Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Can Frasier afford his apartment?

There’s a fun article that a number of people have sent me by Gabriella Paiella of GQ called “How Did Frasier Afford His Apartment?”   By doing some research and crunching the numbers she determined that Frasier could not meet the mortgage payments of his condo.   Of her numbers she compiled, the only one that was way off was his salary as a talk show host of a Seattle radio station.  She claims he would have made $27,000 a year.  I was announcing for the Mariners in the ‘90s and can tell you it would have been considerably more.  Probably $100,000 and I suspect even more. 

Ms. Paiella then consulted longtime FRASIER writer/producer, Joe Keenan who reasoned that Frasier invested well.  That sounds legitimate.  No one ever brought this subject up the many times I was in the FRASIER writing room, but I totally buy it. 

You can read the article here.

My alternate answer though, would be: No one in sitcoms could afford their apartments.  

Unless a downsized apartment or house was necessary for the premise (e.g. ALL IN THE FAMILY, THE MIDDLE, or ROSEANNE), viewers gladly sacrificed reality.   Good luck doing THE HONEYMOONERS today. 

Sitcoms, for the most part, have to be inviting.  I contend that the big reason TAXI did not get the love and audience it should have was because it was set in a grimy garage.  People didn’t want to see that every week.   Even though MASH was set in a war zone, it was single-camera, brightly colored, and had scope. 

What could the FRIENDS apartment in Manhattan cost?   Monica would have to be making Courtney Cox money.  And whenever a character is supposed to be single and starting out they invariably live the coolest loft that city has to offer.   If apartments or lofts aren’t big, they’re super fun cozy with lots of levels.  There are landings, and alcoves, large picture windows, and all have high ceilings (which accommodate the stage lights). 

There’s another reason for this besides just the aesthetics.  Larger apartments are easier to shoot.  Since most of these shows are shot before a studio audience, cameras are rolling during the action.  If sets are too small you can’t get good shots of faces.   You’ll notice that apartment sets are wide, they’re never deep.  And if they are somewhat deep (a la FRASIER), it’s easy to roll cameras up into the set.  There are also “ports.”  These are panels in the side walls of sets that slide out so a camera can peek through.   So Frasier and Niles can be way up by the balcony and we could shoot them.  Just a side note:  I think the Frasier apartment is the single greatest multi-cam set ever.  It was created by Roy Christopher. 

The point is a lot of thinking goes into designing these home sets.  Last on the list is whether the character can afford it.  Which is good because none of them can.  

70 comments :

Douglas Trapasso said...

Not really a Friday Q but maybe someone can give me context.

Sitcom characters rarely move but Mary Tyler Moore did. Was it Season 5? Was this done for technical reasons, like Ken described, or just to show growth in the character?

CarolMR said...

Ann Marie's apartment on That Girl is a good example of this. Big beautiful apartment, nicely furnished. Yet Ann had only temp jobs and sometimes she'd get fired. Rarely had acting jobs. I always wondered how she could afford such an apartment. Or her clothes.

Glenn said...

On Friends, they always gave the reason for why Monica could live in her apartment was because she inherited it from her grandmother and there was rent-control.

Matt said...

I read that article and the entire time thought to myself what a waste of space it was. The author could have saved a lot of time and words by typing the clear answer to the question:

How can Frasier afford his apartment?

Because Frasier isn’t real; it’s a TV show. He doesn’t have to afford his apartment.

Mike Barer said...

Where do we find the time to overthink our sitcoms?

Bryan L said...

It's funny but this post made me realize that I simply assumed "family money," even though a basic premise of the show was that Martin wasn't rich and snobby. If I'd actually thought about it I probably would have assumed investment income. I also don't remember if it's possible that Frasier and Niles inherited money from grandparents (perhaps ones that disapproved of Martin) -- too many years since I watched the show.

Brian said...

To show how different times were, Archie Bunker lived in Queens, worked in a warehouse, occasionally drove a taxi and STILL managed to be able to burn his mortgage when the last payment was made. Edith only worked outside of the house on a volunteer basis.

