One of the coolest part of being in New York City is knowing that your city is the subject of location for so many cultural references in television. While some shows or movies inaccurately depict New York City, I’m here to give you some of these pop culture staples that portrayed New York City properly so you can rely on these references when it comes to applying your English skills publicly!

1. Girls on HBO

Even if you’re not female, you might find this show pretty relatable as the overall theme of the program is to share the universal struggle of settling in not only in New York City, but as an adult trying to find your “place.” The show is filmed in New York City, so you can trust their references, their lingo and jargon, and you can even get a pretty accurate idea of socializing and nightlife. Watch a few episodes and you might learn a few phrases in English that you hadn’t come across yet, and you might find yourself attracted to Brooklyn!

2. 30 Rock on NBC

I’m biased with this one, as this is one of my favorite shows, EVER, even before I moved to New York City. Once I got here, however, I decided to rewatch the series and realized that Tina Fey’s portrayal of NYC was a beautiful homage to how the city really is. She talks about how interesting subway rides can be, how she adores the dichotomy of loving the city even though it sometimes chews her up and spits her out, and the footage is 100% taken in New York City instead of just using a green screen or a backdrop to make it LOOK like the city. Bonus: it will make you laugh from your gut!

3. Law & Order: SVU (Special Victims Unit)

This show has been on for almost 20 seasons, so this should be easy to catch as they’re always showing reruns. If you like criminal and thrilling shows, this should be right up your alley. It shouldn’t be a secret that New York City can be a dangerous place to live in, and this show does highlight that, so it’s important to keep in mind that it’s only highlighting it, not necessarily claiming that ALL of NYC is dangerous—keep that in mind! But the show is a peek into the world of the criminal justice system, and NYC is always one of the returning characters. Pay attention to the locations, the landmarks, and the discussions around neighborhoods. You might be surprised at how many you recognize yourself and how easily some English phrases you now use!

On the same token, here are a few shows that are “located” in New York City but don’t really accurately portray living in New York City. Either their apartments are ridiculously sized, or the character’s spending styles don’t match up with their careers—regardless of what it is, if you happen to catch these shows, take their depiction of New York City with a very large grain of salt.

1. Friends—The characters are rarely depicted at work, seem to have endless disposable income, and are always hanging around together. Not to mention, their apartments are insanely huge for New York City! It’s still a great show, but don’t take their depiction of NYC to heart.

2. Sex and the City—This is another unrealistic depiction of city living. Again, the size of the apartments do not match by scale to the characters’ occupations. Also, their spending habits and the way they only take cabs would make even the wealthiest New Yorker a bit worried for their wallet.

3. Gossip Girl—While this is a campy teen show, the program tries very hard to make NYC a main character of the show, but it doesn’t work. The characters are spoiled high school students that use and abuse their parents’ money and social standings, so as long as you keep this in mind while watching the show, you’ll know now to accept their main character as New York City.

4. How I Met Your Mother—While this is one of my favorite shows, I now understand that the show’s portrayal of New York City is also incorrect. Yet again, the characters’ apartments are way too large compared to their respectable occupations, and as a viewer, you rarely see them at work. This show will definitely draw you in and make you laugh, but don’t take their New York City to heart.

Category : How to Learn