There Is No Way ‘Rent’ Could Exist Today

By The Second City | May 5, 2016

If you were a theater kid growing up, you probably remember how your life changed after learning about a musical called Rent. You then wanted nothing more than to move to New York City, disown your parents for no real reason and live the life of a poor, starving artist in the East Village. You dreamed of dancing on fire escapes, dabbling in heroin for funsies, and having an eclectic group of friends who were equally as disillusioned as you. To a suburban kid, THAT was living. Twenty years after Rent premiered, the world is much different. Nowadays, there’s no way kids can imagine living in whimsical squalor like Mark, Roger, Mimi, Angel, Collins and Maureen.

Because financial stability

Instead of living “La Vie Bohème,” many millennials live “La Vie Avec Mère et Père”– under their parents’ roof, having moved back home after college. Or when they turned thirty. They never have to worry about where their next meal’s coming from. And if you’re under twenty-six, you still get your folks’ health insurance. There’s no day but today…to have affordable health care.

Because city living

Thanks to their friend Benny, Mark and Roger lived rent-free in Alphabet City. Sure, they complained about not having heat, but anyone who’s stepped foot in Manhattan knows their huge loft-like abode would cost upwards of $3,000 a month, at least. The only way to live rent-free now is if you know the right person, particularly if that “right person” is your mother, or a pseudo-parent figure whose title begins with “Sugar.” Will you lose your dignity? Maybe.

Because art for art’s sake

Filmmakers and spoken word artists like Mark and Maureen have been replaced with Vine celebrities and YouTube stars or anyone else trying to get internet-famous. Can you imagine Mark filming all his poor artist shenanigans on an iPhone? Although if he filmed Maureen’s “Over the Moon” performance, it probably would have gone viral.

Because going viral

Come to think of it, “going viral” would’ve meant something WAY different twenty years ago. And it wouldn’t have been good.

Because dating

Mark and Joanne both had a hard time keeping Maureen to themselves while they were dating her. Imagine if Tinder and Bumble and all those other dating apps existed? Monogamy wouldn’t stand a chance against the virtually endless supply of male and female genitalia throwing themselves at her.

Because dancing in a restaurant

This actually isn’t that shocking and could feasibly happen, but what twenty-something actually has thirty friends IRL willing to not only commit to a place and a time, but then actually show up? If Facebook invites have taught us anything, millennials are all flakes and always wait for a better option. If any of these people did show up, they’d be too busy on their phones to notice an impromptu dance party happening, anyway.

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Dana Angelo (@Dana_Angelo) is a comedy writer and performer originally from the majestic state of New Jersey. Her work has been featured at Reductress, Maxim and The Paper Machete. Due to her turquoise hair, you can easily spot her performing around Chicago with Huggable Riot or at divey karaoke bars.

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