Spoilers ahead through Season 1, Episode 4 of Katy Keene . Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa shows aren't known for being realistic. Just watch five minutes of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, in which the titular teen witch recently became the queen of hell, or The CW's Riverdale, which once included a mythological villain that turned out to be Betty's evil fake brother in a mask. Buying into all the absurdity is what makes them so fun to watch.
The same is true for Aguirre-Sacasa's
new , which stars Lucy Hale as a plucky aspiring fashion designer working at a Bloomingdale's knockoff called Lacy's. The version of New York City she lives in is idealized, over-the-top, and utterly unrealistic in the best and purest way. Riverdale offshoot Katy Keene
This is, of course, intentional.
Series creator Michael Grassi told Variety that the series is a "big city fairytale" set in what they refer to as "the New York of the imagination."
"It's a New York where artists can live in Manhattan and pursue their dreams and afford an apartment in Washington Heights; it's a New York where places like [East Village music club] CBGB still exist; and it's also a place where the city is ripe with opportunity, whether that's a career opportunity or a romantic opportunity," he said.
In honor of that "New York of the imagination," here are all of the incredible-but-completely-improbable NYC things that happen in the show.
1 Katy's Gigantic Apartment Episode 1. Katy explains to Riverdale's Josie McCoy — who's just arrived in NYC — that their apartment belongs to their roommate Jorge's parents, who also own the bodega downstairs. It's possible that three broke 20-somethings could pool their money for a place in Washington Heights (or that Jorge's parents are letting them stay there free of charge), but the place is still gargantuan by NYC standards. 2 When Josie Randomly Gets Discovered in Washington Square Park Episode 1. In the pilot, Josie is depicted job hunting as she circles classified ads in the newspaper and applies to New York hot spots like Strand Book Store and Economy Candy. She takes a break in Washington Square Park, where a woman with a guitar instantly identifies her as being new to the city. They begin singing Ben E. King's "Spanish Harlem," which the very famous Alexander Cabot (Lucien Laviscount) just so happens to overhear, then proceeds to offer Josie his card. Apparently getting a record deal is that easy, folks!! 3 ...and Then Gets to Record at Electric Lady
The next day, Alexander invites Josie to record at the iconic
Electric Lady Studios (which was built by Jimi Hendrix) in Greenwich Village. 4 The Enigma That Is Pepper Episode 1. "I just got back from Art Basel with Childish Gambino, lining up investors for my top secret project," Katy's friend Pepper Smith (Julia Chan) says casually, as if she's bored. But when Josie inquires about what it is she does, exactly, Pepper responds, "I just gave a TED Talk on the feminist power of Snapchat, I wrote this week's Modern Love column in the Times, and earlier this year, I shot an indie with Lupita Nyong'o and Kristen Stewart." Pepper is the second coming of Tahani Al-Jamil, and she's a complete caricature of a New York socialite. 5 The Night Life Episode 1. "Is this what it's like every night?" Josie asks as they party at Molly's Crisis.
"Josie, darling, it's only Tuesday!" Pepper responds.
"Welcome to New York!" Katy says.
Listen, it is completely possible to go out and party every night in NYC...but does anyone,
really? How do they afford to pay for drinks, considering no one except Katy seems to have a job? 7 The Alphabet City Bandit Episode 2. After K.O. kneels down to propose, his ring is snatched by someone who the newspaper later identifies as the Alphabet City Bandit. Would a bandit really stick to one specific neighborhood, though? Especially one as small as Alphabet City in lower Manhattan? 8 The A Train Episode 2. During Episode 2, Katy recalls that the A Train once broke down, forcing her to walk 50 blocks in heels. Yes, the A does go to and from Washington Heights, where she lives with Jorge and Josie, but could she not have...taken the 1 or B train? Taken the bus? Hailed a taxi, even? 9 The Lacy's Window Display Episode 4. At the beginning of Episode 4, Katy wakes up in the window of Lacy's. In a flashback, she's seen helping François (Nathan Lee Graham) put up the store's latest window display, with all of Fifth Avenue to see. In both of these instances, the curtain is open, which would never happen at a New York department store. When Bergdorf Goodman prepares its legendary holiday displays, they keep the windows closed off from pedestrians so they can unveil their finished work with a flourish. Lacy's would almost certainly do the same. 10 City Council District 52 11 The Polar Vortex Episode 5. "The thing with being single in New York when it's 10 degrees below zero outside? It forces you to stay indoors and focus on yourself," Katy says in a voiceover. A polar vortex has hit the city, causing shops everywhere to close and the MTA to stop running.
First of all, this is highly unlikely: the
MTA has only suspended full-service once because of a blizzard, in 2015. Secondly, -10F degrees is ridiculously cold for New York (it supposedly dips to -25F later in the episode). According to the New York Times, NYC experienced -1 degree weather in February 2016 (with the wind chill, it felt like -19), which broke a century-long record set on Feb. 14, 1916, when it was 2 degrees. Even more ridiculous, Katy arrives home from Lacy's declaring how freezing she is while wearing a minidress and no tights or leggings to protect her legs from the supposed negative temperatures. This is...hazardous? Implausible? A risk to her personal well-being? 12 Chubby's Recording Studio Episode 5. Chubby shows Josie to his basement, where he just so happens to have a fully functioning recording studio. Another miraculous convenience for Josie.
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This article was originally published on
Feb. 7, 2020