I’m an independent business writer by day, after making the conscious decision to forego paid employer benefits to limit my exposure to corporate America. The rampant duplicity, dishonesty, and ineptitude I saw from my old office cubicles back in the day were putting me in danger of going postal.
But even now, safely on the outside, I still see maliciousness and incompetence getting the better of good people and I can’t do anything about it, so I seek vindication in TV.
I started with a 6-episode Fox “reality” series, Does Someone Have to Go?, in which 3 small, dysfunctional businesses were featured for 2 weeks apiece. Their usually-culpable owners would give the employees free rein to fix everything, always assuming that all problems were rooted in the employees themselves.
Here’s one blogger’s recap of the company that choked on nepotism.
The series was a showcase for mass humiliation. Employees bad-mouthed each other on videos played for everyone, then learned everyone’s salary. Armed with that information, they picked three scapegoats who then had to beg for their jobs.
The fixes comprised the usual HR BS: salary cuts, probation and, in one case, rehab. One group fired the boss’s mouthy young administrative assistant. The follow-up footage revealed her to be happily employed elsewhere.
I wanted justice, but instead got to watch employees shit all over each other to buy their companies national TV exposure.
Then I discovered Dexter, whose 8th and final season is now on Showtime, but the whole series is available on Verizon’s On Demand.
Dexter is so not my usual type of show, it took several episodes to get past the blood. Then I binged for weeks until I was all caught up. If you’re not a fan, here’s the setup:
Dexter was discovered at age 3 in a puddle of blood after watching his mother dismembered by drug dealers. A policeman on the scene named Harry adopted Dexter and raised him by a “code” he devised, because Harry figured Dexter would eventually become a serial killer and need survival skills.
Which he did. Dexter also became a blood-spatter analyst with the Miami Metro PD. Harry’s code dictates that Dexter only murder bad guys, so Dexter finds some of his victims between the cracks in justice, but he isn’t beyond subverting an investigation he’s working on to ensure a bad guy fully gets what he deserves.
Another tenet of the code is to “Never get caught,” so Dexter preps a “kill room” in plastic sheeting, then knocks out his victim with a needle to the neck, strips the person, then wraps him/her in transparent plastic wrap face-up on a “kill table.” He lets the person awaken for a brief chat before Dexter plunges a butcher knife into their heart. He then dismembers the corpse into black plastic garbage bags and dumps them in the bay.
There’s much more to the story, including humor and humanity, but basically, I find Dexter’s successful kills gratifying, even if they are fictional.
Corporate America could use some Dexters. I think most of us have known or fallen prey to an office back-stabber with no other discernible skills. Wouldn’t it be great, just once, to see him or her taking the business end of the blade?
I’m praying they don’t kill Dexter in the series finale because we need to believe he’s still out there, watching out for us when the system won’t.