The Peep Show Guide to Life in Lockdown

Image description: Peep Show cast looking into the camera

The truth is, I suppose, I like Peep Show. That’s why I wrote this article. I like the show, and I believe it can help people survive through lockdown. Is that such a crime? Should I be hounded to the ends of the Earth just for wanting people to watch my favourite show? I like Peep Show and if you can’t handle it, you can just, you know… fuck off. 

To get to grips with your new reality
Watch: Nether Zone
Do you ever just get the feeling that everything’s totally, totally fucked? If you find that being trapped in a small space is anxiety-inducing or sending you on a one-way trip to Nutsville, you might want to watch something uplifting to take your mind off things. Or, instead, you could watch Nether Zone. An easy introductory episode as the plot here is simple. Mark and Jeremy find themselves trapped in a woman’s building and must escape in time to get to Mark’s son’s christening and prevent him from being named ‘Ian’. A bit of letterbox pizza along the way. It might feel claustrophobic, but it’ll also be cathartic for you. Probably.

The Day You’re Feeling That Sudden Burst of Motivation
Watch: Business Secrets of the Pharaohs

It’s one of those days. Time to redownload Duolingo and swear to yourself that this time, you really will learn French. Or maybe you’ll finally write something for Cherwell, or craft an understated yet witty play for your friends to pretend they’ll read. Whatever the case, one fine way to channel that sudden urge to do something with yourself is to accompany Mark on his long-held dream of publishing his book Business Secrets of the Pharaohs and learn how to turn UK company law into your Anubis. It may be vanity publishing, but then isn’t student journalism?

For when you get that sudden longing to be back at Oxford
Watch: University Challenge
The Beastie Boys fought and possibly died for your right to party, and there you are sitting on the couch watching Netflix for the eighth consecutive week. When that Trinity withdrawal starts to hit and you feel like you would literally stab a baby to be on a punt right now, try to put yourself at ease by following the El Dude Brothers on a trip back to their alma mater. If anything, watching Mark try and fail to sleep with his tute partner will only make you feel better about your own lack of success.

For when you realise the 5km challenge is asking too much of you
Watch: Gym
So you’ve been tagged in another irritating Instagram challenge, but discover that physical exertion is much more demanding than posting your 3 favourite albums on your story. Solution: home workout, Croydon style. As Mark shows us, the real benefit of doing exercise is to get some time away from your so-called loved ones. Chance would be a fine thing.

When your family finally drives you insane
Watch: Seasonal Beatings
Everyone will reach this stage at some point in quarantine. Either when your younger siblings burst in on you while in a Zoom tutorial, or when your dad tries to have another conversation about your “career” plans (ah resentment, my old friend), you will feel like the energy in your home is so not rainbow rhythms. In these moments of weakness, put on Seasonal Beatings and take comfort you don’t have Mark’s family: gifted with a second-hand shredder for Christmas, criticised for your choice of a romantic partner, and berated for your untraditional lack of cauliflower. God, life’s relentless.

Struggling to revise for finals
Watch: Conference
“This piece of paper says that I am fucked.” Peep Show quote or the first words uttered after opening an exam? Take your pick. If you find yourself in a position where study feels impossible and you just need to be sweating facts and shitting stats till D-Day, just watch this episode and pretend that you too are heading up to Kettering for the JLB conference. Unleash your inner Project Zeus, or, if all else fails, do as Mark does and feign having brain cancer; quick and cheeky rustication, then back in summer 2021 for round two.#

Lockdown ends at last
Watch: Are we going to be alright?
Finally, it’s over. Scientists at Oxford have found a vaccine, and after all these weeks and months you can safely go outside again. But before you ditch the social distancing and welcome back the real world, it’s time for one last hurrah with Mark and Jeremy. It’s the final episode in the series and everything has fallen apart for the El Dude Brothers: no jobs, no women, just the two of them sitting at home watching a documentary about large predators. Actually, this is starting to sound too familiar. Maybe it’s a better idea to just head to university parks with your friends, crack open a coke and a tuna sandwich, and just mong out to some Snow Patrol.

Image credit: Channel 4