Peep Show: 805 “Chairman Mark” Review
Reviewed by James Wynne
Mark continues to give it his all in his efforts to get Dobs to move in; Dobs continues to find transparent excuses not to and Jeremy’s doting inner monologues – his ‘naughty, naughty feelings’ – haven’t gone anywhere.
Mark’s naïve assumption that the reasons behind Dobby’s reluctance to move in with him might be born out of a desire to see him in a position of leadership – because women love power, and all that – has him applying for chair of his local freehold committee (something which, I’m sure, the words “power” and “leadership” were not intended for). It’s a brilliant sequence of events that sees him dubbed ‘Chair-Mao Mark’ by Jez – a pseudonym that proves fitting in the end, as he surmises that morals and honour are only as worthwhile as your current financial situation, and also has him uttering the most nonsensical simile of all time – “It’s as wet as…an eagle”. It doesn’t work, though, as Dobs quickly combats his rectifying of the damp wall – something that she insisted was exacerbating her previously unheard of asthma – with further excuses to postpone them moving in together.
It does seem like the writers are missing the endless comedic opportunities that JLB offered as Mark’s employers, as his foray in to bathroom sales ends not long before it started (not unlike his brief stint waiting at Gail’s Mexican restaurant) – this prompting him to plunge the committee’s entire sinking fund in to repairs for his own rotting walls. His ‘involuntary redundancy’ comes about as a result of Jeremy’s warped attempts at kindness – swindling Mark’s client and then getting ‘rumbled’ moments later – and Mark sealing his own fate as he spills the beans to his boss, while fantasising about hot flannels and popping spots; the perfect night in. It’s a shame it’s come to an end so soon, as we didn’t see enough of Mark’s relentless, but futile, attempts to become a reputable bathroom salesman, and where was Super Hans’ promised belittling of Mark?
It’s all change for Jez, meanwhile, as he faces the notion that he has to become self-sufficient for the first time in his life. It’s not all bad news, though, as no sooner has he been dropped by one Corrigan, than he finds another’s blood to leech off. Sara, that is, who seems to be harbouring even more emotional resentment than usual, and has decided that she wants to be the sadist to Jeremy’s [unwilling] masochist – something that, it’s unsurprising, Mark ‘probably, definitely’ doesn’t want to hear about. His living with her also entails services as a toy boy – in the sense that he is a toy, for a boy. The boy being Sara’s five-year-old son, Josh, whose facial expressions epitomise the meaning of deadpan.
With all that, as well as the sense of achievement that overcomes Jez upon using a clothes hanger for what is, one can only assume, the first time, and Mark’s clinical approach to ‘popping’ a bottle of champagne, in addition to his insinuations that Formula 1 drivers would do the same in his circumstances, this is one of the funniest episodes of all time, and the best in the series so far.
Best Scene: “F**k you, Mark. If you’re going to screw Dobby, I’m going to screw your chairs.”
Jeremy’s dawning realisation that he owns nothing beyond the bare necessities forces him to question his life…for a split-second, before deciding Mark’s chairs now belong to him.
Everything comes together in this instalment and, aside from Mark’s continuing efforts to get Dobs over his threshold, as well as her continuing refusal to do so, which is starting to get a little stale and repetitive at this point, not a moment feels anything less than brilliant – well, apart from the…eagle thing.