Sunday, December 2, 2012

Review: Be the Boss

Be the Boss is an OK Reality Competition that Stumbles on Reality Show Traps

Be the Boss (A&E - Sunday, 10pm) is the type of reality show that'll make you think, "Have I seen this before?"

It's a little bit Undercover Boss (which is a good show and from the same team behind Be the Boss). And it's a little bit The Pitch, AMC's excellent docu-style show where real ad agencies compete for multimillion-dollar accounts.

Be the Boss isn't as good as either of its inspirations. Although, it's watchable.

On the show, Be the Boss gives two employees from the same company the chance to compete for the same job promotion. And, they don't know it, a pretty incredible surprise.

In tonight's premiere, Jason Mitchell and Ashley Olson work for the chain store Complete Nutrition. They're flown to headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. They are given a number of challenges over the course of a few days to determine who gets the job.

Jason and Ashley lead a fitness class. They're curiously tasked with shooting an arrow into a bull's eye. And they're challenged with opening successful pop-up stores.

The executive team at Complete Nutrition determines who gets the promotion and who gets the secret prize, which is a chance to run their own Complete Nutrition store.

Be the Boss falls into a trap, which takes its compelling premise and pulls it down a few notches.

Jason is the reality-competition stereotype, the over-confident guy you're supposed to hate. Ashley is the underdog - a somewhat unlikable former beauty queen who cries about her rough life, a lot. She also blows their first few challenges.

Yeah. Guess who wins?

Except, that the surprise makes it seem like the underdog doesn't win. But, confusingly, it turns out the real winner is really, well, the loser. And the loser is the winner. Which is as confusing to watch as it is to read.

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