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Undercover Boss: Choice Hotels International

September 26, 2010 09:05 PM by Sarah_Monson

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CBS’s hit show Undercover Boss is back! One of the few reality shows that boasts a positive message, it was sorely missed by us viewers who actually enjoy seeing some good being done on TV, rather than witness yet another Kardashian breakdown or hot tubbing Bachelor Pad fest. On tonight’s season two premiere, Steve Joyce, the boss of Choice Hotels International, goes undercover to find out what it’s like to live like the little people and hopefully, learn a thing or two in the process — but will he blow his cover before he gets the chance to show the world what he’s made of? Read on to find out!

Bringing on the waterworks minute one, we learn about Steve’s mom, known as St. Annie, who died of Parkinson’s disease. Steve holds his mom in a very special place in his heart, and admits right away that he is not as outwardly caring, loving and accepting as she. In fact, he’s kind of a judgmental hard ass who has no trouble telling people exactly what he thinks.

Shirking the tie and shaving his mustache, the President and CEO of the hotel chain that employs over 2,000 hardworking folks, takes on the cover, Jack Parker.

Shaking things up a bit this episode, “Jack Parker” not only goes undercover as an employee of the hotel chain, but also as a guest — presumably to see where they need improvement, but to also eat a lot of free waffles at the breakfast buffet.

Steve’s first job is as a maintenance man at an Econo Lodge in Orlando, Florida. Sadly, he’s a tad too portly to fit the maintenance belt around his waist. Oh well, onward and upward. He heads to the pool for cleaning, and in true CEO style, tells the camera that he’d sell his firstborn for a swim.  Kidding, but he did say he’d pay a $100 bucks for a dip in the pool. The day continues and Jack has a chat with Ricardo, who tells him that he has two jobs, working seven days a week to support his family. Ricardo is a totally jovial fella, always in a good mood, which impresses Steve greatly.

The hotel though, not so much.

Job two takes Steve to a nearby Comfort Suites. Today’s role is playing housekeeper, a humbling job that makes this boss sweat buckets alongside his supervisor, Christina. She is one tough cookie, wanting to be a general manager one day, but the $1500 price tag is holding her back. Oh, I smell a reveal coming!

Jack’s 3rd job jets him off to Indianapolis to Cambria Suites, where he’ll be checking in with the sales team. He meets John, who tries to school “Jack” in the ways of telemarketing and cold calling. But horror of horrors, Jack almost blows his cover when he uses his real name on a call. Thankfully, John doesn’t seem to notice his snafu. Whew!

After a successful work day, he checks into a nearby hotel that has been known to have high complaints. In his room, he discovers that there is no coffee – something that would make this writer jump out a window — and if he wants some, he’s gotta pay for it. What is this, Starbucks?

Next stop, front desk clerk. He meets Brandalyn, a single mom who really gets his heart tugging. She tells Steve that she got kicked out of her home at 16 with her baby, which eats Steve up inside, big time. Oh, you know Brandalyn is gonna hit the jackpot on this one!

After a tough week – Steve puts his power suit back on, gathers up the owners of the hotels he visited and opens up a can of whoop ass. Then, he invites the employees to headquarters where, naturally, they are confused and bewildered. He doesn’t really have anything bad to say about these Choice employees – they were all fantastic. He gives John $5,000 for a new suit and offers him training to be a global sales manager. He pays for Christina’s management training so she can better support her family (and an all expense paid vacation to boot). He thanks Bradalyn by gifting her with a free trip to Texas (it’s a big deal, trust me) and free rent for 6 months so she and her kids can have a home of their own. Surprisingly, it takes a few minutes for the waterworks to flow on this one, but, once they start, they don’t stop.

To add a little drama, Steve brings in the General Manager of that beat up Econo Lodge and tells him what a s***hole it is. Finally, Ricardo pops by and scores a new golf cart, courtesy of Steve. A golf cart? That’s all this hard working dad gets? But then Steve hooks him up with a scholarship for his son to help put him through med school. Much better.

After a rousing speech in front of his Choice employees and a sizzle reel of his week-long shenanigans, the episode ends on a high note. While not an earth shattering episode, it still got me. Was there crying? Hell yeah there was crying. And not just from Steve. Undercover Boss is my reality show kryptonite – it gets me every time.

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Photos Courtesy of CBS

Topics: CBS Reality TV Shows, Undercover Boss |

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