Undercover Boss Canada, episode 1: hanging with gorillas (and worse, employees) at the Toronto Zoo

Undercover Boss Canada, episode 1: hanging with gorillas (and worse, employees) at the Toronto Zoo

Undercover Boss Canada Episode 1

The economy is mired in a meltdown! The world is ending! Bosses must take extreme action! The fear-mongering opening segment of W Network’s Undercover Boss Canada certainly isn’t subtle, but it almost makes the show’s absurd premise—CEOs saving their companies by disguising themselves as everyday working schleps and manning the front line for a week—seem both logical and necessary (we said almost, okay?).

In the inaugural episode, the first bigwig to try his hand at hard labour is John Tracogna, CEO of the Toronto Zoo, who announces his plans to a boardroom of lesser execs in a meeting that has clearly been staged for the cameras (everyone nods enthusiastically and one guy actually says, in wooden tones, “I think it’s a great idea”). Transformed into a beatnik-biker hybrid, Tracogna scoops a lot of poop, buddies up with a gorilla and quickly reveals that he’s never cleaned a toilet before. He also does some superficial bonding with a few employees, whom he showers with gifts, Oprah-style, after he reveals himself as the big boss-man. See whether Tracogna was an Everyday Hero or an Everyday Zero (and whether we’d hire him) after the jump.

Wherein we note where the CEOs embrace life as a plebe (everyday heroes, represented by Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope), and where they out themselves as fat-cat fakes (everyday zeroes, represented by Ricky Gervais’s David Brent)

He sports a temporary neck tattoo (!) and a soul patch (!!), and he completely owns both, only stopping to wonder what he’d say if he got pulled over by a cop looking nothing like his driver’s license. Law abiding to the core!

His feeble attempts to scrub the penguin habitat give him away as an office type. Isn’t it standard for a CEO’s compensation to include a gym membership these days?

He makes sure to work with popular animals like the penguins and gorillas—an obvious ploy to use the show to increase attendance. Hey John, raccoons and stick insects need love, too.

He recognizes that he’s a weakling, saying he’d give himself a C for strength.

He’s amazed at “how much detail goes into cleaning toilets.” It’s not rocket science—it’s all about elbow grease. Just pick up the toilet brush and get to work.

He really seems to care about janitor Judy, who is grieving her daughter’s death, tearing up as he shares his own sadness about his father’s passing. Oh John, we just can’t stay mad at you.

He may be a boss at the zoo, but those weren’t crocodile tears.

Fired. John just has too little brawn and too much soul patch.