TV: The Peep Show must go on

With six series of comic gold behind them, a high standard has been set for the new episodes of Peep Show, writes Jon Hozier-Byrne

Everyone’s favourite exclusively POV-style comedy, Peep Show, returns to Channel 4 this month. Despite speculation that the show’s traditionally ingenious writing and acting might start sliding into decline with a seventh season, the season premiere doesn’t disappoint.

For those of you who haven’t been keeping up to date with Jez and Mark over the past six years (and the show’s consistently low ratings indicate there’s more than a few), Peep Show follows the lives of two London-dwelling early-30s men, as we are shown the world, literally, through their eyes.

Every shot of every episode represents the point of view of one of the characters, like Being John Malkovich on speed. We hear the main character’s internal monologues, describing, in detail, every sordid, selfish thought that rushes through their heads that they’d never have the courage to express.

The show’s unique stylistic choices not only make it stand out from other British comedy – it allows us into the very darkest, most awkward and cowardly corners of the protagonists’ minds – and it just doesn’t get old.

Acclaimed writers Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong (In The Loop, Four Lions) seem to have unending wells of embarrassing, self-centred and painfully honest situations from which to draw on, and the comedy team of Mitchell and Webb give characteristically brilliant performances.

The seventh season kicks off with Olivia Colman’s Sophie going into labour with Mark’s illegitimate child. As Jez tries to seduce an attractive woman whose boyfriend is in a coma, Mark wanders away from Sophie’s side and towards a KFC, having to deal with not only the anxiety that comes with having a child, but also the possibility of his boiler breaking down. While it is perhaps not the funniest Peep Show episode ever, it is still easily one of the funniest things on television this year.

Peep Show is, in the words of Ricky Gervais, “the best sitcom since Father Ted”, and far be it from me to disagree with him. Every episode is a new reason to cringe, a new aspect of modern culture for Mark to be bemused by, or a new low which Jez will sink to in order to try and have sex.

It’s a comedy for the modern man, with all our egotism, apathy and vulnerability portrayed as accurately and as honestly as anything else being made today. Moreover, every episode is on 4oD for free – so you have no excuse not to catch up with this genuinely brilliant comedy.