As David Mitchell, one of its co-stars, has stated, Peep Show is a conventional sitcom masquerading as a groundbreaking one. He meant it as a compliment, arguing that despite the unconventional filming style and bad language, the programme belongs in the great British sitcom tradition of shows that delve into the inner lives of losers and show their desperate and generally fatally flawed attempts at being something more.
For the uninitiated, Peep Show revolves around the lives of Mark (David Mitchell) and Jeremy (Robert Webb), two twenty-something guys sharing a flat in one of the less nice bits of London. We see most of the action from the point of view of one of these two main characters and also hear their thoughts. In Mark’s case, this means getting intimately acquainted with the mind-numbing tedium of his office job and his often catastrophic attempts to woo his colleague Sophie. When we view the world through Jeremy’s eyes, we see him laze around the flat, make faltering and often disastrous attempts to kick-start his music career, and attempt to shag just about any attractive female who comes into his orbit.
It’s hearing their thoughts that really makes Peep Show work. All of the really funny bits come either from the contradiction between what Mark/Jeremy say and what we hear them thinking, or from the general weirdness and mundanity of their internal monologues. Really, it’s one of those shows that is impossible to describe properly; it’s neither as odd nor as dull as it sounds. At its best, it’s sublime, observational comedy that observes the inner workings of your mind. Now it’s on Netflix, you’ve got no excuse not to give it a go.