Well, Undercover Boss got away from the food industry this week, unless, I suppose, you consider horse-meat yummy. After weeks spent in places such as White Castle and 7-Eleven, Boss found a way to escape neon lighting and get outdoors. We followed Bill Carstanjen, COO of Churchill Downs, Inc., “host of the Kentucky Derby,” as he doffed his suit and grabbed a feed bucket.
“I like to watch ‘em from afar,” Carstanjen said of the animals that help him lead his posh life. How convenient: a boss who’s “inimidated” by his meal ticket. Carstanjen spent a lot of time in
what the show kept calling “the back stretch” – the working area of various race tracks the company owns in states such as Florida and Illinois. Feeding and washing horses: predictable. Cleaning the areas where the high rollers bet: Why was I not surprised that Carstanjen didn’t know how to turn on a vacuum cleaner?
Being out of touch with the working-class is what Undercover Boss is all about, of course. But the show never pulled a dumb stunt like the one this week: Having the boss being tutored in how to blow a bugle at the start of a race. How did that jibe with the show’s “undercover” premise – that the boss is trying out for an “entry-level job”? Of course, non-musician Carstanjen sounded feeble blowing his bugle. But what I really didn’t understand was, why
bother, when the producers didn’t show footage of this during the traditional end-of-show segment in which the employees are gathered and forced to laugh it up while watching clips of the boss goofing up?
During the episode-concluding reward segment, one employee, a cleaning-woman who had a 90-minute commute to the track, was offered a job at a more-nearby off-track-betting parlor the company runs. Has Carstanjen been to an OTB parlor lately? I’m willing to bet that woman would rather drive an hour and a half each way rather than start cleaning out one of those typically smelly outlets…
All in all, this was the weakest Undercover Boss to date. It didn’t help that Carstanjen had the blandest of corporate personalities. It was announced this week that Boss has already been renewed for a second season. Just when the formula seems to be running lame…