The Job Lot Series 1 Episode 4 (ITV) Review

After the last couple of episodes have avoided ‘unemployed humour’ in favour of slightly generic workplace comedy, this week’s The Job Lot got its act together somewhat. While the jokes still aren’t funny with the frequency we’d all hope for, at least episode four remembered that there’s plenty of comedy to be mined from its unique set-up.

Having an inspector come in to an office and change everyone’s behaviour is nothing new, of course, but the b-plot with the benefit cheats was a nice change of pace. Having Trish use their situation to work out a few of her own issues, completely forgetting that the couple had stolen around £30,000 of benefit grants, was amusing and really showed off Adeel Akhtar’s talents for the first time. I’d quite like to see him and Russell Tovey’s ‘good cop, bad cop’ routine occur on a weekly basis.

I also like the clever twist on things when, rather than objecting to Angela’s obstructive rule-obeying and liking Karl’s warm, friendly nature, it was completely the other way around. It’s too bad that the previous fake-out of who the mystery job seeker (or ‘secret seeker’) was became blindingly obvious as soon as only two new characters were introduced. Having a third deal with Danielle might have been a better use of her time than the odd ‘dead Graham’ farce, after all.

So, while I was much more impressed by this fourth episode than I had been with episodes two and three, there’s still a problem with characterisation. The show is teaming with talented comedic actors and actresses, and potential to use them, but every character already seems to have been boiled down to one personality trait. Angela, especially, is starting to grate on me, and I really hope her storylines in the remaining two episodes don’t follow the same formula.

What did you think of the episode? Which character do you wish the show would use more? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.