Imagine that you’re living in a luxurious apartment in New York City. It comes with a spacious living room, two bedrooms, and a stunning view of the city. And you want to know the best part? You can actually afford it all (and take care of other expenses like groceries, utilities, and student loan payments) with the salary of a freelance artist.
Sounds like a fairy tale, doesn’t it? But if you happen to be a fictional character in a Hollywood film or TV show, this is pretty much the norm.
We all know by now that Hollywood doesn’t really pride itself on being realistic, from their lack of diverse female protagonists to their over-the-top, titillating sex scenes. But the fact of the matter is, we still eat it all up like candy. And it doesn’t change the fact that we, in turn, start to have unrealistic expectations for ourselves. The same rings true whenever we see the lavish lifestyles of our favorite fictional characters, even though their salaries aren’t much bigger than ours (and that’s assuming that they have salaries at all).
See which fictional characters live in the most unrealistic homes.
1. Will and Grace on Will & Grace
To be fair, with his salary as an attorney, Will could probably afford to live in this fancy Upper West Side apartment. However, Grace’s earnings didn’t even come close. She worked as an interior designer, which means she made about less than half her roommate’s salary. We’re assuming that Will took over a huge chunk of the bill, so Grace got lucky.
2. Penny Hofstadter on The Big Bang Theory
Before Sheldon and Amy moved into Apartment 4B, Penny had the one-bedroom space all to herself. It came with one bathroom and an open-floor plan big enough to fit a kitchen, a living room area, and a small dining table. At the time, Penny was a struggling actress who worked as a waitress at the Cheesecake Factory. To this day, we still can’t understand how she was able to make the rent. But we’re guessing that those dinner visits to Leonard and Sheldon’s old place saved her a few extra expenses.
3. Jess, Nick, Winston, and Schmidt on New Girl
Yes, it’s four people who are splitting the rent — but that doesn’t fool us. The fact that all of these guys didn’t have sustainable full-time jobs from the get-go makes their living situation ridiculously far-fetched. Before Winston became a cop, Schmidt was the only one in the group who brought in a steady income as a marketing associate. Jess got fired as a teacher and started working casual jobs, Nick was a law school dropout struggling support himself as a bartender, and Winston was basically unemployed. Things have changed since then, but there’s no way this group could’ve afforded this giant four-bedroom LA loft… especially not at first.
4. Chuck and Morgan on Chuck
After Chuck’s sister and her husband moved out, he decided to share his large Burbank home with his partner in crime, Morgan. There was just one problem though: As employees at an electronics store, both of them weren’t making much more than minimum wage.
Perhaps Chuck was getting a bunch of bonuses for his undercover missions with Sarah and Casey, so we’re assuming that he took on a larger share of the rent. However, if we were living with our bestie and we suddenly noticed that they had a ton of extra cash coming in, we’d get pretty curious and ask them to fess up.
5. Lily and Marshall on How I Met Your Mother
This apartment has seen its fair share of tenants, but it’s kind of hard to believe that these two were able to keep up with the rent when it was just them and their new baby. While at first, they had their third roommate, Ted to help pay the bills (even that seems far-fetched based on the size of their digs), eventually Ted gives them the space for their family. At this point, Lily also, somehow, managed to keep another apartment of her own in Chinatown on a school teacher’s salary. Something doesn’t add up here…
6. Monica and Rachel on Friends
Rachel was a waitress and Monica was a mediocre chef (who was unemployed for a while, FYI). But from the looks of their apartment, these two were living large. Their place had a spacious living room area, a bathroom, two bedrooms and a balcony. These days, just the idea of a waitress and chef living in such a luxurious spot in NYC is laughable.
We’re also just going to ignore the fact that Ross was living in an apartment nearby by himself on a professor’s salary.
7. Ben and Sean on Felicity
Well, student housing never looked so attractive. On the show, Sean was an unemployed inventor while Ben was a Dean & Deluca employee who (temporarily) suffered a gambling addiction. Still, both of them shared a pretty fancy loft. But if they lived in the real world, they’d be lucky to have a place that’s half as nice.
8. Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City
We’re starting to suspect that Carrie secretly picked money from trees. Even though she worked as a freelance writer, she had an apartment that seemed fit for a movie star. Her Upper East Side home featured one huge bedroom, a spacey kitchen, and walk-in closet filled with designer shoes and clothes. Considering her spending habits, the fact that she was able to afford that place is still a mystery.
9. Kramer on Seinfeld
Throughout the show, we’ve seen the high school dropout work different part-time jobs that probably paid next to nothing. And aside from that, we were given no details about how he managed to pay the bills or keep up with his expenses (though it’s clear that he never had to worry about food, judging by how often he ate at Jerry’s).
