Created By: splitscreen on March 3, 2011 Last Edited By: splitscreen on May 2, 2011

Hollywood Job Interview

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Do we have this one?

I just saw Burlesque, and one of many similarities to Coyote Ugly was the Hollywood Job Interview. With Coyote Ugly, the requirement for working was to lift up the sleeves and check for track marks. With Burlesque, all it takes is to walk in and pick up a tray to be a waitress. No ID check to work with alcohol, no SS card, no W-4 forms, no application, no interview, no résumé or cover letter or thank you note, no drug screen, no background check, no obnoxious interview questions, no personality test or psychological screening or competency quiz, that is now required for your average dead-end cashier position, no food handlers card, no education info or former employment or explanation for gaps in employment, no training ... definitely no rejection by the employer or else there would be no movie.

And this is IF an interview is shown at all. Usually, the teen runaway or abused spouse is shown running away with the clothes on their back, only to be shown being a waitress later with no explanation how they were able to get a job without the proper papers. Buffy in season 3 springs to mind. She managed to get a job as a waitress as well as an apartment before the age of 18.

If an interview is shown, the new employee is shown wandering into a far-flung café after they used the last of their cash on bus fare, to run into the owner of the café (rather than the manager or shift leader) and get hired on the spot before the owner knows the name of the new employee.

Owner: "Okay, I like your energy, kid. You remind me of me when I was younger. You can start immediately. Get those tables cleaned off and get to work on the dishes in back. And hurry because the dinner rush is at 5:00 and you need to make all the food without proper training or knowing where anything is. Oh, yeah, what was your name?"

Sarah: "They call me Jade."

Owner: "Well, a fake first name is good enough for me. Don't steal from the register."

This seems to be the norm for porno stars and strippers in movies, as well, despite the intense scrutiny since the days of Tracy Lords. I seem to recall Burt Reynolds asking Marky Mark his age in Boogie Nights and Marky Mark saying that he was 17. Same with Courtney Love as a stripper in The People VS. Larry Flynt. It's like, yeah... no big deal.

Forgive me if this already exists. I swore it was here once, but now I can't find it.

Up for grabs.
Community Feedback Replies: 21
  • March 3, 2011
    randomsurfer
    • The Fugitive and The Incredible Hulk (being partially based on The Fugitive) run on this trope. We see Richard/David in a new town everey week with a new job; no way that he could just walk in off the street and get a job like that.
  • March 3, 2011
    splitscreen

    The fugitive character goes hand in hand with this trope. Every innocent fugitive, or actual criminal, will become a janitor at some point. It happened in Elektra VS. Wolverine. Elektra pretends not to know English and avoids socializing with her coworkers by having constant body odor... how that got her the job, I have no idea. When I think of housekeepers and janitors who don't know English in Real Life, it's because they have connections, even before Big Brother smothered every nook and cranny of society.

    Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles slightly averts this. Sarah and John do have a crafty Terminator on their side and they manage to land some fake I Ds. However, when they become janitors, the interview seems to involve a tour of the facilities and an inquery as to why they are covered with bumps, cuts, bruises, and scars. "Car wreck" is the only answer that's needed. Sarah and family also seem go through quite a few schools and homes while being under the constant scrutiny of cops and social workers, as well, without any real analysis of their history. Society seems to work on the honor system.

    The Fugitive Janitor gets a job and quits a job every week since job references aren't required.

    The smart thing is for the writer to just skip the interview sequence altogether, as in Charlie's Angels, where they can swoop into any job, no questions asked, and we can just guess that they forged the proper papers, and falsified phone numbers, e-mail addresses, physical addresses, etcetera, to stand up to your average background check. The movie alone shows the Angels in about a couple dozen different jobs, ranging from being vendors at Hot Dog on a Stick to being Pussycat Dolls.

    A real life example would be Catch Me If You Can.

  • March 6, 2011
    robybang
    Live Action TV
    • True Jackson, VP: The title character becomes vice president of a fashion company after the owner sees her in a mall wearing a customized version of one of his designs.
  • March 6, 2011
    Bisected8
    Parodied on The Simpsons when the family are on the run. They meet a store owner who hires them with all with the phrase "You [action]...I like that, you're hired".
  • March 6, 2011
    Sackett
    Note that it's only recently that most people needed papers to get a job, and it's not that unusual for some maids/waitresses to work "under the table".

    In fact those jobs are far less likely to require papers then others.

    Most menial jobs I've worked for asked for my SS# and occasionally a Driver's License. I've never known anyone to waste time on a background check on a waiter, janitor, or just about any other menial job I've had.

