Here's why the 'Undercover Boss' didn't fire Jimbo
- 2010/02/15 21:10:52
- Read all 16 opinions
In the second episode of the series, "Undercover Boss" had the President and CEO of Hooter's working entry level jobs to see what his company looks like from the bottom.
At one Hooter's restaurant in the Dallas area, Jimbo the manager required the servers who wanted to go home early and avoid the dead afternoon period to eat a plate of beans without using their hands.
Earlier, he made the servers line up for inspection, then made sarcastic remarks about their nails or, in one case, their tattoos.
Jimbo seemed like the kind of guy who would make sexually inappropriate comments or even sexually harass the servers. However, if he did so, it either wasn't captured on camera or it was cut from the show.
No matter. His behavior on camera was so outlandish that you were sure that Jimbo was going to join the ranks of the unemployed.
But, as viewers found out at the end, Jimbo kept his job. He apologized and mended his ways, or so we're told, and continued to manage the restaurant.
How did that happen?
Last month, Stephen Lambert, the executive producer of the show, explained it to an audience of TV critics from around the nation and Canada:
"There will, in the course of the series, be a number of situations where there are...serious course corrections required...but the intention is not for the boss to single out individuals. It’s more about trying to recognize that there are often policies or communications that are coming from headquarters that aren’t being implemented correctly."
So no one will get fired, asked one critic. "No one is getting fired," replied Lambert. Not even Jimbo.
That may not make sense to anyone who watched the show and the obnoxious Jimbo, but it does makes sense if you're the executive producer.
Lambert, in order to keep making new episodes of "Undercover Boss," has to go to other big companies and ask for their cooperation and participation. If you are the CEO of a large corporation, you would not play along with Lambert if you believed there is even a small risk your company will come away with a black eye.
Firing an employee is an admission that the organization failed to hire wisely. It would be far better to present this as a misunderstanding that was corrected by a compassionate executive.
In addition, unless the show blurred Jimbo's face, it needed his permission to show his image on TV. It's doubtful that Jimbo would sign a release for a show that let the nation see him get the heave-ho.
In fact, he may have been promised he could keep his job in exchange for his signing on the dotted line.
It's important to understand that reality shows are to reality what hot dogs are to dogs. While "Undercover Boss" may entertain some, it will never depict any truly controversial or potentially illegal activity. To do so would remove any chance that a company would agree to participate.
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