There are a few standard workplace nightmares that will make the average person bolt upright in bed, sweating profusely and hoping desperately it was, yes, all a dream. Walking into the office buck naked is one. Being given a fifth grade math test instead of a job interiew and realizing you’ve forgotten how to do long division. Now we have a new one: finding out your office has been selected to appear on “Does Someone Have to Go?”
As nightmares go, this one is a doozy. While purporting to be about solving office dysfunction, “Does Someone Have to Go?” pretty much guarantees everyone who appears on this sadistic reality show will end up wanting to gouge out one another’s eyeballs. The best part? Not only will they hate one another, but once the film crew leaves, they’ll still have to work with each other forty hours a week. They will see one another in the break room, pass one another in the halls, even have to be cordial to one another at the office holiday party. And every time they do, they will want to RIP ONE ANOTHER’S EYEBALLS OUT. With their fingers. Slowly.
The concept is that the CEO and his or her second in command hands the company over to the office minions to “run.” By “run” I mean select three people to fire. This is sort of like being given a ticket for all the used toilet paper you can eat or an all-expenses-paid vacation in Syria, because the drawbacks of having all the “power” to make this decision is 1) two of the people you choose to go definitely won’t be going and 2) the person you absolutely decide should go still isn’t necessarily going. So, you will potentially have three people at the office who, if they draw your name in the Secret Santa exchange, will give you a gift they have secretly smeared with salmonella.
In the first episode of “Does Someone Have to Go?” the situation is that much worse, because the owner of the company has stacked the deck with her own family in key positions — her mom, who works when she feels like it, is the accountant. Her brother is the vice president. Two cousins also work for her. So the potential for an uprising against the family is obvious. That so many of the employees seem to think this is a good idea suggests they either don’t care about getting fired after the cameras leave or… well, they don’t care about getting fired.
The producers don’t just ask the employees to calmly come up with a list of problem employees, mind you. They decide to fan the flames of enmity by first showing video tape of everyone talking smack behind everyone else’s back, then reveal everyone’s salaries. Oh, not the CEO and her husband, who have left the building, but everyone else. Really, this is the point when you fake a seizure or tear up your release form, because it’s pretty clear from this episode that, as one employee notes, “once you see it, you can’t unsee it.” No kidding.
The show, which likes to toss around phrases like “THE MOST SHOCKING BOARDROOM MEETING EVER” while music seemingly stolen from a summer blockbuster trailer plays, also gives us handy nicknames for the characters we meet. Naveid the Procrastinator! Uncle Mike the Motor Mouth! Shawn the Jerk! Zoe the Slacker! Tina the Tattle Tale. Kout… the Bosses’ Mom. I guess they couldn’t find a way to say massive pain in the ass and totally unqualified for her job in a cute little title. But I can’t help but thing creative YouTube edits will follow each one of these people for, oh, the rest of their professional careers. Yay!
In the end (or in the end of this first part of a two-part episode), the bottom three are Zoe the Slacker, Uncle Mike the Motor Mouth, and useless Kout (hey, if she doesn’t have a cute nickname, one will be provided for her here). Next week, Dema the CEO returns to rail and cry that her mother has been disrespected and possibly have a meltdown. But that’s okay, as she apparently has 70 employees at her company, though we only meet 16. I wonder if the rest were just smart enough to run in the other direction when the camera crews arrived. I’d certainly hope so.
Did you watch “Does Someone Have to Go?” Would you ever in your life appear on this show? If so, my God, why?