Underemployed on MTV
The character: Sophia (Michelle Ang), a recent college grad living in Chicago, dreams of writing a novel—but for now is stuck selling maple bacon bars as the local Donut Girl. Series creator (and Red Orchid ensemble member) Craig Wright breaks from his drama-and-intrigue streak (Six Feet Under, Dirty Sexy Money).
The problem: Her parents are paying for her one-bedroom apartment, so she should stop the woe-is-me act. Tuesdays; starts Oct. 16
New Girl on Fox
The character: Zooey Deschanel is Jess, a kooky 20-something who moves in with three guys in L.A.
The problem: Jess may have frugal living down pat—shared apartment, used car—but blowing her schoolteacher’s salary on clothes by designers like Kate Spade rings a bit untrue. Tuesdays; returns Sept. 25
Girls on HBO
The character: Hannah Horvath (show creator Lena Dunham) is a recently cutoff Brooklyn girl with an awkward sex life and a sense of entitlement.
The problem: While two-thirds of college grads have student loans, only one out of seven characters on Girls does. Sundays; returns Jan. 2013
2 Broke Girls on CBS
The character: Kat Dennings’s Max is a waitress in a Brooklyn diner who shops at thrift stores and takes odd jobs for cash. She and her roommate are saving up for their own cupcake bakery.
The problem: Max is the only person under 30 who has something called a landline. Mondays; returns Sept. 24
Photography: (Underemployed) Courtesy Of MTV; (New Girl) Patrick Ecclesine/Fox; (Girls) Ali Paige Goldstein; (2 Broke Girls) Sonja Flemming; (Gumer) Nino Munoz/The CW; (Morris) Brian Bowen Smith/Fox; (Schram) Bobby Quillard Illustration: John Kenzie