Peep Show, Channel 4’s cult sitcom starring David Mitchell and Robert Webb, has now been off the air for over five years. But long in its memory do all of Jez, Mark and Super Hans’ most iconic moments live on, particularly through its musical references, some of which you’ll be well aware of, some maybe less so.
As an ever-optimistic electro outfit, Jez and Super Hans’ musical project
The Hair Blair Bunch, Mumma’s Cumquat, Various Artists, Curse These Metal Hands, Coming Up for Blair, Man Feelings, 13 Bastards, Danny Dyer’s Chocolate Homunculus, unfortunately never gave us that hit single or legendary album. But throughout the series’ 12 years on the air, Peep Show did give us some unforgettable music moments and references, from slights at bands like Coldplay, to the admiration of The Chemical Brothers, here are some of the sitcom’s best musical moments.
Mark channelling his inner Robbie Williams in a bid to swoon his Nicole Kidman
(Series 1, Episode 2)
Perhaps the most cringeworthy moment in the entire Peep Show series, Mark eventually musters up the courage to give Sophie a phone call, and of course the rest is all ancient history now.
Jez managing to top Super Hans’ most prized piece of music memorabilia
(Series 4, Episode 4)
Jez’s short-lived career as a handyman-come-prostitute had its positives and its negatives. The Orgazoid’s unreleased demo of Borneo Function was one of the many highlights, apparently enough to ‘beat that car battery Super Hans nicked off The Prodigy’.
Pixies’ Bone Machine proving that Merry was indeed ‘a bit up and down’
(Series 3, Episode 2)
The adorable Merry was unfortunately an unstable soul as soon as we were first introduced to her. And the turning point of Merry’s insanity was when she propositioned Mark, followed by a nod at Pixies’ classic 1988 track.
Mark’s Massive Attack reference while in the ‘fuck bunker’ with Dobby
(Series 5, Episode 2)
Easily one of the series’ most hilarious moments, in which Mark is cornered by Dobby within the close confines of the stationery cupboard (that’s right Jeff). In leaving, Mark subtly makes a reference to Massive Attack’s 1991 single The Hymn of the Big Wheel, quoting ‘the world turns on its axis, one man works while another relaxes’.
Super Hans’ dream oral orgy
(Series 5, Episode 2)
Citing boredom and that ‘someone’s got to suck someone off’, Super Hans’ opportunistic ways with the
man boy, the myth, the legend that is Sophie’s cousin Barney, are beyond wrong. Hans’ justification comes with the fact that ‘Iggy, Bowie, Lou Reed, Tupac, they’re all sucking each other off’.
Jez’s life lessons when it comes to drugs and music
(Series 1, Episode 4)
‘No more drugs. I don’t need drugs. I mean, what great music was ever made on drugs? Bowie, obviously. The Floyd, The Prodge, Aphex, the list is endless really.’
Super Hans keeping it real with his analysis of Coldplay
(Series 3, Episode 2)
In what could be called as a dramatisation to some people, Super Hans has no harm in likening the race-hating evil of Hitler and the Nazi party, to those who like Coldplay.
The Hat Game scene
(Series 8, Episode 3)
We all have that friend, that one who can’t tell his Bowie from his Britney, that one who couldn’t even tell you a Beatles song. And in one of season eight’s most memorable moments, Mark’s two-band knowledge just couldn’t help him guess Hot Chip.
Yes two of the show’s best musical moments not only came within the same episode, but the same scene, giving us poetic reviews of the likes of LCD Soundsystem (‘arsehole’), Flaming Lips (‘bullshitters turning wank into cash’), and Foo Fighters (‘phonies’).
The Jesus and Mary Chain of central heating control systems
(Season 6, Episode 2)
Jez pretty much hits the nail on the head with his description of shoegazing pioneers Jesus and The Mary Chain. ‘Idiosyncratic’, ‘difficult to get into initially’, ‘but then- so much to explore’, maybe he is part of the 1% of who are right about being a talented musician.
An abundance of Chemical Brothers references
From sharing a studio in season two, to nearly being on the same record label if it wasn’t for the fact that ‘the brothers have read the appendix’, the Chemical Brothers are perhaps the most referenced group of the series. After all, the Chems are ‘widely regarded to have nicked Jez and Hans’ sound’.
Mark using The Beastie Boys to justify having a party
(Series 6, Episode 5)
Reluctant already in hosting a party ‘only to eventually get sex’, in doing so Mark has a nod at one of the Beastie Boys’ biggest hits.
A catalogue of background bangers throughout the series’ 12 years
Listen out, and an entire library of iconic hits and tunes can be heard playing throughout Peep Show. Primal Scream’s Movin’ On Up, Toploader’s Dancing In The Moonlight, Lighthouse Family’s Ocean Drive, The Prodigy’s Funky Shit, Massive Attack’s Inertia Creeps, all can be heard playing in the background of various episodes. Even the series’ eventual theme tune, Flagpole Sitta by Harvey Danger, is playing at the bowling alley in season one.
And in case you wondering, Lovers of Lights by Afro Cult Soundsystem is the song playing during the Rainbow Rhythms scene below.