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Peep Show Review

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by Simon Crust Jun 28, 2006 at 12:00 AM

    How simple some ideas are. Take for example a show where the main selling point is the point of view (POV) shot. Because that is what makes Channel 4's Peep Show so unique; purely POV shots; this gives the characters a chance to exposit within the frame, and comedy ensues. Of course POV shots alone do not a show make, there has to be identifiable characters and situations, even if they are exaggerated for drama. Peep Show is the story of Mark (David Mitchell) and Jeremy (Robert Webb) or Jes for short, two twenty something flat mates and the cards life deals them. Mark is an office monkey, slightly geeky, a little shy but basically a nice guy. Jes is more of a 'free spirit', i.e. insists he is an artist, but does very little, yet is a comfortable and easy going guy. With a successful first season the boys are back for a second, continuing their antics.

    A good friend of mine, Jamie, has been on at me for months to watch this new show, with the highest recommendation, so my expectation was high and normally such expectation is dashed; but not in this case. I will admit that the first episode took a little getting used too, but that is because I have not seen the first series, and it appears that that the story pretty much picks up where the first stopped. Mark is still infatuated with his work colleague Sophie (Olivia Colman), but takes that infatuation to extremes by breaking into her email and using her comments on him to improve his standing. Also in this first episode we are introduced to Nancy (Rachel Blanchard), an American girl that proves to be a major character for Jes. This series follows the trials and tribulations of this love quartet; made especially difficult for Mark as his antics cost him his love sending her to his closest rival, Jeff. The remainder of the series is his attempts at wooing her back. While Jes fearful of losing Nancy becomes all the more infatuated and will go to extreme lengths to keep her. However, at the heart their friendship the guys share a bond that cannot be broken, even with the highest temptation.

    It is a testament to the skill of the writers and the identifiable nature of the characters that I was able to pick up and follow with out any problems the various plot threads without any prior knowledge of the show. With Mark especially, he is basically a nice guy; it is a well know saying that you can fool all the people some the time, some of the people all of the time but never all of the people all of the time; well the same can be said for pleasing - substitute please for fool and the saying has much the same meaning. All Marks plans, however ill conceived all come from his desire to be liked and to please his fellow peers; unfortunately life inevitably get in the way and everything falls apart, the person hurt the most; Mark himself. His is a pathetic character from many view points, but one with a heart, and it is that heart that gives him the courage to carry on, forever chipping away at the stone wall until his moment of triumph. It is truly gratifying when he gets his wish, and with such good words, “You know, she's, not, you.” All the anguish, humiliation and heart ache he has suffered over the weeks came pouring out in one monumental grasp for happiness. Jes on the other hand has none of the hang ups of his friend, able to fit in to most any situation his own foibles are far more shallow. Yet he has a deep respect for his friendship with Mark; as characters they are part of one encompassing whole each surviving on the spoils of the other, a symbiotic relationship beyond that of love; two blokes each giving the other moral support without question or conscience. Jes standing by Mark for his girl, Mark standing by Jes for his, even though the relationship is doomed. Perhaps too much philosophising for what is essentially a geeky comedy show based on the 'Boys Behaving Badly' concept but with POV shots. However, whilst the comedy kept me entertained, it was the empathy that kept me watching. I now want to watch the other seasons. Come on boys let's take a look at you.