While I am the first to admit that shows like Big Brother, where you put conflicting personalities together in an artificial environment competing for a prize and have them decide who gets kicked out of the house, can be entertaining, the same concept applied to a workplace where employees are asked to fire their colleagues just doesn’t seem right. And yet that's exactly the scenario Fox TV has chosen for its new show, Does Someone Have to Go?
Here’s how Fox describes the show: “Almost every office across the country has some level of dysfunction, which often can be attributed to just a few select individuals – those co-workers who might be viewed as anything from lazy to incompetent to quite simply having a toxic personality that poisons the entire workplace. The difficult part for the employees is that, most of the time, the boss isn’t even aware of how bad the problem is, and the only person who can do anything about it IS the boss. That is, until now!”
As you can imagine, what ensues is office politics and lots of drama. In the first part of a two-part premiere, the viewer is introduced to Velocity Merchant Services where employees are told that they will have a voice in fixing their company by selecting three people for possible firing in a process that includes revealing each employee's salary.
Why any company would agree to have cameras tape its office confrontations and document its dysfunction, I cannot imagine. While some shows offer businesses such as restaurants a facelift and free PR, all this show seems to do is show the incompetence of management and staff at VMS. Even shows like Undercover Boss have a redeeming quality in that they are exposing out-of-touch executives to the true workings of their company in order to help them improve the quality of the workplace and the product.
But as an employee rightfully points out in an emotional speech, “This is not a game show, this is real life.” The awkwardness, tension, and discomfort which comes from watching this show left a sour taste in my mouth, and I for one will not be tuning in for part two of the premiere to watch the three employees chosen for potential termination plead to keep their positions.
Instead of appropriately considering the issues facing the company, suggesting the termination of employees based on a mean-spirited popularity contest inappropriately makes light of unemployment, and as Does Someone Have To Go? shows, also makes for pretty bad TV.