For better or worse, the sofa is the centre of modern life. You sit on it when you get home from work. Take Sunday afternoon naps on it. Spend hours watching TV on it. Romances are born and broken on sofas.
TV and film may not always claim to represent real life (never have we ever seen Jack Bauer take a toilet break) but when they do, they’ve failed if there’s no sofa.
And that sofa can mean so much. It can be the focal point of a sitcom family, just like real life. It can be a device to flesh out a character. Or it can be the centre of a story all its own. It’s probably the last thing you clock when watching TV, but some unsung set designer has put a lot of thought into that particular sofa.
This one’s for the set designers. We notice you.
The prop sofa
The Central Perk sofa from Friends
Sometimes a sofa is just there. But because it’s just there for so long, on such a famous TV show, it becomes iconic. Almost a beloved character itself. If you see something enough times you can learn to love it. The Central Perk sofa from Friends is just such a sofa. It didn’t really mean anything, it didn’t anchor any particular stories, but it was always there.
Source: A Little Escapism
The Royle Family sofa
The Royle Family is probably the closest a sitcom has ever got to reflecting the people watching it. And that means that everything takes place on the sofa. The Christmas special – “The New Sofa” – gave overt recognition to the sofa’s pride of place in family life.
The Foremans’ basement sofa from That 70s Show
Most of That 70s Show takes place on the sofa in the Foremans’ basement. It’s not a pretty sofa. And that’s one hell of a tacky throw. But that’s the point – it’s a key part of establishing the period. As well as being decidedly less nice than the sofa upstairs, that hasn’t been sacrificed to teenagers.
Source: The Droid You’re Looking For
The character sofa
The Rosanne sofa
If a sofa can establish period, it can establish character too. The Rosanne sofa speaks volumes about its owners, particularly their class. And like the sofa in The Royle Family, is something its core audience could well have been sitting on themselves.
Frasier Crane’s Coco Chanel replica
At the other end of the scale, Frasier Crane’s prized sofa – a copy of one owned by Coco Chanel in Paris – says a lot about the character. His tastes. His income. It sits in stark contrast to his working class father’s battered easy chair. The social commentary via furniture was no accident, and even triggered a New York Times piece.
Source: Stick Boy Daily
Patrick Bateman’s American Psycho sofa
Like everything else he owns, Patrick Bateman’s beautiful white sofa in American Psycho is part-commentary on the conspicuous wealth and competitive taste of 80s yuppie culture. But the minimal furnishings also say something about the vacuous blankness of the character Bateman projects, as empty as the culture that bred him. There is nothing homely in Bateman’s apartment. But then, there is nothing homely about Bateman.
Source: Upstaged by Design
Sheldon’s Spot in The Big Bang Theory
Sheldon is the stand out character in The Big Bang Theory and his choice of sofa position does as much to establish his personality as anything else – “[a] single point of consistency in an ever changing world.” Sheldon’s Spot is so important it even has its own Urban Dictionary entry.
The story sofa
Sometimes sofas get to rise above simple background work. Sometimes they become features themselves.
The Seinfeld pee-stain sofa
Famously about nothing, it’s hardly surprising there’s a sofa storyline in Seinfeld. In episode 91, “The Couch”, Poppie leaves a pee stain on Jerry’s couch (quite how he manages such a perfect stain, and so quickly, is one of the enduring mysteries of Seinfeld), an event that rears its head 13 episodes later in “The Doorman”, where George’s father is incensed his son made him sleep on a pee-stained couch. “No, no, no, the cushion was turned over” is George’s excellent defence.
The Ross ‘pivot’ sofa
It may not be the famous sofa, but everyone remembers the Friends episode where Ross saws a sofa in half trying to get it into his new place. Thankfully self-assembly sofas weren’t as common as they are now or the fan favourite would never have worked – just like the ‘how many movies would mobile phones have ruined’ question.
Source: Momma Two
The James Bond ‘killer’ sofa
Not a focal point of the story by any means, but the revolving sofa in the Bond film The Living Daylights surely deserves a mention for the sheer bizarreness of its brief time on the silver screen, nonchalantly swallowing a person.
The never ending ‘couch gag’ Simpsons sofa
The ultimate example is, of course, The Simpsons sofa. They may repeat them from time to time, but it’s astonishing to think that after 26 seasons, they’re still coming up with new couch gags – making it undoubtedly the most famous sofa of all time. That sofa’s been through a lot.
Source: Huffington Post