What lies at the heart of the genius of the Peep Show characters is the fact that we all see a little of ourselves in them. Whilst we may claim to be 'more Mark' or 'more Jez', deep down most of us are an amalgamation of the two. Anyone who doesn't see themselves in Mark or Jez may well be a real life reflection of Johnson and should probably seek help. Given that Peep Show is such a stunningly accurate microcosm of modern life, it may well serve as an unlikely self-help guide: How not to be as unhappy as Mark and Jez. Of course, it's not all doom and gloom and we may even be able to glean some handy tips from the fleeting moments of success and happiness. As such, here's a short extract from the eagerly awaited 'Career Advice For the Croydon Elite' by Mark Corrigan and Jeremy Usborne.
1. Follow your dreams
As Ernest Hemingway apparently* said: "Write drunk, edit sober." If Jez ever moved onto the second part of the sentence, his music career may have amounted to more than a bongo jam with his deranged builder. However, somehow he scrapes by as a musician and stubbornly refuses to enter into society's prescribed notion of a career: "Look Mark, I'm a musician, in case you'd forgotten. Yeah? I answer to a higher law. The law of if it feels good, do it." In some ways, behind the drug-fuelled haze and naivety, there is some truth in this. Kind of like a misguided interpretation of carpe diem, or its modern incarnation, YOLO. We tend to work hardest when we are doing something we love, as Mark proved in his brief stint as a historical tour guide.
2. Learn how to manage
Peep Show presents us with a range of interesting management styles. Johnson's Machiavellian blend of maintaining equal levels of respect and fear within his troops whilst bewildering them with nonsensical commands seems to have earned him a lucrative role in the upper echelons of JLB Credit. Granted, his megalomania and mental instability soon see him running a dysfunctional consultancy firm from his bedroom, but some respect must be paid to his initial success. Mark's managerial career is similarly undulating. At times he rallies the troops in a friendly manner, inviting them round for pizza and brainstorming, for example. Unfortunately, he soon loses his team's trust, abusing them so maliciously that they desert him on the eve of a key presentation. Note: If you feel that you and Jez are kindred spirits, it's probably best that you never manage anyone.
3. Don't get into pyramid selling
If Jez and 'Toni from next door' think it's a good idea, it's probably not. Mark's response sums it up, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. The real world is tough and success is rarely achieved without hard graft:
"Listen, Jeremy, you don't seem to understand. Nothing you want is ever going to happen. That's the real world. Your hair isn't red, people don't walk around on stilts. Maybe somewhere you can earn a living sitting around, drinking margaritas through a curly plastic straw, but in this world, you've got to turn up, log on and grind out."
Finally, and possibly most importantly, if you see any part of yourself in Super Hans it may be too late to save yourself.