Part of ownership, if you go far back enough, had to do with (help me out older folks reading this) the fact that housing prices did not rise as sharply as they had in subsequent years.

As for Mary Richards moving, that is a good point about the size of the place, but also, the two characters Rhoda and Phyllis were no longer on the show at that point, so there was no real reason for her to stay in a studio apartment. Also, I'm guessing that with her years at WJM, she must have gotten a raise SOMEtime or another.

Frank's Place, I thought, made perfect sense. Tim Reid inherited his Dad's restaurant, lived in a sweaty room above it and one of the waitstaff lived in an adjacent room.

Brian said...

Not having seen too much of 2 Broke Girls, their apartment looked to be about right for two waitresses.

David D said...

I agree with another reader...I also read the article and thought to myself what a waste of space and energy. They could have put there efforts in writing something else.

There are so many reasonable explanations on how he could afford the condo...including.....Lilith and he had a home in Boston, sold it when they divorced and Frasier used his part of the money to purchase the condo.

Why spend the time overthinking a sitcom location.

maxdebryn said...

Thank you.

Curt Alliaume said...

Glenn said:

>>On Friends, they always gave the reason for why Monica could live in her apartment was because she inherited it from her grandmother and there was rent-control.<<

Speaking as someone who sublet a rent-controlled apartment around this era, that was a viable reason. Otherwise, there would have been no earthly way Monica and Rachel (or Phoebe before her) could have afforded a two-bedroom apartment. (My wife and a friend had a two-bedroom on the Upper East Side--80th between York and East End, so it was a 20-minute walk to the subway--in the late 1980s. It was so tiny--my wife's bedroom was basically a closet.)

Paul Reiser once noted, after Mad About You started filming, how ridiculous the apartment set was compared to real life.

Ditto How I Met Your Mother, where a low-level architect and a grad student can afford to live on the Upper West Side.

On a somewhat related note, neither Friends nor How I Met Your Mother shot a single scene in New York (Mad About You did shoot on location a few times).

Anonymous said...

This article goes over 30 sitcom characters unrealistic living spaces!

Fraiser is listed at #9 and has deeper insight than the article that Ken sites.

Felicity was the one that always seemed impossible to have as a student.

https://bestlifeonline.com/tv-character-apartments/

Anonymous said...

Why write such an article?

Well, it appears people read it and are discussing it. No other reason required because that is the most important.

Philly Cinephile said...

The movie ELECTION features an excellent depiction of/commentary on apartments in NYC.

I was thinking about submitting a Friday question about sets. Ken, building off of your comment about Frasier's apartment being, in your opinion, the best multi-camera set ever, what sets stand out in your mind as some of the worst, and why? Also, how much collaboration goes into set design for a sitcom. Do the show creators and writers have input? Are actors ever called upon to add their own touches to reflect their characters? Do sets ever require modification due to unforeseen complications when filming or taping?

McTom said...

Agree with the above post on the comically large "Mad About You" set (which was deep as well as wide).
Even more ridiculous in the reboot when they apparently bought the next-door neighbor's unit and punched through the bedroom for extra space for their daughter's room.
And wholeheartedly agree with Ken on the "Frasier" set being outstanding. I got to sneak onto the stage one evening after an event on the Paramount lot, and was originally disoriented looking at it because it wasn't your typical rectangular box sitcom set. All kinds of wonderful and picturesque angles. Hearty kudos to Roy Christopher.

Curt Alliaume said...

Re: Mary Richards moving to a highrise partway through the series run

After Cloris Leachman was spun off into her own series, the premise there was that Lars had died and left Phyllis and Bess penniless (he had borrowed against his life insurance policy after suffering financial setbacks and failed to keep up with the payments, unknown to Phyllis). Presumably, their house (where Mary lived) was foreclosed because of this, and the new owners may have wanted to do something different with it. And as Brian noted, since both Rhoda and Phyllis had moved, there was nothing keeping Mary there.

