In fictional TV narratives, job interviews and negotiations are opportunities for farce. Especially when the manager is male and his subordinate is female, TV writers grab the opportunity to intersect career milestones with heterosexual complications. But when labor economics converge with gender in the real world, the result is far from uproarious.
Shows like Girls and The Nanny portray childcare as a temporary, middle-class job that comes with nonthreatening romantic entanglements. And Downton Abbey depicts domestic work as a stable career, so long as you can adhere to the house rules. But in the real world, domestic work is an unstable profession that can encompass unfair labor practices—and a lack of legal protection against them.
It's no wonder that there's a spot for Gossip Girl's Blair in the competitive world of fashion: she's the daughter of the creator of Waldorf Designs, she attended an elite private school where she gained connections to high society, and her family has no shortage of money. But for less privileged, real-life aspirants who move to New York in search of fashion dream jobs, the workforce is not so glamorous.
Women have comprised almost half of law school enrollments in the last three decades. But in terms of the federal judiciary, the numbers haven't risen a bit. Currently, fewer than one in three of the judges on the federal courts of appeal are female. But you wouldn't know that based on TV portrayals of judges.