As any frequent thrift store visitor can tell you, afghans used to be a hot commodity. The knit or crocheted items hit their peak popularity in the ‘70s, when everyone was using two sticks to put some squares together like some sort of goddamn crafty pioneers. And while their popularity has since waned, that doesn’t mean that they’re not still popular in American homes and, more specifically, in fictional homes depicted on television.
Slate has an excellent piece investigating why so many TV homes have the same granny square-style afghan on their couches, from Jane The Virgin to Roseanne. You know the one—black edges and backdrop, rainbow squares. As it turns out, set designers tend to choose the quilts because they both remind them of their own childhood homes and speak to a character’s quirky individuality. Big Bang Theory’s Amy, for instance, has a granny square afghan draped over her couch because BBT set decorator Amy Shea thinks, “she is completely oblivious to current trends. She just chooses things for functionality more than anything but would gravitate toward the more geeky, nerdy, dowdy things naturally.” By contrast, It’s Always Sunny’s Dee has a similar quilt on her couch “in part to cover what would be age and not quite washed-out stains, but also to evoke the idea of late-night TV watching and eating junk food with grandma’s old hand-me-down blanket.”
The entire piece, which is here, should make you want to go home and snuggle up under some old acrylic yarn.