Television has such a good way of pulling on our heart strings, making us feel all gooey inside with unexpected love stories and plots of the underdog taking over and winning in the end. But when you reach a certain age, it might be safe to say that these stories are not likely to happen in real life. Yes, they make us feel good and give us hope that our very impossible fantasies have the ability to come true in the matter of a season of 30 minute episodes (like the beautiful girl next door falling in love with the nerdy scientist who lives with his nerdy friend and has a nerdy job).
Still, for some reason, a few might argue that that’s the power of television: to get us to believe the impossible can actually happen. While it could have the power of getting us to quit that job to fly out to Los Angeles to pursue our dreams, or make us want to live with five to six of our closest friends that we could inevitably fall in love with (if our BFF doesn’t get to them first), television looks so real that it can convince us that it’s totally possible for things to happen. It doesn’t hurt that it adds in a good laugh track, or even a live audience to chime in on the joyful emotions. And while some of these sitcoms have every ability to mimic our real life struggles, let’s be real about how unrealistic many of these storylines truly are. Take a look!
15. Orange Is The New Black
This Netflix hit was put on blast for being completely unrealistic after an ex-con pointed out many of the inconsistencies they saw when watching the series about a group of women serving time behind bars. Susan K, who spent a little more than four years in jail after run-ins with drugs and robbery, told a friend at the Washington City Paper about her thoughts. She first said the guards in the show were way too easy on the inmates. For example, in the first episode when someone put food all over the wall, Susan said they should have made them clean it up. It’s clear the show has been given a fictional touch for the sake of creative freedom and entertainment. But it should be pointed out that it doesn’t necessarily reflect the real struggles and experiences, good or bad, of a woman who is really serving time in jail.
14. Last Man on Earth
While Last Man On Earth is a great show, let’s be honest, it’s not a realistic one. The sitcom tells the story of a man, Phil Miller, who is the lone survivor on the entire planet after a cataclysm hits Earth. Interestingly enough, he had a pretty great life before then, as he worked for a bank and even had a family. Now, he’s left in the world all alone. Of course this can offer up some pretty lonely moments of solitude, but the idea of this happening is definitely not something that “experts” could predict. Still, the writing for the series is impeccable and it provides great entertainment as he searches the Earth looking for someone who also might have survived. And when he finds out he’s not the lone ranger after all, he has to find a way to live with people again after being accustomed to having things his own way.
13. Big Bang Theory
This show has probably made the biggest bang on television in quite some time, but the storylines on it aren’t necessarily realistic. For starters, has anyone actually Googled the terms and phrases that Sheldon, Raj, and Leonard use when they sound smart? Like, are they actually using them in the right way? If so, that’s great! But it certainly makes you wonder if the magic of television is rearing its head when a group of actors with no background in science can become instant geniuses when the cameras start rolling.
On top of that, when blonde bombshell next door fell in love with, dated, and went as far as marrying Leonard, they probably gave hope to all of the nerdy guys tuning in; but how often does that really happen? Still, at the end of the day, it definitely provides good television, which is probably why Kaley Cuoco, Jim Parsons, and Johnny Galecki make $1 million per episode.
12. Imaginary Mary
This show is a newbie, but it’s definitely not realistic at all (and it probably won’t last very long). The show is about a woman, Alice, who gets a blast from the past with the reappearance of her childhood imaginary friend, Mary. Of course Alice, played by Jenna Elfman, is all grown up now and in a much different place in her life than she was the last time she and Mary were acquainted. She’s a single woman but dating a man who has three children, and works for a public relations firm. Now while that part is completely realistic and is probably on the way to being a new statistic, the idea of some kind of imaginary stuffed animal following a fully grown adult around and making her do the right, or wrong, thing at any given moment could be difficult for any adult to wrap their head around. Still, it’s the idea of getting a major return from a childhood friend that brings a feeling of nostalgia.