Even so, the guy still lived in an apartment on the Upper West Side that was large enough to fit a hot tub… Just let that sink in for a minute.
10. Maggie and Liza on Younger
Maggie is an artist and Liza is an assistant at the publishing firm. Oh, and let’s not forget that Liza’s ex left her and her daughter in a major financial hole, which means that she’s actually struggling to support herself. So one has to wonder: How in the world can these two ladies afford such a spacious Brooklyn loft? We feel like we’re missing something here.
11. Hannah Horvath on Girls
Though she did a great job of portraying a struggling millennial in season one, her apartment couldn’t be further from realistic – especially when you take expenses into account. Before Hannah switched jobs, she worked for minimum wage at a coffee shop. And yet, she also lived in a decent-sized, fully furnished Greenpoint apartment.
…Yeah, that doesn’t sound sketchy at all.
12. Rachel and Kurt on Glee
Fresh out of high school, a 19-year-old Kurt invited Rachel to live with him in his giant loft in Bushwick. Of course, she happily agreed and the two were somehow able to make rent with one being an intern at Vogue and the other being a NYADA student. One might argue that they at least had Santana’s help after she moved in, but prior to joining the gang, she dropped out of her cheerleading college program because she hated it. Kurt was the only one with an income, and we’re pretty sure that it didn’t even come close to the amount they’d have to fork up for the bills.
13. Dev Shah on Master of None
Dev lives in a gorgeous one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan. And his occupation? A commercial actor who only landed one major gig in a Go-Gurt ad. Either he got a fortune for that gig or he has a secret side hustle that we have yet to learn about. Like, how else could he afford this pad?
14. Kathleen in You’ve Got Mail
In the movie, she runs an independent bookstore called The Shop Around The Corner – and business isn’t exactly booming. But, by some miracle, Kathleen is able to rent a beautiful, furnished apartment on the Upper West Side. If we didn’t know any better, we’d have assumed that she actually owned a chain of bookstores.
15. Don Draper on Mad Men
Don works as a creative director at Sterling, Cooper & Partners. It sounds pretty fancy, but take into account that he works for an advertising agency that’s failing.
In spite of this, he’s somehow able to rent a luxurious Park Avenue pad. It’s got a beautiful patio with a view of the city, spacious rooms that are fully furnished, and pricey-looking decor. It’s literally every New Yorker’s dream.
16. Josh Baskin in Big
The 12-year-old’s experience as an adult was laughably inaccurate and so over-the-top, but it sure was entertaining. After becoming a 30-year-old man, Josh was easily able to snag a job as a clerk at MacMillan Toy Company. But then he met the company’s owner and got promoted to “toy tester,” which apparently paid a huge enough salary for him to afford a giant loft. If adulthood were really this easy, then we definitely wouldn’t miss our childhood days as much.
17. Jane Adler in It’s Complicated
So apparently, owning a successful bakery brings in enough cash to support three kids and maintain an immaculate home that’s fit for an A-list celebrity. But that’s not even the craziest part because, in the film, Jane is also a divorcée. Even though she’s on her own, she still has enough money to spare to remodel her entire place. Who knew that owning one small business could be so lucrative?
18. Dylan on Friends With Benefits
In this film, Dylan is an art director for a small internet company. And as for where he lives? Well, it’s a gigantic Manhattan apartment with a pretty decent view. A place like that would cost a fortune these days. There’s no way Dylan could afford that spot without the help of like, five roommates.
19. Barry and Iris on The Flash
Barry made all of us swoon when he surprised Iris with that gorgeous new loft for Christmas. And with all the decor, it looks perfect enough to be in an issue of Better Homes & Gardens. But we just have one question: How was Barry able to afford it all with the salary of a forensic scientist? It does pay well, but not enough to afford that level of luxury. We imagine this new place left a huuuge dent in his bank account because we know he would never use his super-speed to rob a bank.
…or would he? Definitely having second guesses after looking at his sweet pad.
20. The Humphreys on Gossip Girl
For a poor family, the Humphreys seemed pretty well-off. Their place was actually located in Williamsburg, which happens to be one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Brooklyn. And the loft featured views of Manhattan, a spacious kitchen, and more than one bedroom. That sounds more like the living arrangement of an upper middle-class family.
21. Caroline and Max on 2 Broke Girls
With a giant Williamsburg apartment like this, the show ought to be called “2 Lucky Girls.” Caroline and Max are waitresses at a local diner, so we know for a fact that they’re not earning much (even when you factor in their tips).
However, they’re actually living in a big loft with exposed brick, hardwood floors, and a yard big enough to hold a horse. Such a place would call for pretty high rent. And no real waitress could afford to live here unless she had a serious side hustle.