8 Fictional Business That Have No Business Being in Business

By Juan Arteaga in Daily Lists, Miscellaneous
Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 8:04 am
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Movies, TV, comics and videogames can teach us many important things. Thanks to Saved by the Bell we learned about the horrors of caffeine pills. Thanks to Indiana Jones we learned how to survive nuclear explosions and to stay away from Indian restaurants. And, if it weren't for videogames, most of us would die of diphtheria every time we try to visit Oregon. But if there is one thing they can't teach us, it's business administration.

Businesses in fiction are always a funny thing. On one hand most of us work for a company and all of us except North Koreans and Cubans buy products and services from them, so they are kind of important in our daily life and so they have to appear in our fiction too. On the other hand most writers have no goddamn idea how they work (see also "computers"). Because of this, we end up with a bunch of companies that wouldn't last a day in the real world, or in most worlds, for that matter. Here are eight fictional companies that should have sent everyone home and closed doors years ago. Please note that while there are a few evil companies on here, we ran that list a little while ago. This is a list of incompetent companies. Many evil companies are quite smart; we're only interested in the ones whose evilness gets in the way of making a profit.



8) Weyland-Yutani, Alien
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Quick question: who is the worst manufacturer of robots in fiction? The guys from Blade Runner? No, when those robots kill you they do it to escape slavery. How about Cyberdyne from the Terminator series? Close, but at least those robots are trying to take over the world, so at least they're working off a plan. The worst is robot maker is clearly Weyland-Yutani, because when their robots kill you they do it because... their soulless husks find it freaking hilarious? We don't know! They just kill you!

Admittedly, Weyland Yutani's robots are just as murderous in Prometheus, but there, robots are new and untested, and David is fresh off the assembly line... it's excusable why nobody predicted Fassbender-bot was going to try to get everyone killed for shit and giggles. But! Let's jump to the first Alien movie, which takes place around 30 years later, and what happens to Weyland-Yutani's newest model robot in that movie? That's right, he goes crazy and tries to kill everyone again. It wasn't until Aliens that Weyland released the stop-crazy-killing patch. Weyland Yutani is a space exploration company that for at least three decades sent out spaceships with at least one serial killer robot in the crew. How did they ever explore anything and how long did it take them to figure out why most of the spaceships' black box recordings were just screams and cussing? Say what you want about NASA, but at least no Apollo mission had to carry a bag of rabid badgers to the moon. 

7) Whatever Company Scrooge McDuck Owns, Ducktales
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Scrooge McDuck is the worst CFO who ever lived. We know he's been featured in Fortune magazine's list of richest fictional characters; but when it comes to finances, who do you trust? Topless Robot or Fortune? Here's the problem: you've heard about why keeping your money under the mattress instead of the bank is a bad idea, right? Well, multiply that by a few billion and you get Scrooge McDuck. He has countless dollars just piled up in a money bin for no other purpose than waiting for his pantless ass to jump right in and swim around for a while, which explains why in Duckburgh 80% of legal tender has traces of duck feces. 

McDuck is losing money every day thanks to a little concept called opportunity cost, which is s the cost of any activity compared with the best alternative not chosen. And since he chooses to just swim on it over doing anything else, he is losing a lot. He is losing the money he would get if he put all that amount of cash to work by investing it, or even the cash he would get by putting it in banks and gain interest. Also, that money bin doesn't pay itself! Who knows how much it costs to protect the money bin from the Beagle Boys and various witch attacks? In fact, if he put that money to open new factories in Duckburg the economy would be better and the Beagle Boys might no longer need to commit crimes. Also, for a guy who is famously cheap, he sure doesn't seem to mind buying a new airplane everytime he has Launchpad flying him somewhere.
   
6) Oceanic Air, Lost
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Good old Oceanic Air will fly you to anyplace you want to go, assuming you only want to go to a pile of flaming wreckage. Hang on there! We know what you are thinking, that crashing twice on the same island in Lost was not their fault! Sure, the island made them crash... but it made them crash because Oceanic Air is cursed. The first episode of Lost was not the first time an Oceanic flight took a nosedive into the ground; they have been happily flying passengers into the afterlife since the '60s.

As far as we can tell, Oceanic Air made its TV debut by crashing an airplane in an episode of the 1964 series Flipper, and they haven't learned how to fly any better since then. Oceanic has blown up on TV, movies, comics, videogames and even British comic strip Alex. In the TV series Chuck, they were blown up by a missile. In Dead Island they crash into an island full of zombies. In Champions Online they are blown up by a magical storm. In 1996's film Executive Decision they get hijacked by terrorists and somehow they manage to get Steven Seagal killed. Try to blame all that on the island from Lost. We don't know how you can build an airline on top of an Indian cemetery, but these guys did it. Or maybe their captains should stop going to the Launchpad McQuack School of flying.

5) The Daily Bugle, Spider-Man
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Spider-Man is easily one of the most beloved superheroes in the world. In the first movie we see a bunch of New Yorkers getting together to help him fight the Green Goblin. In the second movie he loses his mask in a subway train full of people and not one of them tried to film him with their cellphones and upload it to Youtube. In the third film we... saw him dance like a moron. Screw that movie. Anyways, the point is New Yorkers, who are by nature not the nicest of people, love Spider-Man so much that not only they wouldn't screw him up if given the chance; they would actively help him in his fight against evil. They love the guy.

