Television has evolved from the days of unrealistic apartments and lavish wardrobes. Instead, as some of this year’s comedy series Emmy contenders prove, money has become a tangible way to mine humor and develop characters or push storylines while still offering a dose of aspirational escapism.

Money and class were instrumental in the “Schitt’s Creek” pilot, when the Rose family lost everything but their clothes and were forced to move to a small town. That fish-out-of-water setup is typically a wealth of potential comedy, but as showrunner Daniel Levy leaned into wealthy satire it was important to never make the small town itself the joke.

“We were satirizing just how out to lunch these people are in contrast to a town that we had made a very executive decision to never make fun of,” says Levy. “We really played on the fact that this town was progressive and accepting and

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