Woman in an argument with town council over a goose? Florida.
Voters pass a law making the wearing of baggy pants a criminal offense that may cost you up to $150 and 60 days in jail? Just as baggy pants were starting to go out of style, one might add, extending the fashion for at least another year. Florida.
Japanese stripper claims judge (who looks like Bill Cosby) shared business and bank accounts but insists their relationship is "a pure business matter"? Florida.
And that's just from one day's worth of news in the Persistent Vegetative State. Quite literally one day's worth of news: All the above are summaries of Fark.com items from March 12, 2008. Don't get us started on the 2000 Presidential election either. This may be one of the causes of Florida's current population loss- in 2008, for the first time in over a century, more people moved out than moved in. Considering that development and housing construction are such a major sector that the state's entire economy has been described as a giant Ponzi scheme, that's a problem.
Prior to the paper folding, the Weekly World News was based in South Florida.
A lot of talented writers (Dave Barry, Carl Hiaasen) work for newspapers in Florida, which is perhaps why so much is known about the state's quirks. The state has a number of excellent newspapers, largely the result of its strong sunshine (read: transparency in government) laws.
Often used negatively as a No True Scotsman fallacy, in which someone says something negative "can only be done in Florida", regardless if any other part of the country or the worldcan or has been subjected to it.
It is to their credit that most Floridians laugh along with this sort of "joke", mainly because they know that, on the whole, the Only in Florida "trope" is based on complete and utter nonsense created by comedians skimming a list of the most extreme events from an otherwise normal, run-of-the-mill newsday and presenting them as if this sort of stuff was the norm rather than the exception.
Also check out Only In Miami, which is about the city, rather than the state. Note: there is little relation between this and the Bermuda Triangle, as the Bermuda Triangle is more about the paranormal than the weird and wacky.
People who remark about the unusually large quantity of weird news stories coming out of Florida:
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In the Marvel Universe, Florida plays home to the Nexus of All Realities, a multiversal intersection that leads to high weirdness. Which plays on the true source of Florida weirdness. It's a Deep South tourist state that's also popular to retirees and refugees alike, leading to a very diverse mix of culture (Miami-Dade county is often referred to as "Little Cuba.")
Big Trouble is unsurprisingly this being adapted from a Dave Barry book. It's often discussed by two out of town hitmen who constantly refer to the complete oddness around them and call it as Weirdsville, USA.
This trope is possibly the reason why, at the end of the 2002 made-for-TV version of Carrie, the title character heads to Florida to hide out after faking her death. Where else could a teenage girl with Psychic Powers blend into the populace? The setup for the planned TV series to follow (never picked up due to the film's low ratings) was that Carrie would be meeting other people with Psychic Powers, meaning that, at the very least, she's far from the only freak who came to that conclusion.
Alex Flinn's novel Cloaked is set in Miami and centers around a high school shoemaker being hired by a princess to search the Florida Keys for her brother, who has been turned into a frog. As the story goes on, it becomes apparent that there's a good number of enchanted people-turned-animals and fairy tale creatures in general in the region. Flinn's other novel, A Kiss in Time, has a modern-day teenage boy bring a fairy-tale princess he finds in Europe to live with him in Miami.
Edward Bloor's novel Tangerine plays a lighter version of the trope. One of the subplots is about how the upper-middle-class families of the Lake Windsor Downs development keep fighting against the natural oddities of their particular corner of Florida, and how Florida fightsback: eternal fires, sink holes, lightning strikes, mosquitoes. By the time the deep freeze comes around, they just break out the hot cocoa and fake fire logs in defeat, while the lower-class families of Tangerine are busy trying to save their orchards.
The Daily Show: A "10 F#@king Years" segment was devoted solely to Florida stories.
"But without tacky shit on your lawn, how does anyone know they're in Florida?"
From Criminal Minds, which sees some of the most bizarre, gruesome, inventive and just generally screwed-up serial killers not set in a Stephen King novel:
JJ: We got a bad [case].
Morgan: How bad?
Examples include a hitchhiker who takes his victim's identities and an insane cannibal who feeds his victims to other people in the form of chili.
