0 5 mins 11 yrs

Job Lot suffers from a case of ‘could try harder’


Amongst some slightly entertaining quips and clichéd characters was ITV’s new comedy sitcom The Job Lot. Following, I’m extremely sad to say – slightly disappointing first episode of Vicious, came only another half-hearted attempt at comedy in the form of this sitcom set in a West Midlands Job Centre.

It wasn’t a complete flop, there were a few laughs to be had and some situations to familiarize with (haven’t we all met an Angela at some point?) but the show never quite seemed to reach its possible potential.

Sarah Hadland plays Trish, the neurotic manager trying to run a smooth operation whilst also attempting to keep her sanity intact. Pushing her buttons is the brilliantly irritating Jo Enright as Angela, who has just returned to work following her victory at a tribunal which challenged Trish’s decision to previously fire her. Russell Tovey gave a convincing performance as the young biscuit-obsessed adviser wasting away his days in a job he is desperate to escape. A lot of the laughs are provided by Paul, the security guard, who is secretly running his expanding carpet business from the hub of the Job Centre much to the displeasure of Trish.

This episode showed the staff dealing with a plethora of difficult (and some just plain strange) people trying to edge their way back into employment. This included Bryony who, equipped with an extremely unrealistic dream of joining MI5, had every excuse imaginable for avoiding realistic jobs more suited to her abilities, including that she has MS. This was only topped by Graham who didn’t write an application letter for a possible job opportunity because he couldn’t find Steve, and Steve had his pen…yes that just about covers that!

Sympathy laughs were to be had over the frustration of trying to sign on through an extremely difficult Angela, who continuously ran rings around poor claimant Sunil; first demanding he ring for an appointment and not just turn up, then losing his claim form forcing him to fill out another, which all culminated in informing him that he had filled in the wrong claim form and would have to start from scratch.

Possibly the only real exciting part was the attempt at removing a rude picture that Karl had drawn on the whiteboard with magic marker right before a planned seminar.  Karl’s mini meltdown following Bryony aiming a hole puncher at him (fair grounds for a meltdown to be honest) resulted in him drawing the picture and then walking out of his job in the hope for greener pastures; he promptly returned upon realising that the new temp, played by Emma Rigby, was extremely attractive and due to start work there that day. Then followed a race against time to remove the magic marker before the planned interview-tips type seminar, luckily for Karl Bryony was on hand to help out but only in return for being signed on for a further two weeks (fair enough and negotiating skills will always come in handy for an MI5 position!)

The consequences of Trish’s desperation for company were felt by Karl who inadvertently agreed to go on a date with her at the end of the work day and I did chuckle at: “You tell me about your biscuits and I’ll tell you about my night terrors”.

There were some good performances and the dialogue was entertaining but it ended up being a little lack-lustre and a prime example of how a lot of hype for a new series can sometimes be it’s own downfall.

On a brighter note, it can only go up from here…can’t it?