Sitcoms are like the TV version comfort food: Goofy with a touch of drama every now and then to keep it interesting. But if we’re being honest, sitcoms are so unrealistic. While pretty much everything on TV is blown up and dramatized, sitcoms tend to take that fantasy element a bit overboard.
If we were to start comparing our lives to the ones featured in Friends or Sex and the City and The Office, we’d start to feel like we were doing something majorly wrong.
Need convincing? Check out all these ways that the sitcom-life has given us completely unrealistic expectations for real life:
1. You will live in a beautiful, spacious NYC apartment – no matter your financial situation
Every sitcom character has a beautiful home or apartment — but the ones in based in NYC give crazy expectations. How Monica Gellar and Rachel Green afforded that massive NYC apartments on Friends is a question for the ages. When the show began, Monica was a struggling chef and Rachel was a waitress at a coffee shop.
Rent controlled or not, those aren’t exactly lucrative career paths that make keeping up an expensive apartment in Greenwich Village a viable option. Also, have you seen 2 Broke Girls? If they’re so “broke,” then how can they afford that humongous space in Williamsburg on a waitress’ salary? Even if any of these people actually could afford to live in these neighborhoods one thing is for sure, acting as though all NYC apartments aren’t the size of a cardboard box is just nonsense.
Need more examples? Just look here.
2. Bad boys are always closeted romantics
I hate to burst the bubble here but sometimes “bad boys” are just douchebags. No, they’re not all secretly sensitive and romantic tortured souls who just need the “right girl” to come reveal their best selves. And even if they do opt for that “grand romantic gesture,” it doesn’t (or it shouldn’t) negate all the crappy things they did before.
Sex and the City‘s Carrie Bradshaw was treated like dirt by Mr. Big and still ended up with him because he ~saved her~ after another guy slapped her (clearly her taste in men leaves something to be desired). Chris Noth‘s Mr. Big was a commitment-phobic, cheating, jerk but one grand gesture made him seem like Prince Charming.
Um, nope. He’s still a loser, but now he’s a loser who did something nice once.
3. Your entire friend group dating each other never causes problems
In real life, this is definitely not normal and ultimately usually leads to the whole group disbanding. But on TV, these complicated love-triangles all existing within one group of friends is basically the norm.
On That ’70s Show Jackie dates THREE people in the core friend group. In reality, when she broke up with her first friend-group conquest Kelso, the group would have had to pick one side and ousted the other. On Friends, the only person who doesn’t date anyone within the group is Phoebe… which is just bizarre!
4. It’s normal to get all dressed up just to hang out at home
People on sitcoms seem to have no understanding of what sweatpants are. Unless the point is “OMG, look at the cute sad girl wearing sweats and eating ice cream” no one is ever dressed down on a sitcom. And that’s just bonkers. Sitcom ladies work all day, come home, and cook dinner in their work clothes! What?! If you don’t take your pants off the moment you get home from work then you’re probably a robot, just sayin’.
5. Everyone is having casual sex literally all the time
On shows like Friends and How I Met Your Mother every first date ends in sex. And there’s usually only one date. There’s so much casual sex on sitcoms that someone even calculated how much sex the friends on Friends had! Joey had 51.5 sexual partners during the show’s run and Phoebe was keepin’ it real with a cool 32.5 sexual partners. (P.S. Jerry on Seinfeld had over 70 lovers.)
How much sex a person has and who they have it with is absolutely their prerogative but who meets that many attractive, viable sexual partners like, all the time?! The bigger issue is also that nobody talks about safe sex and sexual health on sitcoms except for the occasional condom joke. Sure, it’s not sexy, but it’s definitely important.
6. Also — Orgasms!
Speaking of sexy time, any lady knows that this whole “women orgasming every time during sex” sitcom expectation is a total farce. Shows like SatC and HIMYM make it seem like women are having mind-blowingly pleasurable sex whenever they get it on and, well, that just isn’t reality. In fact, most women have difficulty orgasming on a regular basis with a partner — let alone doing it every single time. Thus, climaxing at the same time as your partner is a bit difficult, too — not that a sitcom would ever show you that.
But at least sitcoms get one thing right (usually): orgasms or not, women love sex just as much as men.
7. Babies are an afterthought and don’t consume every moment of your day to day life
Babies, pregnancies, and “who’s the father?” storylines are only used as plot devices in sitcoms. While the pregnancy and ensuing labor can last an entire season, don’t count on seeing the actual baby nearly as long. In sitcom world, everyone always has money for 24/7 babysitters so their lives aren’t interrupted by something silly like, you know, their child. Also, when they’re home with the baby, (s)he never cries or makes a single peep so you’d hardly know the kid was there if it weren’t for the crib in the corner.
Obviously, in real life this is so far from the truth. Your baby is your life and takes up basically every moment of every day. There is no skirting around parenthood and dating with a newborn is difficult.
8. Going to sleep in full makeup is completely normal and sanitary
Go to sleep looking good and you’ll wake up looking good right? Eh, not so much. Not only does falling asleep in full makeup guarantee mascara streaks across your face but it’s also super unsanitary and will likely just lead to breakouts (not that a sitcom character would ever have something ~so rare~ as acne).
