“Dear Joan and Jericha, my husband says he’s gone off me as my boobs are like ‘mangled socks’. He’s offered to pay for a boob job but wants me to go really big. What should I do?” So goes one letter from “Marie” to brisk, no-nonsense agony aunts Joan (Julia Davis) and Jericha (Vicki Pepperdine), who respond with cruel, spectacularly unhelpful advice. “Well, firstly, Marie, congratulations on having such a lovely husband,” says Jericha happily. “Exactly,” Joan chips in. “He’s saying: I’m not going to go off with someone else because your boobs are like mangled socks, I want to be with you, but you with big boobs. A better you.”
The letters written to the satirical podcast Dear Joan and Jericha are mostly too filthy to be repeated here – full of sexual conundrums and nasty medical problems that Joan and Jericha respond to in excruciating, absurd detail. Often they view their correspondents with suspicion and disdain. Women are urged to engage in bizarre sexual games to please their husbands at any cost, while men are encouraged to neglect their families and stain their underwear willy-nilly.
The eight episodes beautifully skewer dismissive advice draped in a tone of faux-concern, devoid of any real empathy. It’s a satire of agony aunts, yes, but it also seems to be ridiculing discussion shows more generally: the two characters love the sound of their own voices and use their podcast as a vehicle for self-congratulating superiority, murmuring in agreement and slapping each other on the back to applaud the most thoughtless nuggets of ignorance. Some of the best comedy treats are found in post-problem chatter, as they offer glimpses of their own strange lives. After just eight episodes, I’m desperate for a second series of this unapologetically vile show.
This article appears in the 30 Jan 2019 issue of the New Statesman, Epic fail