The Other Rainforest

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    It's Bigfoot! With a backpack!

    The Pacific Northwest of the United States and Canada. When people talk about the Rainforest, they invariably mean the tropical one in Brazil, but the Pacific temperate rainforest is the largest in the world by area, and stretches from northern California upwards to Alaska.[1]

    This part of the Hollywood Atlas is home to magnificent forest scenery, Stargate City, mountain lions, a couple other lions, Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti, log cabins, lumberjacks, and sad-eyed Native Americans delivering Green Aesops. Oh, and crazy people who live in shacks, write manifestos, and send letter bombs. Also expect to see Hippies. Alternatively, we may get a beautifully forested small town, which turns out to be a City of Adventure, usually for the local Kid Heroes, who may subjected to a Horrible Camping Trip. (Note the "rain" part of "rainforest".) This area may also be a Wild Wilderness with very little contact to the outside world because the only city in this region Hollywood seems to know about is Seattle, home of the Space Needle and Starbucks.

    As home to Microsoft and its founder Bill Gates, and with Nintendo of America down the block and to the left, Seattle is the 'cool' alternative location for tech people (even though the companies just mentioned are actually in Redmond, 15 miles from Seattle). Occasional recognition is given to Boeing. If Oregon ever gets a city, it will be Portland, which is often stereotyped as being populated by hipsters and Granola Girls. Funny thing is, despite Seattle being known as a tech city, Portland is a major center for computer manufacturing, with many Silicon Valley companies such as Intel moving their manufacturing north due to cheaper utilities, wages, and land prices. Another notable company in the area is Nike, whose world campus is in Beaverton, a suburb just west of Portland.

    Whenever something is supposedly set in Washington, you can almost guarantee it is Vancouver Doubling. However, due to good union contracts it's becoming more common for it to be doubled in Oregon.

    Also, beyond the Cascade Mountains, vast stretches of Eastern Oregon and Washington are not in any way a rainforest (and the residents tend to be far more conservative politically.) Much of Eastern Oregon is desert or semi-arid, described by some as "the closest you can get to the Wild West and still have cable", while Eastern Washington is largely rolling plains similar to those in Idaho and the Midwest. The latter area is home to the majority of America's apple production, as well as the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River, the largest dam in the United States (and at one point the largest dam in the world). Eastern Washington is home to the state's second-largest city, Spokane, whose suburb of Mead is home to Cyan, the developers behind Myst.


    This region in fiction

    Comic Books[edit | hide | hide all]


    Film[edit | hide]

    • Benny and Joon: set and shot in Spokane.
    • Sleepless in Seattle
    • Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey
    • Without a Paddle
    • WarGames
    • Harry and the Hendersons manages to include Bigfoot, Seattle, and the end of a Horrible Camping Trip.
    • The Free Willy movies (at least the parts set on land)
    • The Goonies, set in Astoria, Oregon
    • McCabe and Mrs. Miller, a revisionist Western set in a small mining town in the Cascades.
    • The Parallax View
    • Gold Diggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain
    • The exteriors for Practical Magic were filmed on Whidbey Island in northern Puget Sound- though this is in a much less rainforest-y area than areas further south and west. The same area was used for a justifiably forgotten TV movie called Cry For the Children.
    • Portland seems to be mainly used as Wangst and in Gus Van Sant films.
    • Dantes Peak
    • The remake of The Wicker Man.
    • Coraline is set in Ashland, Oregon, due to being filmed in Portland.
    • Singles is a movie released in 1992 that shamelessly surfs on the grunge trend that was all the rage that year; fittingly, it is set in Seattle.
      • It could be argued that this film helped to inspire the grunge trend, as it was largely unknown outside of Seattle before the film came out.
    • The Ring (the Americana remake and its sequel) is set in the Northwest and was shot around Seattle, the Puget Sound, and Astoria, Oregon. The creepy blue quality to the light, unsettling fog and broken down barns are all part of the local color.
    • While no location is given in the film, What the Bleep Do We Know was filmed in and around Portland, and makes fairly extensive use of the MAX (the local light rail) and the Bagdad movie theatre.
    • Just Before Dawn
    • 10 Things I Hate About You: although never stated, seems to be set in Tacoma—the high school is definitely Stadium High and most of the neighborhood scenes were shot around the town.
      • Actually it's clearly supposed to be in Seattle. The opening shot features the skyline (complete with easily recognizable Space Needle). Other landmarks include the Fremont Troll, and Gas Works park, though that's made up as a paintball park for some reason. Tacoma seems to double for Seattle in a lot of the more generic locations.
    • Animal House was shot in Eugene, Oregon on the U of O campus, although it seems to take place somewhere in Pennsylvania.
    • Most of Kindergarten Cop takes place in Astoria where Kimble goes undercover as a kindergarten teacher.
    • No Retreat, No Surrender takes place in Seattle and also the location of Bruce Lee's grave.
    • Anti Trust takes place largely in Portland. Fitting, since the inspiration for the film's villain is also located in the Pacific Northwest.
    • Five Easy Pieces: much of the film takes place in Oregon and the Puget Sound area of Washington.
    • Foxfire with Angelina Jolie was filmed in SW Portland, and SET in Portland because it was purportedly full of lesbians and wangsty teenagers in The Nineties.
    • Dead Man: set somewhere in Washington (the Makah village at the end of the film indicates the Olympic Peninsula)
    • The setting of Twilight. Beautiful sweeping vistas of the Olympic Peninsula - before switching back to sparkly vamps.
      • Incidentally, Forks, Washington is getting fantastic tourist revenue thanks to the movies.
    • My Own Private Idaho and Drugstore Cowboy feature Portland, Oregon prominently, most notably The City Narrows. Parts of downtown Portland were considered rather gruff before it became so closely associated with The Nineties Hipster culture.
    • Are We There Yet? and the sequel Are We Done Yet?.
    • The forests of Endor are in Humboldt County, California.
    • Short Circuit


