Spoilers ahead for the Season 1 premiere of Katy Keene. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa shows aren’t known for being realistic. Just watch five minutes of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, in which the titular teen witch recently became the queen of hell, or The CW’s Riverdale, which once included a mythological villain that turned out to be Betty’s evil fake brother in a mask. Buying into all the absurdity is what makes them so fun to watch.
The same is true for Aguirre-Sacasa’s new Riverdale offshoot Katy Keene, which stars Lucy Hale as a plucky aspiring fashion designer working at a Bloomingdale’s knockoff called Lacy’s. The version of New York City she lives in is idealized, over-the-top, and utterly unrealistic in the best and purest way.
“It’s a New York where artists can live in Manhattan and pursue their dreams and afford an apartment in Washington Heights; it’s a New York where places like [East Village music club] CBGB still exist; and it’s also a place where the city is ripe with opportunity, whether that’s a career opportunity or a romantic opportunity,” he said.
In honor of that “New York of the imagination,” here are all of the incredible-but-completely-improbable NYC things that happen in the show.
1. Katy’s Gigantic Apartment
Episode 1. Katy explains to Riverdale‘s Josie McCoy — who’s just arrived in NYC — that their apartment belongs to their roommate Jorge’s parents, who also own the bodega downstairs. It’s possible that three broke 20-somethings could pool their money for a place in Washington Heights (or that Jorge’s parents are letting them stay there free of charge), but the place is still gargantuan by NYC standards.
2. When Josie Randomly Gets Discovered in Washington Square Park
Episode 1. In the pilot, Josie is depicted job hunting as she circles classified ads in the newspaper and applies to New York hot spots like Strand Book Store and Economy Candy. She takes a break in Washington Square Park, where a woman with a guitar instantly identifies her as being new to the city. They begin singing Ben E. King’s “Spanish Harlem,” which the very famous Alexander Cabot (Lucien Laviscount) just so happens to overhears, then proceeds to offer Josie his card. Apparently getting a record deal is that easy, folks!!
3. …and Then Gets to Record at Electric Lady
The next day, Alexander invites Josie to record at the iconic Electric Lady Studios (which was built by Jimi Hendrix) in Greenwich Village.
4. The Enigma That Is Pepper
Episode 1. “I just got back from Art Basel with Childish Gambino, lining up investors for my top secret project,” Katy’s friend Pepper Smith (Julia Chan) says casually, as if she’s bored. But when Josie inquires about what it is she does, exactly, Pepper responds, “I just gave a TED Talk on the feminist power of Snapchat, I wrote this week’s Modern Love column in the Times, and earlier this year, I shot an indie with Lupita Nyong’o and Kristen Stewart.” Pepper is the second coming of Tahani Al-Jamil, and she’s a complete caricature of a New York socialite.
5. The Night Life
Episode 1. “Is this what it’s like every night?” Josie asks as they party at Molly’s Crisis.
“Josie, darling, it’s only Tuesday!” Pepper responds.
“Welcome to New York!” Katy says.
Listen, it is completely possible to go out and party every night in NYC…but does anyone, really? How do they afford to pay for drinks, considering no one except Katy seems to have a job? These are the questions we have.