"Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough! It isn't fit for humans now, There isn't grass to graze a cow. Swarm over, Death!"
There are a few places in this world that nobody ever wants to go to. Not that it's immediately dangerous, like Hell
. But its reputation is so bad that being sent there is a Cool and Unusual Punishment
. The threat of sending someone there can function as a Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon
threat. And willingly going there is an act of extreme bravery, insanity, and/or desperation. In a fantasy setting there is a good chance your character will go there, for whatever reason.
Of course, sometimes this is merely a throwaway gag. I mean, who would want to actually go there?
See also Hell
, Room 101
, Maximum Fun Chamber
, Forbidden Zone
, and Death World
. See also You Would Not Want to Live in Dex
Examples by location:
open/close all folders
- Dave Barry Slept Here jokes that Richard Nixon left politics to live in a state of utter disgrace: New Jersey. (He was not making that up; Nixon actually lived out his last years in Park Ridge, New Jersey.)
- In one of Dave Barry's columns, he says scientists believe "at one time the earth was nothing but a bunch of slime and ooze, sort of like Bayonne, New Jersey."
- On How I Met Your Mother, Ted insists that he has no problem moving to his fiancee's home in New Jersey. Cut to flashbacks showing Ted relentlessly bashing New Jersey, showing off his "I Hate New Jersey" T-shirt, and referring to the act of defecation as "taking a New Jersey".
- All in the Family: Mike and Gloria are house hunting and Archie, wanting to get rid of Mike, keeps suggesting that he "Try Jersey":
Mike: I hate Jersey!
Archie: Everybody hates Jersey! But someone has to live there!
- On The Drew Carey Show Drew is amused to learn that Kate's boyfriend (who claims to be the devil) was born in Jersey, although this could also be a reference to urban legends of a monster called the Jersey Devil.
- The '80s revival of The Twilight Zone had jokes in least two episodes which explicitly compared the city of Newark to Hell.
- In an episode where the Devil shows up for a card game:
"What's the devil doing here in New Jersey?"
"What do you mean? I think he lives here!"
- In a message he recorded for the 30th anniversary of the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum, Stephen Colbert mentioned trying to fire missiles at New Jersey as one of his favorite memories of visiting the Intrepid.
- Played with in a Night Court episode where a crazy person who thought he was a space alien was brought before the bench:
Defendant: I can't stand this oxygen atmosphere! I need methane and ammonia!
Harry: Where's he from?
Bull: New Jersey, your honor.
- Burn Notice was originally going to be set in Newark, but network executives apparently found the idea of Michael Westen being exiled to New Jersey to be too depressing.
- On the mid-season finale of the final season of Mad Men, Peggy and Julio (the son of the woman renting an apartment from Peggy) have this conversation:
Julio: I don't want to move to Newark!
Peggy: Nobody does.
- A recent issue of Ctrl-Alt-Del has Zeke heading some where 'devoid of humanity but where I can observe it'. Ethan questions: 'Jersey?'
- On the photoshop website Worth1000, the word "Hell" is censored to...you guessed it!
- On Atop the Fourth Wall, in the review of Action Comics #593 Linkara has to explain about the New Gods. When he describes Apokalips, this is what he says "... Apokalips, which is New Jersey." A text blurb appears on the screen apologizing for the joke.
- "New Jersey: You'll never get the smell out"
- In Epic Rap Battles of History Thomas Edison boasts that he is "so dope that I even make New Jersey look good"
- The Futurama episode "I, Roommate" had Fry responding to an advert for a "Suspiciously Fantastic Apartment". After Fry admitted that he gave up and couldn't see the catch, the estate agent revealed that technically, they were in New Jersey. Cut to Fry back at the office complaining that not one place he checked was even remotely liveable.
- In "Hell is Other Robots", the entrance to Robot Hell is in an abandoned amusement park in Atlantic City.
Leela: Who would've thought that Hell would actually exist? And that it would be in New Jersey?
Fry: Well, actually...
- When Zapp Brannigan destroys the DOOP space station headquarters in "Brannigan, Begin Again", they relocate to their old condemned HQ in Weehawken, New Jersey. Why they located it there in the first place is anyone's guess, but returning added insult to injury.
