This past week’s edition of Real Time With Bill Maher touched on a subject that has long irked me: the existence of the CBS show Undercover Boss. Class disparity/warfare will probably be a recurring theme of this blog, and this putrid “reality TV program” really, for lack of a better term, chaps my ass.
If you’ve never seen Undercover Boss, allow me to give you a brief description: The president of DirectTV (or some major company), in disguise, spends a day or two among his grunt workers in the factories, on the road installing dishes, you know, assisting (and by assisting, I mean fucking things up) the employees that make 1/100th of his bloated salary. Then, at the end of the show, he reveals himself to the employees and showers them with money to prove he’s not a tremendous asshole, which beforehand they probably rightly assumed he was. Then the boss addresses the company and informs them of his “experience of a lifetime” as if he didn’t have the ability to do it every fucking damn day; essentially making it seem like his ride in a DirectTV truck was similar to a goodwill trip making mud houses in a poor African town. Seriously. What probably should happen each and every time is that the undercover a-hole in charge should realize that every single job has merit, isn't necessarily easy, and provides the company with value. Then he should proclaim he's slashing his salary and funneling some of that money downwards, maybe in the form of bonus checks or free lunches in the cafeteria. But I'm sure he just goes home and regales his family with the horrors of being normal while they wipe their mouths with napkins made of hundred dollar bills.
But here’s the kicker of this insulting show and it partially features something I never quite understood about the common American. If Undercover Boss were broadcast on a closed circuit channel only available to America’s richest CEO twats in an effort to prove to them that all their workers were, in fact, human beings with families and feelings, then perhaps it would be somewhat admirable.
But, in reality, the show is catered to the middle class American who, as decent ratings prove, actually find this bullshit heartwarming. As if acting like a somewhat compassionate human is some agonizing sacrifice the rest of us shouldn’t have to bear. It’s yet another instance of the public placing the oligarchy on a pedestal even though they clearly do not have our best interests at heart and would probably fire most hourly employees if it meant their seventh mansion was in danger of foreclosure. It’s as if people believe that if they are kind enough to the incredibly wealthy, the rich will actually decide to dump their wallets on our doorsteps during some grand realization that we all are, in fact, human beings.
But here’s a newsflash: they won’t. They never have. This whole trickle down economic bullshit is just that. And we don’t need a TV show that makes our daily shitty jobs look as appealing as walking the jungles of Vietnam.