I grew up on a steady diet of sitcoms. Before the days of Angry Birds and social networking, I turned to cable television for my nightly fix of mindless entertainment. And even though the programs were fictional, the zany antics of attractive ensemble casts started seeming pretty plausible after the second or third rerun.

Here are seven sitcom myths I had to unlearn once I realized that real life isn’t an after school special.

1. Having a career is just a plot device.
Real people have jobs. You don’t spend hours sipping cappuccinos and discussing your on-again, off-again love affairs in the middle of the afternoon; you actually have to work if you want to earn a living. Also, it’s important to note that days at a real-life office aren’t spent pranking each other with stationery in Jello moulds.

2. CHEERS: Where everybody knows your name. Your buddies don’t hang out at one specific diner/coffee shop/bar all the time. Your social circle will be scattered across the city (or country) and you will rarely bump into your friends by chance. That’s what Foursquare is for.

3. Everything you say is funny. Unlike situation comedies, your life doesn’t come with a laugh track. If you make a bad joke, there is no guaranteed guffawing to validate you. In trying to come to terms with this, you may develop a nervous habit of chuckling after almost everything you say in an attempt encourage others to do the same. Or maybe that’s just me? OK — moving on.


4. Everybody is attractive. Paleontologists do not look like Ross Geller. They just don’t. On a related note: doctors don’t look like Olivia Wilde and police officers rarely resemble Shemar Moore.

5. Ex-lovers only reappear in re-runs. Your ex-boyfriend is not a hunky guest star that disappears after a four-episode arc. You’ll inevitably run into him, probably when you’re on your way home from the gym or sick with a head cold.

6. Have you seen my awesome apartment? Twenty-somethings don’t shack up with astonishingly attractive roommates in impossibly expensive 2,000-square-foot industrial lofts. It’s more likely that you’ll end up living in a modest rental unit with your parents’ old furniture and a mouse problem.

7. Being single is the best!
Singledom is hardly a slew of comical encounters with eccentric yet loveable characters; most first dates are awkward and entirely underwhelming — hilarity does not ensue. There are also plenty of lonely, miserable nights; they just don’t show that on TV.

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