Saturday, 27 February 2010

Living in a Cave - Peep Show

Anyone who knows me will say I'm probably a bit of a worrier. I suppose I'm a bit of a Woody Allen type, and I'm one of those people who'll lie awake at night worrying that they might be neurotic. I have identity crises when someone spells my name wrong, and won't even mention how I get when my monthly phone bill arrives addressed to "Mrs Calum King". Hopefully the picture I'm painting is vivid enough for you to have a grasp of what I'm like as a semi-functional human being. So, when I began to watch the long-running tv show Peep Show recently, I felt like I'd found a soul mate, a nerdy kindred spirit, by the name of Mark Corrigan.

Mark is a sad man, stuck in an incredibly boring job; his love life (when he manages to have one) is awful, aided by his neuroticism, awkward behaviour and overwhelming sexual dysfunction; and on top of all that, he looks like a younger version of Harold from Neighbours. Mark doesn't really have a lot going for him, and that's where most of the comedy comes from in Peep Show; well, him and his hedonistic and virile flatmate, Jez.

It's hard not to relate, at least a bit, with Mark and Jez, as you watch them fail miserably at everything from employment to relationships, from working in a Mexican restaurant to canal -boating. Despite the extreme scenarios they get themselves into, a lot of the awkwardness might feel quite familiar: discovering gatecrashers at your party, ("there is an exclusion zone around you, a cordon sanitaire") being bothered by the neighbourhood kids, ("F**k of cleanshirt!") or joining a gym that you really don't want to go to; "I can hardly f**king pedal, no mountain is that hard, it's just not realistic").

Essentially, each episode begins and ends in a similar way, and Peep Show could be said to be fairly formulaic in that way. The silliness increases and tension builds until the end, when usually something awful and incredibly unfortunate happens. I had to pause the DVD almost every episode, just out of embarrassment, and because I really didn't want to see what would happen next. It's even more embarrassing than the picture of me at the top of this column.

It comes as a bit of a relief then, that the next episode usually doesn't even refer to the outcome of the previous one; the slate is wiped clean and we're spared the inevitable melt-downs, break-ups and court-cases that would probably have resulted. It doesn't always go badly for Mark and Jez though, and Mark's sweet post-it note to the girl he likes magically strikes lucky, despite him drawing a swastika inside the wonky heart shape.

I love it. It's crude and slightly offensive at times, but it's also charming and hilarious. The characters are mad, but also have real personalities, particularly the main cast, and though the situations they find themselves in are horrifyingly, they're oddly believable.

You also can't ignore the fairly strong homoerotic vibe between the two main characters. It's hinted at throughout the course of the seasons, and you get the impression that if all their attempts with women continue to fall through, they might just accept their fate and grow old together, like Ant and Dec.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

TAHNKS FOR YOUR SHARING~~~VERY NICE ........................................

6 March 2010 at 03:37

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23 March 2010 at 02:47


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