A sitcom that I've stuck with sporadically since its inception is The Job Lot, which returned for its third series this week. The Job Lot certainly had a shaky start when it debuted back in 2013 primarily due to it being coupled with the woeful Vicious on prime time ITV. However it was rehabilitated last year thanks to a refreshed look, an anarchic vibe and a new channel in ITV2. This first episode was built around a rather traditional gag in which Karl (Russell Tovey) thought girlfriend Natalie (Laura Aikman) was pregnant even though it was Trish (Sarah Hadland) who actually suspected she might be having a baby. Although the misheard rumour is quite a well-worn comic trope I felt the writing team more than pulled it off thanks to the way in which each gag was timed. The sporadic use of the sociopathic Angela (Jo Enwright) also helped to break up the main plot with the job centre's most picky employee later becoming involved in Trish's story. Apart from the snappy writing, what makes The Job Lot work so well is the cast and in particular the three leading players. As Karl, Russell Tovey exceeds at playing the beleaguered everyman who feels that he should be in a better job despite making no attempts to leave his current employment. Meanwhile Sarah Hadland is fantastic as the hyper Trish who stumbles from one crisis to the next with this series seemingly seeing her want to have a baby. But for me The Job Lot has always been about Angela, a brilliant comic creation whose actions, though often cruel, feel oddly believable. Despite its appearance on one of the younger channels I feel that The Job Lot is a traditional sitcom masquerading as something a lot edgier. Whilst this isn't a bad thing I feel nothing about the episode was particularly memorable and most of the gags were pretty easy to guess. Thankfully this is a series with a fantastic cast and therefore, if it continues to find an audience, I can definitely see The Job Lot returning for another series.Matt, The Custard TV, 11th October 2015
Time for our weekly appointment at Brownall's Job Centre, where Angela and Natalie discover differing approaches to prising jobseekers off welfare. Bryony finally finds a job for which she feels suited, leading Natalie outside her comfort zone in an attempt to help, while Angela swings her benefit disqualification stick with indiscriminate fury. Elsewhere, Trish undergoes some sub-equatorial grooming to help conceal her real age from Tom, before playing matchmaker for Natalie.Mark Jones, The Guardian, 15th October 2014
Back for a second series was ITV2 comedy The Job Lot. Starring the excellent Russell Tovey (Him & Her, HBO's Looking) as Karl, an art history graduate working in a Midlands job centre. It could, you suppose provide an interesting conceit. Therein lies the problem. The high jinx contained in the wacky world of a job centre sounds so much like a neat pitch for a sitcom that it makes everything a bit too, well, sitcom-y. Tovey is straight man, longing to escape, Sarah Hadland's Trish Collingwood is a boss who actually says the line "I'm your boss. I also want to be your best friend". Stand-up Jo Enright is the supercilious jobsworth with ambitions for a promotion. It's all a bit assistant to the regional manager in its ambitions.
The opening episode is also littered with sex. And I use that verb literally. We begin with Trish having slept over at Karl's flat, we later saw her having sex behind a bin. She said: "After the drought comes the flood, and I am ready to get soaking wet." Trish also introduces a new member of staff thus: "She's a virgin [long beat] a job-centre virgin!" HAHAHAHA SEX!
Which is a shame because it has the basis of something that could be quite rewarding. If only it had a bit more confidence in its characters, like the deadpan nerdism of Adeel Akhtar's George.Will Dean, The Independent, 25th September 2014
Series two of the jobcentre sitcom and it appears newly-divorced manager Trish has managed to focus her appeal to a younger demographic by spending the night at Karl's flat. Back at work, Angela finds that taking the Iain Duncan Smith approach to "helping" jobseekers counts for nothing as new employee Natalie is parachuted into the deputy manager's role. A welcome return for an increasingly enjoyable sitcom, and one surely deserving a wider audience.Mark Jones, The Guardian, 24th September 2014
The first series might have had low ratings, but for series two it's going over to ITV2, a pretty sensible move that will probably let the show play to its naturally naughty strengths.Chris Mandle, Attitude Magazine, 24th September 2014