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Series / Peep Show

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"I've made a psycho call to the woman I love, kicked a dog to death and I'm about to pepper-spray an acquaintance... I mean, what's happened to me?"

Peep Show (2003-2015) is a very darkly comical show about two very ordinary weirdos: Jeremy "Jez" Usbourne (Robert Webb), a manchild with dreams of becoming a musician, and Mark Corrigan (David Mitchell), a fifty-year-old in a thirtysomething's body. The show's gimmick is that (with very few exceptions) every camera shot in the show is taken from the point of view of one of the characters, whether Jez and Mark or just someone passing by. It also allows the viewer to hear the internal thought processes of both Mark and Jez as they bumble through their lives... and the show makes good on its promise of showing us everything going on in their heads.

The central pair are accompanied by a gradually evolving supporting cast of friends, friends' friends and girlfriends, including Mark's love interest Sophie (Olivia Colman), Jerk Jock Jeff, Jeremy's stoner bandmate Super Hans, and The Ace Alan Johnson, Mark's insane but charismatic boss.

This show provides examples of:

  • Absurd Brand Name: Jeremy and Super Hans are opening a pub, and want to stand out over the generic pubs in the area, but Jeremy is not enthusiastic about Super Hans' suggestion of "Free The Paedophiles" as a name for the pub.
  • Accidental Proposal: Sort of. In the series 3 finale, Mark takes Sophie to the Quantocks with the intention of proposing to her. Later on he gets lost in the hills with Jeremy, and realises that he doesn't actually want to marry her after all. By the time he gets back, however, she's already found the engagement ring and accepts on the spot. He's too embarrassed to say anything.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: Jeremy wins at poker only because he doesn't know the rules and mistakes a crap hand for an unbeatable one (because all the cards are red). He is hence bluffing without even realising it, and everyone else folds.
  • Act of True Love: Jeremy thinks that travelling for hours to buy Elena her favourite bread counts as this. She doesn't really appreciate it.
  • Actor Allusion: In "The Test", Mark makes up a surprisingly convincing lie on the spot. Jez wonders in his mind as to how he came up with such a great lie. This is a nod to Would I Lie to You?, in which David Mitchell is one of the team captains.
  • Addiction Displacement:
    • Super Hans (briefly) replaces drugs with salt, knitting and long-distance running. He also kicks his alcoholism and cocaine habit thanks to juice, as we see when he spends his stag night at a juice bar in Series 9, before having a single pint of lager and then being reduced to singing about how much he loves cocaine in the bar's toilet.
    • Johnson is implied to have at least partially dealt with his relapse into alcoholism by consuming huge amounts of ketchup with his chips.
  • Affably Evil: It says something about the people in this show when the friendliest and most stable person is Darryl the Neo-Nazi.
  • All Men Are Perverts: And almost all women are horrible control freaks. It's a Crapsack World, after all.
  • Almost Out of Oxygen: "I suppose we do need to get out of here quite soon. Before the air supply runs out." Not really Jeremy, air doesn't actually run out in building foyers, on account of them not being airtight. Lampshaded by Mark, as per usual. "You really are an imbecile, aren't you?"
  • Angrish: A weird combination of this trope and Cluster F-Bomb:
    Mark [narrowly avoiding Sophie noticing him at an awkward time]: Shit sugar fudge piss poo pants bollocks!
  • Amusing Injuries: Mark electrocutes himself while trying to disable the doorbell that Sophie is ringing outside. He lets out a blood-curdling scream that sounds like a murder attempt.
  • Answers to the Name of God: Inverted: when Mark debates whether or not to call Sophie in "The Interview", he and Jeremy decide to let God decidenote . And then Jeremy changes the channel to The Joy of Painting, revealing that they were talking about Bob Rossnote .
  • Arc Words: "Is this a good idea?" Spoken only when the idea in question is undoubtedly a terrible one.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: Lampshaded with both Mark and Jeremy when the latter finds a pistol in his aunt's old house. Comes to a head when Jeremy casually points it at Mark, with his finger on the trigger. It turns out to be deactivated, thankfully.
    Jeremy: I wasn't pointing it, I was just stretching my arm!
    Jeremy: [earlier on, with the gun to his head]: Now pass me the Doritos or I'll blow my brains out!
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "I'll kill you Jeremy! For trying to steal Dobby, electrocuting me, and destroying my fucking pie!"
  • Ascended Extra:
    • A handful of JLB workers can be seen milling around the office well before they finally get lines.
    • April was a one-episode character in series 2, who then became Mark's love interest for series 9.
  • Awkward Kiss: All romantic interactions are made as awkward as possible, from kissing to sex scenes. It's a britcom, after all.
  • Babies Make Everything Better:
    • Sophie seems to believe this, and in the opening episodes of series 7 there are moments which suggests that this trope may actually apply as the tone becomes a bit brighter. Mark seems pleasantly surprised at realizing he actually has pleasant feelings toward his infant son. Episode four puts the show back in fine form.
    • Mark manages to salvage a very awkward conversation and get together with Dobby because he has his baby son with him.
  • The Baby Trap: It looks bad for Mark initially, but the commitment to his son doesn't end up taking up as much time as first thought.
  • Back for the Finale: April, the girl Mark meets in a shoe store and follows to Dartmouth University from Season 2, shows up in the final season.
  • Bad Boss:
    • Johnson (he doesn't have a lot of respect for his employees, describing them as slave drones among other things)
    • Mark in "Conference" - he swears at his employees, calls them all sorts of names and admits that he stamped on Gerrard's foot in a way that might look like an accident just because he was angry.
    • Ben zigzags this - while he's a smug arrogant jerk, he gives Jeremy a decent job managing his music portal, even giving him a pay rise so he can scout out new artists.
    Jeremy: Stop making my lovely job lovelier, you shit!
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: The season 8 opening sees Gerard Promoted to Opening Credits, suggesting that his role will be expanded. It's actually done to disguise the fact that he dies halfway through the first episode, after which he is replaced in the opening.
  • Balloonacy: To get rid of Jerry, Jeremy suggests tying him to a hot air balloon and watching him float away. Mark ponders upon the idea for a second before they move onto considering 'Farty Guantanamo'.
  • Bedroom Adultery Scene: An especially humiliating one happens to Jeremy in series 6, culminating in being forced to crawl out of Elena's flat on his hands and knees, in his pants, while taking care not to wake up Gail. This predictably becomes a Humiliation Conga; after crawling out of the flat and finally making it upstairs, he walks straight into Alan Johnson, who punches him hard in the gut and winds him, leaving him crumpled on the floor, gasping for air, still nearly bollock-naked.
    Jeremy [while crawling]: This could be kind of exciting, actually. Raffles, the gentleman perv! [he reaches to get his clothes, but Elena bats his hand away] No clothes. Raffles doesn't deserve clothes.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Jez and occasionally Mark will come charging to the other's rescue.... usually when it's exactly the wrong thing to do.
    • Played straight when Mark rescues Jeremy from a book group he is attending in spite of having not read the book or any book, for that matter - apart from Mr Nice. (And even then, it was only because Jeremy was paying him.)
  • Big Word Shout: Mark's use of the f-word as part of his inner monologue after Sophie tells him she's pregnant.
  • Bisexual Love Triangle: Elena, between Jez and Gail.
  • Bittersweet Ending: If either Jeremy or Mark ends a series on a high note, its virtually guaranteed that the other will be losing out.
    • Seasonal Beatings has Dobby walk out after one too many insults from Mark's dad and Mark not standing up for her. However, the realization gives Mark the courage to finally stand up to his dad, Jez manages to genuinely commit to his belief in Christmas, and the group finally have an enjoyable Christmas party while Mark's dad goes to sulk by himself. The episode ends on one of the few high notes for both characters.
    • The season seven finale in spades: Dobby agrees to move in with Mark, meaning that Jeremy will have to go through with his plans to move out even though Zahra was waffling. Separated by a fence, Mark goes off to celebrate the New Year with Dobby, taking one last look at Jeremy before the latter is left to get beaten by Super Hans; a rare genuine Tear Jerker for the show.
