Sunday, March 14, 2010

Undercover Boss needs a ‘blankie’

I know ‘Areola Huffington’ loves CBS’s Undercover Boss as somehow the penultimate expression of today’s troubled working class waking up against the corporate elite. I don’t mean to throw cold water unfairly but - Uh … really? I honestly just don’t see this show as being that deep or monumental towards the advance of egalitarianism? If you’ve missed it, the gist of this reality series is, each week a REAL corporation CEO, dons workin’ duds (and invariably at least one scene with a hair net) to become a secret mole ‘average joe’ inside their own companies.

I admit I was initially intrigued to see how the big boss would handle the work drudgery which greets faceless millions everyday bringing consumers what they demand. But you know what, in most cases the boss’s do just fine in their new jobs as do the regular workers? The waitresses and production folks do the jobs for which they have been hired and for the most part don’t complain. Yes the work is tough at times, but what in life that’s worth anything isn’t? Once in awhile, the boss finds, (LIKE IN EVERY WORKPLACE) a couple of shining star employees and an occasional dud.

The whole idea of this show seems unbelievable to me anyway. I mean ANY worker that shows up with a camera crew to film a “documentary” about his job search is GOING TO RECEIVE SPECIAL TREATMENT even if nobody knows he’s ‘somebody’. There is no way this ‘boss’ will get a true snapshot of the innards of the organization with cameras in tow. Even the dumbest first-line supervisor understands that cameras DOCUMENT EVERYTHING. So if you see outrageous behavior on film in this show, then I am fairly certain the producers have PLANNED it that way?

Regardless of the set-up, everyone loves a good ‘reveal’ right? So the best part of Undercover Boss should be when the big boss calls all those underlings in to his ivory tower to tell them his TRUE IDENTITY? Gee my fingers get all tingly just thinking about this part – oh sorry, I think my hand fell asleep for a sec.? Anyway the truth is the payoff in this show is lame. Nobody gets fired even if justified? The oddball ‘loser’ that the boss may have ferreted out is simply given a ‘serious’ talking to or a parental look of sad disapproval.

There are no million dollar prizes or beautifully remodeled homes for the unaware schmucks who unknowingly worked admirably and interacted with the company’s top dog. For a frazzled staffer, the boss may foot the bill for a nice vacation to ‘recharge’, or provide a couple thousand bucks for a college scholarship. But my favorite reward is (drum roll) – a chance to GET MENTORED by the top boss??? I want to crawl out of my skin, when the worker looks stunned by this generosity and then starts to cry in heartfelt emotion. In reality, they are thinking, ‘they flew me out a thousand miles to HQ, in first class to the meet the CEO and he wants to help steward my career? I make $7.50 an hour buddy – how ‘bout some cold hard SCRATCH with that big bowl of NUTHIN’ ?!”

CBS’s low budget generosity and oddly the corporate boards, or private CEO egos, who willingly CHOSE to subject their national brands to this ’tripe-fest’ are obviously misguided. I know the top brass believes they are representing a compassionate and caring ‘ground-up’ corporate image. I really hate to be the wet blanket on these undercover dudes. But after the cameras are gone and the tape is in the can, everyone will happily go back to their side of the bed to snuggle into that oh so familiar niche, and mightily try to sleep this nightmare of a show off!

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