‘The Topic of Debt in TV: Is It True to Life?

The great TV shows hold up a mirror to life. While the ongoing pandemic is, to an extent, trying to avoid what is currently going on and provide a means of escape, there have been fantastic shows over the years that really bring to the fore the problems we all fear and are a constant in our lives. The topic of debt is something we’ve all got a relationship with. And while many characters on TV suffer from debt, it’s not always represented properly. But let’s show some examples where your favourite TV characters might be in more debt than they appear and if they are really true to life?

The Simpsons = One Breadwinner Is Not Possible These Days!

Even a casual viewer can see that Homer drinks a considerable amount of beer. And while he works for a nuclear plant, when we consider they live in a 4 bedroom house, and the fact that they are on their third mortgage, not to mention the costs of two cars and two children in school, their budget needs to stretch further. There have been episodes where Homer has had to work an extra job or beg for financial help from Marge’s sisters. And while in life there are so many different approaches to escaping debt, such as the DTSS U.S. complete freedom approach, when we see the trials and tribulations that Homer has to go through to escape debt, this is probably one of the best examples of television that shows the visceral emotions that come with having to provide for a family. Lest we forget, Homer is the breadwinner and Marge isn’t. While this is an antiquated approach to the old family setup, if we transpose the setting into the modern-day from when the show started in 1989, debt was, and is, a constant in their lives.

How Can Joey Live in Manhattan?!

Joey, the struggling actor on Friends, was constantly bailed out by Chandler. According to one episode, it was revealed that Chandler paid for 3 years’ worth of Joey’s rent, bills, and food. The total? $63,000! As the show progressed it got further away from the visceral realities that were presented in seasons 1 and 2. But, who can realistically live in Manhattan without having, at least, two jobs? Their financial situation would have been completely unsustainable. And we could start on the fact that Monica and Rachel’s apartment is a palace for Central Manhattan, but if we go back to seasons 1 and 2 we can certainly baulk at the idea of the characters being in debt.

A modern example of debt that is closer to life is, quite possibly, Breaking Bad. Someone who was a victim of the modern American healthcare system was so desperate that he turned to peddling drugs. And unfortunately, this is something that is a constant in society. And while Walter White turned into the Scarface type character we all recognise in fiction, it all stemmed from a very plausible starting point. The best representation of debt on television? We probably have to go back to Boys From The Blackstuff. But maybe there will be an influx of great TV examples of debt to mirror the society we are living in.

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Mark Meets
Mark Meets
MarkMeets Media is British-based online news magazine covering showbiz, music, tv and movies
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