- Landfills were full! New Jersey was full!
- In the movie version of James and the Giant Peach, the peach gets caught in a storm just as they are approaching New York, and the centipede yells out, "We'll wind up in Jersey!"
- Megas XLR doesn't miss the chance of poking some jokes about the series taking place in New Jersey, mainly Jersey City, by comparing cities.
Jamie: There's always Hoboken.
Coop: Yeah, but that's Hoboken!
- In Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, one of the Rangers' semi-regular Rogues Gallery has bought all of New Jersey. Gooseman's tone of voice when Doc relates this fact to him is one of disbelief that anyone with that amount of cash would choose to live there, much less own it. Something of an in-joke, as the series was produced in New York.
- In the U.S. Acres segments of Garfield and Friends, Orson the pig's overactive imagination is so powerful that when he reads a book, reality warps to look like whatever he's reading about. In one episode, he accidentally transports everyone to the surface of the Moon; one character, when asked where they are, responds, "Looks like New Jersey, except with more trees."
- In episode 7 of Ugly Americans, Randall gets hit by a bus, tearing him in half, with his top half stuck to the bus. Because Randall's a zombie, this kind of traumatic injury isn't all that serious, and he seems moderately annoyed at the inconvenience of the situation... until he realizes the bus is heading to New Jersey, at which point he lets out a Big "NO!".
- Proving that this trope has been around for a while, in Felix the Cat: The Movie, there is a part where Felix comes over a hill and sees a barren shell of a town surrounded by a deadly swamp, to which Felix says "Where are we, New Jersey?"
- A running gag in The Penguins of Madagascar is the horror of the Hoboken Zoo in North Jersey.
- In the episode "All Tied Up With a Boa" there is a news report of a snake escaping from the Hoboken Zoo. When the anchor points out the panicked people running in the background, the reporter says, "This has nothing to do with the snake, it's just Hoboken."
- One episode has the penguins actually arrive at the Hoboken Zoo, only to find that it's actually a pleasant place where everyone is nicer. Double Subverted when it turns out that the new zookeeper is a Stepford Smiler obsessed with cleaning who has replaced all the animals with robots.
- In the T.U.F.F. Puppy episode "Law & Odor" Dudley describes the Stink Bug's stench as "A hobo with an abscessed tooth driving a garbage truck in August in Atlantic City!" The "Atlantic City" part becomes a running gag throughout the episode.
- An episode of Robot Chicken has the Care Bears ethnically cleansing Care-A-Lot by killing the Care Bear Cousins. Because of their actions, the Cloud-Keeper-In-The-Sky turns Care-A-Lot into New Jersey. It turns out to be a video reenactment on the history of New Jersey.
Cloud-Keeper-In-The-Sky: Care Bears, I have watched your actions with great displeasure.
Love-A-Lot Bear: But we've purified the land of Care-A-Lot.
Cloud-Keeper-In-The-Sky: For your dark and terrible deeds, I shall turn Care-A-Lot into a dark and terrible place; a Hell on Earth. I shall turn Care-A-Lot into... New Jersey.
- In the Celebrity Deathmatch episode where the Super-Freaks are introduced, Nick Diamond says that to create them, "we had to break the laws of physics! And most of the laws of industrial New Jersey."
- In Dinosaucers, when the Tyrannos are on the brink of success, Quackpot (based on a Hadrosaurus) says he wants Florida. Genghis Rex tells him that he'll get what he deserves, at which Quackpot laments, "Not New Jersey! That's too small!"
- Codename: Kids Next Door:
- In the Grand Finale of the series, the Disney Villain Death of the Delightful Children from Down the Lane is rather undignified and takes place in New Jersey, apparently. Numbuh One is struggling with them on a roller coaster at a condemned, toilet-themed theme park (which gives you a good reason why the place was condemned), which climaxes when they pass under a sign that reads "Now Entering New Jersey", and the five villains plummet into a giant toilet.
- Jokes about New Jersey are common in The Real Ghostbusters. For example, in one episode, the heroes are dealing with an Eldritch Abomination that could consume the city:
- Camden is at or near the top of the list for highest crime rate in the US, especially violent crime.
