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Roommate Com

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There are three to six young adults living in an apartment (or separate, but nearby apartments) in The City — either New York or the creator's hometown, often a Quirky Town— usually implausibly getting a cheap, rent controlled apartment downtown, spending way more money on fancy food and clothes than is plausible given their jobs, very rarely seeming to go to work, and talking endlessly about their and other's relationships. Said relationships might even be with each other. At least one of them will be gay. At least one more will be in a crappy garage band with no prospects. One of them may not be a roommate at all, but their Drop-In Landlord who's always snooping around, asking for the rent, or looking for rule violations (making them a minor antagonist).

This trope seems to have peaked in the 1990s (thanks to the Follow the Leader trend of Friends and Seinfeld), but there are some influential earlier examples and the format has been popular ever since. While young adult characters dominate, a variation is to have retirees as roommates.

By far the largest subgenre of Slice of Life, as its a fun form of escapism to watch attractive young people socialize and hang out. It is especially popular in webcomics, where it tends to overlap with Two Gamers on a Couch and Journal Comics — and a formidable chunk of Sit Coms.

Compare to Dom Com, which usually stars people living in the suburbs in a later stage of life (married with children). Compare/contrast with Monster Roommate which is its sci-fi/fantasy counterpart. Can overlap with Roommate Drama, if a big part of the show is the clash between the roommates.


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    Comic Books 
  • Scott Pilgrim opens as a fairly traditional version, being about Scott and his cool gay roommate Wallace as Scott has a comic love life and hangs out with the people in his band. However, things swiftly take a turn for the surreal every time a fight breaks out and Scott has to battle his love interest's evil exes in order to date her.

    Comic Strips 
  • Apartment 3-G: The three main characters, Margo, Lu Ann and Tommie are all unmarried women sharing an apartment in New York City. A lot of storylines involve one or more of them finding men to settle down with, going as far as planning a wedding sometimes, but because of Status Quo Is God, something always derails it.

  • Danielle Steel novel The Apartment features four young women just starting out in their various careers —business, fashion, medicine, entertainment.

