As far as being a fictional character goes, being the protagonist of a sitcom is probably one of the better positions to be in. Sitcom characters rarely have major life problems to deal with, almost always have an abundance of discretionary income, and often live in rather lavish apartments or homes.
But it isn’t all laughs and witty comments for the sitcom hero. Sure, they really don’t have to deal with serious illnesses or the concerns of covering their expenses, but they have a number of problems that those who live in the real world will never have to face.
You Can’t Move To A New Apartment Or Home
A real person may not like where they live, but with some work and time, they can usually move someplace else. This is not a possibility for a sitcom character. Wherever they live is where they will be living for at least as long as the show they are on runs for. In fact, it’s a sitcom staple to end a series by having the main character move out. Just look at Family Ties, Friends, or New Girl for examples of this well-worn trope.
If You Have A Roommate, They Will Be There For Years, No Matter How Old You Are
Sticking with the “never being able to move” trope, the sitcom character, who had a roommate in the first episode, will almost certainly have that same roommate for the duration of the series. Usually, this isn’t a huge problem because the roommates are more often than not friends, but when your show is on for years on end, having a roommate can start to feel weird.
You Can Only Hang Out In One Place
In real life, people tend to go to different places to hang out. A group may have a favorite restaurant or bar, but they probably don’t go there every week. But in the world of a sitcom, much like being unable to move to a new place, the characters can never hang out somewhere else.
You Almost Never Make New Friends
In a person’s life, there are friends who are there for the long haul. Then, there are friends who come and go. But in sitcoms, there is only the former. These are friends who have known one another for years and will continue to be as close as can be for years to come.
Everyone Around You Is Snarky
When someone has something bothering them in their life, they like to talk to their friends or family about it. Usually, those people will listen and offer to help in some way. In sitcoms, chances are the main character’s problems will be met with snarky comments from their friends and family.
There Are Often Weird Pauses In Your Conversations
To make matters worse, in many sitcom universes, the snarky comment is often followed by a few seconds of silence. Why everyone in the universe pauses after George Costanza says something funny is likely unknown to everyone in that reality, but viewers know it is there for the laugh track.
Your Boss Is Probably Incompetent
If the protagonist’s show is set at their place of work, their boss is almost certain to be a goofball of some sort. They may be eccentric billionaires like Jimmy James on NewsRadio or incompetent egomaniacs with dreams of stardom like David Brent on the original British version of The Office, but these bosses will always be more of a nuisance than a help in the workplace. And if the protagonist’s story isn’t about their job, the random occasions where they go to their place of work will show that their boss (and maybe even all of their coworkers) are pretty weird.
You Rarely Get A Promotion
Adding to the pain of the working life for a sitcom character, they rarely get promoted, no matter how long they are at the job. Along with jobs that rarely have defined hours or any actual work connected to them, these characters almost never move up the corporate ladder. This can be especially rough for sitcom protagonists who are just out of school since it means that they’re stuck in a low-level position for years on end, be it as a waitress like the girls from Two Broke Girls or whatever it was that Barney did at Altrucell Corporation on How I Met Your Mother.
Time Has No Meaning
Of course, sitcom characters may not mind being trapped in their jobs because time moves differently in sitcoms. Along with the average week flying by in what must seem like twenty-two minutes, the season can change at an almost alarming rate. A sitcom character can go to the beach one week to being trapped inside because of a snowstorm the next.
Most of Your Romantic Relationships Are Short-Lived and Ended For Weird Reasons
Almost everyone will have at least a few romantic relationships in their lifetime, but many sitcom characters have an abundance of short-lived but extremely important romances in their lives, and many of these romances end for weird reasons.