Peep Show: 806 “Quantocking II” Review
Reviewed by James Wynne
So, Dobs is gone and, as most will have predicted, Mark’s final romantic gesture and Jeremy’s decision to confess his love for her all blows up in their stupid faces. It’s a battle of halfwits that entails the destruction of Mark’s beloved pie, repeated shocks from an electrical fence and sticks and stones, very much not breaking bones.
It’s a bit of a ‘reminiscey’ package this week, as the title should no doubt suggest. It sees a re-visitation to Super Hans fondness for snakes; the difficulties Mark has in acquiring the services of a competent painter – a gag that had its debut only two episodes ago – and, of course, another disastrous proposal weekend in the Quantocks. It has become more and more noticeable as the series has gone on that the writers seem perhaps a bit too comfortable re-treading old ground, and the first half of this episode is an example of the detrimental effects this can have, as a strong sense of déjà vu overwhelms most of the gags – the arrival at the Quantocks, oddly enough, turning things around just in time.
It’s not just the jokes that feel a bit ‘seen it all before’, as Dobs farewell is tainted with a similarly detracting sense of déjà vu. In what feels like the most blatant rehash of past events, Dobs admits to being offered a job in New York – an obstacle that also stood between Mark’s previous relationship with Sophie. In fairness, Sophie’s move was less permanent than Dobby’s – her remaining still in England – but the scenarios is largely unchanged and its effects on Mark are just as devastating as before.
The journey to the Quantocks has Jez taken along for the ride, after his escape attempts – following his noble admission to Mark that he wants his woman for himself – are foiled by the unprecedented notion of a train rigidly adhering to its schedule. Mark’s anger at his friend’s betrayal(?) extends to him making a bargain with Jez that entails him holding off on the proposal, so long as Jez keeps his feelings to himself – this lasts all of five minutes, of course, as both are assured that the other one will break the agreement as soon as they get the chance. It’s not long before tensions start running high at, quite possibly, the most unromantic location for a proposal picnic ever, and the battle of bladders is commenced; the olive arguments ensue and both Mark and Jez, pre-occupied with launching one another in to the nearby electrical fence, fail to notice Dobs running for the hills; or, New York.
Best Scene: “I’ll kill you Jeremy, for trying to steal my girlfriend, and electrocuting me, and ruining my f*cking pie!”
Series eight says goodbye, as Mark proves, once and for all, his priorities are never in the right order.
It doesn’t get in to its stride until the second half, but it’s brilliant from there on and its fantastic closing scene suggests that much will be different for the El Dude Brothers when the show makes its return next year.
So, how did the series do overall?
It’s been another great year for Peep Show, as has become custom, but it’s not been one of the best and nowhere near perfection. It seemed like there was a bit of laziness in the writing department at times, as an over-reliance on the successful gags of old became more routine than it should. It’s still one of the funniest comedies of its time and, who knows, Jeremy’s actions might have some series implications when the next series rolls around and could prove to be what’s needed to shake the show out of its current comfort zone.
It’s still brilliant, but its consistent improvements with each series has ceased with this year’s.