    Live Action TV 
  • Babes in the Wood follows the lives of three female roommates living in St. John's Wood in London, with their neighbor Charlie popping in from time to time. The second series replaces one of the roommates, Ruth, with wannabe model Frankie.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon and Leonard are roommates and genius level physicists. They also hang out with fellow scientists and equally geeky and nerdy Howard and Raj. Penny, an attractive blonde, moves across the hall and becomes involved in their life. There are some elements of Work Com when the plot revolves around the guys' work or colleagues at Cal Tech University.
  • The Columbo episode "Death Hits the Jackpot" has the murder victim living in an apartment where he has an endless supply of wacky neighbors (who keep dropping in after his murder) and a pet monkey.
  • Parodied in The Comeback's Show Within a Show: a ghastly sitcom called "Room and Bored". It's about four young horny singles, but a washed-up older actress was brought into the show against the will of the screenwriters. They cast her as the disapproving "Aunt Sassy". (Typical Show Within a Show lines: "Aunt Sassy, can we keep these puppies?" — "Where you see puppies, I see Korean barbecue.")
  • The Cool Kids is a sitcom about a group of seniors living in a retirement community together.
  • Crashing (UK) follows the lives of half a dozen metropolitan twentysomethings. The twist is that it's a Reconstruction of the financial aspects of this trope. It averts the classic "Friends" Rent Control and instead, the characters live together on the same floor in a disused London hospital under a scheme called Property Guardians where tenants pay cheap rent in exchange for acting as sanctioned squatters watching over uninhabited buildings that might otherwise be occupied by unsanctioned squatters or fall prey to vandalism.
  • Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 has this premise with its female protagonist spending most of her time trying to pick up guys and land a nice job despite her famous roommate's meddling.
  • Friends has a group of six best friends, three young women and three young men. Rachel moves in with Monica who lives across the hall from Joey and Chandler. They also hang out with Phoebe who lives with her grandma and Monica's divorced brother Ross. Throughout the years they move sometimes, and the roommate sets were sometimes mixed during different seasons. The series finale has Phoebe lampshade how every one of the main characters had lived in Monica's apartment at one point or the other in the series' run.
    Phoebe: Hey, do you realise that at one time or another we all lived in this apartment?
    Monica: Oh, yeah, that's true.
    Ross: Uh, I haven't.
    Monica: Wait a minute. What about that summer during college that you lived with grandma, and you tried to make it as a dancer?
  • Les Filles d'à côté is a French version of this: heavily influenced by Friends and working on the same premise. (Three girls move into one flat: an equivalent number of single men live in the same floor of the apartment block; Hilarity Ensues). Part of the hilarity is that the three "girls" who have decided to move in together after bad marriages are all in their thirties, two are mothers, and there is the incongruous element provided by the age discrepancy: they should be too old to be behaving like single twentysomethings and should really be in a Dom Com.
  • Game On is a comedy about three twenty-somethings (Matthew, Martin, and Mandy) who share a flat together in London. The flat itself is owned by Matthew, who bought it using the inheritance he received after the death of his parents.
  • Gimme, Gimme, Gimme is about a Camp Gay man and his Fag Hag friend sharing a flat near in the Home Counties. They said that they've been roommates for years ever since they met up at a nightclub whilst intoxicated on drugs. For everybody else's sake, it's best that they stay together for the sake of their sanity.
  • Girls: Four women in their early-to-mid-twenties live in New York City. Their life is depicted a bit more realistically, as their apartments are less glamorous than usual in fiction, some of them have shitty jobs, they have to rely on their parents' income (at least in part) and have almost no money.
  • The Golden Girls: Unusual in that the main foursome that live together are Cool Old Ladies. Many episodes concerned their love lives, and all four women, whether divorced or widowed, were portrayed as sexually active.
  • How I Met Your Mother: Ted lives in New York with Marshall and Lily who have been together since college and get engaged in the pilot. Ted realizes he's ready to settle and goes on a quest for his soul mate. A womanizer Barney and Ted's gorgeous love interest Robin complete the group.
  • Happy Endings: Two of the characters, Brad and Jane, are married and never stray throughout the series, despite Jane being bi. Everyone else is single, and the impetus of the series is Alex leaving Dave at the altar, which temporarily makes things awkward for their friends. It also leaves them free to see other people (although they're back together in parts of S2 and 3.) Max goes through a lot of guys, as does Penny, although she's engaged for a big part of S3.
  • I Just Want My Pants Back is considered by some to be an attempt at a Hotter and Sexier version of How I Met Your Mother. It's an MTV comedy based on David J. Rosen. The series follows the life of a group of twenty-somethings as they try to get through life as best they can in Brooklyn.
  • Living Single is now more openly known as the Friends precursor, premiering a year before that other show to incredible ratings with one noticeable difference—all of the lead characters are Black. Editor and publisher Khadijah lives with her bougie childhood friend Regine and her spacey cousin Synclaire. They're often visited by brutally honest Maxine, Khadijah's college roommate and best friend. Above them live a pair of male roommates, the dapper stockbroker Kyle and southern charmer Overton, the building's handyman. The show ran for five seasons, which saw Kyle and Maxine frequently consummate their Belligerent Sexual Tension, and Synclaire and Overton following a more typical Love at First Sight romantic arc. Originally cancelled after the fourth season, despite high ratings, the series was famously Un-Canceled after a letter-writing campaign and ran for one final season.
  • Men Behaving Badly starts off as a classic example, but becomes less so as the characters mature, and get stable relationships and real jobs. The main cast consists of Gary, his girlfriend Dorothy, and Deborah who lives in the flat above; the first season had Gary's flatmate Dermot, while all the subsequent ones replaced him with Tony.
  • Mimpi Metropolitan revolves around the life of three dormmates. Two are roommates from the start and the other joins not too long after.
  • New Girl: Jessica Day is a socially awkward young woman, fresh out of a break-up with her ex-boyfriend. She persuades a trio of men to let her move in with them.
  • Peep Show begins with the typical Odd Couple setup: pot-smoking slacker (Jeremy) is roommates with serious office worker (Mark). Within the first few episodes it slowly becomes apparent that they and everyone else in their lives are all terrible, terrible people. Sometimes veers into Work Com territory when the plot involves Mark's coworkers, but the core of the show always comes back to the two roommates and their dysfunctional romantic lives.
  • The Real World: The creators essentially took the basic elements of this trope (group of 20-somethings living together in a nice apartment not doing much work but a lot of partying) and decided to film them without a script, thus birthing the Reality Show genre.
  • Seinfeld: Jerry's apartment is the meeting place for the gang, which includes his neighbor Kramer, friend George, and ex Elaine. One of the show's taglines is that it's "a show about nothing," as it's mostly just about watching these entertaining personalities play off one another.
  • Sex and the City: The four women from New York are not actually room-mates and in their thirties, but otherwise the pattern fits very well — they date a lot and sleep around a lot, and most of the time they are seen at parties, shopping for shoes or having brunch together.
  • The Single Guy: A young man lives in New York City. He lives alone, while he has two sets of married friends, one with a baby. As originally pitched it was half of a pair of sitcoms to be shown back-to-back, along with The Single Gal. The only crossover character would be the doorman in the apartment building they both live in.
  • Spaced: Two twenty-somethings sharing a flat in London, plus the various odd characters around them, with added pop-culture based surrealism. However, despite their improbably cheap flat, the depiction of their economic situation is pretty realistic (worries about jobs, no disposable income).
  • Three's Company revolves around Jack Tripper and his two female roommates, Janet Wood and Chrissy Snow, who is later replaced by her cousin Cindy followed by Terri Alden. Their apartment is owned by married couple Mr. and Mrs. Roper, who later got their own sitcom and were replaced by Ralph Furley. Jack originally had to lie about his sexual orientation to Mr. Roper since Mr. Roper would not allow him to move in with the two women if he were straight.
  • Will & Grace revolves around the eponymous pair, Grace being Will's Last Het Romance. Both have girl/guy of the week dates, as well as a few more long-term relationships. Wacky building mate Jack falls more into the All Gays are Promiscuous camp, although he has a stable boyfriend played by Dave Foley for a while. Grace's secretary Karen is also a Drop-In Character and goes through the dating pool a few times despite the fact that she's married to a very rich man at the start of the series.

