10 life lessons we’ve learned from Peep Show
Chris Bryant | On 11, Nov 2015
Peep Show begins its ninth and final season tonight, 12 years since it first began. Over the eight previous seasons of Channel 4’s longest running comedy, creators Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain have used Mark and Jez – and their awkwardly accurate internal monologues – to teach the British public some very important life lessons. We sift through the painful memories and select the most important nuggets of advice.
Owning a small business is difficult (Season 3, Episode 2)
“People like Coldplay and voted for the Nazis. You can’t trust people, Jeremy.”
Always remember that trying to have people sectioned under the mental health act is not a particularly good business move, and tends to annoy most people. In this instance, the person owning the small business (Mark and Jez’s old friend, Merry, who promised them the disused pub she owns) did actually need to be sectioned, but after a few of Super Hans’ suggestions – calling the pub ‘Free The Paedos’ and refusing to serve lager – maybe a little bit of sectioning might do everyone some good.
Beware of going out (Season 3, Episode 5)
“So, a candle stuck in a wine bottle apparently doesn’t cut it anymore. Now, for a special night, you have to have Class A drugs and fisting.”
We’re all the same, there are just systems that keep us apart. So the drug addled idiots in Mark’s flat say, while he rustles up some toast and tea for his girlfriend’s comedown post-night club trip. Going out is scary. The only thing scarier? This might be the most romantic moment in the entire series.
Beware of staying in (Season 5, Episode 1)
“The Megatron doesn’t say ‘urban free-wheelers’. It says ‘sofa masturbators’.”
Staying in too much makes going out even worse. You spend the whole time pretending you’re home watching Heat, when really you’re watching an awful play with someone who’ll later refuse a second date, while you restrain your moronic housemate after he fails to restrain the youths who just stole your telly. It’s a wonder anyone ever finds love.
There is no perfect job (Season 4, Episode 4)
“You don’t have to be crazy to work here, but it helps.” “Well, you don’t have to be a smackhead to wank off old geezers, but that probably helps too.”
If the job involves a PlayStation and some Ben & Jerry’s, it’s probably too good to be true. Jez learns this through some hands-on experience with his musical idol The Orgazoid, before deciding that as good as material possessions are, there’s nothing quite like not giving hand-jobs for cash – a lesson for us all.
Enjoy the little things (Season 5, Episode 2)
“They can laugh. But I win because they think I pissed myself, but really I came in my pants!”
A few moments in a stationary cupboard or a shared slice of mature cheddar might be just what you need to get through the day. Peep Show is awash with mental declarations of success in times where it looks very much as though Mark and Jez haven’t been that successful, but that’s the secret: seize the tiny moments of success and ignore the wet patch in your lap.
Family is tough (Season 7, Episode 5)
“Cava? Urgh.” “Excellent. Five seconds before the first disappointment. Got that in early.”
Family occasions, Christmas especially, can be difficult. There are so many rules to follow regarding what is traditional food, whether or not you can have sex with your best friend’s sister (again) and what to do when your bandmate shows up with a wicked big bag of ‘Sinister Minister’. Repeat after us: Chicken Run is always the easiest way out of an unwanted game of charades.
Relationships are tough (Season 4, Episode 6)
“I am heading for a wedding. How do I feel? Empty? Check. Scared? Check. Alone? Check. Just another ordinary day.”
Don’t know whether to go through with committing to spend your life with another human? Contracting TB is the only surefire way out of a wedding. Road traffic accidents and getting beaten up are too difficult to achieve. Other pointers for your wedding day include not falling in love with baristas interested in Churchill and not improvising insults when trying to get seriously injured. Oh, and avoid getting any bodily fluids on yourself, or other people – especially when hiding above them in church.
Actually, life is tough (Season 1, Episode 1)
“What sort of shop doesn’t have Alpen?!”
Even for those around Mark and Jez, life is no picnic. Toni can’t find Alpen, she’s convinced her husband is cheating on her and, even worse somehow, he’s also called Tony. After a few hours squabbling at her party, Mark and Jez decide to retreat the only way they know how: together. (Mental note: You find out who your real friends are when you set fire to Hampton Court Maze.)
But at least we have each other (Season 4, Episode 5)
“The fact is I’m your best friend. And I know you don’t want to hear it, but I love you. And in your own dried up, desiccated, weird and unfriendly way, you love me too.”
There’s nothing more enjoyable than an El Dude handshake.
Although sometimes having each other is tough too… (Season 1, Episode 2)
Mark on Jez: “Workshy freeloader.” Jez on Mark: “Tight-fisted cock-muncher.”
Nothing you want is ever going to happen. That’s the truth. Your hair isn’t red. People don’t walk around on stilts. Maybe somewhere you can earn a living sitting around drinking margaritas through a curly plastic straw, but in this world you’ve got to turn up, log on and grind out.
What lessons have you learned from Peep Show? Share the wisdom below.
Still desperate for more hyper-cynical business advice from Mark or pointers on casual drug use, dubious sexual practices and general tomfoolery from Jez? Peep Show returns for a ninth season on at 10pm Channel 4, Wednesday 11th November. Seasons 1 to 8 are available to catch up with for free on All 4.