I review a whole season rather than individual episodes, so there is a chance of spoilers. If you haven’t watched the whole season yet, stop reading now!
Russell Tovey is fast becoming one of Britain’s best comedy talents. He brought a great comedic slant to his role as George in the British (and original) version of Being Human, and is still going strong as one half of the fantastic couple in Him and Her. The Job Lot is another string to his bow, demonstrating his ability for comedy timing and playing appealing and likable characters.
It’s also a compliment that can be extended to a lot of the other cast members too. The Job Lot contains a lot of “best of British” comic talent, from the put upon manager, played by Sarah Hadland to the obnoxious second in command who is brilliantly brought to life by Angela Curren. In fact, the best aspect of the show is its characters. It’s a great example of how to do a character driven sitcom rather than one where the setting is central to the story.
Not that the setting isn’t original. A Job Centre, with the array of characters that go through the place, is a great location to set a comedy. The stories that they devise around the location are original without being far-fetched. From dealing with “benefit cheats” to competing with an Army recruitment officer, there is a great choice of stories that compliment the well written, good range of characters.
The problem is, the show is hardly groundbreaking. It’s very watchable but at the same time, very nondescript. It’s difficult to choose a huge fault with the series; it can be very funny, it is well acted and the stories can be interesting with quite interesting resolutions but it’s not changing anything. Aside from the Job Centre setting, the series isn’t really doing anything new. Its a good example of British sitcom but nowhere near the best this country produces.
Thats not to say its a bad show. Its well worth a watch and will definitely entertain, especially with solid performances from great British actors and actresses, especially Russell Tovey, who I still think has got his big, amazing performance ahead of him.
Overall, The Job Lot is a good example of how to make a solid sitcom. Well written, greatly acted characters in an original location which offers some decent stories. Unfortunately, it’s hardly breaking the sitcom mould and doesn’t do anything that hasn’t been done many times before.
Best Episode – Episode 4: The way the characters act when they discover a “secret inspector” is due to arrive and the twist at the end, puts this episode above the others in this standard season.
Best performance – Russell Tovey as Karl
Should there be another season? – Yes, but if I found out there wasn’t, I wouldn’t exactly miss it.
Season Rating – 3
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)