So, how the heck is a newspaper that does nothing but call Spider-Man an asshole on the first page still on business? Print is dying and these guys are printing dumb shit nobody agrees with. Imagine a newspaper with the following headline: "Heroes of 9-11, Menaces or Assholes?" EVERY DAY! See how long that one lasts. If the police were any smart they would ask for the Daily Bugle's list of subscribers and arrest them all. The newspaper is obviously written for supervillains.

4) Network 23, Max Headroom
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On Max Headroom's first episode, we see Network 23 testing some new advertising technology that makes their viewers explode. Not content with being the only TV channel that can randomly murder all their audience and run out of business in a day, the good folk at 23 continued their legacy of just doing the most evil thing possible no matter if they screw themselves in the process.

On the episode titled "Rakers", crusading reporter Edison Carter is investigating a new underground sport where kids skate around and try to stab each other. During the investigation he discovers that an executive from Network 23 is trying to put this sport on TV, so the reporter tries to show the world how horrible this sport is before the executive puts it on TV and... err... shows everyone how horrible it is first hand? The thing is that even in Max Headroom's cyberpunk dystopia making kids stab each other for fun and profit is technically illegal. The only thing the reporter manages to save is his own job by preventing the moron executive from putting on a TV show that would have gotten the evil channel closed down in a heartbeat. What was the idea? Had nothing to put between the Child Porn Fun Hour and transmitting the nuclear codes to Al Qaeda?

3) Umbrella, The Resident Evil Movies 
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Can any hardcore Harry Potter fans help us and tell us if there is such thing as a Slytherin MBA program? Otherwise we can't explain something like Umbrella can exist. You may be fooled into thinking Umbrella has a plan beyond "zombies!" Perhaps you even think they're trying to create a weapon they can sell or a deadly disease and then sell the cure. Resident Evil: Apocalypse kills any idea of there ever being a plan. In this movie we see the head honcho of Umbrella killing the scientist who created the T-virus just to prove a point -- that he would kill even people who are valuable to him so imagine what he would do to people he doesn't care about. Dude, we just saw you infect an entire city with zombies. We know you don't give a shit about people. Also, you just killed the one guy in that entire city that you should give a shit about, the one guy that could have helped you make something worthwhile with the damn virus. 

If the second movie killed that idea, then the third one, Resident Evil: Extinction, had its way with the idea's corpse and gave it herpes. The entire world is infested with zombies, all the surviving Umbrella executives are living in bunkers perpetually under siege by the undead, and somehow they are still having office meetings acting like the plan is going well. So what was the plan? You can't sell it as a weapon because governments are dead, and you can't sell the cure because almost everybody is dead and those who are alive can't pay you because money no longer has any meaning. At best you can save yourselves by developing a cure... or you would if you hadn't killed the head scientist in the previous movie. 

2) Misfit Records, Jem and the Holograms
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Let's leave aside that this record label's only band is a punk band that has no drummer but has a sax player and a keytar player, or that one member is completely illiterate. Instead, let's talk about the band openly committing crimes in almost every episode. If the Misfits are not in jail, it's only because the series takes place in a lawless land where musicians can attempt to murder any random person they want.

Also, the Misfits are the worst bosses ever. In the episode "Journey Through Time", the Misfit's tech guy invents a time machine. Okay... this means the Misfits' record label has an R&D department, which is all kinds of weird because they are a record company and not any institution that has to research anything. Moreover, this department has ravaged the laws of God and nature and invented time travel. What's the best use the Misfits find for this groundbreaking technology? Trick the Holograms into getting lost in time so the Misfits can steal their spot on a concert instead of... winning the Nobel Prize and looking into the entire lottery winning numbers from here to eternity? To be fair, Nobel prizes are not given posthumously and keytarrists are dead inside.

1) Lunar Industries, Moon
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If you haven't seen the movie Moon, then get off your ass and go see it because it is a pretty good movie, then come back so you can be appalled that we are saying parts of it are dumb. In Moon, Sam Rockwell is the only human working in a moon base with only Gertie the robot to keep him company while he waits for his three years contract to be over so he can get paid go back on Earth. But it seems that the evil corporation that sent him to the moon has decided to save some money by installing a clone facility on the moon that keeps spitting out clones with the same memories that only live for three years instead of training a new guy to do the job and pay him. Yup, this sounds like a perfect evil plan, except for one thing: How the living fuck is building and maintaining a clone factory on the moon cheaper than training one single asshole every three years?

It's not even like the clones need five PhDs from Princeton to run the base, because Gertie does the entire job. We only see the clones do two things: Put the mined moon rocks on the device that shoots them back to Earth and drive a moon truck to pick up the rocks. And he really sucks at one of these activities, since crashing the moon-truck starts the whole movie. Okay, let's be nice and say he is the best moon trucker ever and he only crashed because of the hallucinations caused by his decaying body approaching its three-year life limit. This brings another important point: Every three years the clone begins to hallucinate and break shit, like expensive moon mining equipment shit. This is not a sound business plan.

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