7 TV Characters Who Understand the Post-College Slump

Ever feel like you're the only person going through a post-college slump? Rest-assured that is not the case. If you won't take my word for it, here are seven TV characters who get what adjusting to life after college is like.

This list could have alternatively been called, "Seven TV Characters Who Understand Why the Service Industry Is Miserable," but we will save that for another day.  

1. Blake Henderson, Adam DeMamp, Anders Holmvik, Workaholics

These three only get one collective entry, since their whole show is basically about navigating the tricky waters of post-college life. Blake, Adam, and Ders are the kings of the post-college slump, in that a lot of the time they seem to live in complete denial that they ever left college. The guys have pretty awful jobs as telemarketers and mostly lack direction. Ders has dreams of running for city council, but in the meantime moonlights as a self-appointed, tricycle-mounted neighborhood watch.  

The guys get by on the motto, “Live for the weekend,” very applicable to post-college life, and “Let’s get weird,” an apt motto for all stages of life. Of course this combination leads endless scenarios of hilarious hi-jinks, making Workaholics the perfect show to watch while living on your parents’ couch. It may even inspire you to go out and find a job and apartment, so that your college lifestyle might continue away from parental supervision. 

2. Diane Chambers, Cheers

Perennial waitress and grad student, Diane Chambers was the resident post-college slumper on Cheers, which is saying something considering it was show about barflies. Diane escapes her slump through returning to grad school, a path many a post-college slumper has considered. 

Notably, it’s somewhat unclear what Diane has gone to grad school to study. Her academic background seems to be in the Humanities, though ironically she is often bad at applying what her discipline has taught her about human nature to real life situations. Luckily for us, and rather unfortunately for Diane, this learning curve is a steady source of comedy on the show, proving that the ability to laugh at yourself is a very important tool in navigating the post-college slump. Ultimately, Diane escapes her slump and the bar with a book deal — kind of like Hannha Horvath, but significantly less naked. 

3. Rachel Green, Friends

Perhaps the most uplifting of our slumpers, since we actually get so see what happens once she escapes it, Rachel Green starts off Friends in a bit of a slump. She enters her slump in dramatic fashion by leaving a man at the altar. She spends the next few seasons as a coffee shop waitress, a job, she points out, that pays her no money and that she doesn’t even like. This probably sounds familiar to recently graduated millennials, unless you went into finance or consulting. In which case, only the latter is true, and Chandler is the friend you should be following

After a few years really honing her skills and owning her craft as a waitress, Rachel finally gets so fed up she quits to pursue her interests in fashion. After a rocky start, she breaks into the business and professional success and fulfillment for the duration of the series.

4. Marnie Michaels, Girls

The uptight shrew of Girls, Marnie Michaels really hit her post-college slump stride second season and strangely became no more likable. Second season saw Marnie lose her job, become some sort of hostess waitress wearing very little clothing, become a hostess/would-be girlfriend wearing slightly more clothing, and finally cover Kanye’s Stronger with a nonsensical, awkwardness rivaled only by Kanye’s New York Times interview

This was a slump in the same way that World War II was a minor skirmish. After all that there may yet be light at the end of the tunnel for Marnie, in the form of a rekindled romance with her old college boyfriend, now tech world wunderkind, Charlie. Though with the Christopher Abbot’s public split from the show, I wouldn’t get your hopes up; however, there is a kernel of knowledge millennials can glean from Marnie’s spiral into the slumpdom hall of fame, and that is self-pity and hot pants are two looks that are very hard to pull off. 

5. Nick Miller, New Girl

An adorable weirdo, in a cast of adorable weirdos, Nick Miller sticks out as the character on New Girl who seems the most lost in post-college life. While quirky and, at times, hilariously misguided, the other roommates, Jess, Winston, and Schmidt, have a sense of purpose that Nick lacks. They have goals, which they try to achieve, albeit with varying degrees of success; however, the existence of these ideals worth chasing is what separates them from Nick.

Nick, on the other hand, quits law school with the intention of figuring out what he wants, but instead fitters away his time as a bartender, a job he doesn’t even like. Seriously, the concrete lesson you should learn from this article is service jobs are soul-sucking, tip generously.  In the most recent season, Nick begins to take some responsibility, especially with the death of his father.  He finally writes his zombie detective novel too. If you’re not quite there yet, don’t worry, just do a little panic moon-walking. It’ll get better. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go work on my Vampire detective novel. Vampires and zombies are completely different, so it’s really not a slump thing at all. 

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Caitlin Reilly

Cait is an independent contractor with NPR. She recently graduated with a degree in history and literature from Harvard. In her free time she enjoys taking rec league soccer too seriously, watching embarrassing television, and correcting other people's grammar on facebook.

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