Reel Estate

Reel Estate: In praise of the custom dog portrait on Difficult People

By Virginia K. Smith  | September 3, 2015 - 3:59PM

When a movie or TV show is set in New York City—and if the people making it are savvy—real estate becomes part of the story itself. In Reel Estate, we look at some of the more memorable domiciles to grace the screen.

Even though it films on location all over the city, we'll admit that when it comes to real estate-related matters, there's not a whole lot to parse on Difficult People. That is, other than how Julie, a struggling comedian, and her boyfriend Arthur, a struggling PBS employee, afford what appears to be a reasonably sized Manhattan apartment. (The hallway is realistically dingy, but there's a spacious open kitchen, bedroom big enough to fit a king sized bed, and a living room so large that the place could conceivably be marketed as a "convertible two-bedroom".)

As Flavorwire put it, this is the type of show that uses "New York apartments the size and shape of a studio soundstage as vehicles for delivering jokes." That said, we were struck by one major motif after watching the first few episodes: the dog-themed decor. Julie and Arthur have two basset hounds, Senator Jelly Beans and Greg. They also have a portrait of Jelly Beans and Greg hanging front and center in their apartment (pictured above), as well as a somewhat more subtle themed throw pillow on the couch:

For one, this is not even a remote exaggeration of how seriously people incorporate their pet breed of choice into their decor choices—if anything, this is understated. (True story: I once visited a store that sold literally nothing except for corgi-themed tchotchkes.) For another, we just wrote up a Greenpoint apartment earlier this week with a not-dissimilar portrait of what appears to be some kind terrier mix:

If we're using the classic trend-piece metric of three examples constituting a craze, all we need is one more amateurish-dog-painting-as-decor example to blow this up into a full-blown phenomenon. If you—or any of your friends—have oil paintings of their pets on full display in the living room, by all means, let us know in the comments.


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