On a more practical note, the owner of the house where the exteriors were shot (which was located in Minneapolis) had gotten sick of gawkers driving by and ringing the doorbell. So when the production company tried to shoot new exteriors there, the owners hung a sign out the window that read "Impeach Nixon."

Moot said...

Frasier spent a decade or better in professional practice in the 80s, he could have banked money and made some wild investment gains. Martin was disabled in the line of duty, probably some very healthy benefits from that. I never heard that Martin contributed to the upkeep, but would it be reasonable to think he wouldn't? And why not? What would he be saving his money for? Frasier's mother was also a professional, probably had savings/assets, life insurance and maybe some nice death benefits that kicked in when Martin became disabled.
I get that Daphne is a home health aide, and Martin's insurance/benefits probably cover her, but does she fold Frasier's socks and cook his breakfast out of the goodness of her heart, or does he kick in to pay extra for maid service? Most people in jobs like that would have a very clear list of what duties they will or won't perform, and would probably assert that they are forbidden from doing extra chores not directly for the patient's benefit. Is there a room/board tradeoff?
Now what about child support? Did Lilith turn this down? Is it a token amount, or based more on Frasier's exorbitant salary? If there is no support, how does that affect Frasier's pride when he doesn't financially support his offspring?

Buttermilk Sky said...

As an apartment-dweller I never worried about Frasier's finances. I was more puzzled by the building itself. For instance, the doorman seemed to come and go as needed. Unwelcome visitors like Maris and Frasier's fans could walk right up. We would have asked the management to fire that guy.

You blame the grimy garage for TAXI's relative unpopularity, but BARNEY MILLER rarely strayed from the grimy 12th precinct and found an audience. Maybe the characters at the garage were a little too oddball. Danny DeVito certainly lacked the calm authority of Hal Linden.

I don't think most people look to sitcoms for social realism. If GOOD TIMES had realistically portrayed life in Chicago public housing it would not have been a comedy.

Kevin FitzMaurice said...

Perhaps the most extreme example--so extreme that it was almost a parody of this sitcom cliche--was Loni Anderson's elegant digs--complete with a doorbell that played "Fly Me to the Moon"-- on "WKRP in Cincinnati."

It helped that "Jennifer"--a receptionist--was the highest-paid employee at the radio station.

As for "Taxi," it did enjoy a decent,five- year run. Its realism added to its depth and appeal.

KLAC Guy said...

I’m not sure where the author of the article got her info, but she seriously underestimated the salary of a successful talk show host. As the former sales manager at LA’s major talk station, I can vouch for the fact that none of the hosts between 6 am and 7pm made less than 6 figures and a few earned over a million. Granted, this was LA, but even in Seattle, a host like Frasier would easily be making around $250,000.

Jim S said...

Ever since I read a making of Star Trek book when I was a kid, I've been willing to make certain concessions to the logistics of filming a TV show.

The book said the reason the original star ship Enterprise had such wide corridors was simple. They needed them wide to be able to move the large cameras of the 1960s and that meant wide corridors. If that meant sacrificing reality - space on space ships is a premium and wide corridors meant you needed more oxygen and energy to run the ship, which is something real spaceships take into account and why you keep things small, so be it. Reality was sacrificed for TV logistics.

I have made my peace with nice TV apartments and homes. On Friends, Monica was illegally subletting her grandmother's rent-controlled apartment. It was a plot point in a couple of episodes. Same with Phoebe. She lived with her grandmother, and when the actress who played her grandmother died, Phoebe inherited the place. Joey lived with Chandler and when Chandler moved out, there were episodes that dealt with his relative poverty. But it's a comedy and I will engage the entertainment on its own level.

As long as they pay lip service to the economic realities, I'm fine. I don't want to be that guy. So Frasier lived in a fancy apartment. I care more as to whether the show was funny and it was.

Joyce Melton said...

People who express worry about the triviality of the subject of a blog are not clear on the concept. :)

Lemuel said...

@ Kevin: Jennifer made a living reselling donated appliances.

AndrewJ said...