Countdown with Keith Olbermann included a regular segment called "Oddball" where Keith talked about the weird stories of the day. Florida was such a regular part of the segment that, at the end of every year when they did a week-long recap of the news of the year, they always did one episode on Oddball, and there was always a part of that episode on Florida.
Season 2 episode "Humbug" was set in Gibsonton, Florida - a small town seemingly populated entirely by carnies and sideshow performers. This is Truth in Television as Gibsontonis the off-season home for a large number of carnival employees. More appropriate for the trope, the carnies are represented as mostly being the Only Sane Man.
Episode "Aqua Mala" set in Florida amidst a hurricane has "Don't all the nuts roll downhill to Florida?" as a Running Gag.
In season 12 of Degrassi, devout evangelical Christian boorish homophobes Luke and Becky just moved up from Florida. They're widely believed to be a Take That to the Florida Family Association (see under "Real Life", below).
Let's not forget that Dexter, the show about the world's most lovable serial killer, takes place in Miami. Not only is it strange that Dexter lives there, but Miami is apparently so full of messed up people that Dexter usually slices up a character an episode while he is looking for each season's "Big Bad". Also, almost no character is introduced to the show who isn't in some way completely insane.
Late Night With Seth Meyers has a recurring game segment titled "Fake or Florida" in which three selected audience members had to guess if the headlines Meyers reads to them are fictional or from Florida. Audience members who actually are from Florida are given a handicap to even the playing field.
Interestingly, back in the 1840s it was Kentucky, not Florida, which had this reputation—at least accordng to Punch.
Game Informer once had as its back-page quiz "Florida News Item or Plot of an RPG?" The answer to the final question was "both".
Anchorage, Alaska radio DJs Woody and Wilcox cover this daily in the "It Happened in Florida" segment; three recent news stories are presented, all real. Of the three, two are subversions, sounding like things that happened in Florida, but not actually occurring there. The calling guest who finds the straight example gets some prizes. They are now on 106.5 The End in Charlotte, North Caroline.
When Adam Carolla was hosting Loveline, they played a game called "Germany or Florida", where listeners would call in with weird news stories and the hosts would have to guess whether it took place in Germany or Florida. Germany's reputation is well-deserved; it's one of the most common locations for such stories on The BBC radio show It's Been A Bad Week.
Kenny: Jesus, man, I'm from Florida! Crazy shit just comes out of my mouth sometimes!
Distorted View, a podcast created to present interesting and disgusting things that happen in the news each day, has a special sound clip that plays whenever a news story occurs in Florida, "Our most fucked-up state."
Fark.com has, along with such categories as "Interesting", "Cool", "Asinine", "Scary", and "Weird", a category named "Florida". Drew Curtis has commented on this in his book. To paraphrase: California news gets no reaction because "Oh, it's just those crazy hippies." No one expects weird news from Florida. After reading all the examples though one has to wonder why. It's a massive tourist state with alligators. Stupid people plus giant reptiles. How bad could it be?
If more than one category tag can apply to a story set in Florida, the Florida tag automatically wins.
The off-topic section of the NeoGAF forums frequently tags weird news stories with a guessing game - does the weird news story happen in Germany, Australia or Florida?
"Accidental human deaths in Florida" is a separate category on Wikipedia. It's since been changed to just "Accidental deaths in Florida", and joined by other categories of accidental deaths from the other states.
What the Fuck Is Wrong with You?, hosted by Nash Bozard of "Radio Dead Air" fame, features stories about the general crazy that is Florida on a Once an Episode basis. One of the early episodes was even made up entirely of Florida stories. The title? "The Wang of America." Part of the WTFIWWY Live drinking game includes taking a shot for Florida, and in the live episodes, Nash or Tara will normally comment "And it's Florida..."
It's gotten to the point that specific cities and counties are showing up multiple times, especially Melbourne and Brevard County (also one of the most popular locations for episodes of COPS).
"Say you're taking a stroll one day when you come across a group of people gawking at something and taking photos. You look up, and there's a lady in pink just quietly hanging from a large wooden structure, 22 feet in the air. Did we mention you're in Florida? We probably don't need to."
