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Ranking the Most Insufferable Yuppies on TV

‘Easy’? ‘The Affair’? ‘Divorce’? Who you got?

HBP/NBC/ABC/MTV
HBP/NBC/ABC/MTV

It’s an adage as old as television: Why have one version of a show when you can have dozens? Forensic crime shows, hospital dramas, comic book crossovers: every type of show deserves three or four copies. And that, my friends, includes Shows About Yuppie Stuff.

Right now, there are two shows about well-to-do couples and their nasty divorces (Divorce, The Affair), two shows about the heartwarming mishaps of well-to-do suburban families (Modern Family, Black-ish), and one show about Coachella-obsessed high-end weed dealers (Mary + Jane), not to be confused with one show about bike-lane-obsessed high-end weed dealers (High Maintenance).

Don’t get me wrong: Yuppie stuff is great. I love vinyl records and goblets of rosé and am very concerned with decoding people’s Instagrams and “midcentury modern” Pinterest boards. But I think we can all admit that Shows About Yuppie Stuff are partly enjoyable because they’re insufferable. Petty monologues, green juice recipes, therapy sessions — these things are meant to annoy and indict the viewer as much as they entertain. So, the question we ask today is: Who is the most annoying? Who is the true champion of the Yuppie Insufferability Wars? Our rankings, below.

10. The Johnsons, ‘Black-ish’

ABC
ABC

Some might balk at the inclusion of this show on a Yuppie Insufferability Rankings list, because it’s funny! Fresh! Diverse! (Did you think diverse? Yuppie.) The show is heartwarming and surprising and deals with race in America in a nuanced way! All of these things are true, but Dre’s mother, Ruby, has a Dooney & Bourke bag which equals automatic placement on this list.

Yuppie House of Choice: A beautiful colonial in a Los Angeles suburb.

Sure Sign We’re in the Presence of Yuppies: Hamilton’s Daveed Diggs plays a pretentious expat who swills red wine like he’s a sommelier.

Key Insufferable Yuppie Preoccupations: High school presidential elections, atheism, VIP tickets to Disney World, Christmas dinner, pool parties, teenagers driving cars, sibling weddings.

Saving Grace: Black people make everything — even insufferable yuppie problems — so much cooler. We can call them Bluppies, if that makes everyone feel more comfortable.

9. The Pearsons, ‘This Is Us’

The show is about two generations of yuppie problems: 1970s domestic squabbles over vintage T-shirts and modern-day squabbles over FaceTime. Also, someone (looking at you, Sterling K. Brown) clearly and deliberately uses the holy grail of Yuppie Kitchen Accessories — a Vitamix — to make a morning smoothie in Episode 5.

Yuppie Houses of Choice: A beautiful yet nondescript house in a predominately white New York suburb, a modern penthouse in Los Angeles, and a covetable Craftsman in Los Angeles.

Sure Sign We’re in the Presence of Yuppies: Mandy Moore, and Mandy Moore finding any excuse to sing a folk song.

Key Insufferable Yuppie Preoccupations: Teaching precocious children about the meaning of life and death via monologue, a show within a show called The Manny, a story arc about a hot television actor desperately needing to prove himself in the theater, Jicama, kale, diets, ex-girlfriends’ Facebook accounts, the Super Bowl, hobbyist painters who think they are profound painters.

Saving Grace: Do you have soul? This show is heartwarming as hell.

8. The Customers, ‘High Maintenance’

HBO
HBO

In the past three years or so, weed — how to get it, what new thing to smoke it out of, which celebrity weed advocate best represents our own weed philosophies — has become a chief preoccupation of the law-abiding yuppie class, and High Maintenance is the first show to capitalize on the growing sect of Yuppie Stoners.

Yuppie House of Choice: A brownstone in Brooklyn.

Sure Sign We’re in the Presence of Yuppies: The weed-delivery guy — whatever happened to buying some shake from whatever person you could find in the park? Plus, they did an entire episode from the perspective of a dog.

Key Insufferable Yuppie Preoccupations: Rachel Comey, Instagram, Joan Didion, pet ownership, gay best friends, toxic friends, Grindr, aspiring bloggers, social media addictions, shrooms, survivalist communities.

Saving Grace: This show is highly empathetic and gives us all license to indulge in our own insufferable yuppie behavior. (Thank you H.M.)

7. The Ottos, ‘American Housewife’

An upper-middle-class American family moves to a beautiful American neighborhood, where they realize they are not part of the upper upper middle class. This is a show about coping.

Yuppie House of Choice: A beautiful house in a tony Connecticut suburb.

Sure Sign We’re in the Presence of Yuppies: A rebel who wears “I’m not like the other Stepford Wives” khakis and speeds in her minivan.

Key Insufferable Yuppie Preoccupations: Being the least rich people in the rich neighborhood, working out, green juices, naps, marital sex, Spanx, precocious children who want to be future Wall Street bankers, beautiful teenage daughters who remind other female characters of their own mortality.

Saving Grace: It’s only 30 minutes.

6. The Pritchett-Dunphy-Tuckers, ‘Modern Family

ABC
ABC

This show has been on for eight seasons. How they’ve managed to keep coming up with new yuppie problems is beyond me.