This show had the ability to make almost any viewer think this could be their real life. But it also offered up a few unrealistic viewpoints of how any young adult should live. If you think about it, some of the characters were not even 30 yet when they were living in a high-rise apartment in the biggest city in the nation that most likely has the highest cost of living. Living in Manhattan is not cheap! Not to mention, the jobs they were doing probably still wouldn’t pay the bills even if they all lived together in one of the apartments, let alone two. Rachel was a waitress at Central Perk, while Joey was a struggling actor and Phoebe was a masseuse. This part is certainly believable, but the lifestyles they lived weren’t. But the show was all about positive vibes, with a breakup here and there. And maybe that’s all that matters. Either way it was clearly a hit!
10. Happy Endings
The show was full of Happy Endings during its entire run on ABC. But the idea that exes, Alex and Dave, who were so close to getting married that their break up was literally at the altar, are able to coexist with one another just doesn’t seem feasible. One can only hope that an emotional viewer didn’t watch the series and think, “Hey! I can be close to my ex who left me at the altar too!” But that’s exactly what happened with them; they’re close friends who tried to figure out how to handle their split only ended up bringing them closer together as friends. Of course the show, which aired from 2011 to 2013, featured many inevitable awkward moments like an ex having to see the other move on with someone else, but it certainly makes for good television and a good binge watching session on a Saturday afternoon.
9. How I Met Your Mother
Any New Yorker could point out dozens of inconsistencies between How I Met Your Mother and what it’s really like to live in The Big Apple. Similar to Friends, while their apartment might look small compared to one found for half the price in the south or the midwest, it’s really nothing to scoff at and was considered a pretty large place. But the interesting thing is that Ted Mosby and friends moved in right after they graduated from college. How did they afford that? On top of that, word is that it’s pretty difficult to get one pet into a New York City apartment, how did Robin manage to get a handful of dogs at one point? Plus a goat that randomly pops up in an episode! That’s not even including the idea that Marshall and Lilly brought their child into the mix; it really honed in on the fact that the apartment was right above their favorite bar. Great TV? Check. Realistic? Not so much.
8. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Now, this show is still going strong after debuting in the spring of 2015 on Netflix. But the idea that she spent 15 years in a cult before getting rescued is pretty unrealistic considering she doesn’t look more than 30 herself. Yes, she was kidnapped as a teen, but still. Then after breaking out of this organization she ends up getting an apartment with her now roommate, Titus, who is a gay man aspiring to be on Broadway. While this is dangerously stereotypical, this part of the storyline could be realistic. But the thought of a former cult member, kept from her family for years, finally escaping and pairing up with a Broadway hopeful (and a stranger!) has been described as unlikely. Also, there’s the whole New York thing again. How on Earth could she afford living in that town, even in a small basement apartment?
But the stories of Kimmy having to break her way from a cult to the life she once knew in a world that has certainly changed since she was a contributing member of society is certainly an entertaining thought. Even if it’s not one that’s considered likely when it comes to realistic paths of life.
7. Grey’s Anatomy
This show might not be in the sitcom category, but it certainly comes up in conversation for shows that are just not believable (right along with Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder). I mean, the idea of all of these relationship issues being the focal point of drama more than actually operating in a Seattle hospital is just not something that happens in an actual center for treatment and healing. Yes, the patients definitely pull on our heartstrings more than any other, but most of the drama is about what’s going with the doctors and who’s dating who, more so than a patient who is fighting a rare cancer or a child who needs a transplant. While these are certainly featured on the show, the major storylines have been Meredith and Derek and other popular relationships. But it might be safe to say the doctors break the law at least a dozen times a season when it comes to what’s really allowed in a hospital.
6. The Office
Oh if only work life could be as fun as it is in the series The Office. Yes, we can all relate to at least one of the characters on the hilarious show, but the idea of all of them coming together and having the moments they do, one can only wish to have that type of work environment Monday through Friday. Even though the show is arguably supposed to kind of make fun of reality shows and put a spin on it, the show itself is not really something that could happen in reality. Many have speculated that the premise of the show that made it so popular, is the same thing that kind of led to its downfall. You can only play pretend for so long. Still, just like the show’s listed, it is definitely a form of pure entertainment that is considered a classic sitcom. It’s simply not a realistic one. Let’s be honest, no work would ever get done in that office.