  • Black-and-White Insanity: Darryl, the neo-Nazi Mark unwittingly befriends, sees anything other than full-on white supremecy as Political Overcorrectness. Mark's attempts to point out the distinction to him fall on deaf ears. Sadly very much Truth in Television.
  • Black Comedy: Despite not involving much death or tragedy, the show's down-to-earth depiction of everyday miseries easily makes it one of the darkest sitcoms on TV.
    Mark: Jeremy, there are many things I would do to help you, but digging a hole in the wintry earth with my bare hands so that you can bury the corpse of a dog you've killed is not one of them.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word:
    Mark: (Stalking's a very loaded term. I prefer to think of it as "extreme liking.")
  • Blatant Lies: Jez and Mark lie all the time, almost always for selfish and/or cowardly reasons.
  • Blunt "Yes": On the topic of Crystal Skulls:
    Cally: How could you possibly make one of these, except by some kind of magic?
    Mark: In a factory... from glass...?
    Cally: [scoffs] Oh sure, come on! Could you make that?
    Mark: No.
    Cally: Could anyone?
    Mark: Yes.
  • Bookends: In the first episode, Jeremy gives Mark the silent treatment over a perceived slight. In the final episode, Mark does the same to Jeremy.
  • Bottle Episode: Nether Zone, almost all of which takes place inside Zahra's apartment building.
    • Seasonal Beatings, which takes place entirely inside Mark and Jeremy's flat.
    • As does The Party, save for a scene at the beginning where Mark invites Dobby to said party.
  • Brainless Beauty: Pretty much all of Jeremy's love interests, as well as a handful of Mark's. Nancy, Big Suze, Elena, as well as a lot of female guest characters all count as examples of this trope.
    • Inverted with Mark's love interest April, who is not only beautiful but also educated and highly intelligent, as well as having an adventurous side.
  • Brick Joke: In one episode, Super Hans claims he is going off crack. He gives Mark his pipe and tells Mark to refuse to give it back if he comes back asking for it, "even if I hit you hard with wood." Later in the episode, Super Hans is back with a large plank of wood, and simply says "Crack." Without missing a beat, Mark gives it back.
    • When speaking to Valerie in the first series, Mark says that there's never been a better time to save up for a very expensive sofa. Cue series 6 and Mark has purchased said sofa, although given that it's on credit, and just in time for JLB to close post-recession, we can assume Mark never managed to save up the hard cash.
    • In Jeremy Broke, Mark is frustrated at Jeremy’s freeloading and makes a list of household items he does and does not have permission to use. He disallows Jeremy from using his razors, stating: “If you’re poor, grow a beard.” Later in the episode, after being kicked out of the house, Jeremy has grown some untidy stubble.
    • In Series 1, Jez orders four naan, which Mark considers "an insane" amount. Later, in Series 8, Mark has ordered a deliberately excessive amount of Indian food to get Jez to admit that he already ate (and admit he missed an appointment). He mentions there's "a naan and a half each", meaning that even when he's intentionally being excessive, he can't bring himself to order four naan.
    • In Series 4, Mark decides to run away from a disastrous meeting, and he considers going to KFC and having a bargain bucket. Three series later, when Sophie gives birth, Mark again runs away, and this time he does make it to the KFC and has a bucket.
  • British Brevity: Straight in that each series is only six half-hour episodes long, but averted in that it has now lasted for nine series (making it the longest-running Channel 4 sitcom ever in terms of series).
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Darryl may be a shameless racist, but he is very good at playing the cor anglais.
  • But We Used a Condom!: A justified example; after having sex with Sophie, Mark realises that particular condom has been in his wallet so long it's actually expired.
  • Call-Back: In the series 5 episode "Burgling," one of the gangster teen burglars tells Mark to "Fuck off, cleanshirt!" as he walks out with the TV. Yup, he's the same laughing, evil street kid who bullied Mark, all the way back in the first episode of series 1, and he's even played by the same actor. Both character and actor are now grown up and in their late teens.
    • Possibly an example of Call-Forward: During the same first episode of series 1, the song "Flagpole Sitta" can be heard playing in the background at the bowling alley. From series 2 right through to the end, this song became the show's signature theme tune.
  • Celebrity Paradox: If you've seen David Mitchell's appearances on QI and other panel shows, it's a bit odd to hear Mark make an offhand remark about Jimmy Carr, and even more so to hear him compare his proposed escape from his wedding to Stephen Fry's suicide attempt and temporary disappearance. Still funny, though.
  • Chained to a Bed: Jeremy doing this to Super Hans while the latter goes cold turkey is quite possibly the least sexy version of this trope imaginable.
  • Change the Uncomfortable Subject: Jez pleads with Zahra not to break up with him, while Mark awkwardly studies a bottle of shampoo:
    Jez: Is this about last night? 'Cause I can do better. I know I can. I didn't even go down on you, which is a great shame because I love to go down on women, don't I, Mark?
    Mark: "Rinse and repeat," always with the "rinse and repeat"...
    • Mark does this with his family, who are keener than him to rake up the past. When Sarah wants to talk about her relationship difficulties, he prefers to talk about the nuts at the pub. When the Corrigans have Christmas dinner, Mark brings up the food and the TV rather than get involved in Sarah and Dan's argument over the family's budget.
  • Character Development: Jez begins to understand himself and how pathetic he is more as the series goes on. Also, the entire relationship between Mark and Jeremy; Jeremy goes from looking down on Mark to truly appreciating him in the later series. Even Mark shows signs of caring for Jez.
    • Especially evident in the series 7 Christmas episode, where Jeremy buys Mark some well-thought out presents that he is genuinely appreciative of and even spends 'hours' on the internet researching what turkey he thinks Mark would appreciate best for Christmas dinner. Mark doesn't do the same, but he's tight-fisted with everyone, including his family.
    • At the end of the New Year episode, Mark arranges to move in with Dobby. Jeremy's plans to move in with Zahra have fallen through but even with no place to live, Jeremy realises that Mark wants to move on and lets him go.
    • Averted with Mark. In series 8, he effectively repeats all the mistakes of his relationship with Sophie - up to and including a disastrous trip to the Quantocks. His career has gone backwards, he continues to delude himself about 'Business Secrets of the Pharaohs', and his relationship with Jez has deteriorated.
  • Church of Happyology: Jeremy and Super Hans briefly join a cult known as "The New Health and Wellness Centre". The mythology revolves around "negative orgones" that cause human unhappiness. The cult takes personality tests and forbids thinking. They believe in the 7 truths taken from an asteroid that landed on Earth in 1911. Super Hans even uses the phrase "going clear" at the end of the episode, after Mark has persuaded Jez not to move into "the compound".
    Super Hans: Stay and watch your negative orgone level hit the fucking roof if you want. I'm going clear.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Mark, after leaving a truly cringeworthy message on Sophie's answerphone.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Jez, after many of Mark's insults.
    • From "Quantocking":
      Jeremy: I'll go get us help!
      Jeremy: Aha! So you admit we might die!
    • From "Jeremy in Love":
      Jeremy: Elena is my one true soulmate.
      Mark: It's remarkable, isn't it, that out of the three billion adult women in the world, your one true soulmate happens conveniently to live in the same block of flats as you, rather than, say, in a village in Mozambique?
      Jeremy: [serenely] Who knows how these things happen?
    • Jez and Mark conduct a conversation about "Kenneth" (Mark's dildo) in front of a book group, as if they're talking about a friend. After Mark leaves, Jez turns to the book group and says "Kenneth is Mark's 9-inch dildo!"
    • Johnson does executive super-fast tai-chi. "It's meant to take forty-five minutes, I'm done in ten."
  • Comically Small Bribe: Johnson makes an indecent proposal to Jez to sleep with Big Suze.
    Johnson:Every man has his price and I judge yours to be... five hundred and thirty pounds.
  • Companion Cube: Not as an Audience Reaction, but In-Universe, as Mark and Jez occasionally have tender thoughts for certain objects.
