Peep Show Gone Wank

I’ve always championed Peep Show as the best, because it was the best. It represented the epitome of cynical and dark British humour and its unique interactive method of filming elevated it to a whole new kind of viewing experience. Its penultimate series was shown at the end of 2012, about 3 years ago, then at some point in this year we were all thrilled to hear that we would be given one final series. This series concluded this December, and the last episode ever was shown last night. And it’s safe to say, after watching all 6 episodes, its glorious mojo has well and truly evapourated.

The truth is that the plots in this series have become hideously implausible, and well and truly outrageous even by Peep Show’s standards. It’s almost as if they ran out of ideas, or lost connection with the show over the three years they weren’t active. Everybody who ever fell in  love with the show in the first place must have been having a lot of question marks at the lengths it went to here.

Everyone from JLB got back together working in the bank- Just a bit tediously convenient.

The central heating paranoia- Why does he become so obsessive about this? He buys cameras throughout his house. Is it money he cares about? It was executed well this joke, but again it’s implausible, and conveniently arrives in this final series.

Jeremy turns gay- A man just doesn’t come out gay all of a sudden. Yes Jeremy is quirky and sometimes unpredictable but come on!

Mark lets Jeremy draw on his eyebrows, thinking that this is a funny idea- Based on Indiana Jones. I re watched the clip of this, and it’s not even Harrison Ford who does it, it’s one of his female students. It simply doesn’t work as an idea. It’s preposterously bad. He later wears blue eye shadow to conceal it. Side splitting. He then refuses to blink for a long period of time. Also side splitting. He even draws on the stilton with permanent marker. Oh please. This whole episode was a pathetic mess.

Mark makes a caserole with lettuce, beans and eggs- Again incredibly extreme. Not really characteristic of Mark.

Mark does coke- Mark wouldn’t even drop a pill for a girl in the glory days. I mean it’s not that bad of them, but it’s certainly another implausible plot line, and they begin to add up.

A bank robber appears!- Bank robbers. Where have they been the previous 8 series?

April comes back- Some things are better off left in the past. He left her in Darty. Which was funny, because it was classic, slightly evil, incompetent Mark. He doesn’t just decide a few series later to go and track her down! Unless the writers can’t come up with anything else, perhaps.

Mark has sex with April in the toilet of a Kid Farm- Just another thing that is incredibly unrealistic for two very boring characters.

The snake goes missing in the Kid Farm- We’ve had the fucking snake going missing before! Why does it have to go missing again? I’m tired of this!

Jeremy drinks his own piss- Nothing to add.

Jeremy empties a cereal box on somebody’s floor antagonistically- Familiar?

Jeremy Kidnaps April’s husband- Jeremy does it so that Mark can replace him on a cruise holiday to Greece, by seizing April’s husband, and texting april on his phone saying he’s gone to Ibiza. This is just obscene. Jeremy is not this stupid, or this evil. I didn’t laugh, not even a tiny bit. I felt like I’d seen it a million times before.

Why did Peep Show feel like it needed to stretch this far?

Now a lot of people reading this might claim that all of this madness fits in with the storyline, that everything was meant to descend into chaos for the final series. And it may have. But the characters were simply not the same ones from the previous seasons. The same jokes were repeated over and over again, and they had absolutely none of the biting gumption of previous episodes but they were spoken as if they had.

It wasn’t all bad. There were glimmers of excellence, Superhans’ wedding for example, when the twins were momentarily revealed to us. The needless water boarding. The shoe laces method of homicide. The third-person camera angle at the end couldn’t have failed to induce melancholy. But Peep Show, oh my good friend from since I was 12, you forgot yourself this time, and you ran out of ideas.




Star Wars: The Force Awakens review

I recently watched The Force Awakens and I was largely very pleased with what I saw. It’s always a big gamble when it is decided that a long standing franchise will produce new films a while after the conclusion of a previous series, which in my view was something that Peter Jackson failed at with The Hobbit trilogy which was essentially a lengthy ejaculation of mawkish midget-wankery. I was rather apprehensive about how this one would pan out, having reminded myself of the scenes at the end of episode VI, when everyone is dancing all night long at that ewok rave in the woods. Behaving as if all evil has subsided for ever, and ‘order restored to the force’ … for ever.

More like for 32 years then. So all of the space invading, the rainbow of laser swords, the strange desert creatures, the cute robot pets and the fleets of charismatic and deadly ships capable of travelling at the speed of light, all return pretty quickly. The evil now lies with the (perhaps weakly named) First Order, led by a Sith Lord named Kylo Ren who owns a lightsaber that looks different to any lightsaber that has ever appeared in Star Wars. Welcome to the new age.

