Every office-based TV show and movie needs an HR department. But what would happen if you were trained in HR by watching TV shows and movies? You’d probably learn both good and bad things. Mostly bad, though, because let’s face it, HR isn’t exactly portrayed accurately in Hollywood.

Don’t believe me? Let’s examine some popular shows.

“The Office”

HR Representative: Toby Flenderson, played by Paul Lieberstein.

Toby is as boring as can be and is constantly insulted by his boss, Michael Scott. It’s pretty clear that Toby doesn’t report to Michael, but he doesn’t stand up to him either. Toby also allows lots of unacceptable behavior in the office. Which is good for the show, because that’s essentially the whole plot. Nevertheless, Toby stinks as an HR manager.

To keep reading, click here: HR Humor in Hollywood

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7 thoughts on “HR Humor in Hollywood

  1. The absolute best HR Manager was on The Big Bang Theory. She was only on a few episodes in the early seasons, but she was dealing with Sheldon and was fantastic. Bring her back, BBT!!

    1. Oh Regina King was fantastic in that role! I guess she’s so busy with other projects it would be hard to get her back, but watching Ms. Davis (?) interact with Sheldon Cooper was some of the funniest stuff written for that show.

  2. This is one you should have put out to your audience first. I love HR on TV and in movies. How come lawyers doctors and cops get all the good shows?

    Toby has some episodes where he does good HR. Remember when Michael locked everyone in an office? Toby was the one to talk to Michael, tell them to let people out, and that people were only joking when they said work is worse than prison.

    Of course, in a different episode when someone said, “Toby! Michael is being inappropriate, stop him!” “Angela, I’m HR. I can’t do anything about anything.” I laughed and laughed and laughed.

    I wish I could come up with more examples… Oh on the Practice, there were a few episodes on a case as they tried to terminate Alan (an associate). Combining lawyers and HR.

    OH, and the Good Wife has a lot of episodes about HR struggles as they hire new people, associates leave, juniors try to take files, form start-ups, merge and split partnerships. Good times.

  3. I guess we won’t get into Pam, the HR Director, on Archer.
    Can we follow up this article with how new employees get skewed views of the workplace from watching sitcoms?

  4. Oh oh, the Office had another HR director, the one who Michael was in love with. She found this big conflict of interest, as Meredith had been sleeping with a supplier in order to get discounts for the company and free steak. She brought it up with management, who shut her down hard, saying all she was supposed to do was to cover the company’s butt that they’d provided ethics training. Not actually find any misdeeds.

    Or when the warehouse started talking about organizing a labour union, and Jan came and said if corporate got a whiff about it, they’d all be laid off and their jobs outsourced.

    Oh the Office, how wise were you.

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