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"Is this a get rich quick scheme? Of course! Who wants to get rich slow?"
After years of failure with get rich quick schemes, I know I'm going to get rich with this scheme...and quick!—Homer Simpson, The Simpsons
Most people have careers that allow them to live comfortably, some people have very well paying jobs, fewer still have jobs that would allow them to be "rich", and still even fewer have Big Bux.
When a character wants to get Big Bux they often don't try more common varieties of accruing wealth like bumping off rich relatives, stealing, or being a miser. They go for a Get Rich Quick Scheme sometimes resulting in a If I Were a Rich Man moment and often overlapping with a Zany Scheme or Step Three: Profit.
Common variations of this trope is that the Get Rich Quick person thinks working is a Get Rich Quick Scheme or that they fall for someone else's Get Rich Quick Scheme.
Also see Mock Millionaire, who's typically involved in one way or another.
- Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure, part four. Josuke, Okuyasu, and Fatty come up with a way to use Fatty's Stand to get rich in a hurry (have Harvest seek out discarded lottery tickets). They actually expected a more modest return than the ticket Harvest did find, but that one was plenty...(Too bad Josuke's mother confiscated the ticket winnings for investment)
- Fables. One of Jack's get rich quick schemes was to become a hero of the Civil War and then marry into a wealthy Southern family.
- Alluded to in Maverick.
Maverick: I had to hot-foot it out of there, as it wouldn't be long before Joseph had a scheme to help me reinvest my newly-acquired thousand.
- Sets the plot in motion in Layer Cake. The protagonists' boss, Jimmy Price, has lost a bundle on stupid investments and fires off a bunch of these, chiefly by stealing a bunch of ecstasy from some other gangsters, embezzling the savings of his underling and shopping his villainous colleagues to the police.
- The Phil Silvers Show was all about this. It was originally called You'll Never Get Rich.
- On The Honeymooners, Ralph is constantly throwing away his and Norton's wages on foolish get-rich-quick schemes.
- In the Doctor Who episode "Father's Day", Rose meets her father, who's up to his neck in get-rich-quick schemes. Rose calls him a 'bit of a Del Boy'.
- Subverted when they travel to a parallel Earth where her father was not killed in a car accident/time loop. The Get Rich Quick Scheme mentioned in the previous season took off and made Rose's father into a millionaire and legitimate businessman.
- Arthur Daley's stock-in-trade on Minder.
- Makes up most of the plots of Only Fools and Horses; Del Boy's catchphrase is "this time next year, we'll be millionaires!"
- Cedric and Lovita did many of these on The Steve Harvey Show.
- In I Love Lucy the girls, and sometimes the boys, got involved in get-rich-quick schemes. For example, Lucy and Ethyl selling cuts from a side of beef they inadvertently bought; making and selling salad dressing, which cost more to make and sell than they charged; Ricky and Fred buying Canadian Allied Petroleum stock based on Lucy's note: Can All Pet (dog food for a neighbor). There are others.
- Al Bundy tried several of these on Married... with Children. They worked out about as well as you'd expect.
- Trevet from Walker, Texas Ranger was prone to doing this, and failing miserably. It didn't help he would get Walker involved, without his knowledge.
- Joe Dominguez from Nash Bridges.
- Discussed with utter contempt in Styx's "Rockin' the Paradise":
Don't need no fast-buck, lame-duck profits for fun
Quick-trick plans take the money and run
We need long-term, slow-burn, gettin' it done
A straight-talkin', hard-workin' son-of-a-gun
- The Navy Lark. CPO Pertwee's doomed-to-failure get-rich-quick schemes form a staple plot device.
- Sid James was full of these in Hancock's Half Hour.
- The basis of every part of Crystal Caves. The main character, Mylo, keeps bungling into one Get Rich Quick Scheme after another (he's so famous for this that this got him a entry in the Galactic Encyclopedia) and isn't afraid to cooperate with people with names like Mr. Rip Eweoff. Each episode involves him trying to collect enough crystals to buy another inevitably fail-prone business (such as the farm of Explosive Breeders who turn out to be too explosive in this regard, or a farm of slugs which happens to be built on top of a salt mine). His luck turns around in the end of episode three; after a solar system he just bought explodes, Mylo sets up a burger shop near the resulting scenic nebula.
- Tale Spin. Many of Baloo's Get Rich Quick Schemes are successful, but the prize is always taken away by some unfortunate stroke of luck.
- Approximately 90% of Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy episodes.
- The Simpsons...
Homer: This isn't just another one of those get rich quick schemes. This scheme is guaranteed to get us rich... and quick!
- Family Guy. Peter needs to raise $50,000 fast or he'll lose his house.
Quagmire: Well, you could whore yourself out to 1,000 fat chicks for 50 bucks each. Or 50 REALLY fat chicks for 1,000 bucks. What? Don't look at me like that. Fat chicks need love, too. But they gotta pay.
- Fred Flintstone concocted a new get-rich-quick scheme every 5 or 6 episodes. His battlecry was, "Barney, we're gonna be rich!"
- This impulse is the basis for an enormous number of scams both on and off the internet, of course.
- Homicidal maniacs and earth-detroyer wannabes have the option of nuking cities. Since it kills proportionally more than it destroys assets, you could end up wealthier. That is, if you survive.