But how could we pass on our chance to watch Todd Ricketts pretend to be a regular schlub and fail miserably at five different jobs at Wrigley Field?
I’ve never actually watched the show before, but the concept isn’t all that difficult to pick up. One of the big wigs at a company pretends to be a new hire in a menial job and we all laugh at how he or she can’t do the simplest of tasks. Why the other employees think the new “guy” is worth being followed around by a camera crew is the part I don’t get.
In this case, Todd, the youngest and (hopefully) the dumbest of the Ricketts kids is going to pretend he’s “Mark Dawson” (because Andre Grace would have been a giveaway) an unemployed roofer.
Todd’s got plenty of experience being unemployed (nobody’s quite sure what he actually does, he once famously put “homemaker” as his occupation on a campaign contribution form) so this should be interesting.
The show starts with Todd wearing a really awful blue striped (it looked like it might be navy blue seersucker if there is such a thing) suit and a clip on tie. His voice is also strange. It’s not quite Jame Gumb from “Silence of the Lambs” but it’s close. (Not as close as Josh Hamilton’s voice is, though.)
We learn that Todd is going to have to leave behind his “post-modern home” and “extensive motorcycle collection” (things that really crank up his score on the douchemeter) to “rough it” in a $5,000 a month apartment across the street from Wrigley. For five days.
“Squalor! I has its!”
To set up the episode we get a really awkward scene with the four Ricketts “kids” sitting at a conference room table. The banter is so uncomfortable it was like watching Kosuke Fukudome try to hit a Cliff Lee curveball.
Todd tells us this little nugget. “After high school, I didn’t want to go to college, so my dad told me that if I didn’t, I’d have to get TWO full-time jobs. So I went to Loyola.” Now, that is a shoutout to old alma mater!
He also says, “All of us siblings are equal partners, but my role has yet to be defined.” Your role is to stay away from the other three, Todd. We’ve always known that.
Todd uses the word “sibling” waaaaay too much. I’m not even sure he knows what it means.
We meet Todd’s wife, Sylvie and her voice is weird, too. She sounds like she just smoked an entire carton of Parliaments.
DAY ONE – “Mark” cleans the shitters
What is with the Rickettses and their obsession with the Wrigley Field bathrooms? They spent all spring training bragging about how they cleaned the fucking bathrooms, and here we are, starting Todd’s excellent Wrigley adventure with some poor guy named Daryl trying to teach Todd how to use a hose to dilute the piss on the floor.
I’m really enjoying how Daryl keeps calling it “the baffroom.”
After showing “Mark” how to turn off and on a hose (which is 50 percent more complicated than Todd can handle) he decides to leave him alone, but asks him for his cell number so he can keep in touch with him. Todd says, creepily, “Cell phone? What’s that about?” It’s like a cordless phone, Todd, only better.
We quickly learn that there are number of things Todd can’t figure out how to use properly:
- A hose
- A broom
- A squeegie
In fact, he breaks the squeegie. Urine soaked floors 1, Todd Ricketts 0.
It’s break time and it’s a good thing, Todd is sweating like Angel Guzman in an MRI machine.
Daryl is trying make small talk and he asks Mark where he’s from. Todd says, “New Jersey.” What the fuck? Are we supposed to believe you lost your fake roofing job in New Jersey and traveled all the way to Chicago to clean a shitter with a hose? Joe the Plumber was better at making up details than you, Todd.
Daryl tells Todd about his daughter “Angelique” and says she likes to swim. Todd says his daughter is “just like that” and cries. Chances are Daryl’s daughter is lucky to get 20 minutes a week at a public pool, and Todd’s is swimming in the natatorium he had built on the 27 acres behind his “post modern home.” So yeah, “just like that.”
Now it’s time to “stock” the shitters. It’s the easy part. Until, Todd adds something to the list of things he can’t use:
- A hand truck
He spills shitter room floor cleaner all over the concourse and Daryl fires him. Good lord, Todd Ricketts is even more useless than we ever imagined.
