New on Netflix

Columnist Takes Pleasure in Hardship of CEOs

“Undercover Boss” Strikes Balance Between Heartwarming Fluff and Sadistic Pleasure

After a long month of sitting somewhere in the mountains while on break, staring at snow, it dawned on me that there was so much to be seen that I could watch, between getting licked awake by my mom’s dog and getting smacked in the face by a frozen salmon.

It was this revelation that led me to rediscover a rare reality TV gem that I had previously forgotten.

Undercover Boss

Originally airing on British television in 2009, the American version of “Undercover Boss” first aired following the 2010 Super Bowl.

The premise is simple: Take the top suit at X-Corporation, have him put on some overalls, adopt a fake name, and spend a week pulling sludge-covered towels out of bathtub pipes.

Each 45-minute episode features the President/CEO of a different company performing common jobs within their own company. For example, the (male) CEO of Hooters was a Hooters “Girl” in one episode. The corporate head uses their experience to make decisions to improve the lives of their workers. Often, this involved bestowing their low-tier coworkers with gifts, benefits or raises during an emotional end-of-the-week reveal meeting.

While the second season is currently airing on CBS, episodes available for streaming from the first season features such companies as Waste Management Inc., Hooters, 7-Eleven, White Castle and Roto Rooter.

I will not lie, there is a certain sadistic satisfaction of seeing a man who makes more in a year than I will in my lifetime get in trouble from a 50-year-old fast food manager for messing up an order.

However, between all the week-old gas station hot dogs and theme park restrooms, “Undercover Boss” always strives to find employees with some terrible streak of misfortune, chronic malady or everyday hardship of life, that the CEO can come to appreciate and do something to help at the end of their experience.

“Undercover Boss,” even with the inspirational fluff, is a great watch, especially if the thought of multi-millionaires hauling garbage brings a smile to your face.

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