Readers always hear about real-world companies who are notable or exemplary in one way or another, but what about the businesses that stand out on our favorite television shows? Sure we might not be able to visit them, but these fictitious businesses were each unique in their own special way, and many of them helped make they shows what they were. Who can forget South Park's City Wok or Sienfeld's Vandelay Industries? While these are only runners up for our list, it's businesses like these that inspire humor, drama and crucial plot development in many famous television series. Today we explore 11 of the most memorable businesses from popular television shows.
Despite the sign out front, the Kwik-E-Mart was clearly the Simpson's take on 7-Eleven. In fact, in 2007, 7-Eleven converted 11 of its locations into Kwik-E-Marts in celebration of the movie. Run by Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, the mart sold everything you needed on the go, including Krusty-O's snacks, Sprinkalicious Dounuts, and even the famed all Syrup Super Squishee. Apu was always courteous, friendly and never forgot to thank you and remind you to "come again."
More than any other business on this list, King of the Hill's Strickland Propane represents fair, honest, old fashioned business ethics. With the womanizing party animal owner Buck Strickland hardly around to help the team, business usually falls into the hands of the always-enthusiastic Hank Hill. Hank is a no BS manager who stands for integrity in all areas of his work and strives to serve the customer in any way possible. As Hank once said to a client, "It's kind of interesting, the word customer begins with 'C-U.' Well we don't 'see you' as just another sale, but as a member of our team."
Planet Express is the interplanetary delivery service that the popular show Futurama revolves around. The company is lead by eccentric old scientist Professor Hubert Farnsworth and staffed by the main characters of the show, including Bender and Fry. The crew of Planet Express frequently visit the most dangerous, uncharted, and just downright weird corners of the universe to deliver their packages, such as Tarantulon 6, Brain Slug Planet, and Nude Beach Planet. Although the team may get into hilarious misadventures along the way, the deliveries always get made. If only we could say the same of our terrestrial mail carriers.
Acme was a fictional manufacturing company from the Warner Brothers classic cartoon, Looney Toons. Acme made everything one could imagine, from exploding golf balls to anvils, cannon balls to bricks. Acme actually stands for, "A Company that Makes Everything, and in almost every episode the Toons chased each other around with something mischievous made by this fictitious conglomerate. Nintendo has recently released a video game honoring the legacy of crazy devices sold by Acme known as, "Acme Arsenal," in which players get to battle each other with Acme branded products.
The hard working man needs a good watering hole to hang with his buddies at. The Drunken Clam is the most popular spot in Quahog, Rhode Island to down a few brews and tell some stories. Almost everyone in Family Guy has found themselves at The Drunken Clam at one point or another, but Peter, Quagmire, Joe and Cleveland are the most frequent customers. Who can forget the time Peter and friends sung Don't Stop Believing at the Karaoke night, or the time Stewie and Brian crashed through the front of the bar? Throw in occasional appearances from the peg-arm, peg-leg pirate and you've got one of the most comical places to get a drink around.
Founded in 1992 on the hit sitcom Rosanne, The Lanford Lunch Box was a diner opened and run by Rosanne Connor and her sister Jackie Harris. The two pooled their money to buy a coffee shop that also sold sandwiches. Filled with gossip and tons of sarcasm, the Lanford Lunch Box reminded one of those quiet home town diners where the waitresses would actually have a conversation with you while you ate.
Appearing on 90's sitcom Home Improvement, Binford Tools was the sponsor of Tim "The Tool-Man" Taylor's television show, "Tool Time." Binford Tools never failed to furnish new gadgets for Tim to hurt himself or destroy the set with. One has to wonder why Binford didn't mandate that only co-host Al Boreland was allowed to handle the tools, but we can only imagine that its because their management had a great sense of humor. One of the more memorable Binford funded projects was the Binford 6100 Man's Bedroom. The Man's Bedroom came complete with bar, astro-turf and mesquite barbecue grill night-stand.
Bada Bing is the fictional strip club from HBO series The Sopranos where many underhanded deals were made and mafia plans hatched. Owned and operated by Tony Soprano's direct superior, The family would often meet at Bada Bing to conspire and set their "business goals." Tony's office was located in the back where most of the family meetings were held. Bada Bing was the scene of some intense moments during the series, including several deaths and many physical fights.
Every close group of friends needs a relaxing home base to meet up and unwind. Frequently home to bouts of complaining about the work day, inter-group drama, or deep romantic talks, Central Perk has seen Friends characters Joey, Chandler, Ross, Monica, Rachel and Pheobe at their best and worst. Interestingly, none of them ever talked about it, but somehow they always seemed to meet up there at the right times. It takes a great atmosphere and some damn good coffee to keep one group of friends coming to the same place day in and day out for ten whole seasons. Friends was so popular in fact that there are now several imitation Central Perk coffee houses located around the world in honor of this originally fictional business.
Dunder Mifflin is the paper company from TV comedy The Office. A fun and unpredictable work environment, Dunder Mifflin is the wet dream of every nine to five office drone in America. Who wouldn't love a wacky, spontaneous boss like Michael Scott, a dramatic office romance to become involved in, and of course, dancing the work day away at cafe disco. Sure, Dwight's power-driven antics might get a little old after a while, but every day would bring a new adventure, and it seems the team spends more times having fun and playing jokes on each other than working. They might not win the award for most efficient management practices, but they certainly have more fun than your average cubicle-ville.
Run by maniacal old man Monty Burns, the Springfield Power Plant was a nuclear power plant featured on The Simpsons. With numbskull Homer Simpson in charge of safety inspection, the plant has come close to melt down several times. The Springfield Power Plant is so culturally significant because it represents how the average American sees their job. Many see their boss as ruthlessly selfish and uncaring, much like Burns. Most people actively look for ways to slack off without getting caught or extend their lunch breaks to the absolute limit, just as Homer frequently slept on the job and had toy birds press buttons for him. Lastly, Homer and friends bolt out of the door for happy hour at Moe's the minute their shift is up, and really, who wants to stick around at their job come 5:00?
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