should be a pleasing antidote to that. 

Tom: Episode 6. Not a bad series so far... 

David: Better than Series 7, anyway. No reason why this can't go on until one of them croaks it. 

Tom: Super Hans is a great character; I would've liked to see a bit more of him in this series really. 

David: "Coaster? Fuck's sake, Jez, I'm not an animal!"

Tom: "There are quite a few snakes in your room". 

David: Has Dobby got a black eye? 

David: "Five-a-side? That's where all the men go to laugh at us". 

Tom: Mark's masculinity issues coming out there... 

David: Further disappointment for Mark. 

David: This ongoing saga relies upon M + J's constant unhappiness. 

David: "Very much the on methadone, living in a halfway house type of woman". 

David: Very reflective of the 'indefinite teenage years' thing that's being imposed on those of us who are unable to achieve the tools needed to 'grow up'. 

Tom: "'Jason's van'. That sounds like the sort of bullshit I'd come up with".   

David: Jeremy is now a 40 year old teenager. 

Tom: "I'll watch her squirm"... an altruistic view of relationships there from Corrigan! Or, a realistic depiction of love with its jealousies and insecurities...

Tom: Mark playing 5-a-side footer... bound to elicit a few chuckles. 

David: "Did you see the game the other night? The big... fixture?" 

David: "Take him out" / "WHAT?!!" 

David: Dobby is quite intimidating here!   

Tom: This show's characters ring true as imperfect people who aren't merely looking to gain laughs from saying "fuck"...  

David: Meanwhile, Mrs Brown's Boys says nothing about society other than that there are masses of people who find a swearing old woman and jokes from 1972 hysterical...  

Tom: "Sure, the massive apple..." 

Tom: This series seems to have a sustained story-line which runs all the way through the six episodes. I don't think many of its previous series' had that. There seem to be fewer 'different' episodes, like the musical festival one or the jury service. Or the Christmas special with Mark's family last year - I really liked that one. And the jury service one with the mentalist woman defendant from Sunderland. Unsure whether it's a good thing or a bad thing that there are fewer excursions or digressions... 

David: [amid the advert break] Why's Kevin Bacon pretending to give a toss about British popular culture?

Tom: Aye, Bacon is a beaming irritant.

David: Series 9 of Peep Show is already commissioned; there seem to be infinite things that they can do with the two hapless ones. 

David: It must be quite cathartic for the writers to put them through whole new trends of misery; there are always twelve more months of cultural references to slip in effortlessly, too.  

Tom: Yes, it is a reliable formula.   

Tom: "Depressing lingerie outlet in Reading"...   

Tom: Ah, the old El Dude brothers routine, ever invoked in times of crisis. I like how have they slipped in subtle references in this eighth series, such as to Super Hans' curious fixation with The Barchester Chronicles - when Jez's stuff is being cleared out.

David: They seem to have an endless supply of embarrassing situations. 

Tom: The thoughts-aloud voice-overs have always been crucial to its success. Just wouldn't work as well without them.    

David: "I'm sorry... what the FUCKING HELL are you talking about?" The key to it is hearing their real thoughts in conjunction with the often manipulative words they say.

Tom: Jez stuck on the train!   

Tom: Speaking his mind finally - rarely a good idea!   
Tom: "How can I do that when there's no such thing as elbow grease!" Great line there from Jez. 

David: 10/10 dialogue - the situations often seem less important than the dialogue. 

Tom: "An honourable man" again! Reference back to his flat housing committee election campaign. 

David: "THAT'S your punishment of last recourse: FREE TRAVEL?!" So inappropriately pompous. 

David: It's been fun watching Mark being relegated to a series of humbling jobs.

Tom: Yes, and in episode 6.1 (TX: 18/09/2009) you had a rare instance of British television responding to the economic crisis, when JLB go bust. 

Tom: It's also been good to have the vocation of life-coaching relentlessly mocked in this series.  

Tom: "This kangaroo court of love". 

David: Editing process must be horrendous.   

Tom: Mark inevitably ends up the one who is squirming...   

David: Jeremy is a lovable moral vacuum. 

David: "Now, time to stigmatize the mentally ill".   

David: Hilariously immature. No more mature than in 2003! 

David: Electric fence!   

Tom: "Will you two stop electrocuting each other?"

David: "Will you two stop electrocuting each other?!"
'Friendship is a disinterested commerce between equals'
David: "If you don't throw that rock at me, I'm going to hit you with this stick".

David: How did she have time to text that?!  

Tom: Indeed...
David: "You FUCKED it, not me!" 

David: "Why does it say here that I'm 80% gay?!" 

David: "DOBBY!!!" 

David: Excellence.  

Tom: Yes, a pretty good series closer.   

David: Perfect antidote to Mrs Brown's Arse 

Tom: Exactly.   

David: Other current comedy series' close to that standard? I'll say Him and Her, Getting On and, to a lesser extent, Friday Night Dinner. But not a lot else!   

Tom: Maybe could have had more Johnson involvement (following his great cameo in 8.1), but it was a well crafted series revolving around the inevitable love triangle. Dobby has been a necessary character for the programme... to throw the 'brothers' into relief.  

David: I'm certainly looking forward to the sadistic events that series 9 will hopefully have to offer. Once again, it seems that we've reached the end too quickly - I suppose there were episodes on consecutive nights, though. This series didn't run alongside when it was being shown however, unlike last series which seemed to be set around the same time of year.   

Tom: Interesting to think how they'll take it from here...   

David: Looks like Dobby may not return.

'The beloved object is successively the malady and the remedy that suspends and aggravates it.'  
- Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past (Cities of the Plain) (1921-2)     

Tom: Good to have them in open warfare there at the end over her... 

David: I'm sure there will be one or two different women ready to play with their infantile heartstrings. 

David: First time they've competed for the same woman though... 

Tom: Or Sarah, Mark's sister with the fringe and Fifty Shades-inspired bedroom practices...   

David: I would have liked to have seen more of Mark's older woman from his course; she was nice, but then Peep Show wouldn't allow for it to have gone well.

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