After a long day’s work, workers often look forward to a relaxing evening at home, enjoying their favorite TV shows to escape the chaos that they (hopefully) left at the office.
But what happens when the workplace follows us into the TV? These days, more and more shows are set in work environments, making it easier for viewers to relate to realistic characters and storylines.
In a recent CareerBuilder survey, when asked which TV show reminds them of their work environment, 15 percent of workers said “The Office.” “Deadliest Catch,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Lost” trailed with 3 percent each, and “CSI,” “Rescue Me” and “Ugly Betty” followed with 2 percent each, respectively.
Here are some of our favorite TV workplaces and why:
1. “30 Rock”
Work environment: TV network
Why we love it: Because it’s entertaining (to say the least).
Summary: Set behind-the-scenes of a fictional, live sketch-comedy show, its characters are beyond hysterical. Between Kenneth, the overeager, quirky, entry-level studio page; Jenna, the conceited, flirtatious and often flighty actress; and Tracy, the unpredictable, self-centered and “crazy movie star,” we barely have time to focus on Jack Donaghy, the interfering network executive and Liz Lemon, the narrator and head writer for the show.
2. “The Cleaner”
Work environment: Drug intervention
Why we love it: Because it’s inspirational to workers and people everywhere.
Summary: William Banks, an extreme interventionist, is inspiring in his passion and dedication for his work, referring to it not as a job, but as a calling. “The Cleaner” focuses on Banks and his small team, all of whom are recovering addicts. Together, they use unconventional, often extreme measures to get rock-bottom addicts on the road to recovery “by any means necessary.”
Work environment: Secondary education
Why we love it: Because it portrays the ups and downs of what it takes to be a great educator.
Summary: Will Schuester is an optimistic teacher who takes on the difficult task of restoring the formerly awesome glee club. Despite opposition from his co-workers — specifically, the hilarious gym teacher — Schuester demonstrates that with a little determination, even the toughest tasks can be handled.
Work environment: Hospital
Why we love it: Because it teaches workers to stand up for themselves and others at work.
Summary: Whether she’s your boss, your colleague or your nurse, chief nursing officer Christina Hawthorne encourages workers everywhere to make a difference. Compassionate and headstrong, Hawthorne fights for her patients to the death (no pun intended), defends her staff and stands up to authority if necessary.
5. “In Treatment”
Work environment: Psychotherapy practice
Why we love it: Because it touches on an industry that isn’t always talked about, but has become a staple of American society.
Summary: A show about a psychotherapist, and his psychotherapist, the drama captures Dr. Paul Weston and his sessions with his patients. We think it gives the oft-unrecognized psychotherapist some well-deserved credit.
6. “Lie to Me”
Work environment: Various
Why we love it: Because it’s unique, honest and contributes to the greater good.
Summary: If your boss is Dr. Cal Lightman, you can forget about feeding him a line about your alarm clock not going off this morning. Lightman is the world’s leading deception expert and can detect the truth by analyzing a person’s body language, facial expressions, voice intonations and speech patterns. (Talk about an intimidating boss.) Lightman and his team help federal law enforcement, government agencies and local police with their most difficult cases.
7. “The Listener”
Work environment: Paramedics
Why we love it: Because it focuses on a (cute) 25-year-old paramedic who can read people’s minds, and therefore, solves crimes. How’s that for good qualities in a co-worker?
Summary: Toby Logan can listen to anyone’s most intimate thoughts, a secret he shares with only one other person. He tries to use his gift to help as many people has he can, personally and professionally, but struggles with his own inner demons.
8. “Parks and Recreation”
Work environment: Local government, specifically the parks and recreation department
Why we love it: Because everyone can relate to a character on this show as it pokes fun at how seriously — or in some cases, lightly — some people take their jobs.
Summary: Documentary cameras follow Leslie Knope, mid-level government official, as she tries to advance her career by helping turn an abandoned construction pit into a community park with no thanks to one colleague who “cheerfully exploits his government position for personal gain,” and her boss, “who is philosophically opposed to government in any form.” If nothing else, this workplace is pure comedy.
9. “Rescue Me”
Work environment: New York City firehouse
Why we love it: Because it pulls on our heartstrings watching the camaraderie and relationships among colleagues.
Summary: Focusing on the men in a New York City firehouse, the crew of the fictional Firehouse 62, the show mainly follows Tommy Gavin, a veteran firefighter and relapsed alcoholic. We also get a peek into the lives of his crew, and the day-to-day struggles firefighters face personally and professionally every day.
10. “True Blood”
Work environment: Local diner/small town
Why we love it: Because of its character storylines, especially the cute vampire coupled with a telepathic waitress.
Summary: Realistically, this “workplace” isn’t realistic at all, what with the selling and dealing of vampire and synthetic blood; anti-vampire movements and the general idea of the co-existence of humans and vampires. But Merlotte’s is your typical small business…
Rachel Zupek is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues. Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CBwriterRZ.