    • After discovering that Sophie has broken his "Piggin' Tea Break" mug:
      Mark: Maybe I'll stick it back to "Harpenden Harpenden Harpenden", see how she likes that! ...No. Can't we leave the mugs out of it? Even the mob never hit the families.
    • As rioting laid-off JLB employees prepare to launch a photocopier down the stairs:
      Mark: (Oh my god. That wasn't my main photocopier, but it was a trusty steed when the main one was busy!)
    • Trying to break into Zahra's flat with a shelving bracket:
      Jez: (Come on, bit! Don't let me down now, bit!)
    • Also a few objects which Mark or Jez have given names: "Gunny" the gun, "Kenneth" the dildo, and a television remote dubbed "The Megatron".
  • Competing with a Corpse: Mark feels like he's in this situation after Gerrard, his rival for Dobby's affections, dies of the flu.
  • Continuity Nod: The show is remarkably consistent, briefly revisiting old plot points and character habits as throwaway brick jokes for the more astute fans to pick up on:
    • In "Seasonal Beatings", Mark's dad spills cava on the carpet. Mark remarks "It's okay Dad, the carpet's seen worse." It certainly has seen worse, because one of Sophie's drug-addled friends spilled an entire glass of red wine all over it in series 3.
    • In the pilot episode, Mark is tormented by a pack of kids that refer to him as "Clean shirt". Much later, in season 5, Mark confronts a group of burglars, and one of them once again refers to him as "Clean shirt". Mark's speechlessness and expression of disbelief at this may have something to do with how the actor is the same as the pilot episode's child actor, who has been confirmed to be playing the same character.
    • Before his wedding at the beginning of Series 9, Super Hans winks at two identical boys - the twins he first mentioned in Series 6.
    • Earlier in the series, Big Suze makes a throwaway comment to Mark about how she's auditioning for a theatre rendition of the movie Crash (the one where people get sexually turned on by car crashes). In series 6, she makes the same comment to Mark again, but this time she's auditioning for a theatre rendition of the other movie Crash (the one where people of different races and cultures clash with each other but find out they're all the same).
    • In series 1, Mark establishes his breakfast routine as one slice of brown toast and one slice of white toast, which he thinks of as a main course and a dessert. In series 4, Jeremy tries to make it for him as a wedding day treat, but as their bread was ruined during the previous night’s festivities, all he can come up with is a cream cracker and a ryvita.
    • Jez tells Sophie in series 1 that Mark “draws vicious, horrible cartoons of you, wraps them up in sausage meat, and calls you a sausage muncher”, but she doesn’t buy it. He tells Cally the exact same thing in series 5, but this time she believes him.
    • In Series 1, Jez and Super Hans perform fellatio on each other during a drug binge. In Series 9, while brainstorming ideas for his best man speech at Super Hans’ wedding, Mark notes that he should touch on their friendship “minus all the bad blood and occasional sucking each other off.”
    • In Series 1, Jeff tells Mark that he took Sophie for "a lovely Italian [dinner] and a couple bottles of wine" to make Mark feel insecure about taking his own date to a bowling alley, only for Sophie to later let slip that Jeff actually took her to Pizza Hut. Quite a bit later in Series 8, Mark describes his and Dobby's dinner of macaroni and mushy peas to Gerrard as "a romantic Italian dinner for two" to make him feel insecure about sharing a microwaved pie with Dobby.
    • "University Challenge" from Series 2 and "Threeism" from Series 9 feature numerous parallels:
      • Mark says "This is my chance, and I'm doing nothing. I am now, this instant, missing my chance." in both episodes, referring to making a move on April.
      • In "University Challenge" Jez makes several references to the musician Bez. In Threeism, Mark remarks "I think Bez won Big Brother around then." when reminiscing about first meeting April.
      • Both episodes feature a dinner party.
      • In both episodes, Jez goes on a bizarre pseudointellectual ramble to an academic historian and makes a fool of himself.
      • Both episodes feature Mark agonising over his choice of wine to bring to a party.
      • In "University Challenge", Jez jokes that Mark's decision to study business instead of ancient history is "all ancient history now" which results in a judgemental stare from Mark. In "Threeism", Mark jokes in his monologue that he could tell April that them studying ancient history together was "all ancient history".
      • In "University Challenge" it's mentioned that Jez came down with food poisoning after eating expired hummus he got from a corner shop. In "Threeism", Jez scoffs at Mark for making homemade hummus.
      • In "University Challenge", Jez tells Professor Macleish that Mark would rather be at home watching Ghostbusters than studying history. In "Threeism", April makes an awkward Ghostbusters reference, which only causes Mark to become more smitten with her.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Super Hans (very messily) signs a contract with his own blood in "Man Jam."
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Jez sent dog shit in the post, peppersprayed, tried to punch and possibly subconsciously tried to murder the men - and in one case a woman - who he considered rivals for whatever woman - Toni, Nancy, Big Suze, Elena etc - he was currently infatuated with. In one episode he got so clingy he was threatened by his girlfriend showing kindness to a homeless man. Mark although less extreme still has elements of this trope in his jealous stalking of Sophie.
  • Crapsack World:
    • Mark and Jez live in Croydon, where kebab shop stabbings are always in the local news, the police take 45 minutes to respond to burglaries, chavvy kids and muggers lurk on street corners and the corner shop doesn't even sell Alpen. Things get even worse after series 6, when the recession hits and JLB credit goes out of business. It may not even be a deliberate invocation of this trope, because that's a relatively accurate portrayal of Croydon.
    • Also worth mentioning is the fact that the vast majority of characters are twats. Jeff is the most prominent example, but out of the dozens of cast members on the show, the only truly good ones are Dobby and a couple of extras.
  • Creator Cameo: Jesse Armstrong can be spotted on the bus in the first episode and is the man running up the steps in Gog's film.
  • Cringe Comedy: Pretty much the entire show. There will be moments you'll be forced to watch through your fingers. Making it even more unbearable is the POV format of the show, making the viewer up close and personal with each cringeworthy moment as if they're partly and inescapably responsible for it. Some standout moments include:
    • At one point, Mark is so desperate not to get married to Sophie that he spontaneously asks a coffee shop waitress to marry him instead. It goes exactly as you'd expect.
    • In "Holiday," Jeremy has to eat a roasted dog in front of its owner who is none the wiser...until she notices the tag.
    • In "Gym," Mark is forced to falsely confess to being molested by a trainer... in front of the innocent trainer.
  • Crystal Skull: A lady believing in them is enough to make Mark consider breaking up with her.
  • Dissimile: Jez, after being sidelined from a three-way with Nancy and a hippie:
    Jez: (This is like watching a porno, except I can't see anything, I haven't got a hard-on, and I want to cry.)
  • Deadpan Snarker: Constantly. Mark is by far the worst (and snarkiest) offender, but some others also carry the label. Also, since we can hear the character's thoughts, the main pair can get a sarcastic comment in without interfering with the situation.
  • Death of the Hypotenuse: A particularly dark example. Just as he's becoming a major character, Gerrard is killed off without warning. Of the flu, no less.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: This gem from the fourth season's Wedding episode:
    Mark: I could say he's got a fat head, call him a jizzcock. Not an insult - all cocks are jizzcocks really. Be like calling him a pisskidney.
  • Dirty Coward: Mark and Jez use their girlfriends as human shields when Matt, the personal trainer they got wrongly sacked, confronts them in the gym.
    Mark: He thinks we can't hide forever!
    Jeremy: He doesn't know us at all, does he!?
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Mark's reaction to Jeremy pretending to forget the Christmas turkey. A rare one-off example of the Berserk Button:
    Mark: Where's the turkey Jeremy?
    Jez: What?
    Mark: The turkey. Where's the turkey?
    Jez: I thought you were getting the turkey.
    Mark: You what?! No turkey?! You FUCKING idiot, Jeremy! You TOTAL FUCKING IDIOT! That was YOUR job, you FUCKING moron! You CRETIN! YOU'RE A FUCKHEAD! THAT'S WHAT YOU ARE! A FUCKING SHITHEAD!!!
