UNDERCOVER BOSS “University of California, Riverside” Review

Undercover Boss “University of California, Riverside”, Season 2 Episode 22 – Here we are, everybody! After a second season that had several strong episodes, as well as quite a few weak ones, Undercover Boss has come at an end for now. So with a season covering such hugely popular and successful companies such as DirecTV, Subway, and NASCAR, we now get to the big season finale where we hear all about…the Chancellor for “University of California, Riverside”?

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m very familiar with UC Riverside. Having graduated from California State University Northridge myself, I’ve seen our basketball team play UCRs several times and know several people who have attended and graduated from UC Riverside. However, I live in Southern California and I’m about an hour and a half from the campus of UC Riverside, so I’m therefore more apt to know about this institution than most. It’s a little odd that such a specified company that is not nationally known was chosen for the season finale, especially since there was really no other hook to this episode to set it apart from the 21 episodes that proceeded it.

This episode did remind me a little bit of “Mack Trucks” in that the tasks that was being asked of the boss was a bit too tough for them to be relatable as a viewer. I mean, it wasn’t like they were asking this guy to clean out toilets or make a sandwich, his first two jobs were not easy! Being asked to run a 250 person chemistry class out of the blue is pretty ridiculous, in my opinion. If you were a professional chemistry teacher it would be a pretty big shock, but to not know anything about chemistry or classroom management and to be expected to do just fine all by yourself is just silly. Plus I feel like the editors of the episode kind of sold him short by saying that he couldn’t do his ABCs when he was sorting out his books. It isn’t like the Dewey Decimal System is the most accessible thing of all time.

It wasn’t a particularly terrible episode, but it definitely wasn’t good either. I was genuinely shocked how plain this episode was. There was no hook, no gimmick, really no difference to set this episode apart. It was nice for Tim to go to the employees workplace to reveal his identity instead of calling them to his office or having his big “reveal” to his employees, but it was probably just the logistically easier thing to do.

Overall the biggest problem was that it was just UC freakin’ Riverside. Who really cares? If you are a student at UCR, leave a comment and let me know if you enjoyed the episode. Otherwise I’ll just assume that the ten million people who watch this show every week will on the whole not particularly care about this university and not be able to relate what’s going on there. It’s obviously supposed to be somewhat of a representative of the entire university system of the country, but there is so much variance from school to school that you can’t just say “This is what it’s like in Riverside, so this is what it’s like everywhere”. It just came off as naive and shortsighted, and was a bit of a letdown as a season finale. Hopefully we get more interesting episodes when Undercover Boss returns in the fall!

Random Thoughts:

– Timothy messing up the “Runners set…Go!” routine reminded me of Borat trying to learn “Not jokes” in the movie Borat. “The suit is black not!” “The suit is black…………..NOT!”

– This is probably the worst fake mustache I’ve seen on this show. If anything is going to blow your cover, it’s probably that you have a bushy jet black mustache and brown and gray receding hair.

– The little recap of the entire series at the end of this episode was nice, but I wish we heard a little bit more about some of the more “High profile” promotions and changes that have happened to these companies since.