New CBS Show The Job—Wet Blanket or Winner?

February 4th, 2013

On Friday, CBS will debut a new reality show called The Job. According to the trailer, the show will feature people competing for regular mid-level jobs in various companies in New York.

Watching the trailer made me depressed.  I can’t imagine how I’ll feel after watching an entire episode.  It’s sad enough in this country that today millions of people are unemployed or underemployed.  Many unemployed people have actually even given up looking for a job which accounted for the drop in the official unemployment rate in the past few months.  Had these people not quit looking for work, the national unemployment rate would be much higher.

I have no idea what the actual show will be like, but judging from the trailer it looks like the job search equivalent of Chopped on the Food Network. On that show, four chefs create various dishes which a panel of “experts” taste test and critique.  Each candidate is “chopped” until the last young chef is left standing as a Chopped Champion.  I feel bad watching that show because you hear all the back stories of these chefs and you just feel sorry for them when the axe falls.  But at least you know they have jobs.  They may not be a Chopped Champion, but they still have a home and enough to eat.

This show seems to have the same premise as Chopped with several “experts” from the hiring company grilling five poor souls looking for a job.   In the trailer episode, one of the corporate experts is a woman with a British accent. I’m not judging her.  I love the Brits.  They’re awesome people.  And for all I know, she’s a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident who has been in the good old U.S.A. for years.

Still, I think it’s just odd to have a bunch of desperate Americans begging for a job from someone with a British accent.  King George III would have loved this show.

“Ha!” he would say, “Silly Americans.  I knew they’d come crawling back someday!”

Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but not too far off.

The jobs being offered on this show are nothing special.  From what I can tell, land one of these jobs and finally you’ll get to eat and pay your light bill.  Yippee!

As Americans, we’ve historically aspired to big things.  We may just all be dreaming, but that’s what we aspire to.  We want the Porsche not the Pinto.

Maybe the message of this show is that by starting at the ground floor of Company X you’ll someday be able to run the place.  That would be an aspiring message.  Just saying you’ll have a job may be a relief, but it’s hardly anything to get terribly excited about.

Hopefully, if this is the best producers can do, they’ll finally get out of the reality show business altogether.  There isn’t much lower they can sink.  What’s next?  Patients in need of a transplant all competing for an available organ?  That seems the direction we’re heading.

If the trailer is any indication, The Job is indeed a wet blanket.  I wish much better for the viewers and certainly for the poor contestants looking work.


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