Type keyword(s) to search


Why are poor and working-class people so rare on TV?

  • Shows like The Middle are the rarity these days, argues Joanna Weiss. “For many series, material comfort isn’t essential to the characters’ lives; it’s incidental,” she says. “Yes, Showtime’s Shameless romanticizes the Gallaghers’ on-the-edge existence, and CBS’ Mom gets the set design exactly right. But like the 20-something characters in Friends, who rented suspiciously spacious New York real estate on entry-level salaries, many television denizens enjoy interiors straight out of Houzz, regardless of their presumed income levels. In Kevin Can Wait, Kevin James’ retired Long Island cop has a beautiful kitchen. OK. But how many shows could, presumably, tell the same stories regardless of their characters’ economic status? Would ABC’s Modern Family play any differently without the conspicuous consumption? Could Amazon Prime’s Transparent be told without the glorious real estate? Could it even be told better?”

    TOPICS: Friends, Kevin Can Wait, The Mick, Mom, Shameless, Transparent