I Hate My Job 11/09—Men in Tights: Not Always A Good Thing
Welcome to I Hate My Job! Don’t get the wrong idea. I am happy to report that I don’t hate my current job most days. I do have extensive experience in job hating though. My first job other than babysitting was standing in the dog food aisle of grocery stores handing out coupons for then new Kibbles and Bits. One can only ask so many people if they are dog owners and count so many bags of dog food before considering going postal on the cardboard dog display with a wagging tail. My second job was even worse. I cleaned college dormitory bathrooms and took out trash. You’ve got to love the smell of stale beer in the morning.
Now On With the Show
First, we hear the host, the Reverend Al Sharpton, that master of understatement, doing his own voiceovers. Way to go big budget Spike. I am immediately upset because Al’s hair is relatively normal in a James Brown kind of way. Can’t Spike throw a writer a bone? Al explains to us that the contestants had the same dreams all of us had as kids of wanting to be an actor, astronaut, or ballplayer. Al then tells us that the first thing we all do in the morning is look in the mirror. What you see is the image of where you are in life. If that’s true, then I’m living on a park bench somewhere. The first thing I do in the morning is throw on an appropriate amount of rumpled clothing and a hat and walk the dog. I don’t deal with a mirror until I’ve had some caffeine.
Meet the Haters
Frank describes his current job as senior operator at a waste water dairy plant. The show graphics later identify him as a cow manure processor. Frank explains that he hates his job because basically he deals with something that comes out of a cow’s butt all day. A lot of people say that about their jobs. They just don't mean it literally. Frank plans to be the next black male supermodel (from Compton). If there is one thing anyone who watched this show will not forget, it is that Frank is from Compton.
Brad deals blackjack in Everett, Washington. Brad describes his job as a dead end and explains that he hates the rude people and the second hand smoke. He wants to be an artist or an illustrator. We see Brad’s two adorable crew cut boys telling him to go for it.
Ben is a pool table technician. This turns out to mean that he delivers and installs pool tables. Ben is basically a bored out of his mind adrenalin junkie and wants to be a stuntman.
Chuck is a handyman who describes his job as basic and not very challenging. Given that the only task we see Chuck performing is fixing an electrical outlet; it’s hard not to agree with him. However, Chuck really likes his boss. Chuck dreams of being a professional hockey coach.
Jim is an attorney in a big law firm and feels stifled creatively by the atmosphere. Go figure. Jim wants to be a stand up comic.
Jeph, whose parents apparently can’t spell, is a sheet metal foreman and wants to be an actor. Jeph feels the construction industry is full of politics, headaches, and backstabbing and longs for the politics and backstabbing free atmosphere of Hollywood.
Art is a software salesman who hates cold calling potential customers and wants to build motorcycles and choppers. There is something immediately likable about Art.
Josh is a preschool teacher and wants to be a club promoter. I’m sure the parents of the kids in his class were happy to hear that the kids “crap, they piss, they suck.” Good thing you are over that job because you have no chance in hell of getting it back Josh.
Of Odd Jobs and Scavenger Hunts
Al meets with all eight contestants for the first time. We also meet Al’s sidekick, Stephanie Raye who is described as a life coach and counselor. Thank god she’s not a style coach because Stephanie really needs to lose the goofy matching tie she is wearing with her blue dress. Don’t get me wrong. Stephanie is beautiful. She just has clothing issues.
Each of the contestants is dressed in an outfit suitable for their current job. Al informs them that they will be split into two teams for their first challenge. Each team must go into Hollywood to find clothing more appropriate for their desired occupations. Team One consists of Josh, Jim, Art, and Jeph. Team Two is composed of Frank, Brad, Ben, and Chuck. Neither team is given any money, credit cards, or help nor is each team allowed to split up. The teams are to meet Al for dinner. Al announces that “dinner is at eight and I don’t like to wait.” Please, someone, stop the bad reality rhyming. I’m begging you. The team that arrives back first will be given a significant advantage. At the end of the first two challenges, four of the men will be cut.
Team Two first stops at a store named, ForPlay that sells sexy clothing. Really. Chuck seems to enjoy undressing and dressing a mannequin a little too much. We cut over to Team One talking to a woman at a store called pop Killer. When she suggests that the bathroom could use cleaning, Josh, whom I’m guessing has seen the inside of a toilet bowl more than once, volunteers. We are treated to Josh singing a little spur of the moment ditty which includes the words, ‘wicked fun” while completing this task. I start praying that Josh is eliminated so I never have to hear him sing again.
For their diligence at ForPlay, the guys of Team Two are rewarded with a purple hockey jersey for Chuck and a pimp outfit that Huggy Bear would have been proud of for Frank. Despite Chuck’s attempt at an explanation, I’m still wondering what a store that supposedly specializes in sexy clothing is doing carrying a hockey jersey. Team One gets a shirt and jacket for Jim the lawyer/comic.
