Only in Florida

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

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    /wiki/Only in Floridawork
    "Don't all the nuts roll downhill to Florida?"
    Repeated line from several characters"Agua Mala", The X-Files
    Hanging chads are some of the less weird things to have happened in Florida.

    When reading a "News of the Weird" site, it has been noticed that Florida has more than its fair share of weird stories. Some of them even hang a lampshade with a "Florida" tag, as seen below.

    • Woman in an argument with town council over a goose? Florida.
    • Voters pass a law making the wearing of baggy pants a criminal offense that may cost you up to $150 and 60 days in jail? Just as baggy pants were starting to go out of style, one might add, extending the fashion for at least another year. Florida.
    • Japanese stripper claims judge (who looks like Bill Cosby) shared business and bank accounts but insists their relationship is "a pure business matter"? Florida.

    And that's just from one day's worth of news in the Persistent Vegetative State. Quite literally one day's worth of news: All the above are summaries of Fark items from March 12, 2008. Don't get us started on the 2000 Presidential election either. This may be one of the causes of Florida's current population loss- in 2008, for the first time in over a century, more people moved out than moved in. Considering that development and housing construction are such a major sector that the state's entire economy has been described as a giant Ponzi scheme, that's a problem.

    Prior to the paper folding, the Weekly World News was based in South Florida.

    A lot of talented writers (Dave Barry, Carl Hiaasen) work for newspapers in Florida, which is perhaps why so much is known about the state's quirks. The state has a number of excellent newspapers, largely the result of its strong sunshine (read: transparency in government) laws.

    Often used negatively as a No True Scotsman fallacy, in which someone says something negative "can only be done in Florida", regardless if any other part of the country or the world can or has been subjected to it.

    It is to their credit that most Floridians laugh along with this sort of "joke", mainly because they know that, on the whole, the Only in Florida "trope" is based on complete and utter nonsense created by comedians skimming a list of the most extreme events from an otherwise normal, run-of-the-mill newsday and presenting them as if this sort of stuff was the norm rather than the exception.

    Thanks to the Twitter account @_FloridaMan (that started covering this sort of story in February 2013), "Florida Man" has become a shorthand for the people who make the headlines in these stories.

    Also check out Only in Miami, which is about the city, rather than the state. Note: there is little relation between this and the Bermuda Triangle, as the Bermuda Triangle is more about the paranormal than the weird and wacky.

    Examples of Only in Florida include:

    People who remark about the unusually large quantity of weird news stories coming out of Florida:

    Comic Books

    • In the Marvel Universe, Florida plays home to the Nexus of All Realities, a multiversal intersection that leads to high weirdness.
      • Which plays at the true source of Florida weirdness. It is a Deep South tourist state that's also popular to retirees and refugees alike leading to a very diverse mix of culture (Miami-Dade county is often referred to as "Little Cuba.")


    • Big Trouble is unsurprisingly this being adapted from a Dave Barry book. It's often discussed by two out of town hitmen who constantly refer to the complete oddness around them and call it as Weirdsville, USA.
      • The book's Stealth Sequel Tricky Business is also set in Florida. Like Big Trouble, there is just as much weirdness.


    • Carl Hiaasen: Apart from reporting on real Florida, he writes lurid but not really exaggerated fiction about it.
    • Dave Barry, the Miami-based humorist. He says he is not making these things up.
      • And his Boca Raton-based counterpart, Frank Cerabino, as well as pretty much any other local humor columnists in the state.
    • A fantastic example is in the works of Piers Anthony, who depicts his Xanth series in a land that is the size/shape/geological make-up of Florida.
    • Tim Dorsey has a series about Serge A. Storms, Crazy Awesome and Ax Crazy criminal/tour guide whose obsessions with Florida history drives a lot of the crazy plots.
    • Alex Flinn's novel Cloaked is set in Miami and centers around a high school shoemaker being hired by a princess to search the Florida Keys for her brother, who has been turned into a frog. As the story goes on, it becomes apparent that there's a good number of enchanted people-turned-animals and fairy tale creatures in general in the region. Flinn's other novel, A Kiss in Time, has a modern-day teenage boy bring a fairy-tale princess he finds in Europe to live with him in Miami.

    Live-Action TV

    • The Daily Show: A "10 F#@king Years" segment was devoted solely to Florida stories.

    "But without tacky shit on your lawn, how does anyone know they're in Florida?"

    • An episode of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! on the subject was planned before the 2007/2008 WGA strike.
    • From Criminal Minds, which sees some of the most bizarre, gruesome, inventive and just generally screwed-up serial killers not set in a Stephen King novel:

    JJ: We got a bad [case].
    Morgan: How bad?
    JJ: Florida.

      • As an example, two such cases from Florida include a hitchhiker who takes his victim's identities and an insane cannibal who feeds his victims to other people in the form of chili.
    • On Countdown with Keith Olbermann, there is a regular segment called "Oddball" where Keith talks about the weird stories of the day. Florida was such a regular part of the segment that, at the end of every year when they do a week-long recap of the news of the year, they always do one episode on Oddball, and there is always a part of that episode on Florida.
    • On Strangers with Candy, most of Jerri's drug-riddled, highly-sexed Expansion Pack Past seemed to have taken place there.

