Are Your Favourite TV Characters in Debt?

Many of us watch TV for escapism, so anything which happens on our favourite programmes must be taken with a pinch of salt. Generally, the usual rules do not apply – which is a shame because having access to three dragons would certainly be useful.

Our worlds are definitely best kept apart. However, instead of trying to picture yourself in these fictional universes, can you imagine how these characters would fare in our society? It could be because we’re in the business of money management, but we struggle to sometimes see how these people would get anywhere in the real world.

Here’s what we mean:

Why the Simpsons are probably ‘just managing’

The Simpsons family has got up to a variety of antics over the years. Behind all this though, their financial situation is probably not as comfortable as they would like. For example, if we take UK data, we can see:

  • The average salary for a nuclear power plant employee is £44,575 (source: Payscale). After taxes, we can expect Homer to take home around £2,800 per month.
  • Their four-bedroom house would cost an average of £426,099 (source: Movehub). Assuming the house is mortgaged, monthly payments would take around £1,800 of that (Source: Money Advice Service).
  • Putting two children through school would cost the family about £250 (Source: Primary Times) on a monthly basis. Furthermore, keeping two cars would set them back about £324 (Source: The Car Expert).

The Simpsons’ monthly budget now has about £400 spare. All in all this isn’t too bad, until we start considering groceries, bills, and other expenses including phones, television, and internet. Furthermore, with the average price of lager being £3.67 in the UK (Source: The Morning Advertiser), Homer drinks away more than £100 a month by regularly having a beer or two at Moe’s.

Father Ted is struggling with debt

Being a priest, Father Ted probably does not pay for the large house on Craggy Island. However, we know from previous episodes that he’s struggling with money. In ‘Think Fast, Father Ted’ the title character even tries to rig a charity auction so as to conduct house repairs.

The average salary for a priest is around £25,000 (Source: eHow). With the other two characters employed in name only, this sum has to cover all of the household expenses. This doesn’t quite stretch if we consider the salary for Mrs Doyle – Father Ted’s daily housekeeper. If she earns the upper rate of £500 per week (Source: The Carer Company), she actually earns slightly more than the title character does – meaning Father Ted really can’t afford to keep her employed.

Sherlock – Holmes can’t afford his trademark flat

For such a famous genius, you’d have thought Holmes would have budgeted better and chosen a property he can afford. After all, according to one estate agent, the average rental value on Baker Street is almost £1,500 per week.

Even if you split the cost between two people, at the start of Sherlock, Holmes is unemployed and Watson is returning from active service. With a minor leg injury which heals by the end of the first episode, Watson only probably received around £1,000 in compensation – if that (source: Guardian).

With their living situation untenable, Holmes and Watson would have to think of a plan sharpish. Chances are though, even the revenue from solving cases won’t have covered the cost of a Baker Street flat.

Friends – We could write a sperate blog about this one

Anyone who watched Friends knows how their financial situation would have been completely unsustainable. A central flat in Manhattan? Full of people with somewhat precarious employment situations? Even drinking pricy coffees every day would have tested their finances.

One issue though (which Comedy Central has already done the maths on) is how much Joey owed Chandler by the end of the show. Chandler reportedly paid for three years’ worth of Joey’s rent, food, and bills. Worked out, this cost Chandler around $90,000!

However, due to various situations in episodes which (again) Chandler bailed Joey out of, Comedy Central estimates that Joey was in debt to Chandler by more than $101,000 – or £71,000.

It’s nice to have generous friends, but Joey really needed debt help…

Debt is hidden – even on TV

At MoneyFixers we’re working to normalise the conversation surrounding debt. This topic is often considered a taboo in society and it seems even our favourite TV characters don’t discuss the situations they are in.

If you’ve decided it’s time to talk, head on over to our D**T happens page or click the button below to find out just how we can help you: