Peep Show: 804 “Big Mad Andy” Review
Reviewed by James Wynne.
Has Jez ever before pursued an avenue for this amount of episodes without it being tied up in his sexual desires? His life-coaching that is, not his new-found affection for Dobs. Was he even this committed to his life-long musical aspirations? It’s a brilliant development for his character and plays off his child-like enthusiasm for something that gives him light relief, regardless of the consequences, in excellent fashion. His naïve inconsideration for the detrimental effects his uneducated and unqualified (aren’t all qualifications meaningless?) methods are having on ‘Big Mad Andy’ is balanced, as always, with the perfect amount of charm, and is as laughable as it is despicable, because we all understand it’s more important that he gets Mark to apologise for ever doubting him or his abilities.
Meanwhile, his calamitous lusting after The Dobs feels a little artificial. She’s been around since the fifth series and he has shown little to no interest during all that time. It looks to be setting up something grand for the final episode; a typical showdown of pathetic and embarrassing proportions, but it just seems manufactured for this reason, regardless of the amount of times it has happened in the duo’s past (Sophie, Toni, Big Suze, Callie etc.,). I imagine it will still culminate in to a hilarious spectacle, as is routine, but it would be nice to see things leading in to a more original comic fiasco to round the series off with.
In a sense, this is where Olivia Coleman’s Sophie is so missed. Mark’s parental dilemmas have been almost forgotten about this series and, as his shackled responsibilities have provided so much comedic gold in past episodes, it seems a great shame. It’s not the writers’ fault, though, as Olivia’s schedule made it impossible for her to be a part of this year’s mishaps, but it has left the series feeling like it’s missing one if its absolute best dynamics.
In terms of negatives, that’s all there is in an episode that doles out the laughs as well as the series ever has. Mark’s semi-adulterous antics almost catch him out and leave the door open for Jez to make his move on Dobs, as well as prompting Jez to make a crude and blunt suggestion to Mark in an effort to force him over the threshold of sexual deviance (“Pull your pants down and stick it in!”), which, though seeming like being both an awkward and overused line at first, gets a hilarious pay-off with the episode’s closing gambit (“And for that image, I only have myself to blame.”).
Best Scene: Jeremy’s Unorthodox Methods
Jez proves he’ll go to extraordinary lengths to save his patient’s life – or get Mark to acknowledge him as a capable life-coach with a genuine certificate, and apologise for ever thinking otherwise.
It’s an episode that packs in a lot – from Mark’s futile attempts to discourage Dobby’s suggestions of interrailing, to Super Hans looking for a business partner whose tastes range from ballet to taking speed – and doesn’t drop the ball with any of it. It also sees the welcome return of one of the show’s most memorable guest characters, which, with the series continued themes of ‘therapising’ and life-coaching, seems fitting.