The Job Lot, ITV2, review: Sex talk undermines returning Russell Tovey comedy

Which is a shame because it has the basis of something that could be quite rewarding

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The Independent Culture

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.