Top Ten Fictional Companies- A Mexican Standoff
The following, as you may have been able to discern from the title as you are most likely a keen traverser of the Internet and thus can put two and two together, is a list of the best companies to be found in fiction. If I missed one, feel free to yell at me in the comments below. Be sure to subscribe so you can really give it to me.
10.) The Work Bench, Reaper
Reaper is the criminally-cancelled show (that happened to be the best thing the CW has ever produced) about a ne’er-do-well named Sam (Bret Harrison) who ends up working as the Devil’s bounty hunter. Unfortunately, that gig doesn’t pay as well as you might think what with the hazard pay that comes with hunting down souls escaped from hell who occasionally are able to wield fire, so Sam and his pals have to put in their hours at this Home Depot-esque store so that they can do trivial things like eat. Managed by fuddy-duddy Ted and containing a restaurant and convenient access to any tools a supernatural bounty hunter might need to deal with the escaped souls like one-time guest star Patton Oswalt, the Work Bench is not as bad of a gig as it might seem.
9.) ExoGeni Corporation, Mass Effect
Like any good corporation in a sci-fi videogame, the ExoGeni Corporation is responsible for ruining the lives of a great many people by being absolute dicks. When supervising the human colony of Zhu’s Hope became too boring and not nearly sinister enough, ExoGeni repurposed the colony to study the effects of a plant known as the Thorian, who has a bad habit of turning people into mindless slaves who have a bad habit of dying at the hands of renegade soldiers if they get in the way. Anyone who has played Mass Effect knows exactly what I’m talking about.
8.) Hot Cops, Arrested Development
The Hot Cops are the real reason this list exists, because Season 4 is coming out and I like theoretical blog clicks as much as the next guy who has a blog in 2013. This slot probably should go to the Bluth Company and its Sudden Valley, but I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the Hot Cops. They’re always so chipper, and they’re one of the few running jokes on Arrested Development that didn’t get grossly overused. And their theme song is magnificent.
7.) Party Down Catering, Party Down
Known previously as one of the saddest places ever, the Party Down catering van is the closest thing the show ever had to a repeat set. Every week our favorite utterly depressed characters would cater a new event (ranging from weddings and birthdays, to funerals and orgies) and be really sad while doing it. And that’s why we love them. Except for that damn company picnic episode that I will always stink and interrupt what is otherwise a very pleasant rewatching experience.
6.) Mooby’s, Dogma and Clerks II
Mooby’s is what you get when McDonald’s doesn’t want its employees seen peeing in its beverages or being killed by Ben Affleck. Immortalized in the events of the critically underrated Clerks II (which I still maintain holds up better as a film when compared to its predecessor), Mooby’s made its big debut in Kevin Smith’s masterwork Dogma, where avenging angel Ben Affleck puts the crimes of its board of directors on trial in a damn fine scene from the film I watch every time I’m home sick.
5.) Sweetums, Parks and Recreation
When you think of Pawnee, you think of Sweetums. You also think of rampant obesity and a real thorn in Leslie Knope’s side. This fictional candy company has its hands in everything Pawnee, even trying so much as to get the idiot son of its owner (guest star Paul Rudd) elected to the City Council, and threatened to leave the town and destroy its economy should he lose. Damn evil, delicious candy.
Special Runners Up: Feinstein Cologne, Entertainment 720, Rent-a-Swag
4.) Stark Industries, Iron Man stuff and things
I had to make my choice between this and Wayne Industries… and I made my choice. Both are military and weapons companies run by billionaire playboys who fight crime in their spare time. What separates the cream of Stark from the milk of Wayne is not its venerable leader Tony, but that Stark Industries stopped producing weapons when he saw how they were being put to use by the enemies they were created to destroy. This caused an impressive arc for its CEO, who built himself about 1,000 iron suits to celebrate.
3.) Sirius Cybernetics Corporation, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy franchise
Chekhov’s Gunman is quickly becoming a place for me to talk about the brilliance of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide, but it keeps being relevant, dammit. The Sirius Cybernetics Corporation is renowned in the series for being incredibly inept, and implementing the strangest features into its products. They design doors with happy dispositions who enjoy their jobs so much that they sigh when opened, and program robots to have “Genuine People Personalities,” which birthed us the ever-loved Marvin the Paranoid Android (whose title you may recognize as that of a Radiohead song). One of Sirius Cybernetics’ best-known divisions is the marketing department who will be “the first ones up against the wall when the revolution comes.”
2.) Oscorp Industries, Spider-Man everything
This company was at one point owned by Willem Dafoe, which I feel is enough to put it at the Number Two slot on any list, but particularly this one. Depending on which complex mythology you’re going with, Oscorp has any number of histories and has done a plethora of dubious actions, at one point putting Norman Osborn in a star-spangled Iron Man suit and christening him the “Iron Patriot.” Just know that the one consistent aspect of this company across all media is that it is commonly run by a man who flies around throwing pumpkins at Spider-Man.
1.) Initech, Office Space
Office Space is the magnum opus of anyone who has ever had a terrible job, the Catcher in the Rye of those who wanted to take this job and shove it. Featuring manager Bill Lumbergh (Gary Cole) and any number of disgruntled employees who may or may not share names with marginally famous musicians, Initech is the epitome of White Collar Hell and deserves to be burned to the ground by the fat guy from Dodgeball. Initech also brought about one of the greatest scenes in cinema: the printer-smashing scene.
Chekhov’s Gunman is a film and television blog moderated by Kevin Lanigan, a future writer of movies and TV and current writer of pre-emptive angry letters to Mitchell Hurwitz. Be sure to subscribe or follow above, or check back because we have these weekly Mexican Standoffs, regular coverage of Game of Thrones, movies, and the best of TV, and some other Good Stuff.
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