In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe it is generally noted (in-universe) that with the exception of Miami, Florida has the most laid-back, non-seriously-threatening, most-likely-to-step-in-and-save-innocent-bystanders-or-surrender-peacefully-without-throwing-a-punch supervillain population in the world. The primary superhero team in the state is called "Imagination East", and its sponsored by Walt Disney World. Yes, you read that right. Miami, on the other hand, is home of some of the most viciously violent, bloodthirsty villains on the planet.
Screwattack's Sidescrollers makes frequesnt use of this during the Newsdesk (so much so that it's a running gag that Chad will either be ecstatic or upset if there isn't a Florida story) and at least one fan-submitted question said that he was in a dangerous place at the time. And yes, they are always the weirdest...
The Cox N' Crendor Show, a podcast hosted by Jesse Cox & WowCrendor has caught on to the phenomenon. The absurdity of some of Florida's news is highlighted especially on the Valentine's Day episode when Jesse finds a quiz asking whether a set of seventeen statements are a RPG plotline or a Florida headline. It's about a 50/50 split.
The page image originates from the Twitter account Florida Man, which collects odd news articles from the state and bills itself as "real-life stories of the world's worst superhero." Essentially, it acts under the premise that all of the stories are referring to a single individual named "Florida Man", playing on the fact that most news articles tend to begin by citing the location and gender of the subject in question, i.e "Florida man/woman arrested for committing X crime..."
In the first episode of the relaunched Beavis And Butthead, the two are watching the video for MGMT's "Kids", in which a toddler walks down a street surrounded by zombies and various Body Horror-esque monsters. Their reaction?
The Fairly OddParents: In "School's Out: The Musical", Timmy wished kids ruled the world. He was elected President of the whole nation except Florida because they're still voting.
In Metalocalypse, The Governor of Florida gets lynched after decrying Dethklok and Nathan gets voted in as a replacement. Due to his complete lack of even the most basic life knowledge, he makes executions a standard punishment (because it's "Brutal") introduces a new dollar that's printed in such quantities that it's useless (driving the state into a recession), and when all else fails, they try to hold a concert because music makes everything better... except that considering who Dethklok is, it winds up summing a category 6 hurricane that pretty much wipes the state off the map. And despite this, one of the tattered, starving to death survivors still says he's the best governor the state's ever had.
There's a reason why it seems all the crazy tabloid stories come from Florida. That's because American Media, the group that publishes all the tabloids in the U.S. (they own National Enquirer, National Examiner, Sun, Globe and Star), is based in Boca Raton, Florida.
The Miami Herald has a news category called Weird News.
Fort Lauderdale newspaper the Sun-Sentinel's weird news blog, aptly titled "Floriduh''. Their slogan?
A Latvian immigrant moves to America and spends the next 28 years single-handedly carving and placing huge blocks of coral limestone to work off his emotions from being jilted by his 16-year-old fiancee? Said builder claims magnets cured his tuberculosis and owned a Perpetual Motion Machine that he used to help build his monument? Welcome to The CoralCastle in Homestead, Florida.
If you take Cracked's article about him at face value (which you shouldn't, but still), he got bored of the scenery at one point during construction (when it was already far along, mind you) and somehow either moved or deconstructed and reconstructed the entire thing elsewhere before anyone noticed it was gone.
ONTD has a meme of Bugs Bunny cutting off Florida from the United States, taken from the animated short Rebel Rabbit.
The former page image comes from the recount of the disputed Florida ballots in the 2000 Presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. The state itself recorded millions of votes, but the final margin of victory was less than 600 votes. This spawned a month-plus fiasco of lawsuits, astroturfing, concession calls that were rescinded, accusations of a rigged election, and a Supreme Court case that said 'This situation is so damned weird that this decision shouldn't be used as precedent.' Which critics cited as being more evidence of election-rigging, believing it showed the SCOTUS majority was simply afraid of a similar situation coming up in which their own favored candidate was on the losing end.
While all that really occurred, it should be pointed out that ultimately all of it wasn't Florida's fault. Florida election law allows the Florida Supreme Court unlimited authority to solve election challenges (and we mean that literally; the actual law granting such authority contains the phrase "the Supreme Court of Florida shall do that which it deems necessary"). It was outside agencies (like the Bush and Gore election teams, not to mention the United States Supreme Court itself, who had no real jurisdiction to intercede in the first place) who were mucking it up for the rest of us. If everyone had just stood back and let the FSC handle it, everything would have been fine. Or at least could have been.
