CBS' 'The Job': An 'Offensive' Reality Show Or A Real Chance To Land A Job?

the job reality show offensive

The Great Recession left millions of middle-class Americans without jobs, and many have had no luck in finding another one. Some, seemingly, are so desperate that they've signed up with the new CBS reality show, "The Job," in the hope of landing a position with a high-profile employer, such as Epic Records, Live Nation or Cosmopolitan magazine.

But the show has its critics, including the New York Post, which called the program "offensive," in part because contestants are trying to land average, middle-class jobs, not those that offer the superstar status of other reality shows, such as "American Idol" or "The Voice."

" 'The Job' turns this massive human toll into spectacle, dangling the prospect of an unspecified mid-level position in front of desperate contestants, who degrade themselves by telling their most pathetic personal histories in the paradoxical quest to regain some dignity," writes Post TV critic Maureen Callahan.

The show's executive producer, Mark Burnett, who also developed the "Survivor" reality series, defends "The Job," saying that he believes it portrays "a kinder approach on television" and is nothing like "American Idol," which makes contestants look "foolish." (Burnett, however, made no reference to "The Voice," which he also produces.)

"I just don't think that watching public humiliation is cool [anymore]," Burnett says. Humiliating people seems spiteful. You can make good TV without that," he says, adding, "The Job" is great TV that doesn't make anyone look bad.

More: Sign Up For AOL Jobs' Newsletter

Further, Burnett tells CNN that employers should take a different approach in hiring workers. "Beyond experience and qualifications for a job and the ability to communicate [there] is just character," he says. "That character came through in the obstacles that people overcame in challenges on the show."

The show's premise involves five contestants who each week vie for their dream jobs as they move through elimination challenges similar to those that make up typical reality-show plots. Though some find it offensive, some critics have praised the show for tapping into the reality that many middle-class Americans are experiencing.

Despite steady growth in job creation during the past 35 months, the U.S. still has a huge unemployment hole to fill, especially in middle-class careers. According to a study last August by the National Employment Law Project, job losses during the Great Recession were concentrated among middle-income earners, but the bulk of the jobs that have been added back have been low-wage (58 percent), while mid-wage positions have accounted for just 22 percent of newly created positions.

The show does have a twist: After a decision is made about whether to hire a contestant, employers in the same industry sometimes swoop in and claim rejected candidates.

What remains to be seen, however, is whether the challenges presented to contestants on "The Job" will have anything to do with the positions for which they are vying, or will the tasks simply be ridiculous schemes conjured up to entertain viewers. The show's producers aren't answering any of those questions.

But you can check it out for yourself when "The Job" debuts Feb. 8.

Don't Miss: Companies Hiring Now

More From AOL Jobs

Looking for a job? Click here to get started.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

Aren't there enough Prick Bosses out here in the Tanking Economy without CBS wanting to make them look Good? This may tune me out from even watching NCIS, both of them and the Big Bang and the newbie Elementary. So a person hits the job lotto while 5 or 6 judges get a feeling they done something while the other contestants starve and live out in the elements. America, Land of Ludicrous. Not the Rapper, Insanity.

February 08 2013 at 10:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The show is offensive and should be removed asap.

February 08 2013 at 6:16 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Thank you reality television for turning my life as an unemployed (actually underemployed) person into fodder for the public. Wasn't it bad enough to have those with no talents or skills become famous just by being show monkeys for ratings? And let's not avoid the fact that reality television has produced the likes of The Kardashian Klan, Honey Boo Boo, the Jersey Shore trash and all those 'poor' Real Housewives. Leave what little dignity those looking for real employment have left. It is bad enough having to vie with hundreds of other candidates and employers making you feel like you should be begging to work for them for little pay...kinda like being Oliver asking for more porridge. Survivor started out good (even though how death defying can it be when a camera crew is following you around); it at least had challenges and showed human strategies. However it has gone the way of ALL the reality shows...drama...and made up drama to boot. What a generation of "look at me's" we have produced. I for one will not watch material that is contrived, edited and scripted to elicit a negative response from me. The worst offenders are TLC [The Learning Channel]. Really? And just what are we learning from Honey Boo Boo?

February 08 2013 at 1:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to wrenaroo's comment

another reason I prefer PBS. No "reality" * TV programming.

I've seen a few of those "reality" TV showns. They are nothing like the reality I encounter

February 08 2013 at 9:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm curious as to how prepared the contestants are or are they just picking people to humiliate them. I saw in the teasers that some are not dressed appropriately for an interview, others use the wrong type of references.

February 07 2013 at 11:46 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

As opposed of course to going on a television show to find a spouse or to be humilated trying to lose weight.

February 07 2013 at 11:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

yes , i find this show very offensive - now they\'re exploitin us on a stage , when will it ever end

February 07 2013 at 7:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to simpljb's comment

It will end when people stop watching such shows.

February 08 2013 at 9:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I realized years ago that egos are egos....especially reality shows....the silly women on some shows and the language is offensive....they all are silly and not true. I firmly believe that it is cheaper for networks to find egos to be judges and then cheap contestants to act like clowns and dress as clowns...lots of makeup(no help) and skin tight clothes and silly heels....the show is not the all time low because there are more on different networks way to have power is to not watch trash.....then again the what about the sponsors?

February 07 2013 at 6:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They are all classified as "not worth spending electricity money" on

February 07 2013 at 6:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

nearly all "reality" shows are offensive. Why would this one be different

February 07 2013 at 2:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Since when did applying for a middle class job become offensive? I find this statement offensive.

February 07 2013 at 2:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Search Articles

Picks From the Web