Warning: Spoilers follow for Fifty Shades Freed.
If there’s one thing you should take away from Fifty Shades Freed, it’s this: No matter how bad you are at your job, you’re still not as bad as literally every single character in this movie.
Fifty Shades is a veritable orgy of ineptitude and unprofessionalism – which might not be a problem, except that the film also insists on showing everyone at work all the time.
Multiple scenes are devoted to Ana explaining that it’s extremely important for her to work; Christian is routinely praised for his brilliant business instincts. Plus, since they’re the kind of couple who barely has any outside friends, most of the people surrounding them are people also at work – employees, colleagues, public servants.
So here’s to the terrible employees of Fifty Shades Freed. It’s time they were recognized for the absolutely awful work they’re doing. Below, a ranking of Fifty Shades‘ many employed people, from least-bad to the absolute worst.
I’m not sure how good he is as an actual banker, but three cheers for this man who goes above and beyond, even sacrificing his phone for Ana’s well-being. I hope the Greys did the nice thing and replaced it with a brand-new iPhone X.
I don’t love that he snitches on Ana when she tries to withdraw the money, but we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that they do not have a joint account. (Controlling Ana by the purse strings is exactly the kind of asshole power play that Christian would pull.)
His book is selling and he behaves politely during a business meeting. Around here, that kind of bare-minimum competence makes him a paragon of professionalism.
Eh, look, the lady’s been administering the contraceptive shots on schedule; it’s not her fault her patient flaked out, stopped coming, and got pregnant.
Taylor continues to act unfazed by his weird boss, while successfully driving him around and running his creepy errands. This has the potential to set up a Remains of the Day situation, where an aging Taylor looks back on his life in service with unspeakable regret. But he is getting the job done for now, so … sure.
Hannah’s job consists of stuff like fetching lattes, canceling meetings, and organizing the many, many piles of paper on Ana’s desk. She is fine at these things, and even finds time to make double entendres about Ana’s hot bodyguard.
I’m giving her extra credit for doing all of this without complaint, which is more than I’d manage in her position. Which, in case you forgot Fifty Shades Darker, is serving as an assistant to a less-qualified colleague who used to be her equal.
The Seattle Independent Press HR and IT departments
Ana comes back from her honeymoon to discover that in her absence, her company has promoted her into a new position, rearranged her office, and changed her email address – all without so much as sending her a Slack notification, let alone, y’know, asking her if she wanted a new job with new responsibilities. This is not how work works!
Christian’s cook wants to reassure Ana that this is her home now, and that she will do anything in her power to make Ana comfortable. Ana asks Mrs. Jones to call her “Ana” instead of “Mrs. Grey.” Mrs. Jones immediately rejects this request because “Well, I call your husband Mr. Grey, so …”
Also, at no point do we actually see Mrs. Jones cook anything, since Ana and Christian are constantly sending her home so they can cook for each other. Why are they still paying her?!
Technically, Kate doesn’t do any actual work in Fifty Shades. But in keeping with the theme of this post, I, too, am trying to be very bad at my job, so I am including her here. It’s Kate’s incompetence, after all, that got us all into this mess to begin with.
In the first Fifty Shades, she’s scheduled to interview Christian, but gets sick. So instead of calling up a colleague to sub in for her, she presses Ana, who’s never interviewed anyone in her life, to visit Christian and read the questions for her. Questions like “Do you have any interests outside of work?” and “Are you gay?”
Anastasia Grey (née Steele)
The single biggest laugh at my screening came when Christian earnestly tells Ana that she got her promotion through “hard work and talent,” not her connections. Because, really: What work?
Most of Ana’s time in the office is spent canceling appointments because of Christian-related shenanigans, cutting meetings short because of Christian-related shenanigans, and managing Christian’s ego when he doesn’t think she devotes enough time to Christian-related shenanigans.
The one time we see Ana doing actual work, it’s just to tell someone to “make the font two sizes bigger in the hardcover.” Just try not to be blown away by that kind of ambitious, out-of-the-box thinking!!!
Then again, maybe she’s not working because she can’t, because her office is filled with stacks of paper and no computer. This is an especially egregious oversight considering previous films were filled with Apple products – there’s one scene in Darker that’s basically just an unboxing video for a shiny new MacBook. I guess the company pulled its product placement deal.
Oh, Jerry. I want to be nicer to Jerry since he’s one of the few male characters in Fifty Shades who doesn’t come across like a secret serial killer. But Jerry is very bad at running a publishing house!
In Fifty Shades Darker, his mind was blown when Ana made the radical suggestion that they … try growing their business. In this one, he is extremely impressed that Ana’s risky gambit of signing a popular author has paid off.
Detective Clark (and, honestly, the entire Seattle police department)
At one point in the movie, Christian Grey calls the police to point out that it’s probably not a coincidence that his sister has gone missing and his wife has withdrawn $5 million in cash on the same day that a violent criminal who’s been stalking their family for months got out on bail.
Literally what have these people even been doing this whole time.
Gia Matteo is a world-renown architect who’s worked on many “prestige projects.” Yet when she’s hired to renovate the Greys’ new home, it never occurs to her to ask her clients what they want before going ahead and drawing up complicated plans that, surprise surprise, turn out to be exactly the opposite of what her clients want.
After all that, Gia never even ends up designing anything. She briefly resurfaces for a scene with Christian’s brother, and then disappears again. We never find out what happened to the house.
We had such high hopes for Sawyer. Alas – I’ve met housecats that were harder to outwit than this “security expert.” At one point, Ana needs to lure him into a different room so that she can slip out unnoticed. She calls him from like ten feet away, and he is instantly fooled!
Plus, he’s a snitch. When Ana goes out for drinks, after promising Christian she wouldn’t, Sawyer immediately tells on her to Christian. Come the fuck on, dude.
Actually, the entire Grey security team
Come to think of it, Sawyer is not the only blundering bodyguard in the Greys’ employ. Every member of this family has a personal security team, and yet there are like three different instances in which these guards lose their charges.
They lose Ana on the road, and then lose the car that was trailing Ana. They either fail to notice that Mia has gone missing, or fail to tell anyone. At one point, these people lose Ana in her own house, even though she wasn’t even really hiding – just lying on a couch in a locked room that no one thought to check.
After watching all three of these movies and reading half the first book, I still haven’t the faintest idea what Christian Grey actually does, besides stare out of skyscraper windows looking troubled. Nor could I tell you anything about Grey Enterprises, other than that Gia is a big fan of their work in Africa. He might as well be Vincent Adultman toiling away at the business factory.
Like his wife, he spends most of his day obsessing about their relationship – running over to her office to scold her for not paying attention to him, driving over to her office to whisk her away on surprise vacation, planning last-minute business trips so he can try and force her to come along.
I’m all for striking a good work-life balance, but this is just ridiculous. Even the dude who wrote that book about the four-hour work week is like, okay, but you know you still have to put those four hours in, right?
For all of this, Christian is paid well enough that he can buy jets and homes as casually as you or I might buy a latte. If the Grey Enterprises board of directors had half a brain between them, they’d vote to oust him before he could say “red.”
Then again, keeping this guy in power does seem par for the course in a world as bad at work as the Fifty Shades one is.