Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Fire Him... Please

Specifically fire the guy who came up with the show Fire Me...Please. My God that was awful!

To plumb the depths of the awfulness, let's start with the concept. Two people are sent out to what are basically minimum wage jobs and told that they have to get fired from those jobs as close to 3 p.m. the same day as possible but not after 3 p.m. The big bosses at the companies that they're sent to know that these people are going to be showing up, and their stores are equipped with a number of hidden cameras, but the shift supervisors at the stores don't know, and neither do the other employees. There are only three rules that the "players" can't break: they can't ask to get fired, they can't tell anyone that they're on a hidden camera show, and they can't you know break the law. The player who gets fired closest to 3 p.m. without going over wins $25,000.

It seems clear that the producers wanted a show like the old Candid Camera or the more recent Punk'd produced by Ashton Kutcher and Jason Goldberg or even the practical jokes segments of TV's Bloopers And Practical Jokes, but those shows had a certain charm to them. This does not. This show has two half hours of people acting like obnoxious jackasses each of which is condensed from between five and six hours of people acting like obnoxious jackasses for money. Added to this in post-production is an obnoxious laugh track designed to remind us that this dreck is funny. It might possibly have worked if they hadn't run the laugh track for every scene of the episode that didn't involve the host.

This show is terrible. It is so terrible that I violated what I consider to be the most important rule for any person writing a film or television review - watch the whole damn thing then write. This show was an hour long but I barely made it to the half-hour mark before I could take no more and switched over to an episode of House that was half over and still made more sense to me. The one saving grace to this mess is that there are only four episodes after which it will be replaced by the new season of Big Brother, and never have I been so anxious to see start. No network in North America would have approved this show for broadcast in the regular season, so why was it foisted on us in the summer? In a summer that has featured some adequate and one or two quite nice reality series, Fire Me...Please has to be regarded as a total disgrace. They won't, but heads should roll at CBS and at LMNO Productions which sold them this crap.

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