I have to admit that the opening episode of “Undercover Boss” was pretty impressive, and more than a little touching. “Touching” isn’t the word I’d use to describe the second episode of the new CBS series, but perhaps “clueless” is. Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher scornfully replays the “gotcha” moment when the company’s CEO meets with a manager who forced his staff to play in a degrading contest to get some time off during a slack period of the day:
I get what the CEO means about respect, but come on. Nothing says “respect” like putting busty young women in short-shorts and tight t-shirts with the name “Hooters” across the bust line! The manager stepped way over the line in this case, but as Tommy says, it’s not as though the management in the stores can avoid the message they get from the top down:
Look, it’s a free country, and this is all apparently legal, but when your entire business model depends on your employees welcoming sexual advances in writing, you kinda give up the right to be shocked that your manager is a pig.
For the uninitiated, Hooters isn’t just about skimpy outfits, hot girls, and hot wings. The waitresses are required to flirt with the patrons, at least according to their 2005 handbook, which states that their “job duties require that I interact with and entertain the customers” and that the Hooters concept is “based on female sex appeal and the work environment is one in which joking and entertaining conversations are commonplace.”
If you don’t want to read through the Hooters employee handbook, just watch this clip from South Park that pretty well explains the Hooters experience:
I’ve been to Hooters twice in my life, both times dragged there by clients, and both times completely underwhelmed by the food and the, er, entertainment. If I want disingenuous brown-nosing laid on so thick that it makes me cringe, I’d rather watch a campaign rally.
Here’s a question to ponder: did CBS have so little faith in its new series that it had to put the Hooters episode on immediately after its premier? If so, too bad; the Waste Management episode after the Super Bowl really impressed me with its heart.