As a person sharing a name with one of the characters of the show, I have decided that I am now capable of expressing the inconsistencies and unrealistic expectations that these shows set up for us twenty-something people of the world. (Sidenote: if I hear another Chnandler Bong reference, I might change my name to Princess Consuela Banana Hammock) I love these shows just as much as any other girl in the 15-85 year old range. Friends, Happy Endings, How I Met Your Mother, even Community all share this same theme of a group of twenty-somethings growing up in the real world together. It’s a wonderful premise and obviously, lucrative for major TV networks. We love seeing the shenanigans the characters get themselves into and the relationships that they fall in and out of. However, more recently, I’ve started to feeling frustrated and yelling at my television as I watch my favorite sitcoms. This is probably derived from actually hitting my own mid-20’s and wondering why I don’t spend all of my time in a hip coffee shop/bar with my six bestest and most eccentric friends. Either way, I’ve decided to pinpoint the problems that I have with these sitcoms and try and understand why my life isn’t more like theirs.
10) The One Where These People’s Apartments Should Be On An Episode of Cribs
Again, these people live in the most expensive cities in the country. If I were attempting to get an apartment in any of these cities the size of their “humble” abodes, I might have to sell two kidneys and all of my eggs and that would probably only give me enough money for a year. Even with the concept of rent control, I find it hard to believe that all of these young adults have been so fortunate in life. Or maybe, I’m just bitter.
9) The One Where Their Closet Resembles Narnia
We’ve already discussed their enormous apartments but can we just review the fact that their closets must be Carrie Bradshaw end-of-the-1st-movie style? No one ever seems to wear the same thing twice. Even their lounging clothes don’t get used twice. Jane, from Happy Endings, has more outfits that I can even start to comprehend. In the attempt to be scientifically accurate, I did some research and in the episode, “Ordinary Extraordinarily”, Jane is seen in six different outfits over just, what can be assumed, a two day period. It would take me hours to pick out six different, completely put-together outfits to wear all in a 48 hour time span. And let’s not forget that we won’t see any of those items again. As much as I love all of the cute clothing, I think it’s unfair, like princess Disney movies, to set our expectations so high to only realize that J Crew won’t be sending me clothes unless I get hired for a half hour sitcom co-starring all of my friends.
8) The One Where They Are Always On
Okay, it wouldn’t make for good television to watch these people eat a bag of Doritos on the couch while they watched a marathon of crappy reality television, but isn’t that just a little more realistic? Maybe it’s just a different world for me but my life does not resemble these people’s home lives. None of them even sit around in sweatpants on their laptops stalking ex lovers via Google, Facebook or even Myspace. At least not without a full face of makeup and perfect shiny hair.
7) The One Where the Unemployed Friend Can Pay For Everything Without Selling a Liver
Okay, we sometimes saw Joey watching himself in his soap opera. Sometimes. I don’t know what soap opera actors make but I feel confident that it’s probably not enough to live in Manhattan, instead of Brooklyn. I will say that their apartment was considerably smaller than Monica and Rachel’s apartment but let’s not forget Phoebe. This woman has some sort of crazy talent because she worked as a masseuse (again, only sometimes) and managed to live by herself. When we actually got to see her apartment in later episodes, I was flabbergasted that she had the apartment she did when she sang at the coffee shop and massaged people for a living. Maybe I just underestimate how much back stress people have in New York City.
6) The One Where It’s Not So Legal Smeagol (had to do the LOTR reference)
How many times have we seen these people do very illegal things with no consequence? I can, without sufficient research, recall legitimate cases of stalking, vandalism, breaking and entering, and even assault. Ross Gellar might actually be on the No Fly list for the amount of run ins that he has in airports. Side Note: These people continuously buy tickets to random exotic places just to get past security in airports. Like, that flight to Tahiti isn’t $1500? You don’t live in one of the most expensive cities in the world? Oh wait, you have a job with no responsibilities but an unlimited salary with an apartment of 2500 square feet. Where are all of the unicorns and leprechauns that I expected in this world?
5) The One Where They Actually Go to Work: How do they have all this free time? How is the entire show not of these characters napping on the coach?
