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Job Hunters
Tonight's Webseries Presentation


Starring: Forest Gibson, Meagan Naser, Tara Theoharis, Joe Homes, Kristina Horner

Written By: Forest Gibson, Kristina Horner, Liz Leo, Tara Theoharis

Directed By: Alexander JL Theoharis

See It Here: http://watchjobhunters.com

What Kind Of Cheese Is It?


Who doesn’t like this stuff?  Seriously.

Pairs Well With...


Garnished with a little marshmallow or two to serve as a naughtier version of Tiffany’s icebreaker beverage of choice.

“How can you not like tiny marshmallows?”

If you think today’s job market is rough, just remember: it could be worse.  Instead of just having your resume cheerlessly ignored by HR people and their keyword bot programs, you could be forced into an arena wherein you’re tasked with killing your fellow applicants.  (While your resume is still ignored by the HR people, but a bit more cheerfully, since you’re now providing them with entertainment.)

Welcome to the world of Job Hunters.  Here’s how the show’s creative team describes the premise:

“MAEWIN (Mandatory Arena Education Worldwide INitiative) is celebrating its 50th year as our Job Hunters enter the Arena.

The initiative was created to combat overpopulation and a lack of jobs.  After college, individuals are summoned to MAEWIN, where they are placed in Arenas to fight, showing their worth for a career.  Their actions in the Arena are being watched by representatives of the government and every major corporation, and will ultimately be the deciding factor in what job they receive.  Do well, and you just MAEWIN.”

Arena hours run from 9-5, outside of which the job hunters live in (not too shabby) communal dorms with a strict nonviolence policy.  A full 20% of them survive the recruiting process!

Yeah, there’s a webseries in this.  And a pretty good one, too, as it so happens.

The premise is solid, but here are the three keys that make Job Hunters stand out and shine:

1) Though the specter of the Arena is ever-present, the Arena itself rarely is.  A heavy focus on Arena combat would have gotten old really fast; instead, Job Hunters focuses primarily on what goes on inside the Safe House, and how the characters deal with the realities of MAEWIN.

2) The characters are outstanding: well written and well played.  Without question, my favorite of the bunch is Tiffany, a social butterfly who just wants to make everyone some hot chocolate with little marshmallows and then comment on the less pleasant proceedings without actually killing anyone if she can help it.  Tara Theoharis takes a role that could easily have gone the obnoxious route and instead makes her character an absolute joy to watch (and to root for).  If you can watch Job Hunters and not want to attend one of Tiffany’s parties, I pity the sadness that must be your existence, for she is awesome.  Also standing out is the character of Max, whom Joe Homes plays with a realism that will be readily apparent to the millions of people who know someone just like this: the smart gamer geek who pretends to be an antisocial douchebag as a defense mechanism even though he actually isn’t one.  And if you’re looking for cool guest stars, there’s always Brian Sutherland’s fantastic take on an evil Vincent Price-esque doctor.

3) In two words: perfect balance.  The story is one of impending (and occasionally realized) doom, and carefully maintains an atmosphere thereof throughout.  But it’s also a dramedy that makes occasional (and welcome) forays into the realm of melodramedy, and the way that the creative team keeps those things in balance is a case study in How To Do It Right.  The humorous moments are truly funny, but the cast members never laugh at their own jokes.  The people in the editing room don’t let the humor change the overall tone, either, even as the laughs keep the show light enough to enjoy as something other than horror.  The music – I really dig this music; it’s got a John Carpenter techno doom thing going – is dark without turning into heavy drapery, and always keeps things on a “waiting for Poe’s pendulum to swing” keel no matter what is going on in front of the camera, even when a character starts talking to a toaster.  And the drama… just beautifully done.

Are there flaws to be found here?  Sure there are, but nothing that comes even close to being a deal breaker.  If you run into a problem of logic (e.g. a story problem that ends with the question “so how could this character have even been born?”), just have a little marshmallow and let it go.  The fact is that Job Hunters is way better than pretty much anything you’re going to find on “regular” TV nowadays, and stands in the upper tier of the webseries world, as well.

Bottom line, if you’re looking for something fun that’s got an edge to it, you want to check out Job Hunters.

…Dammit.  Now I want some “made from scratch” hot chocolate with little marshmallows in it.

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Season One | Six Episodes, 8 – 13.5 minutes each

Episode 1: “Safe House” – Wherein the plot and the players are introduced.  The episode does a good job of setting the table, laying down the premise of the series and the basics of who’s who with an efficiency that does not come at the price of art and style.  I do like the flashes forward to the next day in the Arena that get interspersed with everyone making nice on the first night in the Safe House… and what happens at the very end of the episode.  (Let’s just say that if you’re a slasher fan, what you always wish would happen but never does… well…)  Overall, it’s a very decent beginning.  I do have a question, though: If Avery was already a successful recording artist as a kid, why should she still need to go through job placement this way?  Regardless, I’m on for the ride.

Episode 2: “Rules of Engagement” – Wherein after 38 second recap, players come to understandings: with each other, with the realities of MAEWIN, and with things that didn’t occur to them until too late.  Highlight #1: “Why can’t we just be friends?”  Highlight #2: “Get a group photo!” …and the music stays ominous while silliness occurs.  Highlight #3: “Hindsight is 20/20!”  Highlight #4: My question is answered!  It’s cheer-up sing-along time!  Highlight #5:  “You’re mine.”

Episode 3: “Shell Shock” – Wherein after a 37 second recap, grips are lost, and perhaps something else is gained.  Highlight #1: “Super love!”  That invite is very well delivered.  Highlight #2: “Is it you, toaster?  Are you watching the pots?!”  Highlight #3: “I don’t know what else to say, kid.”  Not a highlight for fun, but for how very well it’s played out.  Highlight#4: “I think I’m fine here, actually.”  (I do have another question, though.  If MAEWIN has been a thing for 50 years and no one in your family has ever survived the Arena… how were you born?) Highlight #5: “What party?” 

Episode 4: “Tactical Assessment” – Wherein after a 37 second recap, evaluations of all sorts are made.  Highlight #1: “Is this made of dirt?”  Highlight #2: OMG It’s Super Star!  Okay, so it’s Brian Sutherland playing someone that Super Star really wouldn’t like.  (What?  I can be a fan, too.)  Highlight #3: “Elephant.  Hair net.  I am the President of Jupiter.”  Highlight #4: “It was an infected bonesaw.”  Highlight #5: “It’s a shooter!  You shoot people!’  Highlight #6: “And now for your end of the bargain.”

Episode 5: “Evasive Action” – Wherein after a 47 second recap, several variants of the question “can’t we all just get along” are asked while people try and fail to figure out who wants what from whom.  Highlight #1:  “Fix a toilet; that sounds… thrilling.”  Highlight #2: “She’s a girl.  You’ve got to remember not to disagree with her, except when she wants you to disagree to show that you agree.”  Highlight #3: “A standing ovation?  For me?”  Highlight #4: “I’m Cornelius, the Arena Unicorn!”  I don’t care if he looks like a goat, either.  Highlight #5: “Finally.”

Episode 6: “Friendly Fire” – Wherein after a 47 second recap, we get the first season finale.  No spoilers, but the chaos is simply awesome, and Holy Cliffhanger, Batman!

Job Hunters wins.  I’m hooked.  Bring on Season Two.

- Reviewed by Ziggy Berkeley, August, 2012

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