I'm not one for hyperbole but I'd be hard pressed to think of a better sit com in the canon of British comedy. You heard me!
Peep Show has earned its place on the vaunted Brit Com pedestal along with Fawlty Towers, Blackadder and Only Fools and Horses.
Starring comedy duo David Mitchell and Robert Webb the premise of the program is that it is shot entirely in the first person (actors use hand held or even head mounted cameras while they act through their scenes) and we the audience are privvy not only to their points of view but to their thoughts as well.
Peep Show centres around the lives of two flat mates, conservative loan manager Mark Corrigan (Mitchell) and out of work musician Jeremy Usbourne (Webb). While the "odd couple" field of comedy has been run into the ground it is no mean feat that the writers and cast are able to make this dynamic fresh and entertaining. The dialogue which is consistently sharp and flawlessly executed by the entire cast contributes a great deal to this but where the real comeidic platinum lies is the characters' internal monologues which give us a private insight into their (and by association our own) little neuroses.
Take this little nugget from Jeremy when trying to co-ordinate his hastily assembled band in a music studio;
God this is terrible. I wish they were robots. I wish I was a robot. Maybe I could punch through a wall.
God, I'm even boring when I'm a Nazi.
These snippets provide a sense of surrealism and seem to be an incredibly liberating tool for the writers as they are able to articulate those silly, arbitrary and often hilarious thoughts that we all have which are pushed aside by our sensible conscious minds.
The supporting cast is also consistently spot-on and peripheral characters are always well written and superbly acted. Mark's macho love rival Jeff, Jeremy's ideologically confusied American girlfriend Nancy, alternately scary and sexy neighbout Toni, the entire supporting cast are lovingly crafted by all involved. Special mention should go to Matt King for his portrayal of Jeremy's band mate, Superhans. Superhans' ernest but ill conceived political doctrines and dubious charisma make him one of the most entertaining characters in the series and it is with great wisdom that the writers use him sparingly. Here are a few of Superhans' finest pieces of dialogue;
"The secret ingredient is crime!" "What you're doin' there is, you're drinkin' an advert intcha?" "He thinks there's a pigeon in Catalonia that's controlling his legs!"
And my all time favourite;
"People like Coldplay and voting for the Nazis, you can't trust people!"
Not only is Peep Show a flawlessly executed piece of high-concept comedy (without being overly pretentious or self referential) but it seems to tap wonderfully into that uniquely British neurosis
Shameless, profane, irreverent, endlessly quotable and accutely observed the quirky characters and brilliantly surreal dialogue very quickly transcend being merely funny and become hugely endearing.
As with all great comedy there are great moments of human drama in these five amazing series and the acting throughout is simply perfect.
I dearly love Peep Show and I'm quite certain that you will too should you ever come into contact with it!