Saturday, September 28, 2013

Is "Undercover Boss" Reality or Just A Script?

One of the few new shows on TV I've liked these past few years is "Undercover Boss." It was like someone had read "Dilbert" creator Scott Adams book questioning the motives of CEO's and their companies.

A quasi reality show it follows a CEO around under some pretense so that he gets to see undercover just what company policy is like in reality.

The first show I saw had the CEO of Waste Management doing grunt work and what he found was eye opening. Potty break for drivers, men AND women was peeing in a coffee can. I thought finally, here is a show that shows just about what every employee would like to say to their boss.

The show that turned me off for awhile though was when the CEO at the time for Hooters, a company the father started, showed a sequence where the manager of one of their stores during a slow day asked his "girls" who wanted to go home early? About 5 raised their hands. His method of deciding who left? Eating a plate of beans off a bar table with their hands behind their backs. Hooters already had a rather T & A kind of reputation but that this CEO, an avowed family man, stood back and said nothing stunned me. I'm sorry. That man should have been fired on the spot. Talk about a Gloria Allred moment. In fact I'm surprised she didn't show up on TV the next day her girls in hand!

Last night, the season opener had the CEO of a company not in yet California called "Twin Peaks" based in Dallas. If anything it is even worse than Hooters. The "girls" wear such small tied halter tops every guy in the joint must be waiting, like we did for years as kids watching Elvira, that something will pop out. And the shorts? Forget bending over. The "girls" are encouraged to smooze with the boys getting them to eat and of course drink more. When the undercover CEO had to smooze with the boys well, it was pretty sad if not lame. It exposed exactly what the "girls" were supposed to do. Sell sex.

There were complaints about how some of the customers handled the "girls," not surprising considering how they dress and how "friendly" they are, so this erstwhile CEO calls the now ex CEO of Hooters (guess he couldn't wait to cash in now that dad was gone) to help him out. I won't even comment on this pair other than he was to play a jerk and was quite good at it.

I find reality shows of any kind distasteful because they take every Judeo-Christian ideal and stand it on its head. Instead of love thy neighbor, it's stab your neighbor in the back ... All for the payout. It shows us willing to do anything to make a buck. This show has shown generosity to employees and a willingness to listen and learn. However, the harsh reality of the everyday workplace, home to half of all country music lyrics, isn't enough so it's time to throw in sex and sleeze.

I comment on this and other reality shows, TV in general, because they are as scripted and created just like and maybe more than any painting, book writing or scoring for a song. Sure there may be some rare unplanned moments but there is little margin of error and hours of footage are captured and edited down to the maybe 50 minutes we might see. For every "juicy" or truly revealing moment we see, most ends up on the editors floor or hard drive never to be seen again.

Consider what you create. Consider who sees it. Consider what it does for your reputation. They may not have trouble sleeping at night but you might.

No comments:

Post a Comment