- New Jersey has more Superfund sites (basically sites so polluted with toxic chemicals they get designated as priority clean-up sites by the Environmental Protection Agency) than any other state. Keep in mind that New Jersey is the fourth-smallest state in the US by area.
- Lest you think nature is your refuge, South Jersey's Pine Barrens (named so because the sandy and acidic soil is so nutrient-poor trying to farm here is futile) is eating the ruins of houses and include carnivourous plants. Also, it's prone to being on fire, which spread easily due to the kinds of trees that grow here: those that camp in the area are warned to be extra careful with campfires, as a negligent ember can set alight an underground vein of burnable material that has been known to cause bursts of flame coming from the ground.
- In Supernatural, when Sam and Dean Winchester need to meet with Lucifer in person in order to implement their ill-advised plan, they find the Devil and his entourage in Detroit.
- MADtv did a skit about words being removed from the dictionary and Detroit is one of those words.
- In the horror movie-themed levels of Gex, Gex will compare his surrounding to Detroit.
- The Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism videos (see Cleveland below) admit that, for all Cleveland's (many) downsides that make it a shithole, at least they're not Detroit.
- "Cairo: at least it's not Detroit.
- Matt of Two Best Friends Play brings this up during one Let's Play.
: You're in Silent Hill
! The shittiest town in America! Matt
: I don't know... there's Detroit. Pat
: Whoa, okay, hold on a second. Are you telling me that Silent Hill
is better than Detroit? Matt
: Have you been to Detroit? Pat
: I will... I will make, I will compromise that pre-RoboCop
Detroit is way worse than Silent Hill, but post-RoboCop
Detroit way better than Silent Hill, if only for the fact that it has fucking RoboCop
- Alot of the city is okay (run down, perhaps, but okay).
- As of July 2013, the entire city of Detroit has become financially bankrupt. It's not a Wretched Hive by any stretch of the imagination, but hundreds, if not thousands, of residents are moving out of the city due to it drowning in debt.
- Back in the 1980s, actual Detroiters could be seen wearing a T-shirt that read: "Welcome to Detroit. Where the weak are killed and eaten."
See also The Big Rotten Apple
Live Action TV
- The ESPN miniseries The Bronx Is Burning centers around the turbulent 1977 season of the New York Yankees set against the backdrop of a New York in massive turmoil between the NYPD's hunt for the Son of Sam, the city's financial turmoil and mass layoffs of municipal workers, and most of all the epidemic of arson that literally left the Bronx burning - the situation had grown so twisted that landlords frequently burned their own apartments to the ground to collect insurance because they can't turn a profit either selling note or rentingnote .
There it is, ladies and gentlemen, the Bronx is burning
. (Said during Game 2 of the 1977 World Series when the telecast of the game cut to the neighborhood surronding Yankee Stadium and filmed a building on fire)
- Ted's Fiance in How I Met Your Mother was very very bothered by the crime rate and how fast the city was.
- A Black47 song: "You got two choices mate: castration, or a one-way ticket to New York!"
- W.C. Fields frequently referred to Philadelphia in seriously disparaging terms. The final punchline was his proposed epitaph: "On the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia."
- Might or might not be related to WC Fields, but some game show had a set of prizes based on this joke. First Place got a week in Philadelphia. Second place got two weeks.
- Eraserhead was partly inspired by David Lynch's stay in this city, which he claims that it left him with a sense of dread.
- Angela Martin from The Office hates Philadelphia.
Angela: In the Martin family, we like to say, "Looks like someone took the slow train from Philly." That's code for "check out the slut."
- It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is this, period. Most of the jokes are directed at the characters, but it certainly doesn't let the town off easily either.
Dee: We're in a dark, scary alley in Philly, we might as well call it Rape Bar.
- After John McCain announced that he would "chase Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell," The Daily Show decided to have a correspondent file a report from the gates of hell... which are in Philadelphia/South Jersey.
- Steve Jackson games once asked its readers to write in their submissions for "useless random tables." The results were published in Murphy's Rules. One winning entry was for "dead character soul destination" (roll d4):
- Megas XLR takes a shot at Philly, too, it being Coop's go-to place to dispose of the giant monsters he had accidentally unleashed.
