Television is where our dreams go to come alive. Or is it die? At any rate, as Americans, we spend up to 34 hours a week with our favorite TV characters—for some of us, this is more than we see our own families. Therefore, we have a right to know just how much bacon people like Homer Simpson and Don Draper are bringing to the table.
Here are the estimated salaries of 20 notable (fictional) television personalities, adjusted for 2015's economy. We wanted to include someone from Game of Thrones, but "Average annual wages for Mother of Dragons" came up blank, unfortunately. Go figure.
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Show:Married With Children Job: Shoe salesman Approx. annual salary: $23,797 It looks like the low-earning Bundy probably hated his job as much as he hated having sex with his wife. Too bad that football career never panned out...
Show: Friends Job: Waitress Approx. annual salary: $26,000 She got as many breaks as she wanted working at Central Perk, but anyone who watched friends knows how Rachel feels about breaks.
Show: Rocko's Modern Life Job: Phone hotline operator Approx. annual salary: $34,270 I'm pretty sure Rocko worked for a phone sex hotline. Which just made me like this show 200% more, and my childhood 40% less.
Show: Parks and Recreation Job: Recreation director Approx. annual salary: $42,000 Her annual salary is *literally* half the worth of Lil' Sebastian.
Show: King of the Hill Job: Seller of propane (and propane accessories) Approx. annual salary: $43,000 He might not be making bank, but Hank is doing what he loves. She don't lie, she don't lie, she don't lie: propane.
Show: Girls Job: Staff writer for GQ (Conde Nast) Approx. annual salary: $43,000 Although it's a decent salary, Lena Dunham's character only held this position briefly. Sending her back to her regular annual salary, which was nothing.
Show: The Simpsons Job: Nuclear safety inspector Approx. annual salary: $51,000 Apparently, the residents of Springfield don't care that their nuclear safety inspector has a crayon lodged in his brain.
Show: Breaking Bad Job: Chemistry teacher Approx. annual salary: $51,965 Shouldn't America's educators be compensated more fairly? This is the kind of thing that makes me want to throw a pizza on the roof.
Show: Bob's Burgers Job: Restauranteur Approx. annual salary: $56,587 And he gets his name on a sign.
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Show: True Detective Jobs: True detectives Approx. annual salary: $65,000 Time may be a flat circle, but these guys' bottom lines are right on point to buy 5,162.8 twelve-packs of Lone Star per year. Yes, I did the math.
Show: Seinfeld Job: Moderately successful stand-up comedian Approx. annual salary: $75,000 Because the jobs fluctuate so much, this was a hard one to determine. We figured, based on the data provided by the New York Times, that a moderately successful, primarily non-touring stand-up comic like Jerry would be making around $75K a year. This data is making me thirsty.
Show: The Office Job: Regional sales manager Approx. annual salary:$76,346 Not a bad salary for a paper man from Scranton—it's definitely large enough to be comfortable. That's what she said.
Show: The Sopranos Job: Solid waste management consultant Approx. Annual Salary: $84,000 It's a nice salary, but I'm thinking it's not enough to afford that luxe NJ McMansion. He must have a second job, or something.
Show: Friday Night Lights Job: High school football coach Approx. annual salary: $88,420 I don't know much about this show, but I do know that this guy shouldn't be making $30K more than teachers. Welcome to Texas!
Show: Friends Job: Paleontologist Approx. annual salary: $91,920 The answer to why so many amazing women date this dude: his sweet, sweet dino bone money.
Show: The Walking Dead Job: Sheriff/police chief Approx. annual salary: $100,706 How pissed would you be if you just got promoted, then the zombie apocalypse happened?
Show: Frasier Job: Psychiatrist and radio show host Approx. annual salary(Psychiatrist): $187,032 Approx. annual salary (Radio Host): $40,000+ Because of the drastically varying salaries of radio personalities, this was a difficult one to figure out. We can assume that he was getting paid more than your standard psychiatrist (which would pry him away from private practice) and is likely on the top-tier of radio personalities at his station. Combining the average salaries for each of his careers tops out at $227,032,which is probably a conservative estimate.
Show: Mad Men Job: Creative director Approx. annual salary: $250,000+ On top of being the Creative Director for several iterations of his Agency, he also became a partner. That means he would top out at the highest end of the spectrum for Creative Directors—and is probably getting more, with everything taken into account. After all, his second (or third, depending on how you look at it) wife Megan told him, "You were a millionaire when I met you," just before he gave her a check for a cool $1M.
Show: House of Cards Job: President of the United States Approx. annual salary: $550,000 (including fringe benefits) The POTUS is one of the most deadly jobs in the world, all things considered, so it makes sense that they rake in the cash. The uber-manipulative, unscrupulous President of Netflix is probably doing some dirty stuff under the table for some extra scratch, too. Like selling bones, or something else totally weird and surprisingly lucrative.
Show: Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Job: Senior partner at law firm Approx. annual salary: $734,000 Based on his age, gender, location, and stern-but-fair gaze, we estimate U.P.'s salary to be a bountiful $734k. It seriously makes you question who the true Prince of Bel-Air really is. Yo poverty, smell ya lata!
Wil Fulton is a staff writer for Supercompressor. He makes more than some of these people. Which is nice. Follow him @WilFulton.