A lot of people think the sole reason a sitcom will be massively successful is if it’s funny. That’s not entirely true. The key to making a hit sitcom is to make the viewers feel like the plot could easily be about their lives.
This is why Friends was so incredibly popular. Every person between ages 14-35 thought “this show is so much like me and my friends,” despite the fact that they didn’t know anyone as hot as Rachel, as neurotic as Ross, as sarcastic as Chandler, as stupid and lovable as Joey or as quirky as Phoebe. They probably knew someone like Monica, because she kinda sucks.
The point is that people spend time watching sitcoms either comparing the show to their lives or wishing their lives were more like the show.
One sitcom that is on the air right now, which executes this relatable quality perfectly is New Girl, staring Zooey Deschanel about three male roommates who let a female roommate move in with them. It’s extremely popular.
Two things have been invented since Friends was in its prime: Netflix Instant and Craig’s List. I used Netflix Instant to watch the entire first season of New Girl in about a week.
Then I used Craig’s List to prove that we all just want to live out our favorites sitcoms.
My friend and I put out a Craig’s List ad claiming that we needed two new roommates to fill out a “New Girl Style Apartment.” Basically, we put out an ad saying that we needed a Jess and a Winston.
Below is a copy of the ad that we put out (with included picture).
$1000 / 3000ft² – Looking For Two Roommates to Fill Out ‘New Girl’ Style Apt. (Manhattan )
room not private no private bath
My roommate Kyle and I are both Caucasian males and therefore will be filling the roles of Nick and Schmidt. So we kind of need the two new roommates to fit the criteria of the remaining cast [Winston and Jess]. The “Fair Housing Law” prevents us from discriminately stating that applicants must be of a “certain race, age, or sexual orientation,” but let’s just say that if you’re applying for the part of Winston, there’s something pretty important that you have to have in common with Winston. He’s a basketball player.
The Jess-roommate must be extremely quirky. She also must be prepared to engage in competitive banter with all three roommates on a daily basis. Having a supermodel for a best friend would also give you a leg up on other applicants. Please understand future Jess, we will constantly act as if we hate your presence and the random advice that you give us, but in reality we will secretly love it.
When applying feel free to send us any information you would like to share (background, resume, pictures, etc.)
We originally put the ad in Dallas, Texas (near where we both live), but in case the ad didn’t get much traction, we also put one up for New York City. I received an email about an hour later with the following claim from Craig’s List regarding the NY ad:
This posting has been flagged for removal.
Please be sure to comply with posted guidelines and the CL TOU.
Sorry for the inconvenience, and thanks for your understanding.
We responded to that email by putting up in ad in Los Angeles. So for those keeping track, we placed the same ad in Dallas, New York (for about an hour) and Los Angeles.
What I would now like to do is share with you a few responses that we got in the first 12 hours after the ad went up.
*Because I feel slightly guilty about the fact that these people responded to a fake ad with hopes of actually finding housing, I will keep each inquirer completely anonymous and not include the names that they provided.
“Lol, this post is classic. Before I send anything over I’m curious if you’ve found a place. Just wondering where the $1000 came from.”
Umm, it came from the fact that you’re not going to live an awesome/hilarious life with three really cool dudes for anything less than $1000.
“Um – you have any actual pics of the apt? location, etc?
I love “New Girl”…..and can fit the Jess “role”. However, I’m half asian and super sarcastic….but really nice about it.
I’m a clean, considerate, down to earth, friendly, educated, professional, full time employed female. Work in television, been in NYC for 10+ yrs., from the midwest, but relocated from the west coast.
I can bring income verification with me if we decide to meet. Would love to hear a little bit more. When is the space available?”
Super sweet of her to include the fact that she’s half-Asian as if there was any chance that this would somehow disqualify her from this fake application process.
“This is the best thing I have ever seen on craigslist.”
“Hahaha, I love your Craigslist Ad. First off, I love that show. Second, my name’s *****, just moved to Texas from California. Looking for a fun, cool place to live in Dallas. I’ll send over some pictures for ya.
Hope to hear from you guys!”
She did in fact send pictures. A lot of them.
