They might have been younger than you are now!
If you grew up watching NBC’s Must-See TV lineup, all those sitcom characters were adults, because you were growing up and they looked old. Maybe not like your parents, exactly, but definitely like, old. Stream an episode of Seinfeld today and you might be surprised by how fresh-faced those New Yorkers now seem:
Seinfeld ran for nine seasons (1989–1998)
Jerry Seinfeld was age 35 when it began and 44 when it ended.
Jason Alexander (George) was ages 30 to 39. George was in his 30s the whole show!
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Elaine) was the baby of the crew from 28 to 37, and Michael Richards (Kramer) was the elder statesman (40 to 49).
The cast of Seinfeld always seemed to present as particularly indepenent and adult, so these mostly seem surprising to me.
Friends ran for ten seasons (1994–2004)
Jennifer Aniston (Rachel) was ages 25 to 35. Courteney Cox (Monica) was 30 to 40. Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe) was 31 to 41. Matt LeBlanc (Joey) was 27 to 37. Matthew Perry (Chandler) was 25 to 35, and David Schwimmer (Ross) was 28 to 38.
These folks were all in their mid 20s through about 40 during the show, which seems about right or even kind of old given that most were playing grating, infantilized simulacra of “adults”.
Frasier ran for eleven seasons (1993–2004)
Kelsey Grammer (Frasier) was 38 when the show began, which seems quite young now for the stuffy psychologist with the receding hairline.
If you are a millennial, then maybe these people still seem kind of old to you? If you’re younger than that, well, I’m surprised you’ve even heard of them. But if you grew up watching these shows when they first aired, then there’s a pretty good chance that you are now older than any of them ever were! (Except for Kramer. If you try really hard you can still have Michael Richards’ career!)