    Jez: It was a joke, Mark. I was joking. It was a Christmas joke.
    Mark: Oh, I see. Oh...
  • The Ditz: Jeremy has moments of this, as a result of living a relatively work-free life.
  • Divorce Assets Conflict: There's a brilliant scene in episode 3 where Tony is collecting stuff from his flat while his ex, Toni, is loudly having sex in the next room to spite him.
    Tony: I'm gonna take the cappucino machine; is that OK?
    Toni (while having sex with Jeremy): You're NEVER! TAKING! THE GAGGIA!
  • Double Entendre: Surprisingly rare for a Britcom. One notable example is Mark, who describes humanity's basic needs as very simple: "food, water, and the release of fluids at regular intervals".
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male / Black Comedy Rape: Mark gets raped by a female acquaintance. On the one hand, Mark's friends at least acknowledge it as rape, even if Mark can't quite admit it to himself. On the other hand, the fact that his friends are calling it rape at all is itself treated as a joke (as if female-on-male rape is so self-evidently ridiculous that treating it seriously is inherently funny). Even then, they act as if it was just a minor inconvenience and he should get over it.
  • Downer Ending: Most episodes end on one. And eventually the whole series does too: Jeremy and Mark are exactly where they started but feeling age catching up with them. Most of their friends/acquaintances/love interests have moved on either to better things without them (Dobby, Johnson and Jeff), or worse things because of them (Sophie, and Hans' marriage isn't looking too good). Jeremy finally learns to love and appreciate Mark...just as Mark becomes truly sick of Jeremy and is privately desperate to get rid of him.
  • Dreadful Musician: Jez and Super Hans. Small moments of badness abound, but the worst ones have to be Jez' song in the pilot, followed by his attempt at playing saxophone during their jam session later on. The band are also shown to be pretty crap, using the most painful rhyming from anywhere, ever.
    Super Hans: Jez, mate, can you stop jamming?
    Jez: You can't stop someone from jamming. That's against jam law.
    Super Hans: Dude, that's not jam, that's just... total fucking marmalade...
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Gerrard dies of the flu in the Series 8 premiere.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Zig-zagged. Softer drugs (cannabis, ecstasy, magic mushrooms etc) are regularly taken with few consequences, but Super Hans becomes a high functioning crack addict in series 2, which, being a Black Comedy, is mostly Played for Laughs. There's also the case of Saz breaking down crying after taking speed, which Mark lampshades as being like "my very own anti-drugs advert".
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • Just what was up with the title music in the first season? Weirdly enough, a snippet of said music is still used whenever there is a transition between scenes in subsequent seasons, while "Flagpole Sitta" can be heard playing in the background at the bowling alley during "On The Pull."
    • The show as a whole had a different feel in the first series. Because it wanted to establish its unique gimmick of showing everything through people's eyes, it did it to a greater extent, such as Mark running to the bus and it being shown exactly as it would look through his eyes even if it makes for very shaky footage and close-ups inside the toaster when Jez is making toast. As the series progressed, this was toned-down more and more and now the show is almost completely free of more 'arty' camera positions. Watching an episode from Series 7 alongside one from Series 1 can be slightly jarring.
    • The show was also a lot less plot-driven in the first series. Each episode had a much more simple storyline and scenes contained a lot more banter about topics completely irrelevant to it. There was also not really as much overarching storyline, besides Mark trying to seduce Sophie and both him and Jeremy lusting after Toni.
    • Mark wasn't quite as intelligent in the first series; not knowing that leukemia is a form of cancer, thinking that black people can't be gay, and buying into Jeremy's faux religiosity in the wake of his uncle's funeral would be very out of character for the Mark of series 2 and later.
    • Many episode plots in the first two series had Mark and Jeremy separated and going through roughly the same experiences over the course of their day in parallel, much of the humour being derived from how differently they react to the same situation. This would still happen occasionally in later series, but as the show went on it became more common to have them together for most of the episode.
  • Eating Lunch Alone: This turns out to be a saving grace for Mark when he finds Dobby eating lunch alone. He sits next to her after returning to work due to everyone else hating him for jilting Sophie.
  • Embarrassing Voicemail: In one of Mark's early attempts to woo Sophie, he leaves her the following voicemail while being egged on by Jez:
    Mark Corrigan: [leaving an answerphone message] Er, Sophie, if you heard that, please ignore it. I'm not a racist, far from it. Anyway... it's good to hear your voice. I know it's only a recording, but you have got a bloody nice voice and... God, uh, I just called up to say hi and then...
    [sings awkwardly]
    Mark Corrigan: Then I go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like... I like you.
    Mark Corrigan: I mean, not that. But anyway, I noticed that the paper in the photocopier is running a bit low so, I know it's not really your job but, you know, so... see you tomorrow.
    [puts the phone down]
  • Epiphora: Jez's poem "Fuck You Bush":
    Fuck you, Bush
    It's time to get out of Iraq, Bush
    What were you even doing there in the first place, Bush?
    You didn't even get properly elected, Bush
    Are you happy now, Bush?
    Fuck you, Bush
  • Eskimos Aren't Real: Upon hearing her accent, Jez wonders if Elena is from Russia "or one of those other, made-up countries."
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Jeremy's is probably the most obvious; when we first see him, he's dancing to an awful music track he composed while thinking about getting a tattoo of his own face ("Yeah! Double me!").
    • Mark's first scene has him running for a bus because his love interest Sophie is on it.
    • Dobby is introduced willingly Eating Lunch Alone at work while reading a back issue of Viz.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Mark has this for his boss, Alan Johnson. Jez has it for Stu the monk.
    • Among fans (and Sophie's cousin Barney), it's Super Hans.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Jeremy's attitude towards organised religion ranges from mild disinterest to hostile ignorance, but even he is disgusted by his Aunt Liz when she refuses to grant his Uncle Ray the Christian burial he requested, instead hosting a strange, impersonal Secular Humanist funeral ceremony.
    • Johnson can often be cruel and manipulative towards Mark, but he is so outraged by the way the office treats him in the wake of his botched wedding with Sophie that he suspends Sophie from work and breaks her mug.
  • Exact Words: At a stag party, Mark claims to not have a girlfriend when asked if he does, rationalizing in his head that technically, a fiancee is no longer a girlfriend.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: The entire premise of the series. Each small success just sets the main characters up for a big fall.
  • False Rape Accusation: Mark falsely accuses his fitness instructor of touching his penis in Series 3.
  • Flanderization:
    • Johnson's accent and mannerisms get more exaggerated and ridiculous as the show goes on. Possibly justified after JLB closes and his sanity goes down the toilet for a while.
    • Big Suze, who goes from posh-accented but nice to, for lack of a better term, posh bitch for the later series (though she is only shown being a bitch to Mark, Jez and maybe Johnson, all of whom have treated her pretty shabbily).
    • Sophie starts out as a dotty, occasionally grumpy woman who's easily manipulated by Mark and Jeff. From series 3 onwards, she's the one doing the manipulating and her mean spirited side is much more pronounced.
    • Jez becomes noticeably stupider, naive and more simple-minded after series 5, possibly influenced by the quantity and regularity of the drugs that he consumes.
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    Jeremy: [about trying to pimp out Big Suze to Johnson for £530] (God, I only asked her to be a hooker! It's not like I wanted her to work in telesales.)
  • Faux Yay: Invoked when Jeremy and Mark attempt to explain their presence in Ben and Zahra's flat. Ben doesn't buy it:
    Ben: That's bullshit! You're not gay guys! You look like shit for gay guys!
  • Feigning Intelligence:
    • In series 7 Jeremy tries this approach in an attempt to woo beautiful intellectual Zahra. Interestingly it is heavily implied that Zahra is herself using this trope, coming across as something of an intellectual poseur who is neither as deep nor as bright as she seems.
    • Mark gets a new more intellectual flatmate in series 9 who loves watching art documentaries, which Mark quickly grows to loathe. Jeremy accuses him of this trope, of trying to appear more cultured and highbrow when really he enjoys trashy TV shows and playing Candy Crush.