  • RENT: the main guys of the show fit this trope. Mark is a crappy filmmaker, Roger is a crappy guitar player, and their ex-roommate Collins is gay and even though he continuously complains about his job he's never seen actually going to it.

  • Darwin Carmichael Is Going to Hell is a character-driven Dramedy focusing on the titular charcater's relationships with his wacky roommates (his pet manticore, a pretentious artist and his muse girlfriend, three stoner angels, and his Minotaur landlord) and ex-girlfriend/best friend Ella.
  • Ménage à 3 involves a three-character version of the trope. Two of its spinoffs, Sticky Dilly Buns and Pixie Trix Comix rapidly evolve the same way, though both with minor variations on the standard form.
  • Questionable Content: The webcomic begins with 20-something Marten Reed and his AnthroPC Pintsize. The first "arc" has Marten and his buddy Steve hanging out at a bar, bitching about their love and work lives. Marten soon gets a roommate in Faye, and they form a group of True Companions along with Marten's OCD neighbor and Faye's coworkers.
  • Two Guys and Guy follows the basic form of the trope, but with more mad science and some elements missing.

    Web Original 
  • Pretty Dudes features landlord and aspiring actor Sunji who owns the house he shares with photographer Zario, gamer Alexander, and doumi Jay. Their former roommate Ellington is over so much, it's like he never moved out, and so is their next door neighbor Eagle.
  • SuperMarioLogan combines this with Dom Com. mostly because Mario lives with his roommates/friends like Bowser, as well his son Jeffy, his wife Rosalina, and others like Black Yoshi his frenemy, Bowser Junior and his friends, Joseph, Cody, and Toad.

    Western Animation 
  • An episode of Duckman has Duckman run away from his family and live in an apartment with a group of friends called "The Gang", a parody of this sort of show, complete with studio-audience laughter every time they say something.
  • Mission Hill is set in Mission Hill, a neighborhood in the fictional city of Cosmopolis starring 24 year-old Andy Hill, his eccentric roommates, their even more eccentric neighbors, and Country Mouse brother. IMDb's even describes it as the "misadventures of a group of disparate roommates who live in a hip neighbourhood in a major city" which couldn't summarize this trope any better if it tried.
  • Regular Show focuses on two guys performing wacky hijinks while living in a rented house with their coworkers. Even with all of the supernatural happenings there, it ultimately always goes back to that premise. Meanwhile, its Spiritual Successor from the same creators, Close Enough, is a Dom Com about a married couple (and their child) performing wacky hijinks while living in a rented apartment with a divorced couple.
  • The "Justice Friends" segments of Dexter's Laboratory spoof this type of sitcom. Three superheroes — Major Glory, Valhallan and the Infraggable Krunk — live together in an apartment, engaging in typical sitcom hijinks in between crime fighting.
  • In Animaniacs, the Warners appear in Acquaintances, a parody of Friends.
  • Teen Titans Go! is about this when they are not fighting, or making friends with, villains.