Peep Show: The Complete Second Series


Reviewed by: Steve Harwood

With a mixture of styles that draws parallels with shows such as The Office, Men Behaving Badly and Game On, writers Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong have created their own individual brand of comedy that's still going strong with three series under their belts. And yet, ask anyone if they're a fan of Peep Show and chances are they'll look blankly back at you and ask: "What's that, then?"

Perhaps, this is because when the show is aired on Channel 4, the target audience is in the same place Mark and Jez would most likely be on a Friday night: down the pub. This DVD release of Series Two is the perfect way to remedy the problem. It won't be to everyone's taste, the humour at times being dark and the jokes occasionally a little close to the bone, but, as is often the case with successful comedy, it's funny because it's true.

Things haven't changed a lot since the first series. Mark (David Mitchell) is still uptight and obsessed with work colleague Sophie, while flatmate Jeremy (Robert Webb) still has delusions of musical grandeur when not thinking about next door neighbour Toni. That is, until gorgeous American hippie chick Nancy arrives on the scene, keen to break every taboo in the book, and for some reason chooses to do so with Jez. Unfortunately for him, "the last taboo" isn't quite what he was hoping for...

Mark, meanwhile, still has love rival Jeff to contend with. This means he has to work even harder to win Sophie's heart, often in such an embarrassing manner that we don't know whether to laugh, or cringe. When hacking into her emails doesn't work ("We have something special - not my words, yours"), it's not long before he's spying on her with the office CCTV cameras and shadowing the pair out on a date. But it's the small details that are perhaps the funniest, such as Mark's attempts to build rapport with a security guard by alternately referring to him as "mate" and "pal", unsure of which is most appropriate.

Peep Show differs from other sitcoms most noticeably in that every shot is filmed from one of the characters' points of view. Rather than being an annoying distraction, the visual style works surprisingly well. It also allows the viewer to hear a character's thoughts directly in the form of a voiceover.

Much like The Office, the secret to this show's brand of observational comedy is the similarities we see between the characters on-screen and people we know in everyday life. Although hopefully, not to such extremes. At times puerile and immature, at others witty and smart, Peep Show will have you laughing out loud throughout every episode. It's just a shame few people know about it.

So much for the death of the sitcom. Peep Show is one of the best around.

Reviewed on: 17 Feb 2006
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Peep Show: The Complete Second Series packshot
Between the pub and the girl lies a secret pleasure - the perfect sitcom.
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Director: Tristram Shapeero, Jeremy Wooding

Writer: Jesse Armstrong, Sam Bain

Starring: David Mitchell, Robert Webb, Olivia Colman, Elizabeth Marmur, Matt King, Neil Fitzmaurice

Year: 2004

Runtime: 144 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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