Don’t let the perfect sitcom-star skin fool you — going to sleep with a full face of makeup definitely causes more harm than good.
9. You don’t need to lock your doors because no one’s ever going to break in. Plus, your zany friends need to let themselves in
Ever notice how nobody locks their doors on sitcoms? In shows like King of Queens and Grounded for Life, there seems to be a revolving door of characters letting themselves in. In the quiet suburban life of sitcom-world, there are no robbers to worry about, but god forbid your wacky brother not be able to get in!
Obviously, in real life, this is not something you can do. Even in quiet suburbia anything can happen. Get your friends and family keys and call it a day.
10. Houses and apartments are always spotless and perfectly decorated, no actual time spent cleaning required
When was the last time you saw someone in a sitcom clean? Well, besides Monica Geller from Friends — though to be fair that turned into more of a quirky plot point than actual apartment upkeep. Other than Mon, most TV homeowners don’t own a broom!
ven the “messy” apartments like the one on How I Met Your Mother look a little too perfectly quirky and mismatched. That, plus the fact that most sitcom homes look like they’ve been professionally decorated (riddle me this: where’s the Ikea furniture?!), makes you wonder how they afforded an interior decorator AND their NYC rent.
11. Grand romantic gestures are normal and you definitely shouldn’t date anyone who doesn’t do them
The “grand romantic gesture” is the cornerstone of TV romance. Chasing after your significant other in the rain, planning an extravagant proposal, or getting off a plane to freakin’ PARIS for them — all within the realm of possibility. These are simply crazy gestures that IRL no one has the time or the money for. I’m sorry — but if you see me giving up on my dream job in a beautiful city for some schmuck, you can punch me in the face.
Practicality may be “boring” but it’s a necessity in real-world relationships and life. Boring, but stable, relationships >>>>> crazy, unpredictable and messy relationships that rely on “grand romantic gestures.” Big girl relationships for the win.
12. Breakups are relatively clean and easy to get over
Yeah, this is definitely only in the sitcom world. On Happy Endings, Alex leaves Dave at the altar on their wedding day and they’re hanging out like it was NBD two episodes later. Carrie Bradshaw got broken up with on a post-it and somehow didn’t go postal on Berger’s ass. Where are the 600 drunk texts and random crying phone calls? Where’s the episode six months later where the character has gained/lost ten pounds and is clearly still not over it?
Hanging out days later? You’ve gotta be kidding me!
13. Maintaining adult friendships is super easy
In sitcoms, “the gang” always has time to meet at their fave spot to hang out for hours on end. What else are they going to do, work all day? Unfortunately, in real life things get so busy sometimes you don’t see your closest friends for months on end or you only see them late on Friday nights when you’re going out to the bars. Seriously, you’re lucky if you get a Snapchat from your BFF once a day — let alone seeing them! Balancing a career and a relationship daily is hard enough — add in five needy friends? Impossible.
14. “Your seat” at your go-to spot will always be open for you
The coffee shop couch on Friends was prime real estate but somehow it was always free whenever the gang came to hang out. Same goes for the favorite cafe booth on Seinfeld and the pub’s table on How I Met Your Mother.
Not only is that totally unrealistic, but who in the world can afford to spend money at the same bar or coffee shop every single day!? Those $5 NYC lattes add up, folks.
15. You can eat whatever you want and drink like a fish and never get bigger than your size 2 frame
On Will & Grace, Debra Messing‘s character was always eating and getting bombed but you’d never know it from her slim figure. Same with 30 Rock‘s Liz Lemon, who literally prided herself on her “night cheese” game. Should we even get into Gilmore Girls? Lorelai actually thinks she’s pregnant because she ate a fruit!
Sitcom girls have the benefit of, well, not actually eating and drinking all that junk. Sure, some lucky people have fast metabolisms and really can eat and drink like a horse without it showing at all — but with the prevalence of that type of gal on sitcoms, you’d think it was the norm!
16. You can basically be unemployed and still have all the latest fashions and a shoe closet the size of a two bedroom apartment
Carrie Bradshaw, tell me, how did you do it? Her collection of Manolos was enough to make any fashion girl drool. The only problem was that it definitely didn’t make sense with her newspaper columnist salary. Sure, she probably charged a lot but… still! A pair of Manolo’s would actually cost half a paycheck so we may need to stick to Target and Nordstrom Rack to satisfy our shoe obsession. Carrie’s not the only TV gal who can seemingly shop without any budget, but she’s definitely the most obvious about it.
17. No one actually has to go to work during the day
How did the patrons of the bar in Cheers all happen to be there in the middle of day all the time? How about the Friends gang hanging out at the coffee shop in the middle of the day on a Wednesday? Did these people not have jobs?! Did they never have to stay late at the office?! Well, they did both of these things, but only when it was convenient to the plot.
How are they supposed to get into crazy hijinks with their silly jobs getting in the way? We, unfortunately, have the burden of knowing that there is no skipping your day job to hang with your friends. You can’t just leave work in the middle of the day to chill and the return later.
This is one way I totally wish real life was like a sitcom.