Mandy episode 1 and 2 recap – “Jobseeker” and “Susan Bloody Blower” Sophie's Choice

August 15, 2020
Jonathon Wilson 0
BBC, TV Recaps
3

Summary

“Jobseeker” and “Susan Bloody Blower” make for a proudly daft double-bill, opening Mandy with laughs aplenty.

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3

Summary

“Jobseeker” and “Susan Bloody Blower” make for a proudly daft double-bill, opening Mandy with laughs aplenty.

This recap of Mandy episode 1 and Mandy episode 2, “Jobseeker” and “Susan Bloody Blower”, contains spoilers.

Check out our spoiler-free season review.


In Mandy episode 1, aptly titled “Jobseeker”, Mandy’s looking for mindless work. Her stressed-out employment advisor offers her what she describes as “Sophie’s Choice” – a menial factory job or a training course to improve her interview technique and land better opportunities. You’d think the latter would be the smarter choice, but we’ll get to that in due course.

First, though, she becomes an Arachnid Control Operative at the Gone Bananas packing warehouse, where her job is to batter deadly spiders that have hidden among the fruit with a big wooden mallet. The company’s mantra is “One to stun, two to kill, three to make sure,” which Mandy repeats to herself while hammering the arachnids, f*g still lit and drooping from her mouth. The workplace orientation video conducted by an emotionless manager might be the best-observed gag in the entire episode.

Mandy is a natural at spider-killing. But a text message occupies her attention for long enough that some of the deadly critters escape and kill 17 people. Suddenly sacked, she finagles an interview at Chicken Bungalow by insisting she’s “not a grass” when asked what her strengths are. There, she sneaks off for a cig in the toilets and burns the place down. Both incidents are reported to her employment advisor, who sends her on that course after all.

Luckily for Mandy in “Jobseeker”, that course is being run right alongside auditions for an advert tricking people into a payday loan service called Cash Maggot. We only learn Mandy got the gig when she’s pulled into her advisor’s office once again to be informed she’s committed benefit fraud.

Mandy episode 2, “Susan Bloody Blower”, introduces Maxine Peake, a friend of the show’s writer and star Diane Morgan, as Mandy’s titular rival. This gives the episode a different dynamic to “Jobseeker”, which didn’t give Mandy anyone to bounce off. Peake and Morgan’s real-life relationship shines through so much that both seem on the verge of cracking up in most scenes, which only makes them funnier.

“Susan Bloody Blower” begins with a petty tit-for-tat rivalry over borrowed clothing and such but quickly gets weirder and more ridiculous until it incorporates voodoo curses, an endurance line-dancing contest, and a presumably fatal accident with a giant glitterball. Morgan’s determined straight face in these long (comparatively) dancing sequences was its own kind of joke, and a funny one.

Of this double bill, Mandy episode 1 felt stronger, with a better balance of silliness and outright surreality. Both were refreshingly pacey at just 15 minutes, and you can’t help but wish more shows were content to get in and out with so little fuss. The script in both episodes was occasionally flabby but took great delight in mocking contemporary online culture and choosing just the right combination of words for the name of a banana packing plant or a shade of nail varnish. The shrunken head business in Mandy episode 2 will likely have some people in a bit of a tizzy, but it doesn’t feel as though it was slipped in thoughtlessly. If only more telly was so proudly daft.


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