Another peculiar British import, this cheeky hidden-camera show would probably be more fun without its fabricated contest element, which has two “players” starting jobs and vying to see who can get fired the closest to 3 p.m. without going past it. Essentially “The Price Is Right” for bad employees, there are some funny moments here, but mostly it’s just a strange summer time filler until “The Amazing Race” returns.
The one real revelation, from a sociological standpoint, is just how bizarrely someone has to behave to get whacked on the first day, as the contestants (who come across more like hired improv players) dance toward the edge of outrageousness before shifting into overdrive as the 3 o’clock hour nears.
Any show where the rules take nearly an hour to explain is in for tough sledding, but here goes. The owners of the various businesses (a coffee outlet, a clothing store, etc.) are in on the gag, leaving store managers and employees to grapple with these strange plants. The players, meanwhile, can’t break the law or ask to be fired, which appears to exclude them from consideration to run a network entertainment division.
Featuring two showdowns per hour, the pace is relatively brisk, with the winner of each earning $25,000 — a sum that barely covers the average reality show-hopper’s therapy bills. “TRL” host Dave Holmes is a little too impressed by the wackiness of it all, though there is some merriment in the concept’s sheer silliness, especially the guy who yells “Hot! Hot!” as he tries to work the espresso machine.
It’s all tried and true “Candid Camera”-type stuff, which is why transforming the conceit into a game feels especially forced. In another minor miscalculation, virtually no time is devoted to the “reveal,” when store employees learn that the lunatic they spent the day alongside was actually punking them — a “gotcha” moment that receives uncharacteristically short shrift as the credits roll.
Whoever made that decision should be, well, let’s just say formally reprimanded. Please.