If my life consisted of a regular, full-time job that was both financially and personally fulfilling but did not require me ever doing any work or being at any workplace, I think I might live like these people. Oh wait, no I wouldn’t because I would realistically be on my couch, endlessly ordering things from amazon.com that I have no room for, and watching copious amounts of these sitcoms or traveling all over the world with a handsome man. I would NOT be hanging in a coffee shop. Okay, I might spend some time in a coffee shop. There are only three purposes of these people having jobs: 1) to set up funny situations where they proceed to get fired, 2) to give an excuse for how they can even afford to live in the city, and 3) to supply more romantic interests for Ross. I’m sorry, the man kinda got around.
4) The One Where I Quote Toy Story: “I don’t like confrontations!”
When I get mad at someone, my natural reaction is to lock it deep down inside of me never to surface again until I reach the comfort of my own home where a rage emerges that could only be compared to something resembling the Hulk. Granted, there is way less clothes ripping– I ain’t made-o-money, peeps. This rage is then transferred into passive-aggressive text messages and tweets. I can’t imagine having a confrontation face-to-face in front of other family, friends, or random people in restaurants. These people have confrontations like no one I’ve ever known. That makes these characters “those people”– people that I might not really want to invite to dinner because they may decide to discuss their previous sexual relationships with each other or bring their weird one night stand to dinner. I’m not even going to cover their ability to completely get over any issue that they have with one another without so much as one realistic silent treatment or angry text message conversation. I think a majority of my fights with friends have been had and resolved via text. I, once, fought and resolved an entire fight with a roommate via text while she was in the next room. Then again, my friends couldn’t get into my house to confront me to my face, seeing as how I lock my door and all.
3) The One Where Friendship Means Not Having To Knock Or Call EVER
These friendships are based solely on never communicating when they are not physically with each other. If people just started walking into my house without knocking, calling, or even sending a heads up text, they would get hit with a baseball bat a lot more than normal and they would witness me in my pajamas eating oreos more than a comfortable amount. One, who doesn’t lock their door in New York, LA, Chicago, or any other metropolitan area? I lock my door ALL THE TIME, even when I’m in my house. Mostly so people won’t walk in and witness a sloth-version of myself but safety is also a part of that. Is New York not the same city that Law & Order is set in? I’m waiting for the day that Detective Benson walks in and asks for a description of the weird guy that works at the coffee shop with the platinum blonde hair.
2) The One Where They Act Like Taylor Swift: These Relationships May Not Be As Healthy As We Think They Are
Ross and Rachel seemed so romantic when I was in high school. I wanted my own nerdy paleontologist to fall madly in love with me but now, having grown up a bit and actually gone out on dates with boys, their relationship may not be the model for “healthy”, much like how we love Taylor Swift songs but are slowly realizing she might not be the person to model ourselves after in relationships. I will never argue that they shouldn’t have ended up together (oops, spoiler alert!) but with the flip flopping of a politician, it wasn’t particularly stable. As an observer now, I mostly feel sorry for the rest of the gang in having to deal with the constant unknown of their friends’ relationship– that’s never a fun situation as mutual friends. P.S. I could have written this paragraph about numerous couples in television but I decided that you can merely insert the names of your favorite couple and the facts still apply.
1) The One Where They Are On A Break: these characters handle dating and breaking up with their entire friendship circle WAY better than any human being I’ve ever known
I’ve had breakups before, I’m going through one right now. My friends have had breakups before. Almost everyone on earth has dealt with rejection or broken relationships in some sense of the term. Has there ever been that many well-adjusted individuals that they can completely handle dating not one but several of the people in their social circles, breaking up with said people, and then somehow not drunk dialing these people while you lay with your cat on the floor? There may be a ritual burning of the exes stuff party but there is no evidence of getting drunk, watching The Notebook with the girls, and then proceeding to call the ex to go through the seven steps of grief with their answering machine. (Do you even call your voice mail on your cellphone an answer machine? This baffles me.) These are the characters who weekly create a plan of sabotage in some irrational situation, so how can these people have such seemingly well-adjusted relationships with exes that they continue to share their entire life with? If my ex-boyfriend came home from China with a new girlfriend, I would have jumped into a giant vat of ice cream and started paying rent to live there. I would most definitely not hang out with them and play scrabble. Facebook stalking your ex is way healthier than what these people are doing to themselves.
You can read more from Chandler Watts on her blog.
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