Friends (the TV Show) vs Real Life

How did they live here?


I sometimes find myself walking around different neighborhoods in NYC and would wonder how much a one bedroom or a two bedroom apartment would cost there. Later when I’d get home, I’d look it up online, take a sip of water, then violently spit it out while muttering to myself, How the hell does anybody afford to live anywhere here? Is everyone in New York City a trust fund baby?  

Lately I’ve been thinking about the show Friends. It seems as though that show is having a renaissance of sorts, being streamed by all the younger Millenials (I officially hate that word). It’s popping up on my news feeds and snapchats and ugh, okay I’ll stop. Anyway, I can’t help but think, I hope younger people aren’t getting any ideas that Friends and sitcoms like it is actually how New York really is—because if they do and then move here, they’re in for a rude awakening. Here are all the ways Friends the show is nothing like in real life (unless you’re a trust fund baby).

Let’s start with the obvious: How did Monica and Rachel afford to live in Manhattan in that enormous mansion of an apartment? Rachel was a server at a coffee shop and Monica was a line cook or something. Even if their incomes had been combined, I don’t think they could afford a one bedroom, let alone that P-Diddy mansion that had balcony. They had a balcony! In real life, they would be living in Bedstuy, but even that would be too good a neighborhood.

How did they find time for all six of them to meet in a coffee shop every day? They all had different jobs, yet ended up in Central Perk together in every episode. You know how hard it is to get six people together everyday in real life? It often takes weeks to hang out with someone you want to catch up with. Everyone has so much too do. I have friends I haven’t seen in months because schedules just don’t allow it.

In Friends and pretty much all of the sitcoms, their best friends also happen to be their neighbors. Joey and Chandler lived next door. This isn’t that unrealistic, but in New York, friends usually live all over the place and it takes an hour to get anywhere. I have friends in every neighborhood in the City. I don’t know any of my neighbors. They are all old people that sleep in by 9pm. Compromise has to happen, such as meeting in the middle. If they lived in the Upper East Side and you live in Flatbush, then you’d meet in a neighborhood that’s convenient for both. Same applies for dates.

The only thing realistic about that show is the theme song. So no one told you life was gonna be this way (clap clap clap clap), your jobs a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s DOA…


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