    "Florida. Beautiful weather... harsh penal system."

    • Every episode of The Smoking Gun Presents: World's Dumbest seems to have at least one thing that takes place in Florida.
    • Seinfeld portrayed South Florida (home to most of our senior citizens) as being basically Cloudcuckooland, where the most trivial things affect condo board politics.
      • Having dealt with quite a few Florida HOA's myself, this troper is inclined to consider this Truth in Television.
    • An episode of The X-Files set in Florida amidst a hurricane has "Don't all the nuts roll downhill to Florida?" as a Running Gag.


    • Interestingly, back in the 1840s it was Kentucky, not Florida, which had this reputation — at least according to Punch.


    • Anchorage, Alaska radio DJs Woody and Wilcox cover this daily in the "It Happened in Florida" segment; three recent news stories are presented, all real. Of the three, two are subversions, sounding like things that happened in Florida, but not actually occurring there. The calling guest who finds the straight example gets some prizes.
    • When Adam Carolla was hosting Loveline, they played a game called "Germany or Florida", where listeners would call in with weird news stories and the hosts would have to guess whether it took place in Germany or Florida.
      • Germany's reputation is well-deserved; it's one of the most common locations for such stories on The BBC radio show It's Been A Bad Week.

    Web Original

    • The Twitter feed (and accompanying subreddit) @FloridaMan, who compiles news about Florida and treats it as if all was done by the same person.
    • Another website aggregator with the same name and concept but probably not related: "Florida Man | Worst Super Hero Ever".
    • Likely as a result of the above, the term "Florida Man" is recognized as a meme.
      • A popular game making the rounds in some Friending Networks during 2019 was "Google 'Florida Man/Woman' plus your birthday and post the first result".
    • Distorted View, a Podcast created to present interesting and disgusting things that happen in the news each day, has a special sound clip that plays whenever a news story occurs in Florida, "Our most fucked-up state."
    • has, along with such categories as "Interesting", "Cool", "Asinine", "Scary", and "Weird", a category named "Florida".
      • Note that Drew Curtis has commented on this in his book. To paraphrase: California news gets no reaction because "Oh, it's just those crazy hippies." No one expects weird news from Florida. After reading all the examples though one has to wonder why. It's a massive tourist state with alligators. Stupid people plus giant reptiles. How bad could it be?
    • Chuck Shepherd, writer of News of the Weird column, simply calls it the "F State."
    • The off-topic section of the NeoGAF forums frequently tags weird news stories with a guessing game - does the weird news story happen in Germany, Australia or Florida?
    • "Accidental human deaths in Florida" is a separate category on Wikipedia.
      • It's since been changed to just "Accidental deaths in Florida", and joined by other categories of accidental deaths from the other states.
    • Cenk from The Young Turks comments on this often.
    • What The Fuck Is Wrong With You? features stories about the general crazy that is Florida on a Once an Episode basis. One of the early episodes was even made up entirely of Florida stories. The title? "The Wang of America."
    • lampshaded this in their article "The 6 Most Horrific Lessons Ever Taught in Elementary School," where half of the six entries came out of Florida.

    "Wait, what the fuck? That's three of our entries that are from Florida. What the hell is going on down there?

    • In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe it is generally noted (in-universe, mind you) that with the exception of Miami, Florida has the most laid-back, non-seriously-threatening, most-likely-to-step-in-and-save-innocent-bystanders-or-surrender-peacefully-without-throwing-a-punch supervillain population in the world. The primary superhero team in the state is called "Imagination East", and it's sponsored by Walt Disney World. Yes, you read that right.
      • Miami, on the other hand, is home of some of the most viciously violent, bloodthirsty villains on the planet.

    Real Life

    • "Governor" Rick Scott: Only in Florida could the same man implicated in the biggest Medicare fraud in the nation's history be elected governor. His half-term as governor has already been marred with rampant corruption. Trying to bulldoze state parks to put up private golf courses (which was publicly opposed by golf legend Arnold Palmer); attempted to develop land that belonged to the Seminole tribe; slashed pay and benefits for teachers, the police, and firefighters[1] in the name of reducing the state's deficit while simultaneously spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to refurnish his office; ordered the destruction of coral reefs... really, there's a reason while he has the lowest approval rating in Florida's history, and the lowest approval rating in the country today.[when?] He also bears a striking resemblance to Lord Voldemort. See for yourself.
    • There's a reason why it seems all the crazy tabloid stories come from Florida. That's because American Media, the group that publishes all the tabloids in the U.S. (they own National Enquirer, National Examiner, Sun, Globe and Star), is based in Boca Raton, Florida.
    • The Miami Herald has a news category called Weird News.
    • Fort Lauderdale newspaper the Sun-Sentinel's weird news blog, aptly titled "Floriduh". Their slogan?

