Sitcoms are exactly what their names imply: Situation Comedies. Sure, it's the characters that often suck viewers in, but the situations and hijinks that these characters fall into are why they stick around. When it comes to British sitcoms, few do this better than Peep Show.
Following the misadventures of odd couple Mark and Jez, Peep Show showcases the awkward moments that make up our 20s and 30s. Bad dates, workplace embarrassments, and verbal faux pas are one thing, but the self-destructive behavior of these two is something else entirely. The series is full of cringe-worthy scenes and moments that are as hilarious as they are embarrassing.
10 Captain Corrigan
In the season five episode "Spin War," Mark is still reeling from his disastrous wedding with Sophie. Alone and shunned at the office, Mark makes a connection with a new member of IT, Dobby. The pair hit it off a little too well, meeting in the supply closet for a bit of fun. Excruciatingly, Mark accidentally finishes early in his pants, only to run out and meet face-to-face with Sophie and Jeff who think he's peed himself.
This scene is incredibly awkward to begin with. Both Dobby and Mark are social outcasts alone, so seeing their uncomfortable sexual encounter is a bit much. Ending the scene, though, with Captain Corrigan flying without a license only to be semi-caught by his ex and her ex is a living nightmare.
9 The Birthday Party
The opening episode for season four saw Mark and Jez making the pilgrimage to meet Sophie's family. This experience included an overly bloody hunting outing, a clingy brother-in-law, and a jam-induced sexual encounter between Jeremy and Sophie's mum. It is one of the most uncomfortable episodes to sit through, but one moment captures it perfectly.
Meeting your partner's family is always awkward. Seeing their dysfunction and weird family traditions is even worse. To kick off Sophie's birthday party, the family serenades her as she descends from the second-floor stairs wearing a princess hat. One look between Jeremy and Mark says it all.
8 Is That Normal Pooing?
The core odd-couple dynamic between Mark and Jez is exactly what keeps fans returning to this show. Their polar opposite traits combine in the worst ways. One episode, in particular, "Shrooming," shows this off in one of the most cringe-inducing ways.
While Jeremy attempts to host a magic mushroom party, Mark's bedridden self dampers the mood. At the height of the episode, after Mark has been locked in his room for hours, Johnson appears at the apartment. Freeing him, Mark sprints to the toilet, releasing a torrent of violent bowel movements. In the plain view of Johnson, Super Hans, Jez, and Big Suze, Mark suffers one of the most embarrassing moments in the show's history.
7 Rainbow Rhythms
Everyone has taken risks for their partners, doing activities that they normally wouldn't just to impress them. Early on in their relationship, Mark accompanies Sophie to what he believes is a ballroom dance class. Little does he know that what he actually signed up for was Rainbow Rhythms.
Watching someone as stuck-up and backward as Mark suffer through a new age wasteland is too much to bear. Through this embarrassment, Mark has a number of verbal outbursts against prospective dance partners and the whole class. His final line says it all: "If there isn't room here for people who stand against everything you believe in, then what sort of a hippy free-for-all is this?"
6 "I'm Not On The Child Protection Register... Yet"
Mark has a tendency to dig himself into conversational and situational holes. Whether its something small like accidentally placing his hand under Sophie's bum or as big as accidentally befriending a massive racist, no one self-sabotages as well as Mark Corrigan.
During his school reunion, while he is trying to rekindle a relationship, Mark makes possibly the biggest conversational red flag ever. Mark asks an old schoolmate whether he has had kids yet. After they say no and ask why, Mark replies with: "Oh, no reason. I mean, I love kids. Not in a bad way, in a nice way. I mean, I'm not on the Child Protection Register... yet." Yeah, Mark, that'll convince them.
5 Seasonal Beatings
As "Sophie's Parents" showed, family get-togethers never work out well in Peep Show. So, when the series finally offered up a Christmas Special, it did not disappoint in the embarrassment department. This is the ultimate Christmas from hell, full of family resentment, awkward sexual tension, and not-so-funny Christmas jokes.
To make proceedings worse, Mark is too nervous to admit to his parents that Dobby is more than a friend. When it finally does come up, and after Dobby challenges Mark's father, Dan tells Mark to put a muzzle on her. This comment goes unchallenged and is followed by a solid minute of silence, creating one of the most excruciating moments on the show.
4 "It's Not Piss"
When it comes to important things, work is number one for Mark. His job at JLB Credit takes precedence over everything, even his love life. So when the two intertwine and Sophie is given a promotion over Mark, he doesn't react most healthily.
As revenge, Mark urinates all over his supervisor Barbara's desk after work. He is almost caught by Sophie, causing him to gather the piss-soaked documents and try to dry them in the restroom by using the hand dryer and sticking them onto the mirror. Sophie goes to check on him, only to walk in on the scene and have Mark assuredly tell her, "It's not piss." Certainly, this was not one of Mark's finer moments.
3 The Phone Message
In this moment, we were all Jeremy. Early on in the show, Mark decides to try and call Sophie and ask her out. It all starts out fairly normal but turns into one of the worst awkward proclamations of love ever.
Firstly, she doesn't answer, so Mark has to leave a voicemail (which begins with Jeremy calling him a racist). What follows can only be understood if you watch the whole scene. Quoting Sinatra, remarking on her "bloody nice voice," and talking about her inability to refill the copier are just some of the points he feels he needs to make.
2 The Wedding
Oh, dear. The Wedding. Few moments in the history of Peep Show really reach the levels of embarrassment and absurdity as this. As Mark and Jez come to terms with the reality of the wedding day, they hide in the loft above the church, away from the prying eyes of the guests. Hours pass, and Sophie and the guests are in disarray. All the while, Mark and Jez are still sitting above wrestling as to when, and if, they will appear.
Jez eventually can't hold in his pee and uncontrollably urinates through the floorboards and onto the guests. They are caught, go through a tearful ceremony (not of joy), and then Sophie runs off in tears. It is the worst wedding anyone could ever dream of.
1 Killing, Burning, Attempting To Bury, & Eating Mummy
While most of these moments of cringing were due to Mark's ineptitude, the number-one spot belongs to Jeremey Usbourne. Although the wedding episode was a constant nightmare, no moment in all of Peep Show is more horrifyingly or embarrassingly hilarious as the fate of Mummy the Dog.
On Mark's stag night, the two court a pair of sisters who are visiting the Shropshire Union Canal with their father. Their dog Mummy is accidentally run over by Jeremy, who proceeds to throw it away, attempts to cremate it, and then pretends the remains are BBQ which he then eats in front of everyone. It is nightmarish and grotesque. It also happens to be the funniest moment of the whole show. It presents the lengths that these two take their self-sabotage and how it ruins the lives of everyone around them.