Ten enviable, but not necessarily realistic, TV homes

Take a closer look at the sometimes ridiculous dwelling places of ten well-known television shows.

There are few things quite as frustrating for those bunked away in crappy, overpriced rentals as watching sitcom characters putter around in homes that—in real life—would be astronomically expensive even with a steady income (which television characters often mysteriously lack.) Whether it be the NYC-based Friends apartment or the California-cool New Girl loft that’s causing a big dose of sitcom real estate envy, do have a look at some of television’s most enviable living situations—presented below in order of least to most realistic.

The Cosby Show and Big Bang Theory take the honors as the most realistic. Even as the average new American home has increased over the decades, might TV homes have increased even more?

As this is not the first article I have seen on this topic in recent months, I wonder what the outcomes of such analyses. One way to go would be to get into a discussion of how realistic TV shows should be. How much should television portray real circumstances of Americans who as a whole have a median household income around $50,000? In order to be good shows, do they have to present something close to reality? Or, do Americans prefer entertainment that is more aspirational? Perhaps there are audiences for both though the general trend seems to be that fans are not very worried about whether the homes are realistic.

A more interesting route would be to consider what effect these depictions of homes have on viewers. As sociologist Juliet Schor argues, does this give viewers a different reference group? Schor suggests when Americans see “normal” TV life – which, in reality, it typically upper class life even when the characters are supposed to be middle or working-class – they readjust their own consumption patterns to match those on TV. So, if viewers of Sex and the City see single women in New York enjoying rather large apartments, they then expect to find such places for themselves and might be beyond their means to make it happen.

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