    "We've all been out in the sun too long."

    • ONTD has a meme of Bugs Bunny cutting off Florida from the united states.
    • The page image comes from the recount of the disputed Florida ballots in the 2000 Presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. The state itself recorded millions of votes, but the final margin of victory was less than 600, well within the margin of error. This spawned a month-plus fiasco of lawsuits, astroturfing, concession calls that were rescinded, accusations of a rigged election, and a Supreme Court case that said basically 'This situation is so damned weird that this decision shouldn't be used as precedent.'

    Examples of particularly odd cases of this trope in action in Real Life include:

    • SWAT teams ignore duties during drug raid to play Wii Sports bowling? (Hint: not Reno 911!)
    • Unstoppable Army of Snakes? A threat to all of humanity.
      • Now there is also a coyote infestation in Broward County. Prepare for a bloodbath between the species. (All three of them.)
      • There are also killer lizards attacking people and eating dogs in the Naples area.
    • The town of Lauderhill, Florida invited James Earl Jones to speak at a Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, and sought to give him a plaque to commemorate the occasion. Only for the plaque to come back honoring James Earl Ray, the man who assassinated King. Pics here.
    • A German doctor falls for a young tuberculosis patient. After she dies, he tries to restore her to life after stealing her from her tomb... And has sexual relations with her corpse. Only in Key West, people.
      • That's Key West, where everyone's weird on some level.
    • Many families on Boca Grande were surprised to find something waiting for them when they went to use their toilets. What did they find? Iguanas.
      • They came up the sewage system.
    • On one license plate (not a Vanity License Plate, surprisingly), the picture of an orange in the middle of Florida plates made the combination "A55 RGY" read as "ASS ORGY".
    • British street lighting making an appearance in Fort Myers - namely the WRTL Arc, as recently as November 2008, before being removed after a short period of time. Apparently these must have been imported since WRTL don't export to America currently...
    • A Florida minister trolling the world by telling national news outlets that he would burn copies of the Quran on September 11th; oh wait, no he won't; now he will; now he won't again. Earth just narrowly missed seeing World War III due to this event. It's not as funny as the rest of these, especially not for those who lived there - they were less worried about World War III than they were about the millions of Muslims that might be incited to kill people due to the actions of a single bigot.
    • "The Hoodrat Kid" lived in Palm Beach, Florida when he decide to take his grandma's car for a joyride. Note that the child was 7 years old. It was infamous enough to spawn an entire episode of The Boondocks parodying it.
    • A fire breakout in the kitchen while the house owner was in the bathroom. Instead of running and exiting out the front door, which was nowhere near the fire, what does he do? Make a hole through his bathroom walls to escape.
    • A branch of Bank of America trying to foreclose on a mortgage that they did not have? Odd. The homeowners fighting back in court and winning? Impressive. The homeowners showing up with a sheriff and moving truck to foreclose on the bank when they wouldn't pay court-ordered damages? Florida.
    • In 1984, the entire police department of Key West was declared an illegal enterprise under the RICO laws—which are usually used to shut down mobsters. One witness even claimed to deliver bags of coke to city hall on a regular basis.
    • Lawyer challenges his wife to a nude swordfight; when he fails to kill her before she can call 911, he absconds with the sword, still nude. Said lawyer previously worked on a case where his client robbed a credit union and hid the cash inside his prosthetic leg.
    • One guess where Jack Thompson hails from.
    • Shark on the train? Sure, why not.
    • The University of Miami football team is listed on The Tyson Zone, and deservedly so.
      • 1980's: Luther Campbell of 2 Live Crew had a rewards program to pay players for touchdowns and other on-field achievements.
      • 1987: At a pregame steak dinner for the Fiesta Bowl, Penn State shows up in suits. Miami shows up in full combat fatigues.
      • 1991: The team's taunting in the Cotton Bowl Classic is so flagrant that the NCAA creates the "Miami Rule" to punish it.
      • 1992: A bench clearing brawl with San Diego State includes Dwayne Johnson (yes, The Rock) chasing the mascot into the stands.
      • 2001: Against Boston College, a Miami defensive lineman records an interception, only for his teammate Ed Reed to run up behind him and steal the ball to take it in for the winning touchdown. (On a side note, 2001 Miami is considered by some to be the greatest college football team of all-time.)
      • 2002: Najeh Davenport breaks into a woman's dorm room and is caught pooping in her laundry basket.
      • 2006: Kellen Winslow is confronted by reporters for intentionally injuring an opposing player and has an epic freakout on camera, where he declares "I'm a fucking soldier!"
      • 2011: Convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro is caught for having lavished strippers, prostitutes, alcohol, and money on UM recruits for nearly 10 years.
    • May 27, 2012: Man eating another man's face while naked on the road while being shot several times till he finally died? If a Zombie Apocalypse is going to start, might wanna take note that it's gonna come from Florida.
      • Around that time and city, a high school prom was held in the same place a porn convention was occurring
    • Summer 2019: Whosever pulleth this knife from this alligator...