The Telefile
<I>Does Someone Have to Go?</I>:  Work Sucks…. If You Are On This Show

I have watched every season of Survivor, a lot of Bad Girls Club and even Are You Hot?, but I'm pretty sure I've never watched a more mean-spirited show than the new Fox reality series Does Someone Have to Go?.

The basic gist of the show is that it's set in a dysfunctional office where a company is losing money and needs to find out where the problems are. Instead of having the MBA version of Gordon Ramsay or Tabatha Coffey come in and evaluate the place from an objective perspective, the company is handed over to the employees so they can fight for their jobs. It's like Lord of the Flies without the courtesy of a conch shell.

The first two episodes focus on VMS (looks like subsequent episodes are also two-parters), a credit card processing company in a Chicago suburb. Dema and her husband run the company and nepotism runs rampant. They tell their staff (though it seems like just a few select members of their staff participate, as the office seems larger than the dozen or so employees focused on) that they'll be in charge of figuring out who should be demoted, deserves a pay cut or should attend anger management classes. The trouble is that this actually not the case. Instead of any of those things, the group is tasked with the sole purpose of finding three unworthy individuals who deserve to be fired. A lot of it isn't based on professional performance, but instead on personal feelings and relationships. No niece is going to put their aunt on the chopping block, no son is going to fire his mom, no cousin is going to nominate a relative, so their perspective is skewed from the get-go. And they aren't evaluating each person's job or temperament, figuring out if the person has the tools they need, or if they are just in need of some motivation.

They are brought into a room and shown video interviews done about each person, so they can see exactly how their coworkers feel about them. But the worst part comes about halfway through the first episode, where the staff is called back to the conference room and they are all shown each other's salaries (along with how long they've been employed at VMS). Gee, that's not going to have repercussions and ongoing resentment among staffers long after this show is finished taping or anything. In this instance, almost immediately the conversation went from who is lazy or kind of skeevy to who is overpaid.

Instead of being a feel-good show with a positive outcome, like Undercover Boss or even Kitchen Nightmares (at least 90 percent of the time), this program ends up (presumably, since we didn't get to screen the entirety of episode 2) with someone getting fired for a reason that may or may not actually be valid. It's all just so arbitrary, and no one really has anything to gain here. The person who comes up with the best reason to fire someone isn't going to win a $1 million bonus. The person who can convince their coworkers to keep them around because they really like their job and don't suck that much isn't going to suddenly get a pay bump. It's all just for the sake of entertainment, without any real intention of improving the actual workplace. So the series just ends up being awful and pointless.

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