More seriously, feral Burmese pythons are a pain in the ass for the parks department and animal control. There are about 150,000 of them slithering through the Everglades and elsewhere, eating native wildlife and even people's pets. It's gotten to the point where, in January 2013, they declared open season on pythons with no bag limit — complete with a $1,500 prize for whoever catches the most pythons, and a $1,000 reward for the biggest python. Only in Florida does the government's solution to an ecosystem-threatening invasive species — Good Ol Boys versus giant pythons — sound like something straight out of a SyFy Original Movie.
Speaking of a SyFy Original Movie, there was a story in 2006 that could have been the premise of one. A six foot long alligator fought a thirteen-foot Burmese python. The alligator lost, but the python exploded, possibly after the intervention of a second alligator.
Now there is also a coyote infestation in Broward County. Prepare for a bloodbath between the species. (All three of them.)
There are also killer lizards attacking people and eating dogs in the Naples area.
Carl Tanzler, a German doctor, fell for a young tuberculosis patient. After she dies, he tries to restore her to life after stealing her from her tomb... And has sexual relations with her corpse. Only in Key West, people.
Many families on Boca Grande were surprised to find something waiting for them when they went to use their toilets. What did they find? Iguanas. They came up the sewage system.
British street lighting making an appearance in Fort Myers - namely the WRTL Arc, as recently as November 2008, before being removed after a short period of time. Apparently these must have been imported since WRTL don't export to America currently...
"The Hoodrat Kid" lived in Palm Beach, Florida when he decide dto take his grandma's car for a joyride. (The child was 7). It was infamous enough to spawn an episode of The Boondocks parodying it.
A fire breakout in the kitchen while the house owner was in the bathroom. Instead of running and exiting out the front door, which was nowhere near the fire, what does he do? Make a hole through his bathroom walls to escape.
In 1984, the entire police department of Key West was declared an illegal enterprise under the RICO laws—which are usually used to shut down mobsters. One witness even claimed to deliver bags of coke to city hall on a regular basis.
1980's: Luther Campbell of 2 Live Crew had a rewards program to pay players for touchdowns and other on-field achievements.
1987: At a pregame steak dinner for the Fiesta Bowl, Penn State shows up in suits. Miami shows up in full combat fatigues. During the event, Miami defensive tackle Jerome Brown compares the game to Pearl Harbor.
1989: Even the team mascot Sebastian the Ibis gets in on the action when he is infamously tackled and detained by police before a game against rival Florida State when he attempted to extinguish the opposing mascot's flaming spear. The police then released him after realizing the sheer ridiculousness of the situation.
1991: The team's taunting in the Cotton Bowl Classic is so flagrant that the NCAA creates the "Miami Rule" to punish it.
1992: A bench clearing brawl with San Diego State includes Dwayne Johnson (yes, The Rock) chasing the SDS mascot into the stands screaming "I'll kill you!"
2001: Against Boston College, a Miami defensive lineman records an interception, only for his teammate Ed Reed to run up behind him and steal the ball to take it in for the winning touchdown. (2001 Miami is considered by some to be the greatest college football team of all-time.)
2002: Najeh Davenport breaks into a woman's dorm room and is caught pooping in her laundry basket. This later led to him gaining the nickname "The Dump Truck" while playing in the NFL.
2003: Kellen Winslow is confronted by reporters for intentionally injuring an opposing player and has an epic freakout on camera, where he declares "I'm a fucking soldier!"
2005: A group of UM students (including several members of the football team) release an extremely misogynisticGlam Rap song titled "The 7th Floor Crew."note The title refers to the 7th floor of one of the residence halls on campus.
2006: Another bench-clearing brawl, this time against intra-city rival Florida International University, which was made all the worse by one of the game announcers (Miami alum Lamar Thomas) making statements supporting the brawl and wishing that he could join in. Needless to say, he was fired shortly afterwards. An FIU player named A'Mod Ned joined the brawl despite being on crutches at the time, leading to a pretty great photo◊.
2011: Convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro is caught for having lavished strippers, prostitutes, alcohol, and money on UM recruits for nearly 10 years. After another lengthy investigation, during which the "death penalty"note Cancelling a team's entire season, the harshest possible punishment in college football was considered, Miami once again was only hit with relatively light sanctions from the NCAA.