After a short commercial break, Todd’s going to sell hot dogs! Ugh.
One of the commercials is for the new Rachel McAdams (yes, please) and Harrison Ford movie “Morning Glory.” What does it say about a movie when in the commercial the first two ‘critic quotes’ are from Rex Reed? It means it’s the gheyest movie ever.
We see Todd pretend to wake up at 5:30 in the morning. He’s wearing pajamas. Well, of course he is.
Todd brags that “We sell 1.5 million hot dogs a year at Wrigley Field” he leaves out the fact that 400,000 of them are actually edible.
Todd’s supervisor in this job is a guy named Rocco. Todd is stunned that vendors have to buy their own hot dogs and then sell them on commission. Why would he know that? It’s not like he owns a Major League Baseball team.
Todd then complains about how heavy the hot dog “box” is. Todd really needs to be kicked in the balls repeatedly.
He’s worried that because he has a “soft personality” he won’t be good at selling hot dogs. He’s calling himself a pussy on national TV. NO ONE DENIES THIS!
Things Todd can’t do:
- Make change
Rocco explains to a customer that hot dogs are “Two for ten dollars.” They’re $4.50 a piece. Such a deal! I’ll take four for $59 bucks!
More things Todd can’t do:
- Throw a hot dog
Here’s the “controversial” part of the episode. Todd can’t move the final four dogs in his “tin” so he tosses them (in a garbage can right next to a fixed hot dog stand–which just proves it was staged), and puts $20 of his own money into his apron. Why would he need to do this? He’s already paid for them, right? Or did Rocco have to pay for his hot dogs? Why would he have had to do that? Why can’t a bus crash through the wall and smush Todd?
Rocco confronts Todd about the tossed hot dogs and Todd lies to his face, and poorly, I may add. Todd looks like he’s going to cry and wet his pants, and actually, I think he did both.
Todd is told not to come back to sell hot dogs again. But hey, he’s not technically fired this time. Progress!
DAY THREE – Parking
Todd is sent to the infamous “Green Lot” to park cars. Where is the Green Lot? Is it the gravel lot by the cemetery? Oh, who cares? We meet Jose, the 12 year old who has worked in the lot for nine years and has the challenging job of pointing where people should park and then getting yelled at when some asshole in a Lexus decides to blame a scratch his wife put on the car with a grocery cart on Jose.
Jose shows “Mark” where to park cars and he leaves him alone for five minutes and Todd misparks about 20 cars because he has no concept of what a straight line is.
Moments later, Todd is pointing where to park a car and someone recognizes him! Todd’s cover is blown! Jose is on to him! Nobody cares.
The lot fills in like ten minutes because it only holds like 60 cars and Todd awkwardly tries to join Jose in an outhouse-turned-office-shack. Jose is convinced Todd is going to molest him.
But Jose calms down and regales Todd with tales of the great “trailer” they had the year before. It had a heater and an air conditioner! Todd is very concerned about the “conditions” in the parking lot. How is Jose supposed to work without a massage chair or a wine fridge?
Jose tells Todd that he’s taking classes and teaching ESL classes. He says that English is his second language, and “Mark” the drifter from New Jersey says that his wife’s first language is French. Well, of course it is. That explains the Parliaments. Or something.
Jose is asked if he wants “Mark” back the next day and he says no. Three for three!
DAY FOUR – Grounds crew
Todd explains it is important to have a great grounds crew because a ball might hit a “stone” on the field and cost a team a game. Are there huge stones in Major League fields? Is that why there were times we couldn’t see Darwin Barney? Was he hiding behind one of those infield stones?
Will Todd find, and kiss, the Barney stone?
