After the Super Bowl was over, CBS premiered Undercover Boss, a role-reversal "reality" show where a big-wig performs entry-level tasks. Larry O'Donell, COO of a Waste Management Company, performed some nasty jobs, and many (faux) lessons were learned.
It's pretty hard to believe that this show is even remotely real. Larry gets sob stories out of every single one of the employees he is assigned to work with. Picking trash off the line, he sees a woman rushing to check-in so she won't get her pay docked for taking more than 30 minutes for lunch. When picking up trash on the side of the road, he hears a story about a man's inability to keep up with his dialysis bills. While working at a landfill, O'Donell meets Sandy—who is doing the work of three people—and hears about her bills piling up as she tries to keep her head above water financially.
And finally, a woman who works on the garbage truck has to pee in a can because she doesn't have enough time to go to the bathroom if it isn't on her scheduled route. This woman pees in a can at work!
After meeting these people, you want to believe that this show is real, but it is not. Unless you're a Williamsburg trust-fund baby who uses his parent's money to fund your performance art, it's safe to say that most people have been forced to work entry level jobs during their lifetime. And when has anyone ever discussed their very serious, and very personal problems with you on your first day? Stories like that don't come out of a blue-collar worker's mouth to a stranger very often, if ever.
So after a week's worth of backbreaking labor and blue-collar tragedy, O'Donell has worked hard, listened harder, and he has had it. From now on, it's going to be a new day in the sanitation department. So he straps back on his superhero outfit in the form of a $2,500 two-button suit and platinum cuff-links to make some serious changes to help the people that bossed him around earlier in the episode.
O'Donell's solution? Task forces and raises for all! Well, task forces and raises for the people that were featured on the show. Who knows what happens to the other hundreds of employees that didnt get the benefit of meeting O'Donell and telling him their own plight-filled stories. Probably same ol', same ol', because as nice as it sounds, it's probably not very responsible to give everyone at a company a raise when earlier in the show O'Donell was discussing the fiscal woes of the company—hence the budget cuts.
So while this show seems to have a good heart, a nice premise, and it positions itself as a revelatory life-changer for all members involved, it's really hard to get past the fact that it is a completel fabrication that may have changed the employee's lives that were lucky enough to be picked, lottery style, to be on the show.
But the woman really did have to pee in a cup. That ain't no joke.