home TV And Movie Characters Who Can't Afford Their Homes  

Donn Saylor
921 votes 211 voters 7.8k views 12 items

List Rules Vote up the most unrealistic living spaces.

Sometimes, Hollywood does a bad job presenting realistic portrayals of working-class existence; for example, a slew of TV characters have expensive apartments and wardrobes they really can't afford. These characters are hardly wealthy, and they're not supported by rich parents. In most cases, they work lower-wage jobs, if they even work at all. Yet, somehow, they can afford palatial digs in the most expensive American cities.

Sure, TV shows and movies are a welcome form of escapism. Perhaps viewers aren't meant to scrutinize the details quite so closely. Who, after all, would want to watch casts of beautiful actors cavort in flea-infested dumps? However, when the most expensive fictional apartments are occupied by people who can't afford them, it may be hard to focus on the series in question.


Monica Geller is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list TV And Movie Characters Who Can't Afford Their Homes
Photo:  NBC

The Apartment:

Monica's massive apartment on Friends is gorgeous. There are high ceilings, exposed brick, floor-to-ceiling windows, a balcony, a large kitchen and dining area, and two sizable bedrooms. The apartment is especially impressive when compared to Joey and Chandler's place across the hall. It's much more modest but still too expensive for an often-unemployed actor and a mid-level finance guy.

The Income:

Apartments like Monica's are virtually impossible to find in the real New York City, NY. A super-conservative estimate prices a two-bedroom in her neighborhood at about $5,000. A more realistic price for an apartment that size is around $14,000 per month. Monica holds various chef positions, but a sous chef's salary in the Big Apple is only about $56,000 a year.

Also Ranked

#81 on The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

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#5 on The Best Characters on Friends, Ranked

#23 on The Funniest Female TV Characters

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Carrie Bradshaw is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list TV And Movie Characters Who Can't Afford Their Homes
Photo:  HBO

The Apartment:

Carrie lives in a one-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side. Chic and comfortable, the space also has ample closet space. Exterior shots show the building is a classic New York City brownstone.

The Income:

A columnist for The New York Star, Carrie presumably earns a median writer's salary of about $38,000 a year, while an Upper West Side one-bedroom costs about $3,000 a month. To be fair, Carrie mentions her unit is rent-controlled; she only pays $750 a month in rent. But figure in the cost of everything else – utilities, cable, cab rides, endless cosmos, and that famous designer wardrobe – and there's no way the main character can afford her life.

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#64 on The Greatest Characters on HBO Shows

#6 on The Best Dressed Female TV Characters

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#19 on The Greatest Perpetually Single Women in TV History

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Hannah Horvath is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list TV And Movie Characters Who Can't Afford Their Homes
Photo:  HBO

The Apartment:

Hannah lives in a two-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn's trendy Greenpoint neighborhood. While the place isn't incredibly lavish, it's a palace by New York City standards. The living room is generous enough to fit sofas, chairs, and a television. The kitchen is well-equipped, and the bedrooms are of moderate size.

The Income:

A roommate (first Marnie, then Elijah) usually occupies the other bedroom in Hannah's apartment, but even with someone sharing the rent, the monthly expenses should put Hannah in the poorhouse – especially considering her erratic work history and the low-paying nature of many of her jobs. Seriously, she's a barista, public school teacher, and freelance writer. An average price for a similar apartment would be about $3,000 a month, meaning Hannah would have to make $60,000 a year to afford her half.

Also Ranked

#14 on Fictional Characters Named Hannah

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Josh Baskin is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list TV And Movie Characters Who Can't Afford Their Homes
Photo:  20th Century Fox

The Apartment:

The young character in Big really lucks up and lands a fantastic apartment. A huge Soho corner unit, the place comes with hardwood floors, high ceilings, and wall-to-wall windows.

The Income:

Josh lands a job as a toy-tester for a major toy store in New York City, NY. It's the perfect gig for a kid trapped in a grown man's body. Yet even in the '80s, a fun job like that wouldn't cover the rent and the cost of living in the metropolitan area. By today's yardstick, that apartment would cost about $9,000 a month to rent. Even if a present-day Josh made $100,000 a year, he still wouldn't have enough money.

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#3 on The Greatest Characters Played by Tom Hanks, Ranked

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