Created By: EdnaWalker on August 30, 2012 Last Edited By: EdnaWalker on November 10, 2012

Trivia / Seldom Seen City

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Most literary and live action works of fiction take place in either an iconic, well-known, or frequently used nonfictional city or place, like Los Angeles, Chicago, London, Paris, or New York City, or a fictional locale. Most animated works take place in a fictional city or place and some take place in a well-known or frequently used nonfictional locale.

This trope is about fictional works that take place in real world settings that are little known or seldom seen in fiction.

Some locations that might be relatively unknown to the world in general have been featured in hundreds of works produced locally. So, for obscure actual locales that have been featured in many locally produced works, please list only examples of works featuring those locales that are not locally produced.

Can cause Aliens in Cardiff if aliens are in the setting.


Animated Film
  • Monsters vs. Aliens takes place in Modesto, California for part of the movie.
  • Coraline is set in Ashland, Oregon, due to being filmed in Portland.

Live Action Film

  • Most of the Mercy Thompson series takes place in the Tri-Cities (Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland) in Eastern Washington though the second Alpha & Omega novel is set in the far more well-known Seattle. Patricia Briggs was living in the Tri-Cities when she started writing the series.

Live Action TV
Community Feedback Replies: 11
  • September 4, 2012
    • In Famous 2 takes place in New Marais, a vague parody of post-Katrina New Orleans.
  • September 4, 2012
    ^That is No Communities Were Harmed.

    I was thinking of an actual city or place that is seldom seen in media, like Modesto, CA.
  • September 4, 2012
    I'm not sure that real world settings that are rarely used is actually a trope.
  • September 4, 2012
    It's Trivia or YMMV at best.

    There's another ykttw called Informed Locale where, since the location in question isn't one of the ones everyone knows about, they don't get the details of the location right.
  • September 5, 2012
    Aliens In Cardiff covers any use of a relatively minor but real locale for major events, whether or not actual aliens are involved.
  • September 6, 2012
    ^I think that page probably needs to be repaired, if that's the case, and any examples of settings that don't have fantastical elements in an obscure location (like Eight Is Enough) to this trope. I never actually watched Eight is Enough, but I know that it's a Dom Com and really shouldn't be listed in a trope that has aliens in the name.
  • September 9, 2012
    Okay, talk to the Trope Repair Shop people about fixing that.

    If it goes through, then you should probably reword the opening to say "Overlaps with Aliens In Cardiff if there are aliens or other fantastic elements."
  • September 9, 2012
    Short Circuit, Kindergarten Cop and The Ring Two (the American sequel) are also set in Astoria, Oregon. In fact, for a town of only 10,000 people, it's actually run up a lot of screen time.
  • September 9, 2012
    What's the line between "seldom seen" and not? That is, how many is "seldom" and how many is "more than seldom?" 10 appearances? 20? 100? Etc.
  • September 12, 2012
    ^Obviously, this is subwhat subjective, but I think you can generally tell. The Big Applesauce is the inverse trope, for instance. Lots of works are set in big cities like L.A., London, Paris; even major cities like Chicago, and Atlanta would probably count, depending on opinion. But, as an example, how many times has a Canadian city been used as the setting for a non-Canadian work? Even then, Toronto generally is the New York of the north.
  • September 12, 2012
    I'm not sure this can work. A location might be relatively unknown to the world in general, but have been featured in hundreds of works produced locally.

    It might work if examples are restricted to those where there's absolutely no reason for the location to feature. That is, the creators aren't from there, the network's production offices aren't there, and there's nothing critical to the plot which requires that it be done there. That would, though, move the focus from the rarity of the location's use to the seemingly arbitrary reasons for its use.