The opening credits of Undercover Boss employ strategies of rhetorical excess to frame the economic recession as a melodrama of personal relationships. The evolution of these credits during the first four seasons demonstrates the series' diminishing interest in the socio-economic context that generated the show and the program's increasing focus on the character of the individual boss. During the first season of Undercover Boss, episodes opened with this melodramatically-intoned voice-over narration during the opening credits:
Narrator: The economy is going through tough times. Many hardworking Americans blame wealthy CEOs out of touch with what's going on in their own companies. But some bosses are willing to take EXTREME action to make their business better.
(Undercover Boss, season 1)
This syntactically awkward opening statement—"the economy is going through tough times"—mirrors the work of the show. It personifies the economy, suggesting that the national or even global economy is yet another individual enduring temporary hardship. This personification, which demonstrates what Hadley identifies as melodrama's "tendency to personify the absolutes like good and evil," (22) minimizes the global recession. It is significant that the word "recession" is not used. At the same time, the indirectness of this statement makes the argument that there is no responsible actor here. The next line, "Many hardworking Americans blame wealthy CEOs," hints that the series may take hard workers, the heroes of old melodrama, as protagonists. The rhetorically excessive statement that follows, however, announces that it is the CEO, not the worker, who will be the hero: "some bosses are willing to take EXTREME action."