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Everytown, America
Ain't that American?

Clark: It always takes folks from the city a bit of time to decompress. Fortunately for you, this weekend Smallville is holding the annual Corn Festival. We'll get to see the Corn Queen Pageant, the Husk-Off, the Corn-o-rama, popcorn, cream corn, corn on the cob; we are in luck.
Lois: Oh, be still my heart.
Lois and Clark, "The Green, Green Glow of Home"

Where most Steven Spielberg and David Lynch films take place (though for different reasons).

Basically, if an American film or TV show doesn't take place in a famous big city, it will be set in some version of Everytown, America. Everytown, America is a usually fictional town or small city containing pastel suburbs, a single elementary/High School (depending how old the main characters are) with the same name as the town, and a main street or town square of some kind. Everyone likes hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet. Mandatory attire is flannel with blue jeans, or a bolo tie if you're rich. Most people will be friendly except for the Pointy-Haired Boss, the Alpha Bitch or the Jerk Jock. Anyone worse than that will be an invader from some big city or The Government. It is often a Close-Knit Community.

Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here (or at least it didn't until the aliens/vampires/witches/commies/weirdos showed up). The town's history, if discussed at all, will probably be very simple (usually it will have been named after whoever founded it — there might be a statue of him) and everyone living there will be familiar with the story. The characters may become routinely involved in city affairs, which will usually consist of convincing the city council not to tear down some historic building or to clean up the local park so all the children can happily play there. The townfolk can cause it be a Quirky Town.

For such an average place, Everytown seems to become a City of Adventure surprisingly often, and occasionally masks a Town with a Dark Secret. If featured in a TV series fond of Special Guests, celebrities may visit the town a disproportionate number of times.

To be fair, there are a lot of towns like this in the U.S.A., but it also taps into a very powerful vein of nostalgia about what kind of town many Americans wish they lived in.

Together with Down on the Farm, this is one of the main components of Flyover Country, though that trope is usually more dismissive than idealized.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Comicbooks 
  • Riverdale of Archie Comics.
  • Smallville, childhood hometown of Superman/hometown of the Silver Age Superboy. Less so in Smallville the series.
  • Blue Valley. Home of Wally West before and during his Kid Flash days before he became The Flash and relocated to Keystone City.
  • Astro City: In "Pastoral", Cammie - a girl from Astro City - gets sent to spend the summer with her cousins in the country. Caplinville, the small town she ends up in, feels very much like this.

    Film 

    Literature 
  • Stoneybrook in The Baby-Sitters Club.
  • Similarly, Sweet Valley, California.
  • In Bill Bryson's The Lost Continent, he goes off across America in search of the quintessential small town (an idea he most likely got from the famous Universal Studios backlot). He starts out thinking the best examples will be in the Midwest, but discovers they're mostly in New England and the Deep South.
    • He eventually decides that he'll just have to start picking out his favorite bits of the towns he's passed through and create his own ideal Everytown, America, which he dubs Amalgam.
  • Viciously parodied in William Leacock's Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town with the town of Mariposa, which is inhabited mostly by blithering idiots who can't do anything right. Also transposed to Canada (because that's where Leacock was from), but still basically the same trope.
  • Played with in 1632 by Eric Flint. Grantville is just like this - which means it is very different to Everytown, 17th Century Germany.
  • [Undisclosed] in John Dies at the End, distinguished only by having a considerably higher than average population of the mentally ill.

    Live-Action TV 

    Radio 

    Theatre 
  • Angel's Roost, Washington in The Golden Apple. It lies in the shadow of Mount Olympus, but that's only significant as a Mythology Gag (though the state of Washington really does have a mountain named that).
  • Bomont, Texas in the stage musical of Footloose.
  • 13: Appleton, Indiana is 'The Lamest Place in the World,' at least according to Patrice.

    Videogames 
  • Onett, from EarthBound is the quintessential '80s Amer- er, Eaglandian town, replete with school, burger joint, arcade, City Hall and gang of street toughs. And a meteor, but we don't talk about the meteor. See also Twoson and Threed for variations on the theme, but Onett plays it to the hilt.
  • Podunk, from Mother is a prototype of Onett.
  • Secret of Evermore also starts in the town of Podunk. It's a popular name.
  • Grand Theft Auto II takes place in Anywhere City. Unlike the cities in the first game, Anywhere City doesn't resemble any real city in particular.
  • Bioshock Infinite's Columbia is at first glance a beautiful piece of turn-of-the-century Americana floating in the sky. It's gradually subverted however in that the rotten truth is just beneath the surface.

    Webcomics 

    Web Originals 

    Western Animation 
  • Springfield of The Simpsons.
  • Elwood City of Arthur.
  • Walkerville of The Magic School Bus.
  • Radiator Springs in Cars.
  • Played surprisingly straight in South Park. Only occasionally does anyone wonder why so much seems to happen in an otherwise anonymous Colorado town, and no explanation is ever given.
  • Middleton, home of Kim Possible, besides appearing to be a hotbed of science labs and the odd Supervillain Lair. Part of a tri-city area including Lowerton and Upperton, and a case of Where The Hell Is Springfield?. Word of God says its somewhere in between California and Colorado given the mountains seen in the background.
  • The show Hey Arnold! takes place in the fictional American city of Hillwood.
  • The Fairly OddParents is set in Dimmsdale, California. An average American town filled with weirdness, in part because of Timmy Turner and his fairies.
  • Subverted in Earthworm Jim. Terlawk, New Jersey has a crappy strip mall and a couple of old guys sitting on a porch predicting rain with their kneecaps, but every week they sit and not only watch the alien invasion, but explain that one or the other of them may have caused it. Also, they live next door to a giant earthworm in an alien power suit.
  • Frostbite Falls, Minnesota, even after Rocky and Bullwinkle got famous.
  • Peach Creek of Ed, Edd n Eddy. The craziness that ensues there is usually from the Eds' antics.
  • Hazelnut of Pepper Ann.
  • Quahog, Rhode Island of Family Guy.
  • Langley Falls, Virginia, in American Dad!.
    • Not really, since it's based on the real life Langley, Virginia, which is home to the CIA Headquarters and is even located inside the beltway.
  • Arlen, Texas, from King of the Hill.
  • Bluffington from Doug.
  • Moralton, the capital of Statesota in Moral Orel which also happens to be in the exact center of the country.

    Other 
  • Main Street, U.S.A at the various Disney theme parks.
  • A recurring motif in the art of Norman Rockwell.
  • "Everyday America" by Sugarland has it right there in the title.


Dying TownSmall TownsI Own This Town
Eagleland OsmosisIndexed States Of AmericaExpanded States of America
Minnesota NiceUsefulNotes/The United StatesFlyover Country

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