Directing the Brat Pack movie ST. ELMO'S FIRE, Joel Schumacher (a former Hollywood set decorator) said he wanted to exploit his large budget by giving his characters lavish apartments. But the moment Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, Demi Moore, et al. (NOTE #1: they were all playing recent college graduates) began walking around their 1,000-square foot apartments with 20-foot high ceilings (NOTE #2: they were ostensibly in the Georgetown area), they stopping being credible as struggling 20somethings.

Steve said...

No one leaves a profession to move across the country and do something else for 1/5th the money-- whatever he was making at the radio station had to be at least in the neighbourhood of what he was pulling in in private practice. And as Ken says, that's very plausible.

What I sometimes wonder is what made the radio station figure he would be good candidate to do the show. I guess there was a *Cheers* where he appears on a talk show, but a don't think he had worked in broadcasting before. I've always imagined he wrote some kind of book that sold well enough to give him some name recognition-- and that would be another income stream.

Frasier was loaded. I buy his living situation more easily than half the characters on tv.

DBenson said...

For pre-sitcom precedent, check out nearly any production of "La Boheme". The humble garret is generally scaled to fill the stage of the Met. And the opera singers cast as starving artists usually present their own problems of scale. Years ago there was a local production featuring gifted young unknowns, and a press released declared that this was one "Boheme" where you might believe they were hungry.

LMNtrees said...

I always assumed Frazier's radio show was extremely popular and a big money-getter. I thought the joke was that he was this high-fallutin' intellectual who was... making a lot of money by having sold out to commercial temptations.

DogDad said...

That doesn’t explain Chandler and Joey’s apartment across the hall.

Mike Bloodworth said...

One extreme in the opposite direction was in "The Blues Brothers." I wasn't a fan of the movie, but one thing I thought was funny was the tiny apartment next to the "L" that Jake and Elwood shared.
Please excuse the old joke, but the apartment was so small even the mice were hunchbacked.
Once again, I'm sorry.

M.B.

Cliff said...

Sets. I've always wondered why almost all sitcom sets are made with the back level a foot or so higher than the main part of the set. Old shows, and newer shows, not all, but many have the two tied set. Is there a practical reason needed for the construction, or for camera angles or what?
Thanks
Cliff

Tommy Raiko said...

Funny to see the Mad About You apartment mentioned in comments above. I vaguely remember another "how-could-those-TV-characters-afford-that-apartment" story from years ago (it's a perennial theme in entertainment writing, clearly...) that mentioned that show's apartment being kinda sorta plausibly affordable for a PR executive and a filmmaker-good-enough-for-Yoko-Ono-to-hire. So that one always sticks out to me as one that is, if not really realistic, then at least "TV realistic."

Tom Galloway said...

I can think of a case where it was the other way; the characters should've had much larger apartments (except one).

The Big Bang Theory. Ignore the million-plus dollars Sheldon and Amy split for winning the Nobel in the final episode. Circa 2011, Caltech full professors were averaging about $170K/year. While Leonard and Sheldon were too young to be full professors, they were certainly making low six figures and could've both afforded a more spacious solo apartment. And they would've needed the space (it was odd that in the 12 years the show was on, no significant new things were added to the apartment. Just where were they storing a decade's worth of comics and tchotchkes anyway?).

And over time it got worse. You had two professors, Sheldon and Amy, sharing a one-bedroom. No home office space or storage. And Leonard and Penny, once she became a pharmaceutical rep, would've been earning about the same with plenty of money to find a larger space.

It was unrealistic for Penny the waitress to be able to afford that one-bedroom solo in Pasadena, but it was stated/implied at least once that she was constantly "borrowing" money from Leonard to make ends meet.

JoeyH said...

Jim Rockford's mobile home was dumpy, but the Malibu Beach location was awesome.

Gary said...

As mentioned, some series have premises that require the characters to live in humble surroundings. As one of the examples Ken mentioned, THE HONEYMOONERS was surely the all-time champion of the austere set. Jackie Gleason even admitted the show was basically four people in a room, talking. Yet it remains one of the funniest shows of all time.

Moot said...

