Peep Show is undoubtedly a classic piece of British television. With the comedy duo of David Mitchell and Robert Webb at the helm, plus Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain on writing duties, Peep Show went on to become Channel 4's longest running comedy. For those of you unaware, the sitcom follows the lives of two flatmates - the cynical realist Mark Corrigan, and slacker sponge Jeremy Usborne.
Over the years Peep Show has continued to produce meagre viewing figures. However, thanks to the beautiful thing that is Channel 4, Peep Show has continued to be renewed and broadcast on primetime television, this made it an instant cult classic.
For me, Peep Show continued its excellence well into season seven, with Nether Zone ranking as one of my favourite episodes. Unfortunately, season eight's uninteresting life-coach-novel-writer storyline began to consume the dry wit that made Peep Show what it was, and this decline continued into the final season.
The writing and overall substance of season nine was glaringly lacklustre. Despite a dull season eight, the finale still left a lot of questions left to be answered, which wasn't really solved by season nine's opener. The series starts with Jez and Mark being reunited, with none of the wounds healed following Mark's breakup with Dobby. This distance between the characters is reflected in the acting, with Mitchell and Webb's trademark rapport now feeling wooden and uneasy. And while the characters seem to make some sort of amends by the end, the relationship between the two actors never feels as fluid or effortless as it has done in the past.
The characters are noticeably different in series nine. Mark is no longer seven parts cynic, one part social outcast, one part snob and one part sarcastic scoffer, with cynic consuming his otherwise imperative qualities as a character. Jez's character has become even more of 'a selfish, moral blank, whose lazy cynicism and sneering, ironic take on the world encapsulates everything wrong with a generation.' However, now it's not in moderation and with a flicker of humour, Jez's before charm is now seen through the eyes of Mark. To top it all off, even Super Hans' 'wrong-un' allure is cut short via an uninteresting engagement subplot.
Dobby's return to Peep Show is confused and with the added element of old flames April and Sophie thrown into the mix, Mark's pursuit of a partner is scattered and leaves you not caring who he ends up with. Plus Jez's over-the-top and simply unfathomable relationships with both a man and a woman isn't edgy or gripping, it's just frustrating and tiresome. Particularly faltered performances by Catherine Shepard (April), Cariad Lloyd (Megan), and Bart Edwards (Joe) don't make the chore of series nine any easier.
Season nine was a disappointing end to one of the greatest British TV programmes of all time. While Peep Show will forever be one of the essential comedies, season nine wasn't a pleasurable way for it to bow out.