I was delighted to see Oscar Isaac in this. I always enjoy watching him closely, whoever he plays because he is essentially the coolest man on the planet. His role as ‘the best pilot in the resistance’ is well cast and I was routing for the guy from the off. I thought he died when he crashed, but then I was very pleased to see he survived and will no doubt be exhibiting his extreme skill at flying X-Wings in a spell bindingly flamboyant fashion for the remainder of the films.

The rest of the casting was also very much on point. I can’t comment on them all but I’ll pick out a few ; Dohmnall Gleeson was barely recognisable in his stone cold portrayal of General Hux, but that is very much a good thing, considering that he is playing an extremely evil bastard. The diversity between this character’s traits, in comparison to the character he played with Isaac in Ex Machina (a remarkable film) is testament to how decent an actor he is.

I noticed Gary Neville starred in this also, and I hope Valencia aren’t questioning his commitment to the club as their new manager (okay I’m being facetious, but did anyone else notice him in this film, playing some resistance fighter?). Gwendoline Christie was another interesting cast- as a very in-fashion actress. Although she had very few lines and her character despite being meant to be evil, didn’t really show it. I was interested to see Serkis was included in the cast, but I only realised this after I had seen the film. I was a bit disillusioned with his character; The Supreme Leader if I’m honest. He seems to have emerged completely out of nowhere (I accept this may be accounted for in due course) and his appearance is very uninspiring, in spite of how colossal it appeared as a hologram. He looks like an exact cross between the hideous orc leader at Minas Tirith, and Lord Voldermort. They could have done better when they created his appearance, I’m sure many will agree.

Needless to say, Harrison Ford was excellent. One of the moments where I really felt emotional was when Han got back into the Falcon and he was by the turret. As he was smiling at being reunited with the love of his life, we really were reintroduced to that same devilish smile that we saw in the original trilogy what seems like a lifetime ago, and it was something extremely beautiful. On the subject of Ford, I hope others noticed his extremely vulgar line that he said later in the film. I was shocked when he said it because of its overtly filthy connotations. Then he repeated it! It’s not like it even had any real purpose for the film. It could so easily have been rephrased as well, to mean exactly the same thing, and certainly no eye lids would have been batted. It was extremely peculiar…

Another thing that was tremendously conspicuous was the difference in Fisher’s accent. She has got a lot more American, her voice is entirely different now. But that’s not really a criticism, it doesn’t really matter at all, and I’m perhaps getting a bit fastidious here but hearing it did trip me up a bit.

I have some question marks about the character of Kylo Ren. It was extremely laughable how he was unable to defeat Rey and Finn in the forest, having undergone the training he had from presumably- the best Jedi in the Galaxy. He should have creamed them into the snow effortlessly with his knowledge of the force (God Abrams where has the damn realism gone?). And another thing, I really hope he isn’t simply of the ‘good guy turns bad then turns good again’ school because we’ve already seen that with Vader and worn that black, robotic, semi-asthmatic, t-shirt. They also basically did a repeat of destroying the Death Star, destroying a planet about five times its size, almost effortlessly. As soon as they set out to destroy it, you know it is going to happen. Did they have to include this, again?

Repeats aren’t good enough, of course. The storyline HAS to be something completely different this time round. The galaxy cannot just recycle itself over and over again pointlessly until it becomes like some kind of inter galactic Midsomer Murders that nobody watches. But of course I won’t be making any assumptions at this stage. I feel like they have deliberately concealed a lot of  extremely important information from us at this point, which will answer a lot of the burning questions about what the hell is actually going on with everything.

In typical Star Wars fashion the dialogue was astronomically cheesy from start to finish. “Oh my God look at how much courage that ordinary guy is displaying!” “Oh no we are in a potentially life threatening situation but I am going to pretend that I’m relaxed about it and make some kind of vacuous joke.” “I’ll rub your face son, right before I die because I love ya.”- those kinds of sentiments. But again we make allowances for that. The whole idea of the Force and the Dark Side itself is damn cheesy if you think about it. Every time I heard a line that made me cringe, I turned to a person who I had gone to the cinema with, to register it, and by the end of it I just about got whiplash. But on the whole the film was incredibly made and I was captivated throughout.

The new droid was extremely likeable, the weapons, the effects, the planets, the ships, the weird bread, they all carried a nuanced aestheticism to them which I was extremely captivated by. Everything slid into place very nicely and really set the tone for the new films, which have a lot to prove if this coming trilogy is to become admired by the galaxy’s true Star Wars fans, and for the gamble to pay off.