Our dream of Todd falling down and being smothered by the infield tarp is not realized, but we do learn some more things Todd can’t use and or do:
- Pull a tarp
- Throw turface on the field (he is stunned by Joe’s admonition to ‘chicken feed it’)
- Walk backwards
- Pick up a rolled up hose
Happy to have avoided stepping on a rake, Todd goes to lunch with Joe. They go to Wrigleyville Dogs and Joe dreams of some day sitting on Wally Hayward’s knee and dreaming up really awful marketing slogans and game promotions for the Cubs. Some of Joe’s ideas:
- The Cubs: No stones in the infield since 2007
- Roll your own (hose) night
- Blow a grounds keeper night
- Chicago Cubs Baseball: It’s a Way of Life
Wait, that last one is too ridiculous to be true.
Joe says he just wants a chance. He wants a shot in the front office so he can “work my way up, just like I did here (on the grounds crew).”
Why, just three years ago, Joe didn’t even get to use a hose. They made him water down the infield by filling up a shitload of Gatorade cups. Now look at him!
DAY FIVE – Scoreboard
The final day of the ruse is here and Todd is going to hang with the guy who fired him again. Daryl spends the early part of the day hosing down the shitter, but come game time he’s up in the scoreboard flipping around big green number tiles.
Todd manages to not fall off a ladder and gets up into the scoreboard. Daryl is thrilled to have “Mark” back. Just as thrilled as Ryne Sandberg was to be offered his old job at Iowa again.
Todd proves he is great at turning blank green tiles around and instead hanging a zero.
However, he and Daryl try to celebrate and Todd adds another thing to the big list of things he can’t do:
- Successfully complete a high five
Thomas Diamond gets some national TV love. And Todd says that the scoreboard is “perfect” and he won’t change a thing. Bill Simmons is going to remain confused by its complexity.
And, on his final day as a pretend worker, Todd gets to help raise the white “W” flag. That day will always be remembered around Chicago as the day the “M” flew over Wrigley.
We are then treated to a horribly staged shot of Todd relaxing in his apartment across from Wrigley, drinking an Old Style.
Things Todd can’t do:
- Use a coaster
The next morning, Todd tries to figure out how clippers work so he can shave off his top secret beard, and he heads to Wrigley to talk with his “siblings.”
Amazingly, Todd, Tom, Laura and Pete are all wearing the exact same things they were when they met before he started this whole thing. Wait, you mean the whole thing was just really poorly staged? I had no idea.
Todd rattles off a list of things he’s going to do:
- Family day for the shitter cleaners
- Radios for the shitter cleaners
- New locker room for the shitter cleaners (Tom says, “That will be easy!”)
- A trailer for the Green Lot
- A suggestion box (Laura likes that one.)
Todd is a full retard isn’t he?
And now it’s time for Todd to meet with his “bosses” one at a time.
When they learn who he really is, Daryl looks genuinely concerned and says, “I wonder if I have a job?”
Rocco clearly hates Todd, but is pacified when Todd decides he’s going to make up a phoney baloney award and give it to Rocco and a thousand bucks and a plaque that will hang in one of the shitters, and four seats to the last game of the awful 2010 season and Rocco gets to throw out the first pitch. Second prize was eight tickets to the last game of the season, I guess.
Joe is going to get a paid internship with Wally and the marketing hacks. I hope the first project they give him is to grow a real beard.
Jose’s “prize” proves Todd can’t listen. Jose clearly said he was teaching ESL classes to ELL students, and Todd offers to “Pay for YOUR ESL classes.” But the best thing is that Todd is going to write a letter of recommendation for Jose so he can get a real job. I’m sure the name Todd Ricketts really opens up doors in Chicago. Todd says, “I want you to work somewhere else next year.” Did Todd just fire Jose?
Todd seems to be a little gay for Daryl. He tells him that the “highlight of this was sitting in the scoreboard with you.” Todd says he’s going to give Daryl’s daughter swimming lessons. Oh no, she’s going to drown! Thankfully, the Northwestern swim coach is actually going to give the lessons. Whew.
Todd sums up his experience in a presentation to Wrigley employees (all forced to pretend they know who he is) by saying, “I found out I don’t know anything.” And then he cries.
It’s quite possible, the Cubs are the worst run professional sports franchise in the universe. Please, someone just kill us all.