Dean got a job. Of course there was no collusion between the production company and the employer - shame on you for even thinking such a thing. But Jane Murphy on the Orange TV blog says: "Dean manages to clinch a position as a kitchen fitter's assistant. And that's where the premise falls down. Because this is all very inspiring - but if you have precious little work experience, particularly in the current economic climate, you're highly unlikely to get the first job you go for. I can't help thinking that if Dean had applied for the kitchen fitter's position without Hayley's help, he wouldn't even have got an interview. It's one thing to be willing to work - but it's quite another to find the determination to persevere through the inevitable disappointments and rejections while you look for a job."
Michael Deacon in the Telegraph catches himself being patronising: "I was going to say what a horribly middle-class idea, patronising the working class for our entertainment. But then I remembered that there’s nothing more horribly middle-class, or more patronising to the working class, than some jumped-up journalist being drippily self-righteous in the working class’s defence. So I won’t." But he is unable to resist being critical of Hayley Taylor: "I wasn’t quite so keen, though, on Taylor’s main educational prop: a large drawing of a twisting road (representing her subjects’ lives), on which she would affix stickers showing symbolic road signs. “The gated level crossing sign,” she announced, sticking it for some reason in the middle of a field, represented her subjects’ “debt” and “fear of coming off the benefits system”. Despite this, she seemed nice enough, in her briskly mother-ish way, although I have a tip of my own for her. If you’re going to scold your subjects for speaking in an unsophisticated manner (for example, saying “hiya” instead of “good morning”), it’s probably best if you don’t praise them by saying, “You’re doing really, really good.”
The Independent's Tom Sutcliffe falls into a patronising attitude: "Hayley Taylor, the Fairy Jobmother, is a bit like Pauline, the restart officer from The League of Gentlemen, approaching the jobless with upbeat mantras and slightly childish visual aids (a road map titled "Hayley's Drive to Life"). But where Pauline was malign and undermining Hayley is tender-hearted, encouraging and briskly effective. When Dean whined and whinged that his unemployment was everybody's fault but his own, she didn't see exasperating fecklessness – she saw fear of failure, and she soothed it away in a briskly maternal manner, transforming his resentful hoodie hunch into something close to upright posture. He got a job anyway, and – more to the point – he still has it. Set alongside a film like Between Life and Death, The Fairy Jobmother could easily look like the terminal decay of the serious documentary. In fact, it effectively smuggles a lot of education and information inside the boilerplate, can-do narrative arc. Did you know that one reason the jobless are so reluctant to take a chance on short-term jobs is that you lose your benefits as soon as you get work but it will take six weeks to get them restored if something goes wrong? Quite a gamble when you can't afford to lose." Yes, Tom, we did know that.
And there are two more episodes. Can't wait.