Thanks to the power of Netflix, I’ve been watching a show that reinforces a lot of stereotypes many people already have about New Yorkers. It is about real estate agents who sell apartments in the Big Apple, but here are some of the things they feature:
1- People who endlessly air-kiss each other, complete with the fakey-fake noise “Mwah!”. Nausea with a big side serving of gag me.
2- Apartments the size of my livingroom that sell for upwards of a million dollars, with a steady stream of clients who look at them and don’t seem at all shocked by the price. Really? Is this how New Yorkers live, or is this a TV stunt?
3- Potential “homeowners” (which in New York means that you buy an apartment, which having never lived in New York myself I have a hard time comprehending…) who oooh and aaah over “view”s- which in New York can mean things like someone else’s apartment building or the top of another building or a distant building. Sometimes if they are very very lucky, or in a very very upscale area, they will get to see trees or sometimes even water, albeit from far away. This is mind-bending to me, coming from a place where a view is something that one would see on a calendar. Not that I grew up with one, but I certainly knew what one was…
4- Apartments, even those belonging to families with multiple children, that are so immaculate that they don’t look like they are currently inhabited, much less ever lived in. These places are so stunning that I literally cannot calculate the number of man-hours (or more likely woman-hours) it would take to get a dwelling in that condition. There is no chipped paint, no scuff, no wayward speck of dust. Ironically the quilt in the master bedroom if often not perfect, but is the only thing I have ever noticed that is out of place. I wonder if every person in New York has a servant who follows them around 24 hours a day to clean up every trace of their existence the second it is generated. And does this give each of them a massive existential crisis?
5- Neighborhood name-dropping. I have had firsthand experience with New Yorkers who act like everyone else in the country learns New York geography as part of a federally mandated curriculum.
But on this show they are constantly referencing places like Tribeca and Soho. So unless they are expecting only other New Yorkers to watch this show, it may be nice to have a clue what these places are (Tribeca- is that where the 3 Beccas live? Is Soho the home of really skanky people?)Anyway, you can still enjoy the show even as a clueless outsider, but it is a constant reminder that you aren’t on the inside track.
6- Pretty people, all the time. Even the children of one of the main families on the show are cute, and even their dogs are cute. This wouldn’t be so painful to watch- after all, it is TV, so clearly they are going to look for beautiful people to be on their show. But one of the main people tries so hard to be stylish that she is almost crippled in her fancy shoes and actually hobbles down the street in more than one episode. Everyone is thin (which may be explained by the fact that when you look at the size of the servings of food they are served, everything is teeny tiny), and the men are trying just as hard to be just as fabulous as the women. I don’t comment on this to be snipe-y; I comment because it paints such a portrait of fakery that it makes me wonder if New York is one big rat race of who can be prettier than everyone else, even though the show officially has nothing to do with looks. After all, it’s not like I’m watching a modeling show.
I watch this show with a mixture of curiosity and horror. I am watching it because it is hard to find things that are “clean” (meaning no inappropriate content for my children, but still not babyish and cartoony). I am watching it because it is like learning about a new and foreign culture, because, frankly it is. I have met New Yorkers who are delightful people, but I am also curious: Is this really how life in New York is, or has this been exaggerated for effect?
And if it is true, I will just say to those of you in New York, I’m so sorry for you…