I've now made it to the end of series four, and can't believe how clever the show is.
Starts off in series one with Eddie being a complete twat, and Bill full of witty retorts to Eddie's comments and bizarre beliefs. There's a definite feeling that Bill is the better of the two, and that he's an unjust victim.
By the middle of series three (I think - hard to keep track of where exactly because the DVD releases were so majorly f**ked up), Bill's replies have changed from a kind of self-preservation manner to being just as bigotted as Eddie. In short, one stops feeling sorry for him.
By the end of series four (where I'm up to now), one's allegiance has largely switched to Eddie. It's increasingly apparent that whilst his prejudices have been instilled in him from birth by the society he lives in, and even though he's a bit of a tit in general, Bill has let
his prejudices develop in himself.
Further, the abuse Eddie hurls at Bill is by now more habitual than malicious, as is demonstrated by his willingness to spend more time around Bill. At the same time, despite continuously complaining about it, Bill purposely provokes Eddie into calling him names. Which only serves to reinforce many of Eddie's opinions.
It's clear by this point that for whatever reason, and in slightly different manners, both of them are as bad as each other. Eddie's a pillock, but isn't helped by those around him (primarily Bill), and is almost ganged-up on at times. Bill complains about the abuse he suffers, but he's let self-preservation develop into full prejudices, and he's now totally bringing it on himself.
Brilliantly constructed change between the two. The shift itself is subtle, but becomes more obvious and pronounced towards the end of series four. I've never found anything like this offensive, but can certainly see what people mean about it leaving "a sour taste in the mouth".
I'll be interested to see if it switches back to Eddie by the end of series eight.
Half man, half Internet, half TV.