Where most Steven Spielberg films take place.
Basically, if an American film or TV show doesn't take place in a famous big city, it will be set in some version of Everytown, America. Everytown, America is a usually fictional town or small city containing pastel suburbs, a single elementary/High School (depending how old the main characters are) with the same name as the town, and a main street or town square of some kind. Everyone drives a Chevy and has a fondness for apple pie. Most people will be friendly except for the Pointy-Haired Boss, the Alpha Bitch or the Jerk Jock. Anyone worse than that will be an invader from some big city or The Government.
Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here (or at least it didn't until the aliens/vampires/witches/whatever showed up). The town's history, if discussed at all, will probably be very simple (usually it will have been named after whoever founded it—there might be a statue of him) and everyone living there will be familiar with the story. The characters may become routinely involved in city affairs, which will usually consist of convincing the city council not to tear down some historic building or to clean up the local park so all the children can happily play there.
For such an average place, Everytown seems to become a City of Adventure surprisingly often, and occasionally masks a Town with a Dark Secret. If featured in a TV series fond of Special Guests, celebrities may visit the town a disproportionate number of times.
To be fair, there are a lot of towns like this in the U.S.A., but it also taps into a very powerful vein of nostalgia about what kind of town many Americans wish they lived in.
Comic Books[edit | hide | hide all]
- Riverdale of Archie Comics.
- Greendale of Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
- Smallville, childhood hometown of Superman/hometown of the Silver Age Superboy. Less so in Smallville the series.
- Blue Valley. Home of Wally West before and during his Kid Flash days before he became The Flash and relocated to Keystone City.
- Bedford Falls, New York in It's a Wonderful Life.
- The resort-island of Amity, New York in Jaws.
- Hill Valley, California in the Back to The Future films.
- The unnamed town featured in ET the Extraterrestrial.
- Cuesta Verde, California in |Poltergeist.
- Parodied, Justified, Lampshaded, then played with till it can't play no more in Pleasantville. Basically, the trope was a basketball, and Pleasantville was the Harlem Globetrotters.
- Parodied in the Rocky and Bullwinkle movie, where the protagonists pass three identical small towns during their cross-country trip. Naturally, the characters Lampshade this.
- The town in Edward Scissorhands is pretty much like this trope (except for the out-of-place Gothic mansion on a hill in the centre, and the fact that some people are not as nice as they seem in the beginning).
- Carvel, in the Andy Hardy films of the 1930s and '40s.
- Edge City in The Mask.
- Fringe City in Son of the Mask.
- Sherwood, Ohio in Heathers.
- Smalltown, USA, in The Muppets.
- Woodsboro, California in Scream.
- Bomont, Utah in Footloose.
Literature[edit | hide]
- In Bill Bryson's The Lost Continent, he goes off across America in search of the quintessential small town (an idea he most likely got from the famous Universal Studios backlot). He starts out thinking the best examples will be in the Midwest, but discovers they're mostly in New England and the Deep South.
- He eventually decides that he'll just have to start picking out his favorite bits of the towns he's passed through and create his own ideal Everytown, America, which he dubs Amalgam.
- Mayberry, North Carolina of The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry, R.F.D. (and referenced in Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.); stated to be 60 miles from Raleigh, NC.
- Mayfield of Leave It to Beaver.
- Cicely, Alaska of Northern Exposure.
- Rutherford, Ohio of 3rd Rock from the Sun.
- Westbridge, Massachusetts of Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
- Subverted with Sunnydale, California in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The whole point of founding the town was for a cultist to create the Hellmouth.
- Wellsville of The Adventures of Pete and Pete. Also an example of Where the Hell Is Springfield?.
- One episode stated that it's in Michigan, if I recall correctly.
- Pawnee, Indiana of Parks and Recreation, creating an aversion of Down on the Farm at the same time.
- Stars Hollow, Connecticut of Gilmore Girls fame is definitely this, however, it's somewhat a subversion of the actual trope, in that IS perfectly normal.
- Haven, Maine is not to be found anywhere in Maine except in the series Haven (and a couple of Stephen King novels), but there is a North Haven in Maine.
- Warehouse 13 is located in an Unincorporated Unnamed Settlement, in South Dakota, known as Univille.
- Pickford in Phil of the Future.
- Lake Wobegon, Minnesota in A Prairie Home Companion, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.
- Unnamed home town of Fibber McGee and Molly, and the Great Gildersleeve. Both also did films and Fibber McGee and Molly did a TV series.
- And many many radio series were set in such a town: Lum and Abner (probably more rural than this trope); George Burns and Gracie Allen; Life of Riley; Father Knows Best; Our Miss Brooks; and many.
Video Games[edit | hide]
- Onett, from Videogame/Earthbound is the quintessential '80s Amer- er, Eaglandian town, replete with school, burger joint, arcade, City Hall and gang of street toughs. And a meteor, but we don't talk about the meteor. See also Twoson and Threed for variations on the theme, but Onett plays it to the hilt.
- Podunk, from Mother is a prototype of Onett.
- Secret of Evermore also starts in the town of Podunk. It's a popular name.
- Grand Theft Auto II takes place in Anywhere City. Unlike the cities in the first game, Anywhere City doesn't resemble any real city in particular.
Web Comics[edit | hide]
- Springfield of The Simpsons.
- Elwood City of Arthur.
- Walkerville of The Magic School Bus.
- Radiator Springs in Cars.
- Played surprisingly straight in South Park. Only occasionally does anyone wonder why so much seems to happen in an otherwise anonymous Colorado town, and no explanation is ever given.
- Middleton, home of Kim Possible, besides appearing to be a hotbed of science labs and the odd Supervillain Lair. Part of a tri-city area including Lowerton and Upperton, and a case of Where the Hell Is Springfield?.
- The show Hey Arnold! takes place in the fictional American city of Hillwood.
- The Fairly OddParents is set in Dimmsdale, California. An average American town filled with weirdness, in part because of Timmy Turner and his fairies.
- Subverted in Earthworm Jim. Terlawk, New Jersey has a crappy strip mall and a couple of old guys sitting on a porch predicting rain with their kneecaps, but every week they sit and not only watch the alien invasion, but explain that one or the other of them may have caused it. Also, they live next door to a giant earthworm in an alien power suit.
- Frostbite Falls, Minnesota, even after Rocky And Bullwinkle got famous.
- Peach Creek of Ed, Edd n Eddy. The craziness that ensues there is usually from the Eds' antics.
- Hazelnut of Pepper Ann.
- Quahog, Rhode Island of Family Guy.
- Langley Falls, Virginia, in American Dad.
- Arlen, Texas, from King of the Hill.