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Remote Control: This Week's TV by Alex Fletcher

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Peep Show, Mark, Jeremy and Dobby, Sun25 Nov 2012

© Channel 4


Peep Show
The British Comedy Awards announce their longlist this weekend and the ceremony couldn't come at a better time for TV comedy. There's a smorgasbord of titters, giggles and guffaws on the box right now, with something to suit nearly all tastes.

I'm not sure Peep Show can be considered a cult hit anymore - I see more of David Mitchell than I do my own mother these days - but now in its eighth series it still doesn't seem to get the recognition that it truly deserves.

By all rights the show should have jumped the shark a long while back, but writers Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong are still full of warped ideas and dark twists for Mark and Jez, while Mitchell and Webb still fit snuggly into their roles as the ultimate flatsharers from hell, despite their ever-expanding fame outside the show.

The series eight opener on Sunday night was a well-chiseled romp that didn't let up for the full 30 minutes.

Peep Show (Series 8)

© Channel 4



There was hopeless desperation (Jez's plans to make money from the newspaper headline 'Three-0 Walcott'), childish sniggers ("Pretty sure he's parked a turd in there"), inappropriate awkwardness from Mark ("This is a mega funeral"), a ludicrous death, the greatest ever eulogy ("We probably want to be grieving and crying in a more well catered environment"), the first ever "wake cake", a curry-eating stand-off and some bleak, bleak therapy breakdown ("Oh you'd love that, my gonads out, one ball dangling in front of each eye").

The fact that nobody has managed (or got the time and patience) to copy the show's inner monologue technique is definitely to its benefit as it still allows the characters to plummet to new depths ("This is what I do to my rivals. I put them in the ground") and take surreal deviations in the most serious of situations ("I'm taking a look at my phone tariff, I've got a very strong feeling I'm being f**ked in the arse").

Isy Suttie's Dobby, an unfortunate third wheel in the Mark/Jez axis, brings a nice kooky lightness to measure up against the boys gloom as well. Even on third viewing I still chuckled at her "It's like Sophie's Choice - if Meryl Streep had given birth to a pair of Chicago Town pizzas" line.

Peep Show continues on Channel 4 on Sundays at 10pm. Catch up on 4OD.

Fresh Meat, year 2, episode 1

© Channel 4


Fresh Meat
Not content with a brilliant eighth run of Peep Show, Bain and Armstrong's second sitcom Fresh Meat concluded in fine fettle this week.

Series three has been confirmed (hurrah), but quite how it's going to work with Kingsley, JP, Vod and co all heading in different directions remains to be seen.

For anyone new to the series, this would be an ideal episode to dive headfirst into. Mixing pigs in pubs, some classic JP-isms ("Ignore the cocks, they're just decorative"), mad bathroom sex and some bonkers Vod one-liners ("You're a rail museum") it showcased the comedy on its best form.

I still always have a nagging feeling that there's a brilliant half-hour show screaming to get out of a very good hour-long one with Fresh Meat, but the extended length has make me feel something for these characters and I almost found myself moved as they all went their different ways at the end of term.

Fresh Meat is still available on 4OD

Modern Family
ABC/Sky 1

© ABC


The one thing missing from British TV right now, the elusive elixir for all TV bosses, is a primetime family comedy that the masses and the critics enjoy in tandem. Everyone wants to get their hands on a Del Boy and Rodney.

Over in America, they have such a mega-hit with Modern Family.

With whip-smart, artfully crafted, exquisitely knitted together scripts and gags, warmth, sunshine and brilliant comic performances, Modern Family is never anything less than supremely awesome. Now on season four, the show's showing no signs of slacking and in this writer's opinion is just hitting its stride.

Last week's episode on Sky1 featured a cameo from Matthew Broderick as a singleton on the rebound, who found himself invited round to family man Phil's (Ty Burrell) under the misapprehension that a romantic evening was on the cards. Young boys Manny (Rico Rodriguez) and Luke (Nolan Gould) crashed some bar mitzvahs and the always brilliant Julie Bowen's Claire took her daughter's academic decathlon a little too seriously.

It was nothing radical, nothing edgy, but 30 seconds didn't go past without a killer line.

Some people may grumble about the show lacking edge and moan about the cuddlier moments, but I personally find it impossible not to get drawn into its embrace every week. If a UK writer could match its magic formula of sharp wit, imagination, colour and silliness, TV commissioners would bite their arm off.

Broad family comedy doesn't have to mean the sort of dross that gets churned out over here. The names In With The Flynns, My Family and The Life of Riley spring to mind. Take note, BBC One.

Modern Family airs on Fridays on Sky1. Catch up on Sky Go.

Missed it? Don't miss out!
Girls, HBO

© HBO


Girls - Don't be put off by the hype or wholly inaccurate Sex and the City comparisons, Girls is mucky, grubby, full of sex and the funniest new US comedy of 2012. Not for the faint-of-heart, the show follows four women who are at the bottom of the pile when it comes to luck, sex, men and life. You'd be mad to ignore it.
Girls is available on Sky Go

An Idiot Abroad - Stephen Merchant has gone, Warwick Davis has been brought in, but thankfully the two key ingredients remain on An Idiot Abroad - Ricky Gervais's humiliating cackle and Karl Pilkington's incredible outlook on life. It's not as good as the first brilliant series, but still well worth half an hour of your time.
An Idiot Abroad is available on Sky Go

Him & Her - Up against Peep Show in the schedules - bad schedulers, naughty schedulers - make sure you don't forget that Russell Tovey and Sarah Solemani's slobby alter egos Becky and Steve are still lounging about in their flat on BBC Three.
Him & Her is available on BBC iPlayer.

What have been your TV highlights of the last week?

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