Created By: Topazan on October 4, 2011 Last Edited By: Topazan on October 10, 2011


An allegedly small town setting that seems to have everything

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Do We Have This? Is This Tropeable?

This is most common in series that feature social commentary. The affairs of the town in question will mirror whatever aspect of larger society the authors want to parody.

There are two ways this can work. Either the town literally has everything the plot demands, making its small size an Informed Attribute, or the denizens improvise anything they need through job changing.

It's a pattern I've noticed. I'm not really sure how well I've defined it.


  • Springfield in The Simpsons. It has two universities, a seaport, an airport, and multiple ethnic neighborhoods. Itchy and Scratchy is supposedly a popular cartoon in that universe, and it's produced in Springfield.
  • Free Country, USA in Homestar Runner, despite the extremely limited cast and sets. If you need to buy something, Bubs will be selling it. There are no kids, but Marzipan teaches Homestar, Homsar, and Strong Mad at a preschool.
  • Inverted in the Discworld. Ankh-Morpork is supposedly the largest city on the disc, but everyone seems to know everyone there.
  • Quahog, Rhode Island in Family Guy.
  • The titular South Park.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Sunnydale is a small town with only one nightclub (the Bronze)...but also has a University of California branch and a hidden military base.

Community Feedback Replies: 13
  • October 4, 2011

  • October 4, 2011
    Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Sunnydale is a small town with only one nightclub (the Bronze)...but also has a University of California branch and a hidden military base.
  • October 5, 2011
    The impression that everyone knows everyone else in Ankh Morpork is probably down to Carrot for the most part. They don't actually know everyone else as far as I can see, they just have a habit of running into Pratchett's several hundred long-running characters.
  • October 5, 2011
    Everyone also seems to know Dibbler, although he may be a special case. In Making Money Miss Drapes tells Moist that Mr. Bent lives in Mrs. Cake's boardinghouse, and Moist immediately recognizes the place. In Wheres My Cow Sam seems to find it necessary to teach his son about some of the individuals he may encounter on the streets, such as Foul ol' Ron. But, I guess these could be exceptions to the rule.

    What about Lancre though, could that count as an enforced version of this trope due to Shawn Ogg?
  • October 5, 2011
    Another to add to the Springfield pile: apparently "West Springfield" is three times the size of Texas, according to Lisa. Also they manage to have beaches, lakes, mountains, a freaking desert, and God knows what else.
  • October 5, 2011
    I do feel like this is covered already by something else but can't remember what.
  • October 5, 2011
    In Friendship Is Magic, Ponyville is supposed to be a small town, and we only see two shops and a library - yet there is rarely any reason to leave it.
  • October 5, 2011
    Pawnee, Indiana from Parks And Recreation.
  • October 5, 2011
    This has a lot of overlap with the current version of Geographic Flexibility.
  • October 5, 2011
    Jefferton from Tom Goes To The Mayor is designed to be the crappiest of crappy little towns, yet it'll have whatever oddball specialty store, restaurant, or attraction the plot calls for.
  • October 6, 2011
    In Bleach, Karakura Town seems to be only a handful of square kilometers large, according to helicopter shots (though pretty urban for its size). However, it is the only location on Earth shown thus far, and characters from other planes of existence, both good and evil, seem to only visit Karakura Town.
  • October 8, 2011
    Though it's not in the description, this sounds like an aspect of Everytown America, and perhaps it's part of other similar "unnamed town" tropes as well. I agree with PaulA that this is very similar to Geographic Flexibility.
  • October 10, 2011