11 Times Hollywood Tried To Show Characters On A Budget And Failed

Bridesmaids Help Me I'm Poor


One of my favorite things about Hollywood TV and movies is that they’re always getting stuff wrong. Like, sure, I love the stories and the acting and blah bah. But, how much more fun is it to talk about a show or a movie that is so out of touch with reality, that it may as well be called Gwyneth Paltrow? And one of the biggies that silly old Hollywood is always screwing up is making the lives of characters who are supposedly living within limited means appear even a little realistic.

This is a genuine question: has anyone involved in making Hollywood TV and films ever not been rich? Because they sure do a crap job of depicting characters who are on a budget. Like, for example, these 11 instances that still have me scratching my non-wealthy head.

1. Hannah’s Girls apartment

Girls HBO Apartment

(Photo: HBO)

You must excuse me, TV creators. I’ve never witnessed real-life “shabby-chic” décor quite like that of Hannah’s apartment. Or ever at all.

2. The giant NYC apartments in Friends

Friends Apartment

(Photo: NBC)

It makes sense that the characters could afford their giant apartments; Joey was a barely-working actor, but Chandler had a pretty well-paying job; Ross was a professor; and Monica was a chef and living in a rent-controlled apartment, anyway. But none of those things explain how the hell their NYC apartments are even that big to begin with. A window ledge complete with pillows to sit on when you are sad because you regret asking your boyfriend to go on a break? Yeah, okay.

3. DJ and Stephanie’s bedroom in Full House

Full House Bedroom

(Photo: ABC)

If it was so annoying for the two sisters to have to share a bedroom with one another, why didn’t they just build a wall in the middle to make two separate apartments? That room was that big.

4. Sonny’s duplex loft in Big Daddy

Big Daddy Loft Apartment

(Screenshot: Youtube)

Yes, he got a nice-sized legal settlement that he was living off of. But he also did not work consistently, and when he did, it was at a damn toll booth. In what world could this duplex (with a bridge!!!) be a result of that?

5. The spacious Humphrey family loft in Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl Humphrey Dumbo Loft

(Photo: The CW)

If I recall correctly, the Humphrey’s were supposed to be middle-class, at best. That’s why Jenny didn’t fit in with the Upper East Siders when she first got to her high school, remember? Since when can a middle-class, one-salaried family afford to live in a huge Brooklyn loft?

6. Max and Caroline’s apartment in 2 Broke Girls

2 Broke Girls Apartment

(Photo: CBS)

They are two broke girls, you guys. They are both waitresses, living from check to check. And yet, there they are, living in a very large apartment with “poor-looking” decorations. Bye.

7. Carrie’s walk-in closet in Sex and the City

Carrie Bradshaw Closet Sex and the City

(Photo: HBO)

I don’t know one NY-based freelance writer who knows what it feels like to walk inside of a closet in their apartment  on any given day and choose between Manolo Blahnik, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Chanel.

8. Arnold’s bedroom in Hey, Arnold!

Hey Arnold Bedroom

(Photo: Nickelodeon)

I know this is a cartoon, but just bear with me. His family was so #struggling that they had to rent out their home to boarders, but Arnold could have the most cool and hi-tech room in all of history? No, nope, nuh-uh.

9. The neighbor situation in Don’t Trust The B– In Apt. 23

Don't Trust The B Still

(Photo: ABC)

So, James Van Der Beek played his famous-person self and lived in the same apartment complex as two women who were forced to live together because their budget didn’t allow for them to live separately? LOL.

10. Annie’s wardrobe in Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids Movie Still

(Photo: Universal Pictures)

Pretty sure Annie is supposed to be struggling this entire movie, and yet, she looks fab and suspiciously legging-less the whole time.

11. Elena and Caroline’s dorm room in The Vampire Diaries

Vampire Diaries Dorm Room

This one was pointed out by lovely commenter M_G! It’s someone in Hollywood’s absolutely ridiculous idea of what your average college dorm room looks like. I lived in a college dorm and, let me tell you, if I could fit two large posters on my wall, it was a miracle. There was none of this chandelier business.

You can reach this post's author, Olivia Wilson, on twitter.
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    • M_G

      :-D!!!! wOOt!! I (sort of) helped contribute to an article! Can you ask Jenni when I can expect my check? Or in lieu of a check, she can send McDonald’s Dollar Menu coupons. Whichever is easier.

      • Olivia Wilson

        Why in lieu? You deserve both.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        You and I both know it’s going to be buttered bread.

      • Olivia Wilson

        Buttered??? Why have I been missing out on this luxury?

      • Alexis Rhiannon


      • M_G

        SHHHHHH!! I’m negotiating here…..

    • Lily Savage

      I always thought the same thing about Full House! Just build a wall ya dumb dumbs

      • Olivia Wilson

        Also, did they need to have what is basically a dining table in their room? Can’t they sit in their beds, on the floor, or in that GIANT WINDOWSILL?

    • bambi

      Hollywood needs a reality check as much as Justin Bieber needs a punch in the face.

      • Olivia Wilson

        Maybe Orlando Bloom can take care of the first thing too, then.

    • capoupascap

      I don’t think they ever implied that James and Chloe/June lived in the same apartment building, at least I never had that impression watching it. There are numerous times they say things like let’s go over to James place not up to or down to. Whatever guys I’ve watched it approximately 8 million times on Netflix. I love it.

      • Olivia Wilson

        I’m only at 7 million times, so you may know better than I do! But I always got the idea that he was the Kramer to their Seinfeld, if you will.

      • irmaagregg

        my Aunty
        Ellie recently got a fantastic red Subaru WRX by work part-time using a
        lap-top… Read Full Report J­a­m­2­0­.­C­O­M­

      • Otto

        Check the establishing shots. Different buildings.

    • jsterling93

      On Gossip Girl I got the impression that Rufus owned the art gallery as well? So not exactly middle class just not the same level of rich. Also I think the loft was purchased during his rock star days.

    • AnnH

      Sex & the City addressed that when Carrie has to buy her apartment back from her ex after her breakup with Aidan. As she doesn’t have the money to buy it, she tours New York trying to find a decent place to move in, but of course there’s nothing she can afford that lets her maintain her lifestyle of every night boozing + extreme shoe shopping.

    • Hollie

      Dear stupid Crushable writers, James and the girls lived in two different buliding. Ever heard of checking facts before writing?

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        Hi Hollie, thanks for your polite correspondence! As you can see, someone else already brought that up in the comments, and Olivia responded to it. But thanks again for your kind words!

      • Olivia Wilson

        P.S. – I am sorry to hear about that piss that someone put into your bowl of Cheerios this morning.

    • MCR

      This is something I’ve noticed often. Low income people in movies are “movie poor” in much the same way a pretty actress is given eyeglasses and has her hair up in a bun to become “movie ugly.”

      • Olivia Wilson


    • TJ

      What about Penny from The Big Bang Theory? I always wondered how a waitress/struggling actor could afford such an apartment!

      • Olivia Wilson

        Yes, very good point! And she lived across the hall from university scientists, who even had to be roommates. Crazy.

    • Jes

      on annie’s wardrobe there is alot of places that sell cute clothes where you don’t need to spend 100 bucks on each peice

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