Film: Advantage Media’s Sexual Harassment: Serious Business

by Ed KAUFFMAN
 

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!

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