From "Friends" to "Gossip Girl" and everything in between, there are tons of TV shows that try to depict life in NYC. As you know, not everything you see on TV accurately portrays real life, and shows set in NYC aren't an exception to this rule. Over the years, New York City TV shows have tried and failed to accurately portray life in the Big Apple on screen. I'm going to take you through and show you 7 ways life in NYC is different from TV shows.
I have lived in NYC for 4 years now and have only run into one person that I knew from my past, one time, on the street. Shows like "Friends," "HIMYM," "Gossip Girl," and "Sex in the City" always have their characters randomly running into people from their past on the street or in shops. Life in NYC isn't like that. Unless you are in an area where someone you know lives or works, there is little to no chance that you will see them on the street randomly. Currently there are 8,244,910 people living in New York City. How easy do Hollywood producers think it is to run into people here!
I've always found it funny that NYC TV show characters have certain "spots" where they gather and sit every day. "Friends" had the coffee shop couch, "HIMYM" has the bar booth, "Seinfeld" had the diner — but in real life, you would never get the same spot like that every single time you went to your favorite coffee shop, bar, or diner! I often can't even find one seat in a Manhattan bar after work hours, let alone a huge comfortable booth for 5 people! During rush hours and weekends, almost every good Manhattan restaurant, bar, or coffee house is going to be packed, so get used to it.
The show "Friends" was about a group of friends searching for employment, love, and trying to get their lives in order in NYC. However, Rachel, Ross, and the rest of the gang lived in much too nice apartments to spend the amount of time they did drinking coffee at Central Perk. I'll tell you right now, I work over 40 hours a week at a pretty well paying job, and still only have an apartment 1/3 the size of Monica and Rachel's. Even the apartment Ted and Marshall rent in "HIMYM" is unrealistically big for the location they are in, and Marshall being a law student in the beginning of the show and not working. Don't even get me started on free-lance writer Carrie from "Sex in the City" with her brownstone, upper east side apartment complete with a large kitchen, over-sized bedroom, and walk-in closet! Unless you've got the right job and the right amount of money, living in NYC usually equates to living your life out of a shoe box.
The Upper East Side no longer embodies the glitz and glamour that "Gossip Girl" associates with it. Actually, once you get a few blocks east of Central Park, it’s one of the cheapest neighborhoods in Manhattan to rent in right now. Also, the rich bars and clubs on the upper east side are rarely filled with the younger crowd, let alone underage rich kids. The younger crowd usually flocks to the Village and midtown for nights out on the town. So why is it that the "Gossip Girl" cast always seems to find other people their age everywhere they go? Also, there are plenty of upper class lounges, clubs, and hotels in downtown Manhattan so I'm not sure why in some episodes the girls have refused to go anywhere past 59th street. Some of my college student friends even living on the Upper East Side and it was not like the TV show portrays it at all.
The amount of times that Ted Mosby and his friends from "HIMYM" meet and trust smart, beautiful, interesting people at their neighborhood bar borders on impossible. It has been very rare circumstances that I have actually met someone out at a bar that I connected enough with to have a conversation all night. Most of the people you meet will be drunk and/or trying to get you into bed. I can't tell you the amount of times I've been given fake stories by guys trying to impress me. At least the show got Barney Stinson's character right! Also, the cast of "Friends" seemed to find dates pretty easily whereas my girlfriends and I rarely ever found dates that easy! Like I mentioned earlier, there are over 8,000,000 people in this city! So it takes a little longer to weed out the diamonds in the rough.
The fact that after a full day of work, the cast of "HIMYM" always has the energy to spend the evening in a crazily well-lit bar drinking is a little unrealistic. By the time I get out of work, I want to get my commute uptown to my apartment over with so I can put on sweats and lay in the fetal position under a blanket. The last thing I want to do every night after working 8 or more hours is spend $30 on beers at a bar. Often, beer or wine in Manhattan costs $5-8 each depending what place your at, and don't even get me started on the cost of a mixed drink. Usually my friends and I would drink at my apartment first for a while before deciding to go to a bar for some socializing and it was rarely ever on a week night.
If I even remotely get a little dressed up, do my makeup nice, or wear heels out of my apartment, I get hit on. And not in the way certain girls wish they got hit on. I'm talking about gross men on the streets making obscene comments and noises at you as you walk by. So why is it that the "Gossip Girls" or the "Friends" girls are never creepily hit on constantly? Especially the "Gossip Girls" as they seem to always look gorgeous, all the time!
The only way to truly get a 100% accurate depiction of New York City is to actually live here. Then you can see first hand how hard it is to meet people, how much energy it takes to do simple things like get groceries, and how small apartments and stores actually can be. That having been said, life in NYC is a wild adventure, and I've always said that I feel like my life could be a TV show in itself. What's your favorite New York City setting TV show?
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