@Steve: That's a good guess about Frasier maybe having written a book that drew him into the spotlight to land a radio show. He did appear on Wings and was conducting a workshop, evidently he'd been at it for a while since Helen held a grudge from a prior workshop. It's all coming together, work the circuit shilling to the masses, inevitable he would come up with a companion book to sell.

sanford said...

In case you have never looked up the Mary Tyler Moore house, it is huge. Depending on how the housing market goes it was at one time worth 2,000,000. As for the Honeymooners there were a few times where they showed Norton's apartment, it was way better furnished than the Kramdens

DBenson said...

Also:
-- Infinite wardrobes for women with finite budgets and closet space.
-- Students, from grade school to college, who have plenty of time to screw around and indulge in hijinks without consequences.
-- Similarly, adults who are endlessly taking time off whatever it is they do for whatever reasons (part of larger patterns of behavior constantly driving employers to rage and threats) without getting fired.
-- Lawyers who have just one or two cases to worry about, which come to trial quickly and are usually definitively resolved.
-- Businesses that allow cliques of annoying people to constantly hang out and act out (I can't imagine Cheesecake Factory was always happy with "Big Bang Theory", which presented it as a nerd magnet with at least one waitress who'd talk about spitting on orders. And how big a tab did Sam allow Norm and others to run up at Cheers?)
-- And workplaces that seem inadequately staffed for what they're doing (publishing a magazine, running a TV or radio station, even operating an airline), even if they have extras walking around carrying things.

Tyler said...

Joey on Friends was living in New York while a cast member on a soap opera that shot in Hollywood, so the show was never going for gritty realism.

Will & Grace had an extremely nice apartment as well...they were at least moderately successful, but I have no idea how Jack could afford the place across the hall.

Necco said...

I never had a problem with the "Frasier" apartment being appropriate. The character obviously made decent money at the station, had invested well, etc. Hell, I watch the damn show about twice EVERY SINGLE DAY, now. It has become a Pandemic Pacifier.

I agree that the apartment set is extremely iconic. It has always felt like a second home to me. As does Mary Richard's original studio apartment. I think that "Frasier" has more "iconic" sets, than any three-camera sitcom.

If I were to nitpick - "The Golden Girls"- why did Blanche's Miami home basically have four master bedrooms? And the house's layout REALLY made no sense. Yes, I saw the actual interior photographs of the home in LA, used for exteriors shots in the first few seasons, before they built a replica in Orlando. (By the way, it's obvious that the set designer for "The Golden Girls" "borrowed" ideas from that
home on Saltair.) Oh, and while at USC Film School in 1985, our class took a tour of the old Sunset Gower Studio where "GG" was filmed. Sat on the damn wicker sofa!

Necco said...

Mr. Levine, WHATEVER you think of "WandaVision," those retro sets are brilliant. It is "nostalgia on crack," for better, or worse.

On another note, I think that many sitcoms have died, due to the sets. You MUST have a "visual anchor." Even if the acting/direction/writing is fantastic, the audience needs to feel "at home." I am trying to think of a good show that basically "lost" me because of the set. I know it's happened.

Aaron Sheckley said...

You guys with the "what a waste of time to write this article" outlook are entirely missing the point of the article. Dissecting shows is a very big activity for a certain segment of the fans of those shows. Have you ever heard a diehard Star Trek fan discussing the show? There are huge conventions of Star Trek fans who can spend hours dissecting the show, its flaws, its in-universe explanations for those flaws, its plot inconsistencies, etc. They write long essays on topics like why the proportions of the interior of the exterior of the USS Enterprise don't match up. They aren't doing that because they don't like the show. Quite the opposite: they LOVE the show, and they love to talk about the show, and they love to immerse themselves in the world of the show, and because they love it, they want to find explanations for everything that goes on in the universe of the show. To them it's absolutely not a waste of time, it's an expression of how much they get into the show. This same sort of fandom springs up around just about every show on TV, because a certain percentage of fans get really deeply invested in these shows. I don't know why this baffles some people, especially in light of the way so many people get insanely involved in professional sports. There are casual football fans, and then there's also a section of hardcore fans who live, breathe, and endlessly discuss the sport in excruciating detail. I've known plenty of guys who simply can't shut up about football; it's not my thing, but I'm sure they don't feel it's a waste of their time, and it's not a waste of my time unless someone puts a gun to my head and forces me to participate in the conversation. I doubt it that happened here, so how's it a waste of anyone's time for a writer to write an article about Frasier's condo?

