'New Girl' TV Show: A Sitcom That Accurately Represents Millennials' Financial Woes
Sitcoms have long existed in a world in which sprawling 4-bedroom apartments downtown are achievable for struggling artists and out-of-work actors. Financial concerns were marginalized by throw away jokes and get-rich-quick gags. Fortunately for viewers, Fox's New Girl is above the socio-economic schtick of yesteryear.
New Girl does a great job presenting its characters economic reality. The loft, their jobs, and their lifestyles all mirror the economic uncertainty millennials currently face. They've pooled together their money to live in a loft with four small bedrooms and one bathroom in LA's Arts District. Rent for a loft of that size, in that neighborhood, would hover around $1,000/month per roommate, which is attainable for Winston and Schmidt, who have full-time jobs. Nick and Jess both struggle to meet their financial obligations, which is understandable considering one is a bartender and the other is an unemployed school teacher.
Schmidt is the only character who flaunts his wealth, which is believable given his corporate success. In just two seasons, the clotheshorse has paid for a party for his own penis, spent God knows how much on his ten-year anniversary with Nick, and attempted to buy crack for Winston. He's the only character who theoretically could have the extra cash laying around. Nick, on the other hand, is often crying poor and refuses to pay for shared bills like utilities and "wiffy." He tries to fix things in lieu of paying for them and is often threatened by fancy or expensive things.
Winston's character arc has matured in line with his professional achievements. While the show fails to truly feature him the way it does the other three roommates, it's clear his character has become stronger emotionally now that he's on solid economic ground. He's gone from desperately holding onto a lousy car to ending an unsuccessful relationship. While many millennials suffer emotionally due to their economic struggles, Winston's confidence has received a sizable boost from his new job.
The only character who seems immune to economic reality is Jess. There could be a few explanations for why she isn't as destitute as she should be: She could have stashed money away during her years living with her awful boyfriend or received financial help from her parents. If the show simply adds in a line or two about where all her adorable wardrobe money is coming from, I then think it would be fair to say that New Girl is doing a totally admirable job presenting four millennials fighting the good fight.