It’s good to see that pursuing their own side projects – Webb’s stint on the West End, Mitchell’s numerous appearances on television across practically every broadcasting network going – hasn’t done any harm to the duo’s main comedy showpiece.
That Mitchell And Webb Look and the significantly better That Mitchell And Webb Sound are fun while they last, but it’s Peep Show with which the pair will rightly be most associated. Now at series six the first episode aired on Friday night with the typical air of confidence and strong writing you’d expect six years down the line.
The end of series five presented us with a brilliant cliffhanger. Mark’s on-off girlfriend (and one-time wife) Sophie announced that she was pregnant and that either Mark or Jeremy could be the father. One assumes this will be a running plotline throughout this series although it was only briefly touched upon in this opening gambit, which instead played on all our current employment fears with the announcement that JLB was shutting down.
Leaving Mark and Jeremy out of a job (Mark a long-time JLB staffer, Jeremy a three and a half hour recruit) it was down to Mark in his new role as manager to rally the troops and stage a coup. Dressed with Hitler moustache and blood-stained surgeon’s clothes, his bohemian upstaging of the German owners of the company was his moment to shine in front of his, now former, colleagues.
It was very much an off-kilter moment for the often down-on-his-luck Mark, never one for feeling comfortable in social situations of any kind but he found his niche here. Naturally, it all ended in disappointment for Mark, however, as almost every episode of the series has done thus far
Of course, the real reason behind all his efforts was to grab the attention of a girl who just might be ‘The One’. In this case it was the marvellous Dobby, a character wisely carried over from series five. Played with real comic charm by Isy Suttie, Dobby represents Mark’s safest bet for true love. She’s a total geek, has much the same sense of humour as him and is clearly really into him too. I’m hoping she stays around for a few more episodes as it could give the series a really interesting story arc. The two certainly provided this episode’s finest moment, a foam extinguisher battle that included the genius line, “Eat my foam, baby.”
Jeremy took more of a back seat in this first episode but then many of the series’ best moments come from following Mark’s exploits while Jeremy provides able support. He still gets many of the best lines too, particularly during interplay with mate and long-time drug user Super Hans.
Super Hans’ assertion that the best way to gain employment coming from getting a van leading to a long conversation about becoming ‘men with ven’, Jeremy’s joy at receiving a ‘tippy chair’, plus the discussion of Mark/Jeremy’s ‘Jerry Springer baby’ were early highlights in what was overall a strong opening episode.
Peep Show is back, and Friday nights are all the better for it.