Television has produced a ton of shows set in workplaces that seem infinitely better than the places where most people actually spend their days making a living. From Ricky Ricardo working at The Copacabana night club in the 1950s, to Oliver Queen running Queen Consolidated today, TV shows have been responsible for some of the coolest companies of all time.
Let’s take a look at some of the best fictional businesses ever brought to the small screen:
5. Pawnee Parks Department (Parks & Recreation)
Who would have ever thought the day-to-day life of local government employees could be so entertaining? When the team consists of Leslie Knope, Ron Swanson, and Tom Haverford, however, we’re lucky if we catch a break between laughs.
The Pawnee Parks and Recreation department employs an impressively diverse workforce, including a director who hates the very idea of government (Swanson), an employee who takes the job so seriously it becomes comical (Knope), and co-workers with every level of commitment in between. Parks and Recreation’s creators take it pretty seriously, too. The fictional City of Pawnee has it’s own website, as does the Parks and Recreation department.
The show’s writers did such a good job at creating the Parks and Recreation department from top to bottom, that without knowing the show, one might even think Pawnee, Indiana was a real city. In terms of fictional workplaces, the Pawnee Parks department ranks number five in our book.
4. STAR Labs (The Flash)
There are a lot of superhero/comic book shows on the air right now, and while many of them feature cool companies, none seem quite as awesome as STAR Labs on the CW’s The Flash. Sure, it was the explosion of STAR Lab’s particle accelerator that caused the outbreak of meta-humans that populate Central City. And yes, employees are never sure if they can fully trust director Dr. Harrison Wells. But these are small prices to pay for the perks.
STAR Labs is responsible for a whole slew of deeds. First, we owe it to the company for developing The Flash’s superhuman capabilities and figuring out ways to stop meta-human threats on a weekly basis. Additionally, STAR is on the brink of discovering the secrets of time travel and possibly cracking the code of inter-dimensional travel. STAR Labs is also routinely responsible for saving Central City and the world at large. And that’s all just on the first floor! The laboratory sits on top of the only maximum security prison capable of restraining super-powered villains, like Captain Cold and King Shark.
If that doesn’t sound like the coolest 9-5 ever, we’re not you will ever find the perfect job. The STAR Labs brand is not one to mess with, and it’s butt-kicking logo has been printed on many t-shirts for lovers of the The Flash, ranking it number 4 on our list.
3. The Bluth Company (Arrested Development)
Working for a family business can be an awkward situation in general. But working for Arrested Development’s Bluth family business was an exercise in non-stop buffoonery, and comprised one of the most beloved yet short-lived TV shows of all time.
Between a jailed patriarch, an alcoholic and comically callous matriarch, and a guy who just wanted to be in The Blue Man Group, the list of characters that the Bluth employees had to deal with was almost as long as the line at the family banana stand on a warm day.
The Bluth’s had a variety of businesses, all ranging from dangerous (The Corn Holer) to clearly illegal (Middle Eastern housing developments). While most of the family businesses were run into the ground by the incompetent offspring of Mr. and Mrs. Bluth, the family business’s name, along with its logo, were monumental.
Working there would have proved stressful for anyone, but there would have been some cool opportunities. Who wouldn’t want to serve as an assistant in Gob’s magic show, or drive the set of airplane stairs that served as the family vehicle. Plus, if the paychecks were ever late, there was always money in the banana stand. The fictional Bluth Company brand stands strong at number 3.
2. Central Perk (Friends)
A lot of shows from the 90s focused on places where the cast hung out, ate meals, and discussed the events of their lives. The most exemplary and perhaps enduring of these was the Central Perk. The Perk acted as the central meeting spot, and provided a cool vibe to watch your favorite characters discuss what they were going to do next. From dates, to job interviews, and everything in between, it all took place downstairs at the coffee shop.
Any way you look at it, it’s hard to argue that serving food and drink to Chandler Bing wouldn’t be an awesome way to earn some extra cash. While it would be nearly impossible to create a spot completely as pertinent in real life, the cafe’s name and logo are still widely famous in the non-fiction world, making it our second best fictional business.
1. Dunder Mifflin (The Office)
In 2016, taking a job in the paper industry is questionable at best. But when that paper company is run by Michael Scott, its’ top salesmen are Jim Halpert and Dwight Schrute, and the warehouse is run by Daryl Philbin, taking that job becomes a no-brainer.
No company in history has made office supplies seem funnier, but the real secret of Dunder Mifflin’s work environment is that even amidst Jim’s pranks, Michael’s inappropriateness, and Ryan and Kelly’s office romance, it was always clear that the core characters on the show really cared about each other. Sure, selling paper could get boring and may be on the fast track to being completely obsolete, but there’s always the chance Jim will put your stapler in a Jell-O mold, or Michael will drop the perfect “That’s What She Said” joke, and it will all be worth it.
Dunder Mifflin, Inc. also has its own website, and is another fictional workplace you just might think was real without knowing The Office prior to encountering the brand, making it the top our list of television’s fictional workplaces.