Created By: HeartOfAnAstronaut on September 29, 2012 Last Edited By: HeartOfAnAstronaut on January 28, 2013

Big Star Small Town

a stock plot where a big star ends up in a small town

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A stock plot for any series set in a small Quirky Town is the episode/chapter/etc where a huge celebrity (in-universe or otherwise) comes to visit. Maybe a crew has come along to shoot some scenes from the latest Hollywood blockbuster in a picturesque village, maybe the star just wants to escape the paparazzi and the trappings of fame, or maybe it's a less sympathetic version of this plot and the star is using the town for their own ends. Either way, Hilarity Ensues!

Expect potential romances with the locals (who at the very least are likely to have a crush on the celebrity), new light shone on the town's oddest quirks and traditions, and the star to go back to where they came from almost as soon as they got there.

The celebrity character can represent any number of ideas or themes that may be absent from the town the rest of the time, for example, wealth, mainstream culture, the idea that celebrities are beautiful and superior people or the idea that fame corrupts.

Weirdly, some television series will use this trope even if they have celebrity guest stars all the time. Similarly, fictional towns can vary greatly in size and sometimes seem almost like cities (especially in a Long Runner such as The Simpsons). As a rule, it still counts if the appearance of the celebrity emphasises the fact that the town has it's own way of life, is like nowhere else in the country, has such a unique character, etc.

  • The Simpsons had an episode where a movie star came to Springfield and started dating Ned Flanders. I'm afraid I can't remember the characters name, or the celebrity who voiced her, so it would be very useful if you could remind me.
  • The Vicar of Dibley did this twice, with Hugo's crush Kylie Minogue showing up in Dibley at a random and convenient moment, and a visit from Johnny Depp at the peak of his hotness (Geraldine's crush).
  • South Park has used the plot of a celebrity visiting the small town of South Park a number of times but not every example fits this trope (not least because South Park itself seems to be of indeterminate size). One episode that does fit is Paris Hilton's visit to South Park when she gets frustrated with the lack of nightclubs, tries to buy Butters as a pet and is eventually overthrown and, er, ingested, by the locals.
  • On Father Ted Mrs Doyle won a competition with the prize being a visit from her favourite television star. He's pampered, spoiled and stupid, and completely confused and disgruntled by Craggy Island culture.
  • Truth in Television to a certain extent: if you live in a small town in Wales or Ireland for example, you may have encountered a film crew for a famous television series or big film. Also a number of celebrities do move out to tranquil second homes in the country.
  • Hannah Montana The Movie, Miley/Hannah ended up back home in Crowley Corners or whatever that little place just outta Nashville was called.
  • The plot of Beverly Hillbillies is an inversion of this - a group of nobodies end up living the lives of rich people.

Compare to City Mouse, Fish out of Water, Culture Clash possibly Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense, Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Up for Grabs.
Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • September 29, 2012
    Hannah Montana The Movie, Miley/Hannah ended up back home in Crowley Corners or whatever that little place just outta Nashville was called.
  • September 29, 2012
    • Once again used in the plot of Cars.
  • September 29, 2012
  • September 29, 2012
    What happens in the plot of cars?
  • September 29, 2012
    The celebrity that Ned Flanders dated was Sara Sloane, voiced by Marisa Tomei. That's not even scratching the surface for the number of times that celebrities, both in-universe and in real life have appeared in Springfield.
  • September 29, 2012
    • The main plot of Cars centers around hotshot racecar Lighting McQueen winding up on a small struggling town on the scenic part of Route 66. His first reactions to the place are of disgust, but he does get used to it.
  • September 29, 2012
    There's another plot point that crops up from time to time: The celebrity meets a person who has NEVER heard of them. Naturally, they're shocked by this: "But I'm (celebrity name)! How can you not know who I am? What's wrong with you?" (Or other such dialogue).
  • September 29, 2012
    An interesting variation in the Lucky Luke story "The Escort": Luke needs to transfer Billy the Kid (in the Lucky Luke verse, he's literally a kid or at least teenager, robbing banks along with candy shops) to a distant town for his court sentence. Along the way, he terrorizes the populace just by being, but once they're in the new town, no one knows about him and tell him off to his criminal acts, much to his chagrin.
  • September 29, 2012
    There's a Twilight Zone episode where a famous actress wants to visit the small town she grew up in, and feels compelled to get everyone to come see a one man show she's putting on, rather than go to a big planned outdoor festival in the town square. Later, an airplane crashes into the town square, killing all on board and whomever was at the festival at the time. Turns out the actress was actually on the plane, but somehow her spirit went to her home town to try to save everyone she could.
  • September 30, 2012
    ^ That was "Ring-a-Ding Girl".
  • October 3, 2012
    This was central to Welcome Home Roxy Carmichael, although Roxy didn't, in fact, show up.
  • October 3, 2012
  • October 3, 2012
    • The Weekenders had an episode where the Show Within A Show "Teen Canyon" was going to be filmed in town, and the characters wanted to get a guest star position on the show.
    • Persona4 had the Japanese pop idol Risette who was originally from the small town the game was set in. She was temporarily retired at the time, and even joins the party.
  • October 3, 2012
    Welcome To Mooseport revolves around Ray Romano's local yokel character deciding to run for mayor -- but finds himself running against former President of the United States Monroe "Eagle" Cole, who is in the middle of a divorce, and is vying to keep title to a vacation home he owns in the small town.
  • January 28, 2013
    In an episode of Good Morning Miss Bliss (the first season of what became Saved By The Bell) a famous singer comes back to the Junior High School where she went to school and sings a song to a student. Zak tries to win the competition to be the student, but it ends up being Screech.
  • January 28, 2013