Wednesday, 30 September 2009


Wednesday, 30 September 2009

[SPOILERS] Another terrific episode, taking its cue from the great tradition of British farce. For the majority of this half-hour, events were contained within Mark (David Mitchell) and Jez's (Robert Webb) tenement block, as the pair grappled with a malfunctioning new boiler and a terrible lie...

Jez made a play for their sexy new neighbour, who turned out to be a Russian drug-dealer called Elena (Vera Filatova); while Mark invited Dobby (Isy Suttie) round for a date at their flat, intending to finally make his move on her...

Unfortunately, matters were complicated when Jez lied to émigré Elena about being an expectant father, once he learned she has a fetish for "DILFs". Jez was then forced to retell the lie to Mark, whom Sophie (Olivia Colman) had confirmed to him is her baby's father following their paternity test. Mark, wrongly relieved the test branded Jez the father and freed him of responsibility ("I can do anything! I can leave T-Mobile!"), was therefore emboldened to kiss Dobby, only for Jez to break the truth to him seconds after he finally got his colleague into bed. And then Sophie arrived to talk things over with Mark, meaning both guys had to try and keep the girls in the dark about what's really been going on...

Confused? It made more sense when you basked in the social embarrassment as it unfolded on-screen, watching things tangle into a cat's cradle of confusion, heartache, lies, and awkwardness: from Mark melting down and blaming his troubles on their overheating boiler, to Jez trying to keep his romantic chances alive whatever the cost. At times, it could be argued the episode veered into the ridiculous -- what with Mark insisting on wearing three condoms, electrocuting himself as he tried to dismantle the door-bell Sophie was ringing, or just the fact Jez continues to pull girls way out of his league -- but for the most part it kept its head.

Most interesting to me was how Mark has been named the father of Sophie's baby so early in the series, as I was expecting that revelation to come in the final episode as a lead-in to series 7. This unexpectedly early reveal has me very suspicious, particularly as we only have Sophie's word that she's telling the truth, and she's been known to be quite manipulative when she wants something. Will Mark get to see the paternity test result himself, or will he just take Sophie's word for it? A part of me suspects the baby is Jez's after all, but Sophie knows Mark would make a better father, or at least a more reliable provider of alimony.

Then again, it was strange that Sophie suddenly mentioned the possibility that Jeff could be the father, so maybe it's neither of them? I guess it depends if the writers want to keep Mark and Jez as fatherless losers next year, or plough ahead with them as misfit co-parents. I'm hoping for the latter, with Jez as a father shirking responsibility, and Mark back with Sophie as the baby's stepfather. How about you?

25 September 2009
Channel 4, 10pm

written by: Sam Bain & Jesse Armstrong directed by: Becky Martin starring: David Mitchell (Mark), Robert Webb (Jez), Olivia Colman (Sophie), Isy Suttie (Dobby) & Vera Filatova (Elena)