In some ways the 2000s was interesting decade for the sitcom. While the genre had obviously been a part of television since the beginning, now it began to take some new and interesting directions. One constant in these decades, however, has been the presence of financially unrealistic characters.
These are people who seem to never have any money issues, despite the fact that everything the show reveals about them suggests that they should be struggling, if not outright poor. The unrealistic nature is one of the things that makes the sitcom such an enduringly appealing form.
10 Frasier Crane of Frasier
Frasier is a character that has proved enduringly popular. How not, when he appeared in not one but two hit sitcoms? One of the more enduringly fascinating and mysterious aspects of his character is how, exactly, he manages to indulge his very elevated tastes. After all, he’s just a psychiatrist and radio host, and he lives in Seattle, a notoriously expensive city. It strains credulity to think that his income could possibly match his tastes in the real world.
9 Every Person On Friends
In the annals of sitcom history, this show probably deserves an award for being the most financially unrealistic. None of the characters have jobs that would make it even remotely possible for them to enjoy the sort of lifestyle that they do, still less for the to live like they do in what is universally acknowledged--even in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s--as being one of the most financially difficult cities to live in.
8 Marshall From How I Met Your Mother
Once again, New York becomes the setting for a bunch of characters who don’t seem to have the kinds of jobs that would support their living there. Marshall, in particular, shares a very nice apartment with Ted in Manhattan (which is even more expensive than the rest of New York), and he doesn’t really seem to have a job for the first part of the show. Nor can his ability to afford this apartment be explained by his girlfriend, since she’s a kindergarten teacher (not exactly the most lucrative of professions).
7 Reba From Reba
While the real-life Reba may be one of the most successful country music singers to have ever belted out a ballad, the same can’t be said of the fictional version of herself that appears in the sitcom that bears her name.
Sure, she seems to have gotten a fairly lucrative divorce settlement, but that doesn’t entirely explain how she manages to afford such a nice house, particularly since she so frequently has to take care of other members of her family.
6 Jack McFarland From Will & Grace
Oh, Jack, honey, how is it that you somehow manage to afford so many things despite the fact that you almost never have a full-time job? True, some of his solvency can be explained by his reliance on Will and Karen and their largesse, but that doesn’t entirely explain how he managed to survive (and apparently thrive) before he met Karen. And besides, surely even they can’t afford to continue sponsoring his many failed efforts at success.
5 Ron Swanson Of Parks And Recreation
Everyone knows the rather curmudgeonly libtertarian of the hit NBC sitcom. He was a man who didn’t like the very idea of the government, any government, coming in to take his money and do something with it. So, he did what every sensible person would do: he invested it in a secret stash of gold. Of course, this is an utterly ridiculous idea, but part of what makes it so hilarious is that it is so absolutely unlikely to either happen or, more importantly, work, in real life. More importantly, where would a fairly low-level bureaucrat get that much cash, anyway?
4 Tom Haverford Of Parks And Recreation
Ron isn’t the only financially unrealistic character in Pawnee. Everyone knows that Tom has some of the most expensive tastes in the entire small town in Indiana (second only to, perhaps, Donna Meagle). This all leads to the natural question: how on earth does he manage to afford all of this indulgences? Sure, he manages to attain some measure of success later in the show, but that doesn’t explain the earlier parts. And, even if he put it all on credit cards, that was bound to come back and bite him. If only everyone could be a sitcom character.
3 The Gang Of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia
This subversive show from FX has always raised more than a few eyebrows, particularly with the way that its particular sense of humor seems to go out of its way to show how terrible these people really are.
The show also raises questions about how, exactly, these people are able to afford their various hijinks. After all, it’s not as if the bar does particularly well; in fact, we hardly ever see anyone there. And while Frank certainly has a lot of money, even his wealth isn’t entirely explained in a satisfactory way.
2 Ned Of Pushing Daisies
On the list of most lucrative professions, that of pie maker doesn’t seem like it would be up there at the top. However, watching this show one gets the feeling that it must pay pretty darn well, considering the fact that Ned not only uses not only the very best ingredients but also manages to live in a very nice apartment. Somehow, it just doesn’t seem as if all of the ingredients add up to what they should.
1 Peter Griffin Of Family Guy
Peter Griffin is one in a long line of slovenly, idiotic husbands who inexplicably manage to have wives that are out of their league both physically and intellectually. You can’t even say that Peter is a particularly good provider, since his various jobs don’t seem to quite add up to the kind of income that you’d expect from someone who both lives in a nice neighborhood, has a nice house, and manages to get into all sorts of trouble through various schemes.
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