I recently read an article on BrokeAssStuart.com (for which I am also a contributor) about the unrealistic portrayals of young people living in New York City. From 2 Broke Girls “struggling” in their gigantic apartment in Brooklyn (with room enough for a HORSE to live off the kitchen) to the ridiculous apartment shared by Rachel (a waitress) and Monica (a sometimes chef) in the West Village on Friends (look at that humongous living room, will you??).
These shows are spreading a very dangerous (and infuriating) message to those who are actually attempting to thrive in NYC (or any city for that matter). As an avid Friends watcher in the 90s, I have to say that I thought living in NYC looked pretty easy. And when Sex and the City came along, Carrie Bradshaw made journalism look glamorous (and lines of credit look never ending).
The “hustling” lifestyle is a quaint and common motif used in TV and movies (awww, look at that poor hapless supermodel look-alike who has a shitty job and can’t find a boyfriend even though James Marsden keeps trying to charm her pants off… but lives in a 3000 square foot loft – spare me). But with new shows like 2 Broke Girls and even Happy Endings and New Girl (seriously LOVE these 2 shows) there’s a great opportunity to show the financial woes of the 99% while still making us laugh. While there doesn’t seem to be any sign of student loan debt or low credit scores for the Chicagoans on Happy Endings, the 4 roommies (yes, 4) on New Girl seem like a better sampling of late 20/early 30 somethings (a teacher, a bartender, a marketing assistant, a personal trainer… and no clear indication if there are loftier goals ahead).
Now, I realize for the purposes of entertainment (and studio size) that television shows can’t show the harsh reality of real life real estate and the pathetic job market. Come on, that would be depressing… we watch TV for an escape. It’s just pretty annoying that television (really just sitcoms) can’t make an attempt to show more financial accuracy… instead TV perpetuates the myth that city living isn’t so bad as long as you have a few good pals to meet you at the bar downstairs (ooh, forgot about How I Met Your Mother– I don’t care how Ted met the mother of his kids… I want to know HOW in the hell Robin pays rent and can still afford to have the cutest flipping raincoat ever). And I suppose this is true to some extent… but you get my point… friends don’t pay the bills – they just make you feel better when you can’t!
As for me, I no longer believe the lies my TV told me. I’m still looking out for that dream job (or any job at this point) and I’m thrilled to have a teeny tiny piece of NYC to myself… for $800 a month…
(Yes, that is my new bedroom. To some of you it may look tiny – you have been brainwashed by the aforementioned television shows – but compared to other rooms I’ve seen in the city it is massive… and it has a closet.)
A job will come along soon… and so will a guy – though I won’t delude myself into thinking he will look like James Marsden… oh, but wouldn’t that be nice…
Photo credits: lovelyundergrad.com, adamecker.com, and me… with my iPhone
Blog title song: “The Way We Get By” by Spoon