Miami had declared itself ineligible for bowl games in both 2011 and 2012, which probably played a part in the light punishment—as well as the NCAA completely botching the investigation.note Most notably, NCAA staffers colluded with Shapiro's criminal defense lawyer to obtain information that the NCAA couldn't have otherwise gotten, arguably violating legal ethics rules and unquestionably violatingthe NCAA's own bylaws.
May 27, 2012: Man eating another man's face while naked on the road while being shot several times till he finally died? If aZombie Apocalypse is going to start, might wanna take note that it's gonna come from Florida.
Around that time and city, a high school prom was held in the same place a porn convention was occurring.
Also around that time, several Florida schools were evacuated because students and teacher broke out in mysterious rashes that added to the zombie paranoia.
Due to incompetence by Boards of Elections in various counties, it took three days to officially call Florida for Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election. It actually didn't change the election—Obama had picked up enough electoral votes without Florida, to the relief of many who remember the 2000 election.
December 2012 — A woman returns home to find that thieves have stolen her driveway made of concrete pavers.
January 2013: A would-be burglar stripped naked and tried to steal a TV from a house, and when he was cornered by the police, he defecated on the lawn and masturbated. You can see more of the story here.
The top post in the comments section: "It really wasn't necessary to put 'Florida' in the headline. We knew."
Related: Florida has more cases of public masturbation than all other 49 states combined.
A man getting caught with over a thousand child porn images on his computer is sick and sad, but hardly unusual. Him blaming his cat, on the other hand...
March 2013: A St. Petersburg woman was shot by her friend's oven while attempting to cook waffles, unaware that he was storing a clip of .45 caliber ammo inside.
Summer 2013 - Researchers warn that floodwaters from tropical storm Debbie may have created a population explosion of Gallinipper Mosquitoes, which are twenty times larger than regular mosquitoes, hunt 24 hours a day, and have a bite that is compared to the feeling of being stabbed.
Two DJs get indefinitely suspended from work because their April Fools' Day prank about there being Dihydrogen Monoxide in the drinking water causes wide panic? In Florida of course.
And why didn't he just use a regular gun? Because he's a convicted felon and wasn't allowed to own one - he only got the cartridge because he'd found it while looking for scrap metal to recycle.
State government accidentally bans all computers? Florida.context They were trying to outlaw internet shops that had universally become a haven for online gambling. Turns out finding the right language to ban just that while still being legal is tricky and the definition ended up being too broad.
October 12, 2013: Wildlife trappers remove over twenty thousand bees from a 98-year-old woman's home? Cocoa Beach, Florida.
Where can an insurance executive scam Medicare out of billions of dollars and still become governor? Meet Rick Scott, the current Florida governor. He's also one of the most unpopular governors in the country, with a regular approval rating in the 20s.
And to be fair: where else can you get elected governor as a Republican, resign from being governor to run for US Senate as an independent, endorse your replacement, then come back and run against your replacement to get your old office back as a Democrat? Say hello to Charlie Crist, the man running against Rick Scott in the 2014 gubernatorial election.
January 13, 2014: Retired police officer fatally shooting a man for texting during a movie? You guessed it!
No points for guessing which state is considered ground zero for sinkholes.note No, not that kind of sinkhole. Most of the state's bedrock is limestone, which slowly dissolves in the presence of water — and on a landmass surrounded by water on three sides and susceptible to hurricanes...
Not to mention the (geologically) rapid depletion of the underground fresh water means that there are giant gaps in the ground.
Which state capital is the only one in the country to have to shut down its primary shopping mall so that close to 10,000 bats can be humanely removed from the crawlspace above its ceiling tiles, and tons of accumulated guano removed? If you guessed "Tallahassee, Florida", you'd be correct.
March 29, 2014: A registered sex offender tried to murder a family of 10 by lighting their trailer on fire for the sole reason that the consenting adults were a lesbian couple. Guess what state it happened in.
April 7, 2014: A woman runs into a McDonald's in St. Petersburg, Florida wearing only a thong, trashing the place and guzzling ice cream straight from the soft serve machine.