The Fairy Jobmother

Another review I did for the very funny Watch With Mothers site. Go there, right now. It’s good!

Relentless prole-botherer Hayley Taylor, otherwise known as ‘that hedgehog/human hybrid off of Benefit Busters’, has a new mission – to get long term benefit claimants back into work.

In this first episode, we’re introduced to droopy, shaven-headed Dean and his affable girlfriend, Maxine. Two young parents caught in a bitter poverty trap, the security of a hand-to-mouth existence on benefits outweighing the risk of taking unreliable short term jobs.

Taylor doesn’t waste much time in calculating that the pair receive £261 per week in benefits between them.

“That’s £1044 a month!’ she yelps. “That’s ‘ow much some people tek ‘ome as a salary!!”

She seems to forget that this massive bounty, a.k.a. one person’s monthly wage, has to be split three ways: Dean and Maxine have a little girl called Olivia. I’m surprised old hedgehog-features doesn’t get the toddler a temp job in Kwik-Fit.

“Yer not pullin’ yer weight, kid. Hold t’angle grinder ‘igher!”

I have to say, I found Dean and Maxine more endearing than a box full of puppies floating on a marshmallow ocean on a raft made of happiness and rainbows.

“I don’t really buy ‘fridge food’”, says Maxine when asked about breakfast. Sure enough, her fridge contains a lump of mouldering cheese, some dog food and a yoghurt. ‘Fridge food’? What other kind of food is there?

“Naw, I just buy floor food. Oh, and there’s some sponges covered in cress out the back”

Based on the fact that Maxine owns some mascara and is quite pretty, Hayley lines her up with work experience in the cosmetics department at her local Boots. And based on the fact that Dean looks like an escaped convict, it’s the bins for him.

He’s thrilled with unpaid work as a bin man. Seriously. He’s proud and happy to be given the opportunity. I welled up, I really did. Bless the lad, he’s clearly a good egg – anyone who gets excited about being a ‘recycling operative’ really, really deserves a job. However, I did find Hayley’s gender-split of work experience fairly daft and sexist. Why not pop Deano behind the makeup counter? I’d have loved to see him demonstrating the latest Clinique range on a hapless Middlesborough shopper:

“So, like, yer rub it on yer eye’oles an’ it ‘ides all them wrinkles and bags and all that. Nice one.”

After work experience is done and dusted, their ‘Jobmother’ lines them up with interviews. Again, as Maxine is a lady with boobs and whatnot, she’s put forward for a trainee beautician role. What about college, eh? Maxine could be the next Einstein, for all we know.

*remembers ‘fridge food’ comment*

Hmm, maybe not.

Sadly, the beautician vacancy is withdrawn, and it’s left to a hastily madeover Dean (think anorexic beagle/pitbull in a suit), to uphold the family honour. His interview for a kitchen fitting job goes really well, thanks in part to Hayley’s coaching:

‘Don’t say ‘iya.’ ‘Don’t wee yersel’. ‘Don’t say fuck or bugger’.

It’s a nice moment when he hears he got the job, and you get the feeling both of them are left feeling more confident, not to mention slightly better off financially. And for the most part Hayley manages to avoid demonising or belittling the pair, which is something. But describing £1,044 a month for a whole family as some kind of lavish sum? Give it a rest. I half expected her to pull off her rubber mask half way through to reveal David Cameron’s gurning face.

Oh, and Dave C, if you’re reading this- I’m certain that this programme could single-handedly cure Britain’s unemployment problem. So long as every dole claimant is assigned a Channel 4 researcher to phone round and set up job interviews for them.

Sort it out, yeah?

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About Hilary Wardle
Hilary is a freelance journalist and copywriter who writes for a wide range of websites, magazines and newspapers, including Buzzfeed, MSN, The Poke, Chortle, the Guardian and the Independent. She specialises in arts and entertainment, comedy, video games and viral content. Contact her at Hilary3@gmail.com.

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