Mike Barer said...

Frasier had an agent, not a good one, but if he was only making 27k a year, that agent wouldn't make a living.

Tim said...

Speaking of sets, I suddenly realized while watching an episode of Frasier that all the doors on set open in directions intended for comedic use - the main door opens into the apartment, as does the washroom door, etc. And it was clearly designed that way from far before any door-related gags were written into a script.

Kirk said...

At the risk of sounding like a member of the proletariat (which I am), $100,000 a year seems like a LOT of money to me, and yet Frasier couldn't afford that size apartment? I'm sure if you made that kind of salary here in Cleveland at least, you could find something that big (not that I've ever been in a position to do so.) However, 27k a year, OK, THAT would make such an apartment unaffordable. In fact, 27k a year usually isn't a "salary" at all, but just a bunch of time-clock hours added up to that amount on a W2 form.

Ere I Saw Elba said...

FRASIER's living room and the CHEERS bar are the two best static sets ever. I almost feel like I've been there.

And I agree with the point about TAXI--it's hard as a viewer to get drawn into that shitty garage, however good the show may be.

Jim said...

I would more believe that the castaway ladies each packed 750 outfits for their 3-hr cruise than I would Frasier made only $27K.

kells said...

On the same line, it always amused me that a recurrent trope would be a married couple arguing about who would "do the dishes." Doesn't matter how nice a house, they never seem to have a dishwasher. Sure, argue about how to load the dishwasher, maybe, but who in a large single family house doesn't have a dishwasher?

Jeff said...

Related, i just recently came across this: https://www.deviantart.com/nikneuk/art/Frasier-s-Apartment-Floorplan-Old-version-327376838

Unknown said...

I felt Gabriella missed out on her research by not checking closely with people who were in radio in the '90s. My co-workers in major market radio made $75 thousand a year and really popular shows especially in the morning made upwards of $100,000 a year. I had two friends who were making twice that. Even though Seattle wasn't a huge market, I just figured Fraser had a really loyal, broad audience and was bringing down a hundred grand a year. Boy, did I suspend my disbelief!

LMNtrees said...

Completely agree with Aaron Sheckley, dissecting shows is one of the fun things about watching tv. I think he is also correct that it's a bit like being a sports fan. Flaws are not always a negative because they are one more fun thing to analyze and discuss. Also, the audience's idea of a flaw might not be the same thing as the producers' or writers' idea of a flaw. Lots of times I have watched a particular show and thought: this show would be so much better and make more sense if these two characters just resolved their conflict. (I didn't know the conflict IS the show.) Other times, I have been annoyed that a show appeared to endorse a particular immoral action by a protagonist, not realizing that just because the protagonist does something wrong does not mean the writers agree with him or her! (Now we all understand this because we've watched Breaking Bad). Laypeople do not know how to watch tv, so sometimes you have to ignore us so you can give us the good stuff even as we complain about it and nitpick the (what we see as) plot holes. Of course, with social media, such complaints can snowball and become show-killers (or character killers). I'm sorry you tv writers have to work around that.

Anonymous said...

Frasier already had quite the nice lifestyle in Boston. It’s possible his mother, Hester, who was a medical professional, made provisions for both he and Niles. You may remember Martin remarking in one “Frasier” ep about not balking when Hester wanted to send the boys to Paris one summer (“cooking camp?”) Also, the Cranes both graduated Ivy League schools. You know that has to cost more than a few $!

Fed by the muse said...

I think the Screen Gems shows got it right, particularly on "Bewitched," "The Partridge Family" and "I Dream of Jeannie" - always loved Tony Nelson's "loft work space" at the top of the stairs!

