Sahara-dry humour that induces spasms of laughter. Free of catchphrases, yet the most quotable comedy of the millennium. Starring two often unpleasant loners, who we and all our friends recognise as ourselves. Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain’s Peep Show overflows with contradictions, right up to it being a cult show that is loved by millions in the UK and worldwide. Tonight begins the final series, so what better time to dust off your Megatron, sink into your creamy elephant and read through the top 5 Peep Show episodes. People are
allowed encouraged to suggest their own favourites; but then people like Coldplay and voted for the Nazis. You can’t trust people.
5. Jeremy’s Manager – Season 5, Episode 5
Finally Jeremy’s untapped musical genius is given an outlet. It’s not at Wolverhampton Festivus as he’d hoped, but at Life ’08, the Christian rock festival to rule them all. Mark continues his post-Sophie dating spree with music manager Cally, but is forced to choose between his lust and his beloved logic when she proclaims the wonder of the crystal skulls. Super Hans branches out in his never-ending search for highs, and ends up bingeing on ecclesiastical politics.
Best line: ‘Real men don’t get the earth to help carry their luggage mate. They carry it themselves.’
4. University Challenge – S2, E4
This has everything a great Peep Show episode needs – Mark lying to a woman to maintain his creepy obsession, Jeremy disappearing down another fantasy tunnel, and two wonderful cameos from April the shop/student girl and Peter Capaldi as ‘this oh-so-clever-professor who hasn’t got time to watch Four Weddings or Ghostbusters’. We’d all love to pretend that university is three years of hedonism; the truth is there’s far more of Mark/April’s missed connections and awkward conversations.
Best line: ‘To enter the elite, I must shit on my heroes.’
3. Conference – S4, E2
If any Peep Show character merits a spin-off series, it is Paterson Joseph’s Alan Johnson, the management consultant extraordinaire who saves time on his tai chi by doing it faster. Here he lets Mark in on the meaning of Project Zeus (eventually), while setting Jeremy a real-life Indecent Proposal that briefly tests his feelings for Big Suze. Oh, and there’s an angry lap dance.
Best line: ‘Tube up his nose, tube up his nose, he’s a man with a tube up his nose’.
2. Dance Class – S2, E1
Mark will go to any lengths in his stalkerish attempts to woo Sophie, including singing by a lake, hacking her email, and joining Rainbow Rhythms, a dance class that represents everything that terrifies him. Jeremy meets the latest love of his life, the clearly out-of-his-league and up-in-the-clouds Nancy, but has a battle to win her heart against Gwyn, who is basically Jeremy but smart and rich.
Best line: ‘I’m sorry if I didn’t do it right and I’m sorry if you assume that I eat red meat and don’t necessarily think money or Tony Blair are a bad thing, but if there isn’t room here for people who stand against everything you believe in, then what sort of a hippy free-for-all is this?’
1. Sectioning – S3, E2
Mark and Jez confine their mental turmoils largely to the tormented voiceovers. Their old uni friend Merry can manage no such thing, and her sanity unravels following the death of her mum (‘Who needs mums?’). Do our heroes rush to her aid with common sense and warmth? No, Mark wonders if she’ll sleep with him and Jeremy tries to scam her out of a pub. And Super Hans? Well, he wants to run a pub that makes a difference. And to call it Free the Paedos.
Best line: Special mention for ‘If you need to shit, shit in the bin!’ but I don’t think you can beat the climax: ‘They could section you for trying to section me’ ‘If you try to section me, you’ll have crossed a line and I will section you so help me!’
To be honest this was just an excuse to watch a load of Peep Show episodes again. However my efforts will all have been in vain if you don’t offer some of your own favourite moments! So get to it – and no pretending to write…