Sunday, 19 April 2015

Is TV to blame for our quarter life crises?

You mean you and your friends don't do this? 

Travelling, teaching, volunteering, studying, all-round bumbling...these just a few of my twenty something friends' current past times.

When we were at school, and even as most of us stood there years later in the ridiculous cap and gown get-up, I think we were still pretty darn sure that in the not too distant future, adulthood would just sort of spring up on us, without too much effort involved on our parts.

Being a grown up - a proper car-owning, gourmet-cooking, relationship-maintaining adult - was just something that happened. As inevitable as me being the one to snaffle the last biscuit.

But a few years down the line, it's turning out to be more of a maze than a path to adulthood. Ironing boards sit gathering dust. Bank statements are still best-viewed with a squint. Mortgages are about as unfathomable to us as Instagram accounts are to our grandparents.

We've pretty much been sold a lie. And some of the biggest fib-tellers of them all are nestling right there in your Netflix account. The pop cultural cornerstones of our adolescence might have been right about the murky territory that is being 'on a break', but they didn't really get much else right about life, did they?

The non-glamorous reality of adulthood is disappointing for anyone, but it's all the worse for a TV addict. So here they are, the tele-land lives that played the biggest part in my overly-rosy life expectations:

Sex and the City 

Imagine a world where every time 'You got to thinking...', your walk-in wardrobe magically filled with ten more pairs of Manolos. The proceeds from your weekly sex column allow you to live alone in a Manhattan brownstone, eating out every night and partying with your similarly successful gaggle of girlfriends, enjoying more dates per week than even the most prolific of Tinder users. There will always be a place in my heart for them, but I think I can hold Carrie and co. to blame for roughly 90% of my misconceptions about the life of a single writer in a big city...

Ally McBeal

I grew up on Ally McBeal, and loved it with such a passion that for a long time I thought law was the profession for me. But as the friends of mine who actually did follow this route will attest (from their offices, at 11pm on a Tuesday where they're still slaving away over some boring case files), David E Kelly played it a little fast and loose with his representation of this particular career path. Sadly, the quirky colleagues doing regular dance numbers to Barry White in the unisex loos haven't appeared in any of the offices I've worked in. When I head downstairs from my current work place, it's in search of a snack from Pret, as opposed to a sing off with Vonda Shepard. And worst of all, a young Robert Downey Jr is yet to appear and sweep me off my feet. But here's hoping.


Could this show BE any less realistic? (I know, I know, sorry). Even with rent control factored in, it was always fairly far fetched that the entire gang could afford huge two bed apartments in the heart of Greenwich Village. What was the going rate for a masseuse in the late 90s? And just how much was Chandler helping Joey out before Days of Our Lives came along? I'm also struggling to think of a friendship group that could remain intact once two of the main players had split up - and not even amicably. There can't be too many baristas that spend as much time as the cast of Friends do in a coffee shop either...and most of us would struggle to keep a goldfish alive, let alone Ross' pet monkey.

Grey's Anatomy

An average day for a doctor at the Seattle Grace Hospital looks a little bit like this: carry out a life-changing surgical procedure, narrowly escape a near death experience, follow this up with a quickie in the on-call room, then wrap it all up with a few tequilas in the bar across the street. Meredith, Cristina and their fellow surgeons make the medical profession look simultaenously terrifying and totally badass. In the world of Grey's, plane crashes might be a little more frequent, but you also work alongside your best friend/ soul sister, your husband is none other than Derek McDreamy Shepherd, and you live in a mansion that you designed yourself with your beautiful and ethnically diverse adopted family.