Time Pornography - has anyone quantified the amount of time used in Sitcoms, etc.?

I don’t remember where I read the phrase recently, but somebody made the interesting point that sitcoms, TV dramas, etc. are “time pornography” - they show families, single friends, etc. having “way too much” free time, and as such are escapist fantasies for the rest of us, who work 40+ hour weeks and are lucky to exchange terse greetings with friends several times a month.

But has anyone actually quantified how much “extra” time people have in these shows? I saw a recent webpage that explained that to have the apartment they have in Manhattan, the cast of “Friends” would have to each make somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 Million a year. Ditto for “Sex in the City.” Has anyone quantified how many extra hours in a day the casts of any of these shows would need to engage in their capers and visit their friends?

Are you really trying to compare sitcoms to real life?

A lot of them are apartment dwellers without children. Take away my house maintenance, yardwork, running around with the kids, and I’d have some time to socialize, too.

The Friends apartments were partially explained by rent control. They did live beyond the means of their occupations, but not as much as you might think.

Not if they were in a rent control building and had the apartment for quite a long time.

Marge: “Do you even have a job anymore?”
Homer: “I think it’s pretty obvious that I don’t.”

  • The Simpsons, explaining this away.

I saw a show on Sex in the City in which the makers of the show fully accepted that it would not be possible for the lead character (whose name I can’t remember) to have the shoe collection she has on any salary that she could possibly have.

I don’t think there is any doubt whatsoever that the shows don’t resemble reality in this respect.

In case it wasn’t clear - I’m also referring to sitcoms that revolve around “families”, yet give the characters more than enough time to take care of the kids, spend time with each other, see their friends, etc.

I’m confused. What isn’t clear? I mean… most of the ‘family interaction’ in family sitcoms seems to take place in the evening, after school, work, etc. My family is a similar way; when I was growing up, my parents held 40-hr/wk jobs and had plenty of time to schmooze with friends and spend time with us.

I can’t think of a family-type sitcom off the top of my head (granted, I don’t watch any of the modern ones) that’s unreasonable with time - the Cosby parents often worked long hours, and Bill would get called away unexpectedly to deliver babies (when the plot required, of course). There were episodes where Claire was working on a big case or whatever and the children weren’t supposed to bother her.

Most sitcoms do take place in the evening, and often have (not unrealistically) older children in charge of younger ones in their parents absence. Roseanne had both parents working, with part of the show taking place at their various jobs - so did Grace Under Fire, which often had babysitters and featured the juggling of children’s schedules around a working single mother’s. Those may both be out of the ordinary in that they’re “low class” sitcoms. Ditto “All in the Family” - Archie would get home from work and just want to sit in his chair and veg out in front of the TV. Edith had a lot of time because she didn’t work - wasn’t there an episode somewhere where she went out and got a job?

Freejooky writes:

> . . . I don’t remember where I read the phrase recently . . .

You read it here in a post that I wrote several weeks ago (but I read about this term several years ago in something).

BobLibDem writes:

> A lot of them are apartment dwellers without children.

I’m an apartment dweller without children, and I don’t have nearly the amount of free time that the people in the sitcoms that I describe as “time pornography” have. Most days I have barely enough time to do the things I need to get done. I certainly don’t have the several hours an evening that the people on these sitcoms have to hang out with their friends or to talk with their children.

Well, think about the things you do beyond your normal 40 hour week and consider how many people overall do the same things

Obviously it’s assumed real people have the time to watch TV, which actual people do for hours and hours. You’re basically watching what other people can do when they’re not watching the tube.

Why not? I work full time 8 - 5. when I get home I have several hours. even after you knock off time for chores & cooking & exercise, I still have at least 3 hours to do with as I will.

I’m a single apartment dweller without kids that works a forty hour week and if I had friends to interact with, I’d have plenty of time to do so – three or four hours a day, more if I stay out closer to midnight and tons of time on the weekend.

I’m a 20-something living in Los Angeles in an apartment with no kids.

I’m out with friends 4 to 6 times a week.

We not only engage in capers but hijinks as well, a few of us have sexual escapades. Sometimes during sweeps we’ll have some drama or challenging crises and occasionally a special guest. We frequently have romantic misunderstandings and secret crushes.

Once two friends were having a conversation and I overheard just a single comment, which taken out of context lead me to a misinterpretation that caused all kinds of trouble. If I had just gone directly to that friend and asked for an explanation we all would have been spared quite a bit of embarrassment.

Actually, the above is a pretty accurrate description. Maybe we should be a reality show.

Curiously I was thinking about this just the other day. Unexplicable, I know, like it’s not that I’ve got any real stuff to think about. :rolleyes:

What brought it to mind was the characters in “Friends” not only seem to have way too much free time, but are far too available at all times of the day. What, my friend’s ex-wife’s is having a baby? Hey! We’re all there at a moment’s notice! No problems getting away from work here! What’s that, your monkey’s sick and in the hospital? Well I can’t imagine anyone here having a problem with me dropping everything to rush to the scene! We’re talking about a sick monkey!

You know, I begin to suspect that maybe it’s not entirely true to life.

Sitcom stars sure seem to dump their kids off with someone else far more than us real parents do. A prime example would be Roz, Frasier’s producer on the show. She had a child and managed to have a power career (I think producing radio is kind of a power career, maybe I’m wrong), socialize all the time (no kid in sight) and be a slut (hopefully no kid in sight). I’m sure a lot of single moms are going “yeah, right!”…

I’m looking at this WAAAAAY too logically, but – when you’re watching a sit-com family, you’re just watching the most interesting 22 minutes of the most interesting 24 weeks of their year.

I wouldn’t be surprised if each of us could find a 22 minute mini-drama that we or our family is involved in maybe 10 times a year, if not 24 weeks. And if we can’t find the drama ourselves, I’m sure that we each have an overly dramatic friend who is in some scrape or another nearly every other week.

Our stories msy not be as good [ :rolleyes: ] as some Hollywood plots, but I don’t think the time aspect is that far askew.

Playing Devil’s Advocate for a second…

If we take into consideration that a typical television season is 22 episodes, isn’t it possible that the majority of the events that occur on, say, “Friends” are happening on the weekends, when these uptight white-collar folk wouldn’t be working?

Seems to explain away a lot of the free time.

Don’t get me cornered on the sheer number of vacations these people take. I’ve got nothin’. Most sitcom people would need 8 weeks of vacation a year for as many out-of-town events that occur.

Sheesh! Next, you,ll be expecting “reality” shows to involve reality.