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Business as Unusual

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One member of our rascally group of oddballs inherits (or has had a lifelong dream of running) a certain type of business — something our rascally group is completely inappropriate doing. Maybe it's a biker gang that suddenly has to serve as the fire department, or the strippers run a gas station, or a group of teenagers try to run a ship, laundromat, or house-painting company. Hilarity Ensues.

One common variation has the villains taking over the business in order to ambush the heroes or evade capture. The key is that they do so poorly, and usually for laughs.


When used as one arc of a longer narrative, it often gives way to a Montage. Also a good opportunity to demonstrate the team bonding.

Related to New Job as the Plot Demands. Subtrope of Fish out of Water.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • During the first season of Pokémon, Giovanni leaves Jessie and James in charge of the Viridian City Gym while he goes out. It ends about as well as you'd expect.

    Live-Action Television 
  • One episode of Arrested Development has Lindsay take over the business for a day, over the course of which the business literally falls apart. Actually, it just moved downstairs when she wasn't looking.
  • Dharma & Greg once broke into a small-town diner to use their phone, but when caught by the police, claimed to be relatives of the owners there to run it while they were away. One thing leads to another, and at closing time, they ended up with quite a bit of money in the till for the owners (despite "Ike's" wooden leg).
  • Frasier and Niles take over a restaurant— and their father later recounts it as the craziest blunder they ever make.
  • On How I Met Your Mother, Ted and Barney convinced the owner of McLaren's not to close early and let them lock up. They open the bar for a couple of hotties they had been trying to hook up earlier and a few of their friends... the entire Arizona Tech marching band. Oh, and they break a few glasses imitating Tom Cruise in Cocktail.
  • Laverne & Shirley: Lenny inherits his uncle's diner ("Laslo's Place"), which he & Squiggy decide to rename ("Dead Laslo's Place") and run themselves, hiring Laverne to be the cook and Shirley as the waitress.

    Western Animation 
  • Kim Possible: Dr Drakken once owned a muffin company. It was more successful than the original evil plan. But he recognised the success and was going to cancel the original plan.
  • The Simpsons:
  • "Homer the Moe": Moe goes off for a few days leaving Homer in charge of the bar.
    Moe: ... and if anyone wants potato chips or anything fancy, tell him to go to Hell.
    Homer: Can do. Now, don't you worry about a thing. gleefully turns on a beer tap, spilling the beer onto the floor
    Moe: shuts off the tap Hey, what are you doing? I gotta pay for that!
    Homer: No, Moe, you've got it all wrong. People buy beer from you.
    Moe isn't confident the bar is in good hands, but he leaves anyway. Before he gets two steps away, there's a huge explosion. When Moe rushes back in, Homer looks at him nonchalantly and says, "I thought you had to go."
  • In House of Mouse, Mickey, Donald and Goofy get cast in this kind of cartoon every few episodes. Generally what makes hilarity ensue isn't that they're unfit to do it, it's that the business itself is ridiculously specific, they end up working for a Jerkass, or their efforts only make some problem worse.
  • This is how Speedy Gonzalez ended up running his pizza place in The Looney Tunes Show. Years ago, the pizzeria was owned by Cool Old Guy Mr Girardi, who eventually decided to retire and move away. Bugs Bunny didn't want his favourite hangout spot to close down, so he bought the place. Of course, he couldn't run it on his own and had to ask Daffy for help. After Bugs named him "Commander-in-Chief of Pizza Operations to get him on board, Daffy started to take the job a little too seriously. They ended up hiring Marvin the Martian, Pete Puma and their friend Porky, and their first day running the restaurant was such a disaster that the local Chinese restaurant sent them a gift basket to thank them for all the costumers their awful service had sent their way. Speedy called Bugs out on the decision to buy the restaurant like this, since he never wanted to run a restaurant and his "I want a place to hang out with my friends" problem could be fixed by converting his garage. Bugs didn't convert his garage, but he wised uo: He locked Daffy, Marvin and Pete in the fridge so they wouldn't get in anyone's way, and let Speedy take care of all the work since he was fast enough, responsible enough, and genuinely passionate about making people happy and being surrounded with cheese all day. Eventually, the only decision that made sense was to give the restaurant over to Speedy.