Don’t Move To New York City Based Solely On What You See On TV: A User’s Guide

SJP as Carrie Bradshaw

As a born and bred New Yorker, I’m drawn to shows about my city, taking comfort in the familiar sights and settings; yet I often find myself asking, “Did the writers of some of these shows ever step foot in Manhattan?”

I can shake off the inconsistencies, but I sometimes wonder about all the people saving their babysitting and paper route money hoping to someday move to the Big Apple hoping to mirror the glamorous life seen on the small screen.

Hence, a guide to separating fact from fiction: 

‘Smash’ only lasted two seasons, but it was long enough to get your hopes up that moving here would duplicate the luck had by actress “Karen Cartwright” (Katherine McPhee), who went on, what? One audition, which resulted in a lead on Broadway. This is definitely the land of opportunity where many find success, but it usually takes more than five minutes after you get off the Greyhound.

Who got it right:

America Ferrer

On ‘Ugly Betty,’ the poncho-ed “Betty Suarez” (America Ferrera) started out as the assistant to Mode editor-in-chief “Daniel Meade” (Eric Mabius), took on extra assignments to help further her career in publishing, put up with competitive, back stabbing, snarky, (sometimes crazy) co-workers, and eventually proved she was not just competent, but valuable. Then Betty took all she learned and went and got herself a better job – in London no less. It all happened over the course of a few years.


When it comes to relationships, ‘Sex And The City’ takes the (wedding) cake. “Carrie Bradshaw” (Sarah Jessica Parker) put it out there that if you hang around Manhattan long enough (ten years, for her) and wait out the marriage of the millionaire you have your sights set on, (in her case, Chris Noth’s “Mr. Big”), he’ll eventually marry you (after he jilts you), then buy you a penthouse on Fifth Avenue.

Who got it right:

Mariska as Olivia

At the end of last season’s ‘Law & Order: SVU’, “Detective Olivia Benson” (Mariska Hargitay) saw her relationship with “Detective Brian Cassidy” (Dean Winters) end, and her Commanding Officer “Lieutenant Declan Murphy” (Donal Logue) get reassigned, putting her back in charge of the squad. Like many of New York’s single women, who have been disappointed by love too many times, and are no longer fulfilled by their jobs, Liv seeks happiness elsewhere: motherhood.


Let’s talk apartments. You’re still clinging to that fantasy that you will end up roommates with “Monica” (Courtney Cox), sharing her grandmother’s rent-controlled two-bedroom with a sprawling terrace. You know you are. Admit it.

Who got it right:

Alison Pill

When “Maggie Jordan” (Alison Pill) of ‘The Newsroom’ splits with her boyfriend “Don” (Thomas Sadoski), she goes to live with her friend “Lisa” (Kelen Coleman), who needs a roommate despite the fact that she works in sales at a high end boutique and moonlights as a server for a caterer. Yes it’s that expensive to live here. Who got it really right: “Hannah Horvath” (Lena Dunham) and the ‘2 Broke Girls.’ They live in Brooklyn.

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