    Literature[edit | hide]

    • Twilight is set in the town of Forks, Washington. Although Forks is a real place, the first movie filmed the Forks scenes in Oregon and the subsequent movies filmed the Forks scenes in Vancouver, both of which are at least in the right region.
    • The Postman
    • Barbara Kingsolver's novel Pigs in Heaven has the main character move from Tucson to Seattle. She finds the local climate impossibly rainy. "This isn't a city, it's a carwash!"
    • Most of the Mercy Thompson series takes place in the Tri-Cities in Eastern Washington. The second Alpha & Omega novel is set in Seattle.
      • ...And apparently does a good job. This Troper has a friend from the area who claims that the details are right, down to being fairly sure she could ID exactly the derelict car Mercy keeps around to annoy her neighbors.
        • Patricia Briggs was living in the Tri-Cities when she started writing the series.
    • Beverly Cleary's Ramona Quimby books are all set in Portland.
    • Some of Michael Slade's RCMP thrillers take place in Vancouver. Many of its characters have spent time hunting or backpacking in British Columbia.
    • The Emberverse book series by S.M. Stirling features the PNW and Willamette Valley as central setting locations. The green and verdant landscape is mentioned as being a boon to the residents.


    Live Action TV[edit | hide]

    • Eureka
    • Twin Peaks
    • The Bones episode "The Man in the Bear", which for some reason included a Stock Footage shot of Yosemite (they must have been walking really far).
    • Nowhere Man - filmed entirely in/around Portland, though the various episodes were actually set in cities all over the country.
    • Dead Like Me - Set in Seattle, but quite obviously filmed in Vancouver.
    • The Sentinel is set in the fictional city of Cascade, a stand-in for Seattle.
    • Almost Live, a sketch comedy show that ran from 1984-1999 in the timeslot before Saturday Night Live, was produced and shot in Seattle, and featured skits which, in addition to lampooning (and helping codify) all the area stereotypes, regularly involved local current events and celebrities. Often the trivia of choice to determine if someone's a 'true' Washingtonian is to quiz them about their knowledge of this show.
    • Power Rangers Mystic Force - Though the fictional city of Briarwood suggests that it is either in Northern California or Oregon, it was filmed in New Zealand
    • Frasier filmed entirely in LA, except for one special on-location episode.
    • iCarly
    • John Doe
    • Lost had a scene showing Ben being born in the forests just outside of Portland.... only problem being that the trees and foliage in the scene are obviously(and hilariously) tropical.
    • Dark Angel is set in cyberpunk-esque Seattle Twenty Minutes Into the Future after an EMP burst destroys the US economy.
    • Highlander the Series is set in "Seacouver".
    • The X-Files filmed its first five seasons in Vancouver, though it played host to a variety of different places, including Oregon, Idaho, Iowa, New Jersey, and Washington just in the first season. The pilot is set in the fictional town of Bellefleur, Oregon. They switched filming to L.A. after season five, and this becomes almost glaringly obvious in season seven, when Mulder and Scully return to Bellefleur to follow up on their first case. The pilot is drizzly, rainy, and ominous. The entirety of "Requiem" is sunny and more inviting.
    • NBC's Perfect Couples is set in Portland, Oregon, although this is not mentioned on-screen often.
    • One episode of Stargate SG-1 ("Seth") was set north of Seattle.
    • Portlandia is, obviously, set in Portland.
    • Grimm is set and filmed in and around Portland.
    • Leverage filmed its second, third and fourth seasons in Portland but set them in Boston. Starting in season five, the show will take place in Portland.


    Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

    • Shadowrun's default campaign setting is Seattle and surrounding areas.


    Video Games[edit | hide]

    • Alan Wake. The developers wanted to create a convincing Washington landscape, so they took literally THOUSANDS of photographs of the land, not to mention architecture styles. As a result, the game had very little concept art.
    • Deadly Premonition is set in the fictional city of Greenvale, Washington. (Based on the landscape, it's up somewhere in the Cascades.) Many characters mention visiting Seattle as well.
    • World in Conflict Much of the story and game play, while sometimes set in Europe with the EU, and in New York, is set in Washington. In 1989, The Soviet Union invades Seattle using a lot of cargo vessels as a front. Their invasion is turned around at the fictional city of Pine Valley. (just northeast of Astoria, Oregon). A counterattack on Seattle (with an appearance by the Space Needle) causes the Soviets to retreat from the US mainland.


    Webcomics[edit | hide]


    Western Animation[edit | hide]

    • Darkwing Duck, in the episode dealing with Native Americans with big feet.
    1. There are also American tropical rainforests in Hawaii and Puerto Rico. They are a bit smaller by area than the Amazon rainforest, though.