The misadventures of misanthropic housemates Mark and Jeremy continue into the fourth season’s second episode. After surviving a dangerous family situation in the countryside, they’re now both back in Croydon. This week, JLB Credit’s top businessman Alan Johnson has proposals for Mark and Jeremy that will leave both of them emotional wrecks.
Firstly, Johnson (known as ‘the Johnson’) wants Mark. More specifically, he wants him to run a meeting he’s organised in Kettering to convince the directors at their loans company to merge Marketing and Sales. The Johnson has evidently forgiven Mark for ‘being in love with him’ (in a very confused way) in the very first series. Since then he’s steadily become even more of a psychotic businessman. Mark walks in while he’s competitively completing a forty-five minute Tai Chi routine ‘in 15 minutes, stick that up your dojó’. Naturally, hapless Mark is still in awe of this complete wanker. He readily agrees to help with the presentation – i.e. He’ll do the whole thing and take the fall if it goes wrong.
Johnson gives Mark a small team of lackeys (including Mark’s long term rival, Jeff, and troubled fiancée Sophie), in order to put this doomed presentation together. Johnson turns up to the meeting at Mark and Jeremy’s flat, and catches sight of Big Sooze – currently still Jeremy’s very posh girlfriend. She’s wrapped in a towel, and grins at Johnson. Johnson then approaches a hacked-off Jeremy and offers to give him money if he can sleep with Big Sooze. The princely sum of about 500 quid. This convinces Jeremy to ask Big Sooze about this ‘indecent proposal’. Jeremy’s classic reasoning for agreeing to this is ‘it’s in a film. They wouldn’t put a bad idea in a film, they’d get sued’.
Jeremy’s efforts to persuade Big Sooze are somewhat less successful, and they split up. She’s soon living-it-up with Johnson, and comes with Johnson to the big meeting in Kettering. Followed determindly by Jeremy, much to Mark’s annoyance.
Mark has bigger problems. His idea is falling apart and some crazy ranting manages to drive away all of his team, except for a guy with dodgy stomach acid. He works frantically until Johnson turns up that evening to drag him out with ‘literally the worst men in the world’ to a lapdancing club. Mark grudgingly accepts, taking his laptop with him.
The ‘Angry Lapdance’ Mark endures on an unwanted night out
By the next morning Mark is an impressive wreck, and Jeremy still hasn’t won back Big Sooze. Jeremy tries to help by suggesting Mark runs away. To his immense surprise, that’s just what Mark does. He leaps out of the window and hides in the carpark. While Mark hides, Jeremy has one last attempt at getting back Big Sooze, and after demanding money from Johnson in compensation he throws it of the window, too. Believing that this is the ultimate romantic gesture, he asks Sooze to come back to him. She isn’t that impressed. After this failure, Jeremy scarpers out of the window to pick up all the cash.
Mark is watching Jeremy with some bafflement when Sophie spots him. He should’ve kept running to the KFC. She gently persuades him to come back to the meeting and to tell them that he can’t do it. What could go wrong? Unfortunately, his attempt to explain falls very flat, and to his own amazement he claims he’s dying of a brain tumour. Poor Mark – it isn’t that sort of sitcom, and nobody is convinced. Hilariously, though, Johnson does assure everyone that Mark will indeed ‘be dead by tomorrow’.