  • First-Person Smartass: The thoughts that we, the audience, hear from Mark and Jez are often snarky, if not malicious. Mark's thoughts even more so than Jez's, usually.
  • Force Feeding: When Mark finds out that Jez went to an Indian restaurant instead of to the therapy session Mark paid for, he orders Indian takeout and forces Jez to eat it until he confesses.
  • Foreign People Are Sexy:
    • Russian Elena.
    • Uncommonly for its genre, the show tends to have foreign love interest characters come from English-speaking countries: American Nancy, Canadian Merry and Australian Saz.
  • Foreshadowing: In "Nether Zone", after Mark says that he's sold his clarinet on eBay and got rid of his phone, Jeremy asks him rhetorically if he's going to move into a cave and start drinking his own piss. In the very final episode of the show, Jeremy drinks his own piss, thinking that it will give him more energy. When he attempts to give Mark a stag party, he also suggests that he drink Mark's piss "for a laugh".
  • "Friends" Rent Control: Whilst admittedly in Croydon, Mark and Jez live in a rather spacious two-bed flat. Despite the ups and downs of the character's career fortunes (or non-existent in Jez's case) them having to leave the flat or struggling never comes up.
  • Freudian Excuse: When Jeremy joins the cult he cites a rocky childhood with his dad leaving when he was 10. More so with Mark; it is implied he had a miserable childhood, with a switch from private to state education, neglect / emotional abuse from his father and infidelity from both parents. This is turned up to eleven in Series 7 when we get to meet Mark's father and understand how much of a cocknob he is.
  • Friendship Moment: More than you'd expect from a black comedy. One which stands out is Jez coming to sit in the car with Mark after his wedding day has Gone Horribly Wrong.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • Jez dancing alone (and having a great time doing it) while Mark is talking to Sophie in "Wedding."
    • Keep your eye on Sophie's brother Jamie "dancing" to the happy birthday song that the rest of the family is singing to Sophie as she comes down the stairs in "Sophie's Parents".
  • Genre Savvy: Jeremy remarks in series 7 that his intentions are to juggle his job and try to have sex with the boss's girlfriend "until it all blows up in [his] stupid face". In the same episode, Mark wonders what he is going to do that will prevent him from staying with Dobby immediately after getting together with her.
  • Girl of the Week: In almost every episode in series 5, Mark finds a new love interest whom he thinks might be 'the one', only for them to leave him at the end of the episode.
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot: Played with. Jeremy initially doesn't mind Elena two-timing him with a woman "because it's hot!" but he later becomes very jealous, possibly murderously so.
  • Godwin's Law: Mark the history buff frequently thinks of mundane situations in terms of World War II campaigns, usually with himself in the role of either Hitler or Stalin. Subverted in series 7 when his claim to be Just Following Orders makes him compare himself to... Vince Cable.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Over the first 7 series, Mark goes through all the stages of a relationship with Sophie, the girl he has an obsessive crush on including marrying her and having a child with her. Emphasis on the "Horribly".
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Mark has a look at Sophie's caesarian section in progress, but thankfully, it isn't shown on screen.
  • Grow Old with Me: Mark fantasises about this with Sophie.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Mostly done by Mark to Jez, but occasionally vice versa. Often overlaps with "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
    Jeremy: Am I evil?
    Mark: No Jeremy, the worst thing anyone could say about you is that you are a selfish moral blank whose lazy cynicism and sneering ironic take on the world encapsulates everything wrong with a generation, but you, my friend, are not evil.
  • Haplessly Hiding: There was an episode where Mark and Jez were hiding behind a shower curtain at Zahra's apartment; while they were hiding there, Ben came in and used the toilet.
  • Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue": Mark idly dreams of the play he'll get round to writing one day, starring "Mark... Borrigan?"
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Jez at the end of Series 7 pretends to have somewhere else to stay so that Mark can "move on" with Dobby. He also takes a "wank bullet" for Mark in Series 6.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Jez about Mark - "I'm his one!"
  • Humble Goal: Every time Mark fantasizes about starting life over or being happy, he normally adds that he will get to have a KFC bargain bucket all to himself.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • "My dad died when I was three but I didn't let it screw me up" - Toni, Mark and Jeremy's very fucked-up neighbour.
    • Mark sucking up to Johnson. "It's pathetic, the way [Blair] licks Bush's arse!" "...yeah!"
    • Jez sleeps with a life coach in nothing but a bra who randomly says she's wearing a grass skirt made of castrated penises during sex and then tells him that there are no boundaries. She asks him what his biggest fantasy is, only to say that he's unstable and unfit to be a life coach because he said he wanted to cut her hair and eat it. Even after he tells her he was lying to seem more edgy and taboo and points out the hypocrisy, she still thinks this way.
  • I Am Not Shazam: In-Universe, Jez thinks the shark in Jaws is called Jaws the Shark.
  • I Call Him "Mister Happy": "Captain Corrigan is flying without a license!"
  • I Call It "Vera":
    • Gunny the gun.
    • "Just a little friend of mine called Mr Cutty Knife!"
    • Kenneth the dildo.
    • The Megatron (i.e. the DVD, video, TV and Sky remotes taped together).
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode title of series 3 ended in "-ing": Mugging, Sectioning, Shrooming, Sistering, Jurying and Quantocking.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Almost Once an Episode.
    Jez: It's almost like a moral dilemma... except, not really, because nobody's going to find out.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Sophie. Olivia Colman is the master.
  • Inner Monologue: A big part of the show's approach. We don't just see everything from a first person perspective, but get to hear Mark and Jeremy's weird and wonderful musings.
  • Insult Backfire: Jez about Mark. "He took the insult as a compliment! Shit, he could become invulnerable!"
  • Intentionally Awkward Title
  • Jerkass: Various characters exist to drive Mark Corrigan up the wall. In particular, Mark's driving instructor in season 6. He fails to adequately teach Mark drive and obnoxiously smokes in his face.
  • Jerk Jock: Jeff Heaney, an arrogant and confident bully who believes men are programmed to do two things: "Kill and knob".
  • Juggling Loaded Guns: "Gunny" is thankfully deactivated, as Jez finds out after he's been waving it at Mark with his finger on the trigger.
  • Just Eat Gilligan: Many, but not all, of Mark's problems would be avoided if he cut Jez (and by extension Super Hans) out of his life.
  • Karma Houdini: Natalie rapes Mark. Not only does she face no consequences, but Mark misses out on a big job opportunity because Jez brought it up.
  • Kick the Dog:
  • Kick The Son Of A Bitch: The treatment that Mark gets in the workplace after he ostensibly goes through with the marriage to Sophie having been caught hiding in the church. It's closely followed by a very literal Pet the Dog in the stationery cupboard with Dobby.
  • Killed Off for Real: Gerrard in series 8.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In series 4 there's a temporary love interest who sums up her friend's suicidal phone calls as "I'm so sad, I'm gonna take a bunch of pills, blah blah blah". How does the episode end? Why, with her dog getting eaten, of course (again, It Makes Sense in Context).
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Super Hans talking about first seeing the alleged love of his life: "When I first set eyes on [her], it was like my first joint, like my first Bowie track, like my first Ruth Rendell."
  • Lame Comeback: After Dobby mocks Jeff for constantly making self-aggrandizing and needlessly vindictive jokes, he petulantly calls her a freak and then storms off.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo:
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Simon asks Super Hans for some weed, and when he doesn't have any, questions why he thought he invited him. Super Hans replies "For my off-key remarks and crazy insights".
  • Lie Back and Think of England: For professional reasons, Jez feels compelled to sleep with his manager even though (unusually for him) he's not in the mood.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Done by Mark looking for a tutor name, with a reference to the Usual Suspects Ending.
  • Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Mark's never-ending search for "the one." Which is silly, because as we all know, Jeremy is it.
  • Love at First Sight: Deconstructed. Mark often thinks he's doing this with people, but they almost always turn out to be horrible. If they're not, you can bet that his stalker-ish tendencies will drive them away at the end of the episode.
