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Speculating on TV characters' salaries for the hell of it

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Pam_lIt’s about time we started hearing about TV characters’ fictional, at times pathetic salaries instead of how much the actors behind them get paid per episode in real life. (Honestly, it seems like I’m constantly reading about this. Do I actively seek it out — or does the media cram it down my throat? Was I even hungry? And who is this “media”?)

Turns out The Office‘s Pam (Jenna Fischer, pictured), only rakes in $23K a year. That seems pretty low (even taking into account the cost-of-living in Scranton, Pa), but unlike other TV shows and nearly every movie, Pam’s material life seems fairly reflective of her income. I just realized that’s probably because we never see the insides of the characters’ houses. Jim’s, that one time, but all he had to show off was booze and a yearbook. So The Office pulls off the income facade well. Ugly Betty probably does, although it appears to have taken a few hundred thousands of dollars’ worth of patterned fabric to upholster every inch of the Suarez house (which I love, by the way). And Boston Legal always takes great pains to remind us just how well-off and Boston-y the attorneys are. Cheers to good wealth, guys.

Some of the figures do seem to have a margin of error of plus-or-minus…infinity. I would have guessed that Lorelai Gilmore made, like, a grand per annum as an innkeeper. And how about all the hilariously unspecified businesses on some of our sillier shows? The ones so ridiculous they couldn’t possibly turn a profit but that we still love  enough to ignore that glaring problem? Bluth Company? Uncles Jesse and Joey? Kirsten Cohen and Julie Cooper, “Co-owners of NewMatch?” Hi!

This is fun. Who else on TV had the weirdest, seemingly profitable job that in reality never would have made a dime?