Peep Show final series – will Mark and Jez find happiness?
As Mitchell and Webb's painful sitcom duo bow out, is now the right time to say goodbye?
After more than a decade, the ninth and final series of the much-loved sitcom Peep Show will air on Channel 4 tomorrow. So what can viewers expect from David Mitchell and Robert Webb's hapless duo, Mark and Jez?
When the series started in 2003, college chums Mark and Jeremy shared a flat in Croydon and were adjusting to the realities of life after university. Mark was a cynical, socially inept loan manager, while Jeremy was an unemployed wannabe musician.
When we left them in series eight, life had moved on for the self-styled El Dude brothers, but not much. Jez became a life coach after his band fell apart and he realised he had feelings for Mark's on-again-off-again love interest Dobby. Mark and Jeremy fought, and Dobby left the scene, apparently on her way to New York.
Commentators have been paying tribute to the show, while anticipating what the new series has in store.
The final series of Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain's "singularly painful sitcom" has viewers avidly waiting to find out how things might wrap up, says Hugh Montgomery in The Independent. Will Mark find romantic fulfilment? Will Jeremy get an actual job? Will Super Hans stay off the crack?
James Gill in the Radio Times has been "speculating wildly", thanks to behind-the-scenes pictures that series creator Sam Bain has been posting on his Instagram account. For a start, Dobby is back, Gill concludes from a picture of Dobby's on-set trailer. Another picture shows Jeremy in a suit and tie, so "perhaps his life coaching career really did take off", says Gill.
Emma O'Neill in the Scotsman adds that despite the fact it's over three years since the last series of Peep Show, the new show's time line will only jump forward six months. It will see Mark with a new flatmate, Jerry – a sort of Mark 2.0, who likes reading and quiet nights in – while Jez is forced to live in Super Hans's bathroom.
Mark still hasn't forgiven Jez for declaring his love for his girlfriend, Dobby, and also fears for the safety of his new job, says O'Neill. She adds that both Jez and Mark "are struggling to adjust to middle age, needing to find what their place in the world now looks like".
Phil Harrison in the Daily Telegraph wonders if Peep Show could continue and become "a Last of the Summer Wine for the Instagram generation". Yes, he says, but it would be a different, bleaker show.
It's easy to be a waster in your twenties but the stakes get higher the older you get, says Harrison. There might be a good show in that particular dilemma but probably not an especially funny one, he concludes.
The best sitcoms know when to stop, adds Harrison. "Peep Show is bowing out while it still belongs in that company."
Peep Show returns to Channel 4 on 11 November at 10pm.