- In one episode of Futurama, Professor Farnsworth has this to say:
- Mario Puzo's books have mobsters talk of being "sent to Siberia", meaning upstate New York prisons in general and Dannemora State Prison near Malone by the Canadian border in particular.
- In Hogan's Heroes the Russian Front and Siberia is frequently used as a running gag, often by Hogan.
- Justified as it was the German Soldiers running the prison camp were often threatened with being sent to the Russian Front, and the Germans were not doing very well on that front.
- Truth in Television - Russia (both Imperial and Soviet) did send political prisoners there for a reason.
- Yogi Bear was afraid of this place for a reason.
- By and large Siberia isn't all that bad, and large part of it is actually very pleasant, if you are Russian and thus don't mind the winters. Southern Siberia is, in fact, one of the main Russian grain-producing regions, just like Canada's Prairie Provinces. Its main problem comes from being so unbelievably huge, and sparsely populated, which leads to the large tracts of land where there's nothing. If you end there with just the clothes on your back in the dead of the winter, then, yep, it might end not all that well. Otherwise, not so much.
- "Not minding the winters" entails a bit more than you might suspect. Southern Siberia ... for example, Novosibirsk ... can be quite pleasant in summer. However, even there, the average high temperature is below freezing five months out of the year (the average low temperature is below freezing seven months out of the year). In recorded history, the list of months in which the temperature has never dipped to freezing is: July. And the vast majority of Siberia is further north than Novosibirsk is (though, for obvious reasons, most of the large cities are either south of Novosibirsk or not much further north).
- Yakov Smirnoff: "In every country, there is a city everyone makes fun of. In United States, it is Cleveland. In Soviet Union, it is Cleveland."
- The fluffy pony group fic The Fall of Cleveland has a developer build a theme park for fluffy ponies (small, fluffy man-made life forms often kept as pets) in Cleveland, a plan approved by the mayor in a desperate attempt to make some money for the city. However, the developer has rigged the park to explode as part of a plan to make his creations, "fuzzy ponies", the only biotoy on the market. The story ends with a massive tidal wave of fluffy ponies overwhelming the park, a herd getting into the local nuclear power plant, and Lake Erie swallowing the city.
- In the second Percy Jackson movie Luke had to go through the depths of Tartarus to find Kronos's tomb....and Cleveland
- In the plot of the John Candy movie Delirious he plays a soap opera writer transported into his own show and can write out other people's words and actions. When one character (played by Robert Wagner, who Candy's character calls Robert Wagner in a No Fourth Wall moment) becomes a nuisance he writes for them a hasty exit.
I have to go to... Cleveland
. Jesus, I hate Cleveland! [later] John Candy:
What are you doing here? I sent you to Cleveland! Robert Wagner:
I should kill you for that alone.
- At the beginning of Mr. Baseball, over-the-hill ballplayer Jack Elliot gets told his team (The New York Yankees) has traded him, and that there was only one taker. He immediately asks with horror if they're sending him to Cleveland, and is visibly relieved when the manager says it's not Cleveland.
- In the Infocom interactive fiction game Leather Goddesses Of Phobos, there is a scene in Cleveland. They make fun of it even in the InvisiClues. ('How do I get out of Cleveland?' 'Millions of people ask this question every day!')
- The Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism videos admit that Cleveland is a shithole; at the end of the second, they admit that "at least we're not Detroit!"
- In United 300, a spoof trailer of both 300 and United 93, Xerxes begs Leonidas not to destroy his terrorists just yet, because otherwise they'll be forced to land the plane in Ohio. Leonidas responds with "Then tonight, we dine in Cleveland!"
- In an episode of The Fairly OddParents, Cosmo and Wanda get carried away by a tornado and end up in Cleveland. Everything is grey and stormy, and there's a sign saying "You still here, bud?"
- Forbes magazine rates it as the most miserable city in the USA
- Ask a Steelers fan where the biggest shithole on Earth is. Most will say Cleveland.
- In the 1980s, Cleveland's image suffered due to their declining economy and a river so polluted that it actually caught fire. In an effort to promote tourism, West Palm Beach took out national advertisements that showed the two cities' skylines side by side, and asked businesses where they'd rather hold a convention. This outraged Cleveland leaders, and West Palm had to name Cleveland a sister city as apology.
