So many of our all-time favorite TV shows are set in the workplace because that’s simply what we love about them. They’re all reminders of just how crazy our own co-workers are, as they bring their ridiculous personal problems and quirky personalities into our offices, stores, buildings, restaurants and more, causing us to go home, kick off our shoes, rub our temples and ask ourselves why we keep putting up with them. And then our shows remind us of that one simple reason – because the crazy coworkers are everywhere.
But on those shows, the characters are often over-the-top and just way too crazy, and if those companies were real, they’d fail in a heartbeat, unlike the magazine “Full Steam,” which is kept together by the unbreakable bro bond of the guys on Men at Work (Wednesdays at 10/9c on TBS). Here are some of our favorite shows’ companies that would undoubtedly fail if they actually existed.
The Office – Dunder-Mifflin
Prank wars, office Olympics, interoffice relationships, backstabbing, party committees, basketball games, awards ceremonies at Applebee’s… the list goes on. Truth be told, though, Dunder-Mifflin wouldn’t have been brought to the ground by the competition of larger paper companies and the office supply chains, as much as it would have been crippled by sexual harassment lawsuits involving Michael Scott.
Cheers – Cheers
What Cheers had going for it was a place where everybody knows your name, as well as a famous, locally-beloved sports figure, Sam Malone, with all the charm in the world at his disposal. What our favorite TV bar didn’t have going for it was that same sports figure allowing his most devoted customers to basically drink there for free for as long as they wanted. While the series finale was pretty great, it would have been better to watch Norm pay his tab.
Arrested Development – The Bluth Company
As it was, the Bluth Company wasn’t actually successful during the cult show’s three seasons, as its best standing was a “Don’t Buy” rating from Jim Cramer. But factor in the inept and corrupt leadership of every Bluth from Michael to Lucille, and that entire family should have been serving time long before they ever had a chance to prove they were set up by the CIA.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia –Paddy’s Pub
Paddy’s Pub isn’t even successful on its own show, but at least the gang has Frank Reynolds and his massive wealth to keep the place afloat while they further descend into the lowest levels of depravity known to man. In reality, though, Frank would have cut and run on that bar a long time ago, and Dennis and Mac would have been left with nothing after their Paddy’s Dollars scheme completely ran them dry.
Friends – Central Perk
In fairness, Central Perk was always packed with customers, so maybe Gunther was making a killing. But at some point, that fake-blonde weirdo would have had to have told Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe to get lost, because they were only having a cup of coffee each (and maybe a sneeze muffin or two) and they were taking up the best seats in the house for hours at a time. We’d have to believe that customer turnover would have been terrible with so many people loitering.
Married with Children – Gary’s Shoes
Sure, Gary’s had strong financial backing and Al Bundy occasionally had a crazy scheme that made the place some money, but let’s face it – no customers were going to remain loyal if they were going to be treated like garbage and insulted every time they sat down to try on a pair of cheap shoes. As employees, Al and Griff didn’t even deserve the archaic minimum wage they were taking home.
The League – Dr. Andre Nowzick’s Practice
Andre might have seen his fantasy football fortunes turn around with a strong season this year, but as a cosmetic surgeon? Who on Earth would ever trust a guy who dresses and acts the way he does to perform surgery on them? Andre was pretty lucky that the woman suing him for setting his lineup while working on her feet was, um, distracted, because he – and all of his friends, for that matter – would never practice again in the real world.
30 Rock – Kabletown
Even Jack Donaghy’s greatest ideas were barely enough to keep his company afloat, and with TGS’s only profit coming from the ad space that Liz Lemon’s own parents purchased, it’s a surprise that the network ever made it. And it wasn’t just TGS causing problems. The game show Gold Case cost the network at least $4 million before Jack was smart enough to shut it down. Lord only knows how much he lost on all of the other failed shows as well. Although, “Porn for Women” may have been a surprisingly huge hit in the real world, so it’s a toss-up.
Modern Family – Closets Closets Closets Closets
Jay Pritchett has built himself a great family brand with Pritchett’s Closets, and that would definitely play well with people looking to expand their home storage while supporting small businesses. But his biggest competition is named Closets Closets Closets Closets, and that’s just ridiculous. Nobody wants to deal with even saying that mouthful, let alone actually having to write that on a check to pay for a new closet.
The Simpsons – Springfield Nuclear Power Plant
Of all of these shows, The Simpsons has the most fake businesses that might actually thrive in real life, because they all have the best names ever. Unfortunately, if the Springfield nuclear power plant was real and actually run by Homer, Lenny, Carl and the rest of Springfield’s slackers, we’d all have glowing skin and extra eyes, just like poor, old Blinky.