#2. Aqua Teen Hunger Force
Aqua Teen Hunger Force was one of the original shows on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block of late-night programming, and it's been on the air for over a decade. When people say that they like "random humor," they're talking about Aqua Teen; there's little to no structure, and episodes barely have a plot. The show is what you see when you're tripping balls in a McDonald's.
Or accidentally eat a Filet-O-Fish.
If you started watching the show from the beginning right now, you wouldn't be able to tell that what you're watching is a random assortment of funny weirdness. When Aqua Teen Hunger Force (aka Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1, aka Aqua Something You Know Whatever -- the show has changed its name more times than an FBI informant on the run from the mob) was first pitched, it was pitched with a structure and a central conceit -- it was a detective show. Early episodes were about Frylock, Master Shake, and Meatwad solving a mystery. These "detective" episodes began the same way: A pair of mad scientists named Dr. Weird and Steve would create an evil creature or a deadly device, only to watch it escape their lab about four seconds later and go on to torment the trio's neighborhood. It was basically the same setup as every episode of Power Rangers.
"Finally, after 10,000 years I can shoot a bunch of random assholes at you from the moon!"
That premise lasted three episodes. Dr. Weird and Steve and their lab-created monsters almost entirely disappeared by the second season. The investigative element was gone. In the fourth episode, you can actually see the point the creators of the show dump the premise, as the monsters of the week just kind of show up.
The only reason Aqua Teen was pitched as a detective show was because Cartoon Network executives "didn't want to air a show about food just going around and doing random things," according to the show's creators. So they wrote a few episodes that made good on their promise, only to spoon the premise into a dog bowl after they shouted "My God! What the hell is that?!" and Cartoon Network executives turned around to look. The creators of the show have been writing it their way* ever since.
* "Their way" is defined as "crazy shit happens for 11 minutes."
20th Century Fox/Paramount
Titanic is one of the biggest, most financially successful and culturally dominating movies of all time -- and the only reason it exists is because James Cameron told a little lie that swindled a major media conglomerate out of a ton of money so he could chase a dream that was only partially connected to the movie we know today.
And I'm sure studio executives were really broken up about it, too.
20th Century Fox wanted to secure a long-term relationship with Cameron, so Cameron pounced on that opportunity by pitching them a massively ambitious story about the sinking of the RMS Titanic. Fox executives weren't crazy about the idea of a three-hour Romeo and Juliet on a boat made of middle fingers pointed at God. James Cameron, on the other hand, is an evil genius who knows how the mind of a studio executive works, so he withheld his true intentions and spoke to the executives in their language to get what he really wanted. He told them that to get the shots of the sunken ship that would open the movie, they would have to give him money so he could pretend he's Jacques Cousteau and film the sunken remains with IMAX cameras, and that the whole venture could be used as a major marketing point for the eventual ad campaign.
If you haven't figured out what Cameron's true intentions were, I'll let him explain: "Titanic was about 'fuck you' money. It came along at a point in my life when I said, 'I can make movies until I'm 80, but I can't do expedition stuff when I'm 80.'" If you're still not convinced James Cameron is a badass filmmaking con artist, he also said this: "I made Titanic because I wanted to dive to the shipwreck, not because I particularly wanted to make the movie."
"Fuck you" -James Cameron
It wasn't until he was down among the wreckage that he realized something very important about his con: It suddenly occurred to him that "it sort of becomes a great mantle of responsibility to convey the emotional message of it -- to do that part of it right, too." The word "too" says a lot. The movie that would go on to become the highest grossing movie of all time while collecting a shit-ton of Oscars in the process, including a Best Director Oscar, all happened because James Cameron really wanted to look at a shipwreck more than anything and fibbed a little to make it happen.
That man's balls must be wondrous to behold. Like the Heart of the Ocean necklace draped with a penis.