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Home TV Shows Reviews ‘Working: What We Do All Day’ Netflix Series Review - A Fascinating Look at the Modern Workplace

‘Working: What We Do All Day’ Netflix Series Review - A Fascinating Look at the Modern Workplace

This docuseries explores the meaning of work for modern Americans from paycheck to hobbies in a time of rapid change

Neha Krishna - Wed, 17 May 2023 19:35:39 +0100 1332 Views
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A thorough idea of how our work affects how we see ourselves. However, that sense of self is changing as a result of the gig economy, automation, and other important aspects. The new Netflix series "Working," subtitled "What We Do All Day," draws inspiration from Studs Terkel's 1974 book of the same name. It serves as an informal sequel to "American Factory," highlighting the evolution of labor and the decline of the middle class. The involvement of former President Barack Obama, who not only appears as the narrator and on-camera host but also as a driving force behind Higher Ground Productions, adds a political dimension to the series. "Working" explores the nature of work across four parts and three industries, showcasing service work, middle management, knowledge workers, and executives.

The series focuses on various businesses that represent different aspects of the modern workforce. It highlights the care and service sectors that have replaced traditional manufacturing jobs, as well as technology companies that disrupt the status quo. Disparities exist within these case studies, with variations in pay, benefits, and working conditions. The hotel industry, for example, may have a unionized workforce that protects jobs and ensures fair pay, while the home healthcare agency offers low wages and few benefits.

Obama's role in "Working" involves providing context and advancing a narrative about work and its ideal form. Through voiceover narration, he shares anecdotes, provides historical background, and offers generic statements aligning with Democratic ideals. However, some summaries can oversimplify complex issues, and there is a lack of acknowledgment of the extralegal struggles preceding the New Deal.

Additionally, the series includes scenes where Obama interacts with the show's subjects, allowing them to share their aspirations and concerns. These moments highlight Obama's ability to connect with everyday citizens and his post-presidential focus on the next generation's well-being.

"Working" aligns with Higher Ground's overarching goal of effecting change through culture and soft power after leaving the White House. Most of their productions have championed liberal causes, addressing issues such as conservation, childhood nutrition, and civic engagement. In "Working," the series promotes the idea that jobs should provide sustenance and meaning, emphasizing the importance of feeling valued and having opportunities to grow.

The impact of Obama's track record as president on the issues discussed in "Working" is implied rather than explicitly addressed. For example, the tenuous nature of home care work in Mississippi is partly attributed to the Republican governor's refusal to expand Medicaid, a key component of Obama's Affordable Care Act. However, the series does not extensively explore Obama's policies and their effects.

Furthermore, the fact that "Working" is produced and distributed by Netflix, which has faced criticism for contributing to instability in the entertainment industry and undermining steady employment, raises questions. Higher Ground Productions has also partnered with Spotify and Amazon's Audible, further complicating the perception of the series. Furthermore, the series presents deeply ideological arguments as neutral observations, sometimes oversimplifying complex issues. Obama's centrist perspective becomes apparent as he acknowledges the inherent hierarchy in capitalism but does not fully explore alternative perspectives or critique the corporate leaders who afford the series access.

In conclusion, "Working" presents a thoughtful exploration of modern employment but is subject to scrutiny due to Obama's involvement. While the series strives to showcase different perspectives and challenges within the workforce, Obama's political legacy and his position as a former president add layers of complexity and invite deeper examination of the issues at hand.

Final Score- [7/10]
Reviewed by – Neha Krishna
Follow @Neha25Krishna on Twitter
Publisher at Midgard Times



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