Don't all the nuts roll downhill to Florida?
—Repeated line from several characters
, "Agua Mala", The X-Files
When reading a "News of the Weird
" site, it has been noticed that Florida
has more than its fair share of weird stories. Some of them
even hang one
with a "Florida" tag, as seen below.
- 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 of the above are summaries of Fark
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 world can or has been subjected to it
It is to their credit that most Floridians laugh along with this sort of joke. To the extent there's truth to this trope, it's probably a reflection of the state's sheer size: Florida is huge
, and tens of millions of people live there. It's been said that there are at least three different states within Florida. Lots of people in one place equals lots of weird people in one place equals lots of weird stories coming from one place. You see lots of odd stuff in California and New York City too, for instance.
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:
open/close all folders
- 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.
- The book's Stealth Sequel Tricky Business is also set in Florida. Like Big Trouble, there is just as much weirdness.
- 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.
- Adaptation, A.K.A: Post Modernist Mind Screw: The Movie 2, takes place largely in Florida.
- Carl Hiaasen: Apart from reporting on real Florida, he writes lurid but not really exaggerated fiction about it.
- Dave Barry, the Miami-based humorist. He says he is not making these things up. And his Boca Raton-based counterpart, Frank Cerabino, as well as any other local humor columnists in the state.
- Piers Anthony sets his Xanth series in a land that is the exact size and shape of Florida, although it's almost as mountainous as Florida isn't.
- Tim Dorsey has a series about Serge A. Storms, Crazy Awesome and Ax-Crazy criminal/tour guide whose obsessions with Florida history drives a lot of the crazy plots.
- 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?"
- An episode of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! on the subject was planned before the 2007/2008 WGA strike.
- 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.
- On Strangers with Candy, most of Jerri's drug-riddled, highly-sexed Expansion Pack Past seemed to have taken place there.
"Florida. Beautiful weather...harsh penal system."
- Every episode of The Smoking Gun Presents: World's Dumbest seems to have at least one thing that takes place in Florida.
- Seinfeld portrayed South Florida (home to most of our senior citizens) as being Cloud Cuckoo Land, where the most trivial things affect condo board politics.
- The X-Files:
- The 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 Gibsonton is 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.
- The episode "Aqua Mala" is set in Florida amidst a hurricane and 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 the "Real Life" section).
- 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, according 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.
- Former child star and current Seattle DJ Danny Bonaduce has a segment during the news portion of his morning drive program titled "Our 'Things Are Not Right in Florida' Story of the Day."
- The hosts of the Majic Morning Show on WMJI 105.7 (based in Cleveland) often make special mention of Florida stories during their "Knuckleheads in the News" segment.
- 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 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.
- Chuck Shepherd, writer of the News of the Weird column, simply calls it the "F State".
- 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.
- Cenk from The Young Turks comments on this often.
- 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).
- 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 it's sponsored by Walt Disney World. Yes, you read that right. Miami, on the other hand, is home to some of the most viciously violent, bloodthirsty villains on the planet.
- ScrewAttack's sidescroller makes frequent 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 and 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..."
- Florida Man has migrated to Reddit.
- Spoofed by ClickHole with "Only In Florida...", making bewildered commentary on completely ordinary photos of Florida life.
- 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?
Is this Florida? Butthead:
Yup. That's Florida. [beat, laugh]
- 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 summoning 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.
Florida Man Caught Adding Stingers To TV Tropes Pages