if you are over 30 you may remember that in 1996, fox aired a show called profit that ran for 5 episodes before being cancelled. there were 9 total that had been filmed, and i recently wasted 7 hours of my life watching them all.
you can pick any mid-90’s fox show and it would have a 83% chance of being the most ridiculous show you’ve ever seen, but profit somehow rises above them all as the king of cheesedick 90’s schlock.
jim profit is the title character and, i guess, protagonist. we learn early on that he was raised by a hillbilly father in rural kentucky and spent his formative years locked in a cardboard box that had a hole in it so he could watch tv. he also had an incestuous relationship with his stepmother bobbi, who steals the spotlight in her return to his life while acting as both foil and sidekick, all the while dropping dialogue so over the top you can almost feel the camera man trying to steady the frame and not succumb to his shoulders as they shake up and down in laughter.
sample quote: “jimmy, you got what i need and you ain’t afraid to use it.” this is said as she aggressively shoves her hands down his pants and basically winks at the camera without actually making eye contact with the audience.
the opening theme is some kind of amalgam between the howling from the good, the bad and the ugly “ahhh-uhh-ahhh-uhh-ahhh… wah-wah-wah” soundtrack and what sounds like a b-side to some mid-90’s techno instrumental. the show also uses a voiceover from profit’s character, which is done in such a weirdly hushed monotone that he sounds like the cobra commander whispering dialogue from a bad soap opera.
the show follows “jimmy” and his quest to take over the company he’s just been hired to work for, which -in a huge coincidence- is the same company whose name and logo graced the cardboard box that he spent his entire childhood in. jimmy goes to great lengths to gain the trust of the two brothers now running the family business and rise from a mid level executive to their right hand man.
he does this with the help of bobbi, his secretary gail whom he blackmails within the first 30 seconds of meeting, and a home computer that somehow has access to literally any and every computer-based information in the world, from the fbi to the hospital that is holding gail’s dying mother.
gail takes care of the majority of the paperwork-related scheming at the office, while bobbi helps in the social sabotaging. this includes trying to break up both of the brothers’ respective marriages by profit having an affair with one of their wives himself while bobbi goes after the other wife who is conveniently a closet lesbian, then dumping her to go after the woman’s now ex-husband.
what i love most is profit’s steadfast and unwavering confidence that everything will go his way. because it does: if someone is impeding him, he usually just murders them and blames it on someone else who is also impeding him. this show makes no bones about the endgame, which is profit’s rise to kingmaker-type power and steamrolling anyone that even remotely resembles an enemy, and the more unbelievable his actions are the more it makes me want to root for him.
i can’t in good conscience give this show an actual recommendation, but all the episodes are on youtube and if you’re looking for something mindless and somewhat entertaining that also provides a touch of perverted nostalgia, knock yourself out.
here’s the first episode: