Last week I started watching the Fox program "New Girl" with Zooey Deschanel - I'm about 2 or 3 episodes away from catching up (thanks to Hulu) but by the time I finish this blog I may have finished all available episodes.
The first thing I noticed was THEIR jobs look like OUR jobs!
Unlike Friends, How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM) or even Sex and the City (S&C) these are realistic(ish) characters with realistic jobs. An elementary school teacher, a law-school drop out turned bartender, one unemployed (although yes, he's an unemployed ex-basketball player) and a paper-pushing lackey who has been at his job for six years.
They aren't all hugely successful by the age of 30.
They aren't all in six-figure careers or even their dream jobs.
They're doing what they have to to get by, like the rest of us. Still, though, no one working 2 jobs to make ends meet - while millions of Americans do and many Americans are still living below the poverty line. It may not be the "majority" but it still is something that isn't reflected in modern television - outside of showing these people has "trailer trash" or something/one to be made fun of.
The other pieces of plot design I noticed is these four characters are all sharing a (slightly) run down loft in LA instead of each having their own chic apartments or only one roommate (see Friends & S&C). At least in HIMYM Ted, Marshall and Lily share an apartment and then Ted and Robin. More and more these days adults in their 20s and 30s are having to find roommates to help pay the bills. Sometimes these roommates are people you already know and sometimes they're people you find out of convenience - such as on Craigslist.
I've had one of my BFFs (from high school) move in with me for a time, and I've also moved in with friends (from college) when trying to relocate and reestablish myself. Three of the four roommates, in New Girl, have been friends for years - either growing up together or having met in college. Which makes sense. Studies show that college "buddies" often become life-long friends because you find who you are in these later years and make bonds with similar people.
Also, the loft does not appear to be above a coffee house or bar where they spend more time than at work. Which was always something that bugged me about Friends and HIMYM. How many of us live above a bar/coffee house and spend 90% of our time there? Instead these friends/roommates occasionally go to the bar where one of them works - but for the most part the center hub of these characters lives is at home.
The show may have it's flaws and the first-season-scatteredness that so many new shows do; but so far it's holding my attention, it's giving a nice true(r) to live representation of the lives of people in their 30s (and late 20s) than other shows that have graced the screen in past years.