CNNMoney.com has a piece on what TV dads would earn in real life, relying on a survey by Salary.com of 60 characters from present and past shows that lists their real-life salaries in 2006 dollars. They had to make some assumptions and fudges, naturally, but overall it's pretty interesting.
What really troubled me, though, was this: Mike Brady would earn only $44,064 (in 2006 dollars) as an architect. On that kind of money, how the hell was he able to support a wife, 6 kids and a full-time housekeeper? (As a side note, I maintain that Brady had the coolest boss of all-time; how many bosses would pay for your wife, all six of your kids, and your housekeeper to vacation in Hawaii?) Either our standard of living has cataclismically dropped since 1969, or the Brady's lived in an alternate universe where everything was basically free. (I think others have written about this TV phenomenon as well, e.g., young twenty-something Manhattanites with jobs like "coffee house waitress," "unemployed actor," and "unemployed chef" being able to afford spacious, well-appointed uptown lofts, perhaps on contrarian lefty e-rag Slate.)
I mean, I by myself make more than Brady, so does my wife, we have no kids, and we can barely afford to go to the drycleaners and the grocery store in the same week. And people worry about TV promoting questionable morals and giving girls body image problems? How about TV making young professionals believe that, now that they're out of college, they can afford to stop eating Top Ramen four nights a week and live on a palacial estate?