Yuppie Houses of Choice: A Spanish-style home in Los Angeles, a vaguely New England–style home in Los Angeles, and a modern home in Los Angeles.

Sure Sign We’re in the Presence of Yuppies: Julie Bowen’s enormous glasses of white wine, and syndication on USA.

Key Insufferable Yuppie Preoccupations: Sofía Vergara’s accent, several precocious children of varying ages, a French bulldog, real estate, adoption, high-end closet design as a profession, sibling rivalry, neighborhood associations, inappropriate boyfriends for teenage daughters, Scrabble, family vacations, May–December relationships, college admissions, cigars, white lies.

Saving Grace: It’s constantly on. That’s reassuring.

5. Jordan and Paige, ‘Mary + Jane’

We’ve established that weed is a current chief concern of the upwardly mobile, and on this MTV show, that concern is made even more insufferable, because it is the preoccupation of 20-something Los Angeles hot girl dealers.

Yuppie House of Choice: A two-bedroom apartment on the East Side of L.A.

Sure Sign We’re in the Presence of Yuppies: Snoop Dogg wrote the theme song.

Key Insufferable Yuppie Preoccupations: Saturn returns, brunch, Instagram, lifestyle brands, DJ ex-boyfriends, one night stands, bridal showers, edibles, startups, indie businesses, Coachella tickets, vocal fry, spas, lying to go to rehab to get a vacation, WeedCon, personal branding, ’90s-themed birthday parties, hashtags, throuples.

Saving Grace: It’s about weed.

4. The People Who Sing, ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’

Is there anything more insufferable than breaking into a spontaneous, upbeat song? Is there anything more yuppie than wishing life was a musical?

Yuppie Houses of Choice: Condos in West Covina, California, which has a quirky small-town “Stars Hollow of the West Coast” vibe. (Yuppies love small towns.)

Sure Sign We’re in the Presence of Yuppies: So many blouses.

Key Insufferable Yuppie Preoccupations: Therapy, delusional relationships, Facebook, yoga, party buses, love triangles, hummus, beach days, poor financial planning, theater camp, summer camp rivalries that still affect you in your adult life, overbearing mothers, avoiding your therapist, casual yet problematic stalking of crushes, casual yet borderline psychotic schemes, Poke, frozen yogurt, malls, all the singing.

Saving Grace: Did I mention it’s a musical?

3. The Solloways, ‘The Affair’

Showtime
Showtime

A.k.a. Yuppie Noir. Murder! Adultery! Alcoholism! Real estate! Showtime went all in on this one.

Yuppie Houses of Choice: Several oceanfront Montauk homes and a magnificent Brooklyn brownstone.

Sure Sign We’re in the Presence of Yuppies: Dominic West doing an American accent.

Key Insufferable Yuppie Preoccupations: Overbearing wealthy mothers, book releases, “will my second novel succeed or am I an artistic failure,” family dinners, therapy, male ego, lobster shacks, nonsensical wedding invitations, secret babies, affairs, four poster beds, wrinkles, Spanx, classy yet inappropriate daytime drunkenness, yoga retreats, Reiki, Sebastian Junger cameos, hot tubs, drunk driving, murder, age old family blood feuds.

Saving Grace: Joshua Jackson’s butt.

2. Robert and Frances, ‘Divorce’

Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Haden Church are two middle-aged yuppies embroiled in an incredibly nasty divorce that manages to seem both mundane (she was trapped in a boring marriage) and strangely aspirational (she has great shoes).

Yuppie Houses of Choice: A penthouse apartment in Manhattan and a large, Victorianish house in a nearby snow-dappled town with a really good school system.

Sure Sign We’re in the Presence of Yuppies: Jemaine Clement starring as the man you’d have an affair with.

Key Insufferable Yuppie Preoccupations: Couples counseling, ill-advised gun ownership, Molly Shannon’s dancing, shoes, gallery ownership, Corinthian granite counters, teenagers who won’t stop looking at iPads, an inability to speak Spanish, but a determination to do it anyway.

Saving Grace: There’s a really fluffy dog.

1. Everybody, ‘Easy’

Netflix
Netflix

Joe Swanberg’s specialty is the sort of yuppie fetishizing that feels cooler because it’s “indie” yuppie. Each of Easy’s eight episodes is a different slice of the yuppie pie, making it perhaps the most exhaustive and expansive catalog of yuppie problems pop culture has seen since Gilmore Girls went off the air.

Yuppie Houses of Choice: Craft-beer-filled homes and restaurants throughout Chicago.

Sure Sign We’re in the Presence of Yuppies: Orlando Bloom as a hot dad.

Key Insufferable Yuppie Preoccupations: Veganism, trying to spark passion in a marriage by playing dress-up, stay-at-home dads who are threatened by their breadwinner wives, craft beers, warehouse spaces, one-night stands, indie businesses, coffee shops, old flames, fertility, urban biking, threesomes, Tinder, music teachers for tots, Dave Franco, brunch, collaging.

Saving Grace: You and me and everyone can see ourselves in at least one yuppie on Easy.

Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.