Both teams meet with some frustration which Al exacerbates by checking in with them and reminding them they are running out of time but eventually put together outfits for everyone. Jeph gets a tux, Ben gets a helmet and t-shirt, and Brad, who I’d almost forgotten about, gets his very own Shazaam t-shirt. Josh gets what he calls a pah-tay shirt which is frankly hideous. Team Two does some suit modeling on the street for Suit City. Someone needs to tell Frank that models, including models from Compton, don’t wear their suit pants tucked into rubber boots. Ben ends up with his very own Suit City leather jacket. Team One scores at the Fluff and Fold Laundromat including coveralls for Art who is still looking for gloves. The glove search includes some nasty dumpster diving at a gas station. Team Two is down to finding Chuck hockey equipment. Now, I’m not a huge follower of hockey, but don’t the coaches generally wear suits during games? If you are in hockey-deficient Hollywood, why not get Chuck a suit? I’m just saying. Eventually, Art and Chuck end up completing their outfits.
Dinner for Ten
There is the obligatory suspenseful, edited scramble to see who can get to Al’s location for dinner first and if they will make it by eight. Team One arrives at dinner with one minute to spare just in front of Team Two. As fate would have it, it appears that Team Two’s reliance on a hot, scantily clad woman to drive them to dinner was their downfall. Al tells us that he wants to get to know the teams better in a social situation where they can “just kick it.” During dinner, each of the men talks about himself. Al thinks Josh comes off as a total character. I think Josh comes off as totally annoying. We learn that despite the difference in their backgrounds and ambitions, money and fear of not being able to provide for their families is the common factor keeping them from pursuing their dream jobs.
Requiem for Several Dreams
After dinner, we learn what Team One’s significant advantage is. They are each given their instructions for the second challenge right then. The members of Team Two will have to wait until three hours before the challenge to learn what their various tasks are. The members of Team One are assigned the following tasks:
Jeph—Recite a Shakespeare passage in a period costume
Josh—Invent, name, and sell a new drink
Art—Fabricate and trick out a beach cruiser bike
Jim—Perform a seven minute comedy set about his former workplace
At seven the next morning, all the guys pile into a van. They arrive at the Renegade Theatre where Al and Stephanie are waiting. The members of Team Two are finally given their tasks.
Chuck—Choose two of the other contestants to teach how to shoot a puck in 30 minutes and then give an inspirational speech
Frank—Runway model three different outfits complete with different poses for each
Ben—Choreograph and perform a stunt
Brad—Draw a cartoon based on his job at the casino
After three hours to prepare at the theatre, each of the contestants performs his task. Ben is first and basically just beats the crap out of five dummies. It looks like a performance one of my twelve year old cousins would turn in. Jeph is second and, well, he chokes. He starts out okay despite the period costume complete with tights and a skull, but he quickly forgets his lines. Stephanie asks if he’d be more comfortable holding his lines but even this doesn’t help. In speaking to Jeph after he’s done, Al is truly kind and encouraging. He tells Jeph not to let one faulty performance define him. I can think of some reality show hosts who would not have been nearly so nice. Chuck goes third with Frank and Josh as his, err, students. Neither of them should give up their day jobs for hockey either. Chuck then gives a speech replete with sports clichés.
Art rides his bike on to the stage with the enthusiasm of a kid. He then lights up talking about what he’s done to the bike. Josh disses Art’s bike as ugly. I want Josh gone even more. Stephanie then delivers a rather disturbing line, telling Art “I’m actually aroused listening to you talk about your bike.” Thanks for sharing, Stephanie. Art lets her down gently by reminding her it’s a one-seater. Next is Brad. It was a mistake for him to adopt a “cartoon voice” to show off his drawings but the two panels of his cartoon shown were really well illustrated. Following Brad is the disgruntled lawyer, Jim. In my not so objective opinion, Jim’s performance, or at least the parts that weren’t bleeped out was great. Doing bleep work for bleepy people and getting jack bleep for credit, indeed. If the show doesn’t work out for Jim, I really hope none of the senior partners in his firm were watching.
Frank follows Jim. He bounces his way around the stage in three outfits including one with a feather boa. I can’t really tell the difference between Frank’s sexy, mysterious, and jaunty looks, but maybe that’s just me. Al asks Frank what his homeboys would think if he walked through Compton wearing the boa. Finally, Josh gets up and presents his new drink. He calls it “the monstah.” After an unfortunate blender malfunction, he gives everyone a glass and tells them to be careful, if you drink too much of the monstah, you just might wake up next to one. Nice, Josh. Be gone. Please. After Josh finishes, the guys are sent away while Al and Stephanie deliberate.
Judgment and Verdict
The guys come back on stage and Al tells them that they are all winners and gives an inspirational speech about how he left the music business to pursue a career in politics and civil rights. He encourages them individually and offers each words of wisdom. Al suddenly busts out the few sports clichés Chuck didn’t use and then finally tells Jim, Al, Josh, and Frank to step forward. After the required dramatic pause, Al informs the four that they are advancing. To complete the sports theme, all eight of the contestants form a huddle as Chuck, Brad, Ben, and Jeph say goodbye.
Al ends by explaining to us that he can’t let the ones who aren’t ready quit their jobs. He appears to actually care about what happens to these men. You may not agree with his choices but he appears to be making them for the right reasons.
Take This Job and Shovel It
Next time on I Hate My Job, Al tells the four remaining contestants the next step is to quit their jobs. Frank who has four children and good employee benefits demonstrates that he has yet to read the latest relationship book, “She Really Will be that Pissed at You” by quitting without talking to his wife first. Josh who is "so over his job" as a preschool teacher tells us that he’s not sure he can quit. He tells us “what are they going to do if I’m not here?” Thrive?
Wanna tell me about your sucky jobs or what a sucky job I did? firstname.lastname@example.org