I'm annoyed by the moronic slogan for Chuck, NBC's new geek-turned-secret-agent show.
The tagline is: "Saving the world at eleven bucks an hour."
Chuck, a member of a Best Buy-like tech support team called the Nerd Herd, should be expected to earn a living wage for his IT help. (In those moments when my Mac has mysteriously eaten my article as I'm trying to turn it in, I'd happily pay tech support hundreds to restore it, along with my sanity). But I don't think we should pity Chuck for his $11 an hour hero gig, because a hero—especially a fictional hero—shouldn't expect to make a cent for it.
Take Superman, for example. Not only is his gig unpaid, but he has to work a second job (where he's constantly berated by his editor) as a journalist. Same goes for Spiderman's day job as Peter Parker, who works as a newspaper staff photographer—which certainly pays less than $11 when you break it all down. Even regular (non-Superhero) guys who step up to be heroes, like John McClain (Bruce Willis) in Die Hard, don't complain that they're not getting paid well for it.
Chuck's salary—nearly twice the national minimum wage—was probably a hysterical joke to the studio execs and ad copy writers who came up with it, guys who wear Vineyard Vines ties and think anyone on an hourly wage is a chump. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (and yes, this nerd looked it up) the average American working in retail this year made $12.87 an hour. So it's not really funny about poor ol' Chuck—it's more just the truth, and true for lots of TV-watching Americans as well.
If Chuck wants to save the world, I'm happy for it; if Chuck wants to complain about making $11 an hour, I'd support him in a labor strike. But if Chuck's creators want us to feel bad for his low wage for being a nerd-turned-hero overnight, they won't get any sympathy from me.