  • Love Letter Lunacy: With post-its and swastikas.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Series 1 and 2 has Mark competing with Jeff for Sophie, while simultaneously competing with Jez and Tony for Toni. The main characters taking on two rivals at once isn't uncommon.
  • Love Triangle: A staple of the series. Series 1 has Mark/Jez/Toni, series 2 has Jez/Tony/Toni, series 1-3 has Mark/Jeff/Soph, series 5-8 has Mark/Gerrard/Dobby, series 6 has Jez/Gail/Elena, series 8 has Mark/Jez/Dobby, and so on. And this isn't even counting the temporary rivalries that occur with extras.
  • Lower-Class Lout: The chavvy kids in episode 1, the muggers in series 3 and the burglars in series 5. Jeremy and Super Hans are also definite examples, albeit fairly realistic and fleshed out.
  • Male Gaze / Female Gaze: Since we're ostensibly looking through male or female eyes, the occasional quick breast or crotch shot is to be expected.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl:
    • Mark thinks Sophie is invoking this trope in "Quantocking":
      Mark: (Oh, great, she posted the guide book. I suppose I'm supposed to think that's incredibly charming and French. Well it's not — it's a waste of £8.99.)
    • Dobby seems like one for a while, but a large source of Mark's anxiety in later seasons is the fact that she does have a life of her own and is capable of deciding she doesn't want to settle down with him.
  • Mate or Die: Jeremy brings this up as a hypothetical scenario. Mark concedes that he would have sex with Jeremy to save their lives provided Jeremy didn't enjoy it.
    Jez: You're saying you could rape me, but you couldn't make love to me? Oh, that is so you. That is you all over!
  • Men Are Uncultured: Jez and Jeff. Averted by Mark, who loves history and classical music. Naturally, he regularly gets mocked for defying the trope. (However, Mark surprisingly feels the same as Jeremy about going to a play.)
  • Mistaken for Gay: Jeremy’s stepsister Natalie is a tough-talking soldier who dresses plainly, chugs whisky, and wistfully reminisces about her female role models, so Mark immediately assumes she’s gay when he first meets her. She’s very much straight; later in the episode, she forces herself on Mark, and angrily declares “I’m not a lesbian!” while doing so, which suggests this isn’t the first time someone has made this assumption about her.
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: When Mark's son is about to being born, Mark express his confusion to Jez about this moment in his life, confessing he's a pedophobe and always felt weird around children. Jez says that he always suspected (and considers, in thought, punching Mark), only realizing he said "pedophobe" and not "pedophile" after a while.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits: Mark warns Jeremy from trying to sleep with his sister Sarah, since she's coming off a bad breakup.
    Mark: So, you slept with her. You promised.
    'Jez: I promised I'd try.
    Mark: You didn't try very hard, did you?
  • Mythology Gag: The final episode ends with Mark and Jeremy sitting in their living room, alone and watching television, a nod to the show's original premise (whereby Mark and Jeremy would spend each episode watching TV and commenting on the clips, never leaving the sofa).
  • Nerds Are Sexy: Dobby. Mark charmingly admits that she's the first person he feels comfortable around.
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Fist Fight: "Oh, so they're fine with hitting, but there's some sort of massive taboo against stabbing."
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: A favourite target of the show. Both Big Suze and Nancy often engage in various "alternative" activities, and Jeremy is only too happy to go along with them.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Whatever is going on in the party at Super Hans's flat, which is too much for either him or Jeremy to handle. David Mitchell has described it as "The worst thing you can possibly imagine but less hygienic".
    • Mark, in "Jeremy's Manager": "We promised not to do the funny voices any more! Not after that week."
    • Throughout the series, Jez and Mark often remind each other of their university days as the El Dude Brothers, which is complemented every time by them pretending to honk train horns at each other. What the nickname means, how they came up with it, or how the train noises came about are never actually explained at any point.
    • There are a lot of these. Mark's internal monologue: "Maybe I should get off with someone at Merry's party, in case Sophie does in Bristol. Yeah, right — when was the last time I got off with someone at a party? Well, there was Carol Bananaface... but that was just a macabre charade."
    • The year dad's British Aerospace shares went kaputt clearly had a life-changing effect on the Corrigan family.
  • No Sparks: Jeremy's manager says this, right in the middle of having sex with him.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: In "Gym", Jez applies for a menial job in order to get close to Nancy. The job is so unappealing that even the interviewer can't believe that Jez actually wants it, asking him if he's "writing a novel or something." Jez thinks "Don't want to seem overqualified!" and replies "What's a novel?"
  • Odd Couple: Mark (uptight, socially awkward, clean freak) and Jez (relaxed, socially capable, a bit grubby) at first glance. However they're both rather neurotic, with Jez more socially uptight than Mark in many ways. He's desperate to appear cool in front of people like Super Hans, but ends up looking smug and pretentious. Mark, conversely, lacks those particular pretensions and has a better understanding of how dorky and neurotic he really is so rarely bothers to put airs on as a result.
  • Once an Episode: In Season 5, Mark wonders if a woman he's met could be "the one" roughly every episode.
  • One-Steve Limit:
    • Averted in the episode titles, of all things — the finales of Series 2 and 4 are both titled "Wedding."
    • By the end of the series, there are no less than three characters named Simon - Dobby's ex-boyfriend, Mark's brother-in-law, and Super Hans.
    • Two Ians - Mark and Sophie's son is named for his maternal grandfather.
    • There are also two Dans: the victim of Ian's barn-burning in season 4, and Mark's dad in season 7.
  • One True Love: Mark thinks this about Sophie, as well as a lot of others. Jeremy is slightly more Genre Savvy about this, but still gets incredibly possessive over his girlfriends.
  • Oops! I Forgot I Was Married: Nancy and Sophie both forget their marriages to Mark and Jez at some point.
  • Operation: Jealousy: Toni having sex with Jez in front of her estranged husband, Nancy telling Jez to sleep on the sofa because she's planning on bringing home a one night stand after discovering he cheated on her, Sophie flirting with Jeff after she walked out on Mark after he tried to get out of marrying her by hiding on their wedding day and Jez's unsuccessful attempt to make Elena jealous by flirting with Mark's sister.
    • At the end of the 4th series Jez realises what (funny though he is) an arse Super Hans is.
  • Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: Dobby jokingly offers Jez "something that for legal reasons must call itself 'sparkling grape-style drinking wine'."
  • Pac Man Fever:
    • Averted early in the series. Mark is shown to be playing Blitzkrieg and Tetris Worlds, then relatively recent games. PS2 games can also clearly be seen in the flat.
    • "The Playstation! I'd nearly broken through on Medal of Honor! That was 120 hours of quality 'me' time!"
    • "The sofa's out; Jeremy's busy murdering pedestrians on Grand Theft Auto."
    • Played straight: the few seconds we see of him playing Blitzkrieg he's clearly playing the tutorial stage when he says he's spent hours on it. (Blitzkrieg is a long game, but the tutorial should take 15-30 minutes at most.)
  • Paintball Episode: The second half of "The Love Bunker."
  • Parrot Exposition: Used occasionally, generally when Jez is explaining something unfamiliar to Mark, or vice versa. From the first episode:
    Jez: We're just gradually sliding into a fuck buddy scenario.
    Mark: Fuck buddy?
    Jez: Yeah. A buddy you can fuck.
  • Playing Drunk: Mark tries to fake an ecstasy high after being given a pill that he doesn't want to take. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Plot Parallel: Super Hans falls in love with a woman who speaks zero English, saying she's The One - paralleling in one episode most of Mark and Sophie's relationship.
  • Poke the Poodle: One episode has Jeff humiliating Mark by ordering him to buy a condom, a condom that Jeff would use with Sophie. Mark thinks of getting "revenge" by either not buying it or by poking a hole in it, but since both instances could end with Sophie getting pregnant, Mark has to settle with buying a condom that glows in the dark so Jeff's dick would look ridiculous during the act.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Mark never seems to be able to explain his awkward predicaments to others at the right time.