Anyone remember Bill Davis' spacious Manhattan apartment on "Family Affair?" What do you figure "Uncle Bill's" place would go for today?

Unknown said...

I want to live in a sitcom!

Janet said...

They afforded Chandler and Joey's apartment first from the obscene amount of money Chandler was supposed to be making as the executive in charge of the "WENUS" at that huge corporation where he had the big office, and he basically supported Joey for several years.

Then Joey became the big star on DAYS OF OUR LIVES and he could afford the place by himself.

Anonymous said...

You read it too, gave it some thought and replied too. :D

Unknown said...

Kells, when I was growing up we always lived in a single family home and we (the kids, not mom and dad) always argued about doing the dishes. There was a dishwasher, but for seven years it fixing it was going to be the next major purchase once my folks managed to get a couple hundred bucks ahead of the mortage, bills and groceries.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

It turns out there's a more interesting discussion to be had about Jerry Seinfeld's apartment than whether he could afford it: where really *is* his hallway? As outlined on the show, it defies physics:

https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/tv/a36052013/jerry-seinfeld-apartment-layout-hallway-photo/

wg

The Ritty said...

How many times have people traded up though lol? Take a look at the kotters apartment and then they moved up in season two or three lol

The Ritty said...

I disagree.

The Ritty said...

Ugh lol

The Ritty said...

Well don't forget originally blanched lived where the patio was... When they took out her their gay cook she moved to the other side of the house with the other girls and they made that the back patio or something....

Pat Reeder said...

As someone who was also in radio in the '90s, I agree: I don't know how she got the idea that someone hosting a very popular major market daytime show made only $27k. Anyone at that pay grade wouldn't have an agent negotiating his salary. Also, with an agent and that voice, I assume he was also doing outside voiceover jobs. And weren't there occasional mentions of his show being simulcast in other markets?

Also, in "The Financial Permeability" episode of "The Big Bang Theory," Sheldon loaned Penny money from a hidden stash of cash. He didn't even care when she paid him back. He said he used only 46.9% of his after-tax income and was saving the rest for when technology advanced to the point where he could have his skeleton fused with adamantium like Wolverine.

There is too much stuff like this taking up space in my brain. I wish I could charge useless trivia rent.

Brandon in Virginia said...

To answer the question about Mary Richards's apartment, I believe part of the move came out of necessity. The original house started bringing the owner unwanted attention, to the point where she put an IMPEACH NIXON sign in the window. From there, the producers decided to find a new place.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPDEIyOweQo (go to about the 15:17 mark)

Pat Reeder said...

One other piece of trivia, to the people who asked how Frasier could afford to pay Daphne: I believe that in an early episode, Niles said that he and Maris would help cover the cost of a caregiver, obviously so that Martin wouldn't have to move in with them.

Anonymous said...

You're commenting on Ken Levine blogspot at 7am

Paul D. said...

Exactly forty years ago, and to this day I have always admired the refined, softer makeover 'The Jeffersons' apartment received.

I have wondered why other long running shows like 'Frasier' have not done the same thing. Granted, new paint and furniture will not help a series that is in decline creativity. It might, attract or bring back a few viewers because of the way a the series would stand-out more from the reruns.

mike schlesinger said...

This is nothing new. Louis B. Mayer famously said, "If it's an MGM picture, it has to look like an MGM picture, even if it's a B." This is why unemployed people who were starving to death and facing eviction still lived in a apartment the size of Rhode Island.

diego said...

in addition to monica's apartment on friends being a rent controlled inheritance from her grandmother, the creators of the show also made it a walk-up, which would make it more affordable

MikeN said...

Seattle wasn't as expensive in Frasier's time as now.
He could have saved up lots of money on Cheers, where he was a practicing psychologist, right?
Was he shown as an extravagant spender on Cheers?

BoxHead42 said...

I hear this a lot. And I have to ask, why on earth would Chandler support Joey for years? I mean a few months maybe, but grown men do not support other grown men for several years. Unless they were a "couple". Lol.