Life's All Pain (?)
Hello fellow Anglophiles! Steff here.
Listen, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, and I’ve reached a conclusion. Aside from things like, say, the need for food and water and [breathable] air, all of us scared, confused, sweet humans have two things in common:
We all want to be loved, and
We all want to be understood.
Think about that second one. We all want to be understood. I know love is like, this huge Be All / End All thing, but think about the times in your life when perhaps being understood felt even more important. I’ll wait.
Okay fine. Say you just got dumped. (Sorry, dude. That hurts. Need anything? I’ll make a Lizzo playlist for us to dance to while we drink and scream and cry. And hey, fuck the asshole who thinks they’re ever gonna find anyone better than you.) The sting of the breakup is gonna hurt ya for a long while, but what happens after you stop skipping showers and start feeling ready to love again? What’s left nagging you to your core despite the fact that you’re back at the gym and no longer snoozing ‘til noon? You don’t want your ex back – hell no – you want your ex to understand what they put you through. Riiight? You want your ex to say, “You’re right. I’m the worst. I’m so sorry.”
Or hey, say you just got fired. (That’s rough. Redundant? Bummer. There’s nothing you could have done differently, man. Lemme take you to lunch this weekend – you pick the place.) Once you find a new gig, it probably won’t take long before you forget about your old gig. You won’t think about your old boss and wish he had kept you on – you’ll think about marching into his office and forcing him to listen to you catalogue every single disrespectful thing he said to you when you were the one bringing him his coffee and making his dinner reservations. You want your old boss to say, “You’re right. I’m the worst. I’m so sorry.”
Unfortunately, we live in a completely unjust world. Your ex is probbbbbbably never gonna call you out of the blue to apologize for being a dick, and if you ever dared barge into your old boss’s office, you’d probably be carried out by security before you even finished telling him what a nightmare he was about the 2014 holiday party. Total bummer, I know, but listen: if you’re very lucky, you might have a solid friend who’s willing to trudge through the muck with you. They’ll make sure to check on you throughout the week when they know you’re having a rough one. They’ll invite you out for drinks or cake or whatever you fancy. They’ll send you funny memes about how everybody sucks and they’ll read every single angry text message you send their way. Most important of all? They’ll never make you feel crazy or out of line or like you’re overdoing the misery. They’ll listen to you say what’s on your mind and what’s in your heart, and when you look them in the face, they’ll look right back at you and say, “I get it.” If you even have one person in your life who will do that for you, proceed with extreme gratitude. If you don’t? Proceed to fucking watch Peep Show.
Peep Show is unlike any other show out there about two not-quite-down-on-their-luck dudes who live together and make funny mistakes. We don’t just watch the two lead characters do things – we hear them think things. We hear both Mark and Jez casually think about rape and murder. We hear them rationalize the potential upsides of death. We hear them catch themselves being casually racist and we hear them catch themselves being casually sociopathic. Basically, we hear them thinking all the vile, scary, unspeakable thoughts that we ourselves have totally thought. And ya know what? It feels fantastic to hear someone else boldly verbalize your own twisted shit. Have you ever found yourself pondering the sadness and unfairness of life while grocery shopping? Mark has, and let me tell you, hearing him think to himself, “Life’s all pain” while walking up and down the aisles of an empty supermarket is one of the most hilarious, honest, relatable things I’ve ever seen in a television comedy. Mark feels alone and I often feel alone and it’s nice to know that Mark fucking gets it.
Listening to Mark and Jez’s private thoughts allows us to do a bit more than simply sit and watch Mark and Jez. We empathize with Mark and Jez. We are Mark and Jez. Have you ever developed a crush on someone of the same sex as you and wondered if that had to mean something? Have you ever winked at someone and immediately regretted it and then tried to play the whole thing off like you have an intense eye-twitch? Have you ever left your crush a humiliating voice message because you were too afraid to simply ask if they’d like to go out sometime? Was a friend there to witness the whole thing and scream, “Oh FUCK” with you, not at you, when you hung up?
Jez and Mark are always looking for love, and one way or another, they always manage to find it. Jez loves Nancy and Mark loves Sophie and Jez loves Toni and Mark loves Dobby and Jez loves Elena and Mark loves April and yes, Jez and Mark do get to have sex with all of these women and no, none of these romantic relationships last. At the end of the day, these two guys are forever stuck together. They will fight. They will make mistakes. They will tell each other to “fuck off” and they will tell each other, “Don’t be scared.” Jez will miss another month’s rent and Mark will pay that month’s rent. Jez will offer to help Mark when he’s down and Mark will tell Jez to go away but you bet Jez will come right back the next time Mark is down. They’ll help each other get to weddings and they’ll help each other get to hospitals. They’ll throw each other stag parties. They’ll make a tent in the living room and eat Dairy Lee. They love each other. More than that? They understand each other.
As for all of us? Like I said, I hope all of you out there have at least one person in your life who’s willing to sit next to you in your pit of despair. If not? Get thee to Hulu. Mark and Jez are waiting, and they absolutely, 100% Get It.
All My Love,