Johnny America


Film: Ad­van­tage Me­di­a’s Sex­u­al Ha­rass­ment: Se­ri­ous Business


Sex­u­al ha­rass­ment, at least ac­cord­ing to the con­ve­nient ti­tle of this Hu­man Re­source train­ing video, is in­deed se­ri­ous busi­ness. To com­bat the im­pend­ing scourge of sex­u­al ha­rass­ment by all man­ner of new-hire em­ploy­ees in var­i­ous work­places world­wide, Ad­van­tage Me­dia (the “train­ing video” arm be­neath Kan­to­la Pro­duc­tions, LL­C’s vast and eclec­tic um­brage) of­fers up, Sex­u­al Ha­rass­ment: Se­ri­ous Busi­ness. It’s yet an­oth­er in a long line of blue and white col­lar train­ing videos cranked out year­ly in the his­toric Mill Val­ley Post Of­fice Build­ing, Kan­to­la Pro­duc­tions’ base of op­er­a­tions, nes­tled in the steeps of scenic North­ern Cal­i­for­nia. Pre­vi­ous train­ing films in­clude Avoid­ing Dog Bites, Keep­ing Mi­crobes In Check, and Per­son­al Hy­giene In Food Ser­vice, many of which have been award­ed the pres­ti­gious Tellys, the Cine Gold­en Ea­gles, as well as the Na­tion­al Ed­u­ca­tion In Me­dia Net­work’s Sil­ver Ap­ples.

Billed as an “award win­ning” train­ing video fea­tur­ing “Four of­fice sce­nar­ios and one plant sce­nario” (which is­n’t near­ly as in­ter­est­ing as it sounds, as they mean a ‘pro­duc­tion plant’ lo­ca­tion, and not some sort of steamy rib­ald in­volv­ing trop­i­cal fo­liage), a cadre of out-dat­ed, col­or­less char­ac­ters walks the view­er through the labyrinth of retro-sex­u­al ha­rass­ment. Tina, the of­fice chat­ter­box, ap­par­ent­ly re­gales ex­act­ly no one with the sor­did re­hash­ing of her week­end ex­ploits. Ja­son is send­ing and re­ceiv­ing ex­plic­it car­toons via the com­pa­ny fax ma­chine, and cost­ing the com­pa­ny valu­able sales. Lin­da’s un­want­ed af­fec­tion not on­ly rat­tles Stan, but the throws the en­tire team in­to chaos as every­one is forced to choose sides. Ed backs Jan­ice in­to a “clas­sic” quid-pro-quo ha­rass­ment cor­ner. And don’t even get me start­ed about San­dra, the whore.

Kan­to­la Pro­duc­tions drags us through 25 un­re­mark­able min­utes of pos­i­tive­ly asex­u­al drudgery-and at $129.00 to boot. Hav­ing re­cent­ly had the op­por­tu­ni­ty to watch Ad­van­tage Me­di­a’s Sex­u­al Ha­rass­ment: Se­ri­ous Busi­ness for the third (and they swear this is the last) time, it oc­curred to me that, when ap­proach­ing any sex­u­al ha­rass­ment train­ing video, the view­er must ask them­selves one very sim­ple ques­tion: does this video make me not want to sex­u­al­ly ha­rass co-work­ers, even the smok­ing-hot ones? Un­for­tu­nate­ly for Kan­to­la and Ad­van­tage Me­dia, the an­swer, with re­gard to this par­tic­u­lar video is a re­sound­ing “no.” Even be­ing forced to sit through all 25 vanil­la min­utes again would­n’t nec­es­sar­i­ly qual­i­fy as pun­ish­ment-as the un­in­ten­tion­al com­e­dy gets bet­ter and bet­ter with each sub­se­quent view­ing. Ad­van­tage Me­dia has wise­ly heed­ed the groans of oth­er crit­ics, launch­ing a new si­lo of sex­u­al ha­rass­ment videos and DVDs to re­place this out-dat­ed, even if pass­able, work­horse. This award-win­ner has sim­ply fall­en vic­tim to the cru­el pas­sage of time. What may-well-have-been cut­ting-edge sex­u­al ha­rass­ment 15 years ago just does­n’t even ruf­fle a musty pube these days. Do peo­ple still en­gage in these tried-and-true ha­rass­ments? Of course. Are there still lessons to be learned from this train­ing video? Per­haps. The ba­sics are cov­ered, sure. But what is­n’t cov­ered (which, my lawyer as­sures me, means I’m in the clear) is how and when it IS okay to snap up­skirts of co-work­ers us­ing the lat­est in of­fice-pro­vid­ed mirac­u­lous and mi­nus­cule tech­nol­o­gy. Plus, there’s not a sin­gle bet­ty in this video that I’d bang. My ad­vice to Kan­to­la is di­al up the sex stuff to 11, cast fear­less ac­tors that can take us to the brink, and shoot 25 scorch­ing min­utes the sex­u­al­ly ha­rass­ing em­ploy­ee can’t wait to see again!

Filed under Films on June 5th, 2007

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