Hollywood seems to be obsessed with interns lately! From 2015’s Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro comedy The Intern about a baby boomer starting over in a new career to TV shows like Jane By Design and The Hills showing what its like working in the fashion industry, viewers love watching a plucky newcomer trying to take their first steps up the corporate ladder. Yet, while lots of these fictional internships are shown as fast-paced and glamorous, others are filled with bad bosses, crazy hours, and dangerous job duties.
The difference between a good and bad internship carry over to real-life too. While many internships offer valuable first-hand experience getting to know an industry, there are just as many who treat interns as nothing more than unpaid assistants or secretaries. But as much as you may hate spending hours in the mail run or going on constant coffee-runs for you’re coworkers, at lease you can be thankful you’re not interning at any of these offices!
From obnoxious managers to life-threatening demands, here’s our list of the worst fictional internships that aren’t worth the spot on your resume.
1. Legally Blonde
Positive, determined, and creative, Elle Woods has all the traits a student needs to thrive in the ambitious atmosphere of Harvard Law School. Yet even after studying for months to master the LSTAT and beating out her fellow classmates to earn one of the coveted internships at her Professor’s firm, Elle’s repeatedly demeaned and underestimated by everyone around her for her typical “sorority girl” appearance. Even after gathering a key alibi for the case, Elle’s devastated by the inappropriate behavior of her teacher and boss Professor Callahan who hits on her in his office and says he only hired her for her looks. Even with Callahan’s threats to destroy her entire law career, Elle stood her ground and proved herself during the final trial. What, like it’s hard?
2. How to Get Away With Murder
You know you’re in over your head when your boss asks you to kill for her. ABC’s suspenseful Shonda Rimes hit How to Get Away With Murder focuses on the life of cut throat law professor and criminal attorney Annalise Keating and the five competitive students she selects to intern with her firm and assist with real-life cases. But after two mysterious murders strike their sleepy college town, the students soon find themselves at the center of a dangerous cover-up and suddenly find that they might be the ones on trial.
3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
And speaking of How to Get Away with Murder…
Before he was Annalise’s go-to hitman/paralegal on the ABC drama, actor Charlie Weber played another down-on-his luck assistant as medical intern Ben on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. On top of the regular demands of being a medical student in a town where people are constantly being injured by demons, poor Ben spent the majority of his life as a host for evil God Glory, causing him to experience constant fits of memory loss and paranoia.
Also while we’re on the topic being a Slayer is probably the worst unpaid internship in history. I mean for all the times Buffy saved the world from unspeakable evil you’d think the Watcher’s Council would at least offer her a stipend…
4. 30 Rock
Despite his perpetually cheerful outlook, 30 Rock’s Kenneth has it pretty rough. Even though he’s the longest-lasting employee in the NBC office, Kenneth never advances beyond his role as a page/ office whipping boy. Even after he learns multiple languages and saves the studio from countless disasters, Kenneth is stuck plunging toilets and fetching coffee. As his boss Jack let’s him know, he’s still only worth about “seven dollars.”
Following the hectic antics of new doctor’s attempting to navigate life during their first years out of medical school, Scrubs turned tragedy into comedy by having best buds J.D. and Turk attempt to provide treatment while living up to the cost-cutting, strict demands of the bitter Dr. Cox who views all his students as ” murderers and assassins” intentionally trying to kill the patients they’re treating. In 2009, the younger cast members even got their own spin off web series appropriately titled Scrubs: Interns which followed former prodigy Sunny and six of her classmates as they attempting to navigate orientation and meet the insane requests of the doctors, nurses, receptionists, and janitors.
6. One Tree Hill
WB’s smash soap One Tree Hill definitely gave its preteen audience some unrealistic expectations for their first post-high school careers. But while most of the Tree Hill High grads were off being NBA players, millionaire fashion designers, and international rock stars all before the age of 24, moody cheerleader Peyton Sawyer wasn’t quite so lucky. After moving across the country to intern at a Hollywood Record Label, Peyton spends more than a year fetching coffee for cruel executives who frequently remind her that she’s “the assistant to the assistant.” Despite her passion for music, Peyton’s recording suggestions are constantly ignored and she’s even pressured by her smarmy boss to “undo a button on her blouse” in order to allowed into an important brainstorm session.
7. The Intern
In the world of fictional internships, no industry is more brutal and demanding than high fashion. Six years before Meryl Streep shamed all our taste in sweaters in The Devil Wears Prada, Joan Rivers played the part of a vicious fashion magazine editor in the rom-com The Intern. But while Meryl’s ice queen character eventually softens by the end of the film, Rivers abuse of poor employees relentless. From granting a new mother a single day of maternity to leave to putting the models on a diet of “two apples per day,” this job is anything but glamorous.
8. Gilmore Girls
A peace offering from her boyfriend’s newspaper magnate father after being told she “wasn’t good enough” to marry into the Huntzberger family, Rory Gilmore’s internship at the Stanford Eagle Gazette was cursed from the start. Despite running through the news room passing out copies and trailing senior reporters, her best efforts just weren’t enough for Mitchum and after only two weeks in the role he sat her down and delivered the devastating blow that Rory just didn’t have what it takes to make it in journalism. While, Rory’s reaction to this critique was definitely overdramatic (aka stealing a yacht and dropping out of Yale) Mitchum was way too judgmental to ever be her mentor in the first place.
9. Grey’s Anatomy
Grey’s Anatomy, the incredibly long-running primetime medical soap has spent 14 seasons chronicling the personal and professional lives of a group of first-year medical interns and residency surgeons at the fictional Seattle Grace Hospital. These interns are under constant stress between the frequent backlash and competition from their superiors and having to regularly perform risky, fact-paced operations at a moment’s notice. With all the backstabbing, coworker romances, and an alarming number of life-threatening illnesses doctors, even the benefit of getting to stare at McDreamy all day isn’t worth all the drama.
10. Welcome to Night Vale
If there’s one lesson listeners can learn from supernatural comedy podcast Welcome to Night Vale, it’s that radio is a strange and dangerous business. With an unofficial death toll of 16 (although 3 are technically just missing) the rate of turnover for Night Vale Community Radio is higher than the giant, translucent-skinned worms staking out the community college. While Night Vale’s internship program does offer exciting real-world broadcasting experiences including attending press conferences, investigative reporting, singing sea shanty to ants, and organizing tape archives, the gruesome risks aren’t worth the trouble. Even if you manage to ignore the shockingly high mortality rate you may end up like Intern Maureen and be forced to edit Cecil’s Jaws fan fiction. Truly, a fate worse than death.