I would like to start this e-mail off by saying your craigslist ad is hilarious. Second I do have the rules to the New Girl drinking game True American and I have ALWAYS wanted to play. I would love to come see the apartment sometime. Please let me know when you are available. You can email me or call/text me at ***-***-****
Hope to hear from you soon!”
The True American reference gave her immediate bonus points in the application process. She cut right to the heart of the ad – create an atmoshphere as fun and cool as the plot of New Girl.
Is the Room available for August Move in date? If yes I’m very interested and will email you my Bio. Kindly please reply with your private email because Craigslist generated ones won’t deliver emails.”
We’re running into a problem. This response is from someone applying to be “Jess.” So far every response has been for “Jess.” Surely, there are some Winstons out there somewhere….
Is the room available and what’s the move in date?”
… another Jess…
“If this post is for real, it may be the greatest thing I have ever encountered on craigslist. Besides that one volunteer group that serves burritos to homeless people in LA, because burritos really really rock.
I’m a Caucuasion chick,, so even though I really wish I could be Winston, I guess I would have to be Jess. Thank god I’ve recently started rocking that whole tight shirt-full skirt-ballet flat combo. No bangs though, I’m sorry. I do have the glasses, so I think that should count for something, especially since they’re prescription and not just a pathetic attempt at being hipster. I get along better with guys, it’s just a weird trait of mine. But I do have a friend who used to do car show modeling, so you guys can totally stare at her.
I just graduated and I’m working two jobs so I’ll have the income for rent and bills and all that fun stuff. And to spring for a Douche Jar of course. House essentials.
Let me know what you think!”
Between the former model friend and the money for a Douche Jar, she really finished her application off strong.
Love the ad. Love the show. And LOVE the balls!!Me: I’m a late 20’s professional female (not a teacher :/). I’m healthy, active, social. friendly, respectful. honest, clean, a college grad, and constantly battling the struggles of everyday life ;). I am pretty chill during the week and like to be social on the weekends. i like to cook healthy and maybe do family meals. I work from home sometimes.If you have any other questions let me know!Thanks 🙂PS: I do have a supermodel friend… but she is getting married. and it’s not arranged..
“I fit none of the description for what you are looking for. However, I do meet criteria for what makes a great roommate.
A little about me…
Im 33 and work at a used car dealership photographing the cars for the company website. I will work (4) 10 hour days a week at the dealership and then freelance in film/video production on some Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays as the jobs come up – usually on commercials, corporate videos, and reality series. I spend my free time working on a several screenplays and editing my first feature length documentary, as well as going to museums, live music, and on photographic excursions.
This place would really function as a place to rest my head at night as I work a lot and when I am home, Ill probably be in my room writing. I pay rent and bills on time or early, don’t consume others food, drink, or things like toothpaste, toilet paper, etc., clean up after myself and don’t have random people coming in and out. I don’t currently have a GF and wont be bringing home random women, either – not my style at all. So I wont be having overnight guests, but assuming I may meet a woman while living there, I would like to be able to have her spend the occasional night but NEVER turn it into a live in GF situation.
I respect others space, personal lives, property, and privacy and refuse to create or bring home drama.
I love to cook and do it well (especially for others).
Thats really all I can think of at this time, so if you have any questions, by all means throw em at me!”
I’m a pretty easy-going guy, but it really irks me when someone just blatantly wastes my time. I guess some people are just inconsiderate and can’t take anything seriously. Grow up man.
“Hey Guys, Jess here, or (*Real Name*) but you can call me either.
I read your ad and it basically encompasses my life goal, to have my life be a tv show and have non-serial killer roommates. I’m actually headed to Dallas next week for a new job. I don’t know too many people so your ad sounded like a twofer a place to live and friends to play pranks on.
Anyway I posted my own ad let me know if you’re still in the market for a roomie!”
I actually haven’t seen the second season so I can’t say for sure, but I’m fairly confident that none of us will develop into serial killers.
I’m going to be honest, I didn’t expect there to be such a huge discrepancy in the Jess/Winston ratio. I guess there’s the possibility that New Girl is more popular in the white female community than it is in the African American male community. Who knew?
I think the valuable lesson to be learned here is that if you want to live the lives of the characters on your favorite sitcoms you just have to go to the Internet and make it happen. And just hope that you don’t end up living with some type of psychotic serial killer.