  • Poor Man's Porn: Jeremy uses a fantasy magazine and a bill with the Queen on it as masturbation fodder when there turns out to be nothing else available.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: In the final scene of the series, Jeremy talks about what his sign-off would be if, hypothetically, he were to kill Mark.
    Jeremy: "You always loved history, Mark. Well now you can be part of it." Bang.
  • Protagonist-Centred Morality: Views on whether Mark, Sophie, or here's a crazy option, both of them, were to blame for the many ills that came from their relationship, differ wildly amongst fans.
  • Recurring Extra: JLB credit is packed with these.
  • Reset Button: Pushed at the end of Season 8. Dobby breaks up with Mark as he is unable to let go of his controlling ways, Jeremy will probably move back into the flat and Mark's been fired... again.
  • Riches to Rags: A couple of moderate examples. Once JLB goes bust, Mark falls from a respectable management position to being Super Hans' personal lackey. Later we find that Johnson has lost his house, lost his job and has been reduced to starting up consultancy businesses that are doomed to failure. Word of God says he was going to be Driven to Suicide, but that plotline was discarded as being too dark even for Peep Show.
  • Right Behind Me: Jeff and Johnson manage to trick Mark into pulling this on Dobby at Johnson's New Year's Eve party.
  • Roommate Com: The show begins with the typical Odd Couple setup: pot-smoking slacker Jeremy is roommates with serious office worker Mark. Within the first few episodes it slowly becomes apparent that they and everyone else in their lives are all terrible, terrible people. Sometimes veers into Work Com territory when the plot involves Mark's coworkers, but the core of the show always comes back to the two roommates and their dysfunctional romantic lives.
  • Runaway Groom: Mark attempts to be this when he hides in the church on his wedding day rather than tell Sophie he doesn't want to marry her. However, after getting caught hiding he goes through with the ceremony only for a humiliated Sophie to give him a dose of Laser-Guided Karma and dumps him just after they married.
  • Running Gag:
    • As an in-joke between them, Jeremy sometimes imitates a train horn to Mark, expecting him to reciprocate. Mark isn't quite as enthusiastic about doing so.
    • Every time Jez is fired from a band, fired from a music-related job, etc. Super Hans protests and exclaims that he did all he could to prevent it, that it got him angry and that he nearly threatened the firers with an ultimatum, etc. but it's plainly obvious to Jez and the viewers that he just went with the flow, every time.
    • Jez often uses the rather extreme "I love you" line on first dates as a guaranteed way of achieving sex. He has a surprising amount of success with it.
    • The easy-listening band The Lighthouse Family, particularly their hit single Ocean Drive. Referenced in the very first episode where Super Hans refers to music industry execs (and by extension all other office workers, including Mark) as having their "ties done up to eleven clicking their fingers to the fucking Lighthouse Family". Both Mark and Johnson are shown listening to Ocean Drive, when Mark is running for the bus in the first episode of series 1 and playing in Johnson's car when he picks Mark up after the conference in episode 4. The song is also used for the end credits of the same episode. The gag shows up again in series 5 during Mark and Jez' party; Mark plugs his iPod in and this it is the first song to play, to Jeremy's disgust.
  • Sadist Show: Pure and simple.
  • Sanctuary of Solitude: Jeremy stumbled across Mark praying in the church on the latter's (much-dreaded) wedding day. Mark unconvincingly insisted he was simply "kneeling".
  • Seamless Spontaneous Lie: Let's just say Mark and Jez get a lot of practice in this department.
    Mark: [to Dobby and Elena] It's probably just the crazy old guy who keeps ringing our doorbell. And if you answer, he tries to grab your balls and make you buy his Rough Guide to Barcelona!
    Jez: (Where did that come from? That was nice lying.)
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • Jeremy gets chlamydia twice in the series; once sometime before series 3 and the next in series 5. The first time round he thinks it's 'symptomless' yet the second time knows absolutely nothing about the disease and must have it explained to him.
    • In the Series 5 premiere Mark mentions that the condom in his wallet is 2 years off expiry, but in the finale of the same series he realises that the condom would be expired and prone to breaking, which ends up being a major plot point.
    • Also, Mark manages to drive Johnson's car very slowly in first gear in series 1, yet in series 6 he knows so little about finding the biting point that he damages the clutch of his instructor's car.
  • Serious Business:
    • Johnson talks about the mundane middle-management machinations at JLB with the air of one dealing in matters of life and death, speaking in unrestrained jargon of his own invention. Mark nearly always follows his lead.
    • Mark, a history buff, envisages everyday social interactions in terms of epic historical military campaigns.
      Jez: No Mark. I only told you for a laugh. You promised not to tell!
      Mark: Hitler promised not to invade Czechoslovakia, Jeremy. Welcome to the real world!
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Mark's inner monologues frequently display his extensive vocabulary. Contrasts violently with the simple-minded Jez.
    Mark: Friendship, loyalty, they're just fusty old words like 'sixpence' and 'codpiece' to you, aren't they!
  • Shame If Something Happened: Super Hans and Jeremy try and intimidate someone by performing ridiculously tame acts of vandalism to their flat.
    Jez: We want our money back, and we're feeling a little clumsy.
    [knocks over a tiny stack of letters]
    Jez: Whoops.
  • Ship Tease: In the third series episode Mark and Big Suze hang out together while Jez is dating Mark's sister. They hit it off very well and Mark quickly develops a crush on her that Suze seems completely oblivious to... at least until the end of the episode when Mark 'dumps' her for the sake of Jez and it is hinted she might have had a soft spot for Mark too.
  • Shout-Out: Jeremy remarks when watching a play:
    Jez: I've got Heat on DVD at home. We're watching this, when for less money, we could be watching Robert De Niro AND Al Pacino.
  • A Simple Plan:The Party. Jez and Mark attempt to host a party in the flat. Jez to lockdown Elena, and Mark to win over Dobby. Complications arise...
  • Skeleton Key Card: Subverted when Jeremy and Mark are locked in the foyer of Zahra's flat.
    Jeremy: Oh fuck, this is impossible. It's really irresponsible of films to make out this is an option at all, because it just isn't.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Jeremy acts like one. Unusually, he's aware of how pathetic he is but hasn't got a clue how else to behave. He does become a lot more aware of this as the series goes on, but he's still a lot less awesome than he thinks he is.
  • Snap Back: Relationships occasionally reset between episodes, at least early in the series. For example, no matter how badly Mark messes up with Sophie they are back on speaking terms in the next one.
  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: Inverted with baby Ian, who was conceived in 2008, born two years later, was still an infant in 2012, and was only a toddler as of his last appearance in 2015. The probable explanation is that series 8 appears to be set soon after series 7 and series 9 is explicitly set 6 months after 8 (rather than 3 years in real life).
  • Sociopathic Hero: Mark and Jez, if you don't mind stretching the definition of heroism quite a bit.
  • Somewhere, a Herpetologist Is Crying: Super Hans is under the impression that the coral snake/milk snake mnemonic note  goes "Red next to black, jump the fuck back. Red and yellow, cuddly fellow," the opposite of what those patterns actually indicate. Mark points out that the snake Super Hans has with him at the time has a red-next-to-black pattern note , but it never actually bites anyone throughout the episode, despite what you may expect from a show like this.
  • Speech-Centric Work: With the exception of brief establishing shots, pretty much every second of the show features someone talking (or thinking).
  • Spell My Name With An S:
    • Jeremy's surname is officially "Usborne," but it has been rendered as Osborne, Usbourne, etc. on various advertising materials. Lampshaded in series 8 when Mark gives him a fake life-coach degree and Jez remarks that Usborne is spelled correct "with a U and everything."
    • For the hearing-impaired, Jeff's name frequently alternates between "Jeff" and "Geoff" in subtitles; this is made even better when Mark and Sophie discuss names for their baby and Sophie is considering "Geoff," which makes Mark outraged even after Sophie's defense that it's not really the same name.
  • Stalking Is Love: This is Mark's usual strategy for all women:
    • He reads Sophie's e-mail account, spies on her through his office's security camera, manipulates situations to spend time with her and follows her on dates.
    • Let's not forget he managed to 'do a Columbo' and collect information on April the shoe shop girl, then track her down and find her at university.
    • Mark also goes so far as to catch five buses to get across town to see Dobby, as well as spying on her when she was at a party with Gerrard. Luckily for him, Dobby knows Mark better than himself so takes a more lenient stance on his behaviour than Sophie did.
  • Status Quo Is God: If something good happens to either Mark or Jeremy halfway through an episode (a chance for a job Mark actually enjoys, an opportunity for Mark to co-write a book on his interests, etc.), it's almost guaranteed that it'll disappear by the end of the episode.
  • Stop Saying That!: In "Jeremy at JLB," Jez keeps saying that things are "Poof! Gone!" with a pretentious hand gesture. Mark asks him to cut it out after the fourth time.
  • Stunned Silence: In "Seasonal Beatings," after Mark's dad asks him why he doesn't "put a muzzle on [his] woman," everyone just stares at Mark, awaiting his response.
  • Stylistic Suck:
    • The song that Jeremy is shown working on in the very first scene of the series. (One of the Series One extras is a terrible video for it.)
    • Mark's video CV, an extra from the Series 1 DVD, also qualifies.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
    • "Of course I did all the lessons! What else would I have been doing, watching the frankly overrated The Wire on DVD day after day?"
    • "The first thing to say is that this is definitely not pyramid selling."
    • "What happened?" "It's not piss."
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • Controlling, scary, kinky, insane Michelle, who turns up between series to replace controlling, scary, kinky insane Toni.
    • Sophie's mildly unhinged, Jeremy-worshipping younger brother Jamie is replaced by Sophie's mildly unhinged, Jeremy-worshipping young cousin Barney. According to a 2019 interview with Paul Clayton, the character of Barney was swiftly created to take Jamie’s place when Joe Van Moyland, Jamie’s actor, seemed to drop off the face of the earth after agreeing to do the episode and even participating in a script read-through.
  • Take Our Word for It: Just what was going on in the locked room at that New Year's Eve party? It must have pretty depraved, given than even Super Hans was grossed out by it.
  • Talking Heads: Due to the way the show is filmed, it's a fresh spin on the old formula.
  • The Bus Came Back: Big Mad Andy returns in Series 8, having not been seen since his first episode of Series 3. Liam Nobel stated in a 2020 interview that Big Mad Andy's part in the script was originally a new character of a builder until someone pointed out that the character was so much like Big Mad Andy they changed it that instead.
  • The Ghost:
    • Pedge, their friend from university, is often mentioned, usually when referring to a fun Noodle Incident that may or may not have also involved The El Dude Brothers, but never makes it onscreen.
    • Mr. Patel, the corner store owner, is mentioned a handful of times throughout the series without being seen.
  • This Is Reality: On a few occasions.
    • In "Conference":
      Mark: [about his inability to make a business presentation for Project Zeus] The Truth?! Soph, this isn't an advert, this is real life where cocks get chewed off and arses get stuffed with compliance reports!
    • And then again in "Wedding", when Mark is hiding from Sophie in the church and Jez has pissed himself, causing the urine to seep through the cracks in the floorboards:
      Mark: Oh my God, this has got to be a dream! Nothing this bad could ever happen in reality!
  • Those Wacky Nazis: "I'm becoming the Führer! The Führer of Laughs!". Mark also dresses up as a German soldier for a WWII re-enactment - unfortunately, the other man posing with him is a Neo-Nazi.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: One of the New Year's Eve parties where Mark and crew are trying to find Dobby; it's so depraved it makes Super Hans think it's too much. Mitchell describes it as "the worst thing you can possibly imagine but less hygienic".
  • The Unreveal: Just what was happening at Super Hans' New Year's Eve party which was so horrific?
  • Unseen No More:
    • Big Suze is mentioned starting in the second episode, but does not appear until series 3.
    • Mark's father, Dan Corrigan, was semi-legendary until series 7.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Mark and Jeremy are strange variations of this. Even though Mark's an obsessive stalker and Jeremy is a deluded loser, they still veer between hateable and sympathetic.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Mark buys a dildo to potentially spice up his sex life with Dobby and names it "Kenneth" to avoid the awkwardness of mentioning what it actually is around others. Jeremy ruins what Mark was going for by explaining it to a group of people.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Both Mark and Jeremy have unwittingly done exactly the wrong thing, at exactly the wrong time, to ruin the other's happiness. Many times.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Big Suze has a stereotypical Queen's English accent, and doesn't really notice much of what's going on around her.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Mark and Jeremy epitomise this trope.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Thanks to the POV nature of the show, when Mark chucks up at a theme park, we get to see the whole thing first-hand. Nice!
    • ...and of course, Mark at the party: "SNAKE!"
  • Waxing Lyrical: Possibly unintentional but after becoming an arsonist Mark described himself by saying, "I'm a Firestarter; a twisted Firestarter".note 
  • Webcomic Time: It's never made exactly clear how time passes in the world of Peep Show. In Series 5 at least two years pass without us noticing, and Sophie's pregnancy takes a series and a bit. Her subsequent labor takes 13 months.
  • Wedding Finale:
    • Season 2 ends with Jeremy and Nancy's wedding
    • Season 4 arc is centered around Mark and Sophie's wedding. Naturally the actual ceremony happens in the last episode.
    • Season 6's finale is set at Gail and Elena's wedding.
    • The final season (though not the final episode) features Super Hans's wedding.
  • Wham Line: "Gerrard's dead."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • We never find out whether Johnson swindles Mark out of £2000 for the management consultancy scheme or whether he gets it back.note 
    • After being a regular recurring presence around Apollo House in series 1 and 2, neighbour Toni abruptly vanishes from series 3 onwards, with no in-show explanation provided. Word of God says they couldn't get the actress (Elizabeth Marmur) to return to the show, so Toni's planned appearance in series 3 episode 1 was shifted to a new guest character, Michelle.
    • How, exactly, does the Gog story end up? When we leave it, Jez and Super Hans are about to beat him up for money.
    • Nancy disappears from the show after Series 4, last seen snogging Super Hans on a bench at Mark's Wedding. In Series 8, Mark recommends that a sexually frustrated Jeremy should "see what Nancy's up to", but we never do get to find out.
    • Big Suze also disappears permanently after series 7, but her appearances gradually reduce in frequency, making her absence less jarring.
    • Elena disappears from the show after series 6 and is only mentioned once more in the series 7 opener [as it's set immediately after series 6]. Her (presumably ex-)fiancée Gail does appear again in series 7 and 8 but doesn’t mention Elena.
  • Who's Your Daddy?: Exactly who is the father of Sophie's baby? It's Mark.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: After a drug binge with Super Hans during "Mark Makes a Friend", Jez spends the rest of the episode trying remember something he calls "The Bad Thing". It's eventually revealed to be Super Hans blowing him.
  • Wunza Plot: One's a failed musician who think's he's a sex god. One's a geeky stalker who thinks he's a genius. Tropes Are Not Bad, indeed.
  • The Yardies
    Jeremy: Or I could shoot Martin, or I could hire some yardies to shoot Martin.
    Mark: Jeremy, the yardies aren't going to solve all your problems. Why do you always think that the yardies are the answer to everything?
    Jeremy: [thinking] The yardies will help me. I just need to get a number for the yardies.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Most episodes can be summed up as "Mark narrowly avoids a fleeting moment of happiness". Dobby goads him about it.
    • He finally gets a Throw the Dog a Bone moment at the end of series 7's opener.
    • Lampshaded and then subverted in series 7 episode 2, where Mark has finally managed to get together with Dobby and wonders what's going to ruin it, thinking that it's likely to be something he says... and then he manages to end the episode still with Dobby and even managing to consolidate his position.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Hey, things are wrapping up, and Mark seems to have talked his way out of that zany misunderstanding. For once it looks like things are going to be all — wait, there's ten minutes left in the show? Crap.