    Additionally, the further away you get from the city the less and less people care about stuff like id. As long as you speak English and seem to be native, you can usually get away with stalling your production of papers for months at a time.

    I've never have to provide id to get an apartment, or to rent a place. Not anywhere. Just a deposit, first and last months rent, and a signed contract. You need more where you are from?
  • March 6, 2011
    Fanra
    I've never have to provide id to get an apartment, or to rent a place. Not anywhere. Just a deposit, first and last months rent, and a signed contract. You need more where you are from?

    Before I could rent my place, they ran a credit check on me.
  • March 8, 2011
    splitscreen
    I wanted to come back to mention Wonder Woman season 2 avoiding this trope. She actually has to hack a computer and put her info in there.

    While I'm here, I wanted to say that I've worked many menial jobs in big cities as well as Nowhereville small cities, and they have always asked for SS#'s and Driver's Licenses, which I've never seen in a movie. Under the table jobs are exceptions to this rule, but still meet the requirement that the potential employee have a couple references. For instance I had an under table job, but I had to be a friend of a friend. Unlike Burlesque where Christina was a stranger off the street. There was exception where a family member gave me a job, but they otherwise demand that you fill out a lot of paperwork and have proper documentation and make you go through a tedious job process of interviewing and training. Location doesn't seem to make a difference in real life, though connections do... as previously stated. At least in the USA.

    But even if there is truth in this trope, it could get a Real Life section.

    Coneheads should get a mention for this trope. In the movie, months after getting hired, the boss is only starting to get antsy about his employee's lack of a SS card.
  • March 8, 2011
    arromdee
    Clark Kent is hired this way in the first Superman serial, though this might be justified since it is from 1948.
  • March 9, 2011
    Arivne
    Hollywood Hiring, to cover all of the unrealistic aspects (e.g. no background checks or training) and not just the interview (or lack of it)?
  • March 9, 2011
    HumanaUox
    Real Life: At one point, to enter into an Ivy League school, all you had to do was prove that you were fluent in translating Classical Latin and Greek.
  • March 9, 2011
    spideydude
    Parodied by Nick Swardson in a stand-up routine where he imagines that Vanna White's job interview consisted of finding out if she was familiar with the alphabet and if she could tell when something was glowing.
  • March 9, 2011
    peccantis
    Compare with Casting Couch.
  • March 9, 2011
    DaibhidC
    On the other hand, Hollywood interviewing for a white-collar job is often a terrifying ordeal of trick questions and aggresive questioning akin to a police interrogation. Anyone who objects to this "clearly isn't ready for the stress of the job".
  • March 10, 2011
    splitscreen
    A true avoidance of this trope would include a potential employee actually presenting identification and social security card and having them photocopied, and shown filling out W-4 forms, "claiming dependents". At first, this might seem like a terrible, boring idea, but I don't think that it's EVER been shown, and would be a very revolutionary idea... though I don't think that I've ever seen this outside of a training video.
  • March 22, 2011
    Rattgirl
    @Sackett: "Most menial jobs I've worked for asked for my SS# and occasionally a Driver's License. I've never known anyone to waste time on a background check on a waiter, janitor, or just about any other menial job I've had."

    I lived in a town with a population of under 1,000 and applied for a job at the local family-owned diner. I needed to provide my home address, telephone number, my ID, SSN, and go through an interview with the owner.

    "Additionally, the further away you get from the city the less and less people care about stuff like id. As long as you speak English and seem to be native, you can usually get away with stalling your production of papers for months at a time."

    (Same town mentioned above: Sumner, Iowa. Middle of frackin' N Owhere.) Longest I've ever seen anyone personally get away with delaying SSN & ID was three weeks. And then it was "either you bring those in or I have to fire you," because the boss needed that information for tax purposes. They don't pay people in cash anymore. Maybe back in the 80s that was still common enough to get away with it in movies, but not these days.

    "I've never have to provide id to get an apartment, or to rent a place. Not anywhere. Just a deposit, first and last months rent, and a signed contract. You need more where you are from?"

    Like Fanra said: credit check. Need your SSN at the absolute very least, preferably your rental history for the last three years, too.
  • March 22, 2011
    Echidnite
    What's an SS card?
  • March 22, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Social Security card.
  • May 1, 2011
    splitscreen
    What is social security?
  • May 2, 2011
    Arivne
  • May 2, 2011
    fulltimeD
    @Rattgirl and Sackett: This seems like a case of writers writing the present as being like the times when they grew up. It's Society Marches On, in that case. Similar to Still The Eighties.
  • May 2, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Buffy runs away and gets a job as a waitress, using her middle name "Anne."
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