5. Baby Daddy
Freeform’s Baby Daddy is certainly an underrated show. The current take on Three Men and a Baby might not be highly talked about, but it’s definitely popular as it gears up for its sixth season. But the idea that three single guys, Danny, Tucker, and Ben, would help raise Ben’s daughter, Emma, after the mom leaves her on the doorstep is just not realistic (Cue the Full House theme song). There are all kinds of red tape that would stop this in reality. Plus, when the grandmother, Bonnie, who is simply trying to keep life together herself, steps in as somewhat of an authoritative figure, it brings the level of reality for the series way down. And while Danny is a lackluster professional hockey player, Tucker is an aspiring television producer, and Ben works at a bar that he soon becomes the owner of, the guys stay in the same nice New York City apartment. Why do they all live in New York? How does every 20-something person on TV afford to live in New York City?!
4. Sabrina the Teenage Witch
This show was built around fantasy, so no wonder it’s not realistic at all. But why not take a look at it anyway?
Any 16-year-old girl claiming to be a sorcerer these days would get the side eye and probably the next appointment with the school counselor before her parents are brought in, leaving their talking black cat at home. Still, the series was a popular one despite its handle on reality. It’s safe to say this is one of the shows that fans looked to for an escape from reality, not to be reminded of their own very practical life problems and issues. While the idea that Sabrina (played by actress Melissa Joan Hart), having an arch nemesis and a high school crush is something any teenage girl can relate to, the option to cast a spell on either with the hopes of giving them a change of heart is nothing that any viewer could actually do.
3. New Girl
Any girl who rooms with three guys after a breakup would definitely get the side eye from her friends and families. But that’s exactly what New Girl is about. And just like with the rest of series mentioned, the story is definitely a good one for television, but how many guys would let a girl crash their bachelor pad? One thing that is realistic is the quirky, nerdy, and just generally awkward behavior that Jess, played by Zooey Deschanel, exudes in each episode. But that could be believable because Deschanel has been labeled one of the most awkward girls in Hollywood, but it’s always used in a complimentary way. Still, her friends include her three guy roommates as well as her best friend, Cece, who joins the club, even if she doesn’t live there. It’s almost like a current day take on Friends, just with a smaller cast and more structure as to how they met and became a close family.
2. Family Guy
Family Guy didn’t earn its way to this coveted list simply because it’s a cartoon. I mean, there are actually plenty of realistic animated television series out there. It’s just that Family Guy is not one of them. And it’s all thanks to the talking baby Stewie. Now, it’s completely safe to say that Stewie is a necessity of the long-running cartoon (that even had its own semi-successful spinoff The Cleveland Show), but he’s a major part of what makes Family Guy irrational just for the sake of him being a one-year-old baby who could carry on a full sentence full of inappropriate innuendos and vulgar language that even kids ten years older than him aren’t allowed to say or hear. Still, it’s the times that we live in that make a talking baby a hilarious notion that keeps a show running for quite a while.
1. 2 Broke Girls
As popular and hilarious as this show is, it’s not considered a realistic one. For starters, the title alone allows one to more than assume that the girls, well, are broke. But Caroline and Max at times seem to be more than well off, despite their jobs at a New York diner. While Max is used to having to pinch pennies, Caroline landed at the restaurant after her life took a much different direction than she ever anticipated when she lost her fortune. Still, how in the world are they able to afford the spacious apartment they share? Aside from Caroline’s ridiculously high heels, she also thinks they can save a quarter of a million dollars in a year. If they could do that, they really wouldn’t be struggling at all. Also, hello, they had a horse in Brooklyn!
On a side note, the laugh track is either just a tad off or the audience isn’t realizing their cues to laugh. Still the show has managed to be a hit since its first episode aired in 2011.