As Dunedin's only antediluvian television reviewer, I am
often showered with unsolicited gifts, which I file in a
drawer with a piece of yellowing paper with the word "payola"
written on it stuck to the front.
That piece of paper is attached to the drawer by a short
length of cracked and discoloured sticky tape, which has
curled in on itself at one end.
I note these details only so as to give you the general gist
of the circumstances at hand.
I was opening the drawer just the other day to throw the
latest television broadcaster's gift in with the others, and
the wads of cash I get from some of the larger networks, when
I noticed the most lovely "Party Mustache" - Item No E 180 -
made in China", with a small warning on the back noting the
hazard to children because of the small nature of the toy.
I am attracted by danger as much as the next man.
I took the moustache out of the packet.
I put it on.
That very instant, I knew I had taken one step too far, and
had entered into a sort of pact with the devil.
I knew also that I had no choice but to preview the DVD sent
to me by the moustache-peddling public relations geniuses who
know how to take advantage of an elderly man and his morals.
Also, my feet hurt, and my back was playing up.
I had a pair of new shoes, but they were making my feet
That made my head swim.
Then I felt as though I had forgotten something, but I could
not remember what it was.
I searched out the TV show attached to the gift and was
horrified to find it was Undercover Boss Canada.
Of all the cockamamie nations!
The Undercover franchise, of course, is the work of
Stephen Lambert, the 53-year-old English television producer
He is best known for creating and launching awful
international hit formats such as the award-winning Wife
Swap, Faking It and Secret Millionaire.
This is, like, amazing, yeah, but localised versions of
Undercover Boss are being produced in Denmark, Spain,
Turkey, Sweden, Belgium, France, The Netherlands and Israel.
On Undercover Boss Canada, someone called John is the
chief executive of the Toronto Zoo.
He pretends to be Jim Taylor, a fellow who is trying various
jobs at the zoo as part of some unrelated documentary.
To cut a long reality series short, he learns a thing or two
about his workers, everyone gets a lovely present, and nobody
seems to take anybody to court for the obvious breaches of
trust and employer responsibilities.
Thanks for the moustache.
- Charles Loughrey