Let's try this
America is a large country of stunning diversity, but the film and television industries are largely confined to one little corner of it. Writers tend to write what they know, and since they know Southern California, the rest of the country will often be inaccurately portrayed as being just like L.A. (And it'll look just like L.A.
Compare Eagleland Osmosis
, in which the rest of the world is assumed to be just like America.
- Lots of details of law and government specific to California. For example:
- The death penalty. Often sought in California, but rare in practice due to the drawn-out process of appeals. In other states, can range from nonexistent (New York, Michigan) to used so often it's no big deal at all (Texas, Virginia).
- California cops have 48 hours to charge a suspect with a crime before they have to release him. The standard under federal law is actually 72 hours, but You Have 72 Hours isn't a trope.
- Speaking of cops, "To protect and to serve" isn't a general police slogan, just the LAPD's.
- Metropolitan areas are large, sprawling, and separated by hundreds of miles of countryside. (Nothing at all like the relatively compact and closely spaced cities of the Northeast and Midwest.)
- Carbonated soft drinks are always "soda", never "pop" or "coke". Compare.