David Mitchell is the comedic equivalent of Marmite. I happen to find him one of the sharpest, wittiest minds on British television but I am all too aware that many find him to be an annoying, slightly too-posh-for-his-own-good, sarcastic type of chap. His ubiquitous presence on the Beeb hasn’t helped matters, in particular his involvement in the frankly rubbish panel game Would I Lie To You, already on its second host and, despite being three dull series in, shows no signs of abating. Many are Mitchell-ed out and I do fear that he risks becoming the new Davina McCall (Davina, get off my TV screen right now, please and take those bloody Garnier products with you).
I adore his shtick, however, and Peep Show is the one series that provides it with the platform it deserves. You get the distinct impression that Mark Corrigan isn’t a million miles away from Mitchell’s own personality and when he gets variously annoyed with the youth of today, flatmate Jeremy or any number of daily occurrences that combine to ruin his day, I am left thinking that these incidents are probably ones that have aggravated Mitchell at some time during his life. This lends his performance as Mark that bit more believability and, for me, marks out Mark Corrigan as one of the single finest comedy characters to ever hit British screens.
In the tradition of so many great characters, he’s essentially a grumpy old man, which is brought to the fore in this episode in conflict with a new boiler. Mark’s problem, as they so often do, revolves around a girl, the wonderful Dobby. His attempts to woo her step up a notch in this episode and things are going surprisingly well, a not-so-chance meeting (thanks to a harmless bit of stalking on his part) at a Laser Quest centre leading to watching golf on television and then some amorous snogging in Mark’s flat.
Shame then that it all came to a crashing end thanks to a boiler that’s just too hot and, more crushingly, because of the results of Sophie’s paternity test – great news for Jeremy (not the Daddy), not so great for Mark.
So now we know Mark is the father, that gives the show licence to run with that idea further and I’m glad it’s been put into play this early on in the series. As I wrote last week, this is going to be the big series’ story arc and one of the more interesting ones in Peep Show‘s history.
Jeremy was handed more to do in this episode, too, as his own romantic endeavours ended in success with the lovely Russian legal secretary Elena, who just happens to have a thing for DILFs (Dads I’d Like To Fuck).
Jeremy has always been the more sexually active of the flatmates, although his own ineptness with women has been brought to focus in this series on several occasions, most markedly here with his initial meeting with Elena. “Hi. How’s it handling?” No Super-Hans this time round which did prove just how strong a character he is, often grabbing many of the fantastic lines of the show.
I also fear that we may have seen the last of Dobby, Sophie’s revelation naturally leading to her hotfooting it out of Mark’s flat faster than the fastest thing you can think of. A cheetah, for example. I’m hoping she makes a return for she lends the series a cracking dynamic, providing Mark with a potential partner who genuinely likes him for what he is. She is the Muttley to his Dick Dasterdly and giving Mark the chance to see some light at the end of the eternally dark tunnel that is his life naturally offers many chances to pull Mark back into the abyss.
Another solid episode this, if not a barnstorming one, but I sense some belters to come.
Read our review of episode 1 here.