- Isn't Cleveland one of those Inherently Funny Words?
- Cleveland has the semi-official nickname of The Mistake by the Lake.
- The pollution in the nearby river is so bad that it has actually caught on fire. Thirteen Times.
- Baseball player Jay Johnstone once said in an interview that he drove through Cleveland one day, but it was closed. Needless to say, he was booed the next time he played there.
- From the 1960's until the early 1990's, many baseball players considered being traded to Cleveland the equivalent of being exiled to baseball's version of Siberia.
- ESPN once proclaimed Cleveland the most tortured sports city in America. Between the Indiansnote , the Cavaliersnote , and especially the Brownsnote , there's very little contest for that title.
- Apollo 13, when asked why the networks aren't the showing the astronauts' broadcast:
"The networks said we made putting a man on the moon seem about as exciting as a trip to Pittsburgh"
- From Sullivan's Travels:
LeBrand: It died in Pittsburgh.
Hadrian: Like a dog!
John L. Sullivan: Aw, what do they know?
Hadrian: They know what they like.
Sullivan: If they knew what they liked, they wouldn't live in Pittsburgh!
- And then, when you thought Western PA didn't have anything more to throw you in the face, it shows it can go downhill... Pittsburgh, bad? Picture Punxsutawney. In winter. In a very, very silly festival. And then, every time you awake is February 2nd
- In Videodrome, Pittsburgh is treated this way throughout the film. It is where the videodrome signal comes from, and "See you in Pittsburgh" is later used in lieu of the regular "See You in Hell".
- In the Fallout 3 DLC "The Pitt", the city of Pittsburgh has become a radioactive and highly toxic center for slavery.
- The Great Lakes Avengers are based out of Milwaukee, and treated as something of a joke by other heroing teams (and Marvel's writers); the Crazy Awesome Squirrel Girl notwithstanding. The location is treated with the same reverence as the team.
Beth: Hello Dave.
Bill: Hello employee! You look miserable and oppressed!
Beth: Oh I am! I can no longer take cab rides home from the office!
Bill: Excellent! That's good news to me. You see I'm from Wiscoooooonsin, where taxi cabs are feared and hunted for the delicious meat under their hoods!
Bill: Or Tragedy?
Both: You be the judge!
- Naturally being made in Minnesota, Mystery Science Theater 3000 is chock-full of Wisconsin bashing. For example, during the host segment for The Deadly Bees, Brain Guy manages to trump two Observers who had come to take him home. After taking their brains, thus making them idiots, he decides that the absolute worst punishment he could give is to make them live in Wisconsin where they will work for a small dairy co-op, and be rabid Packers fans.
- An episode of Night Court had Bull asking Yakov Smirnoff why it was so bad living in the Soviet Union. Yakov tells him to close his eyes and imagine he is "standing in the middle of Milwaukee. No matter where you go, you will still be in the middle of Milwaukee. You could get in a car and drive a hundred miles, you will still be in the middle of Milwaukee. You could..." At which point Bull screams for Yakov to stop.
- The song/spoken word poetry "Deteriorata" reflects that "And whatever misfortune may be your lot, it can only be worse in Milwaukee."
- Near the end of his career, original Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach John "Dial-a-Quote" McKay incensed Packers fans by saying, among other things, "If a contest had 97 prizes, the 98th would be a trip to Green Bay".
Anime And Manga
- Cowboy Bebop: "Nothing good comes from the Earth anymore."
- In one episode of Urusei Yatsura, Mrs. Moroboshi wins the grand prize in a grocery's festival lottery — an all-expenses paid vacation for two to Atami. AnimEigo's subtitles helpfully gloss that this is "equivalent to a trip to Odgensburg, New York."
- This is how Tomoya from CLANNAD perceives the town he grew up in, which is actually quite nice. This is more due to his Dark and Troubled Past rather than the actual town. His opinion changes by the end of the series.
- British comedians of a certain age often speak this way about the Glasgow Empire, a venue notorious for giving acts very short shrift. Des O'Connor fainted on stage and Morecambe and Wise were booed off.
- Glasgow in general often gets this too.
- The late comedian Robin Harris often made jokes that calling Hell from Compton, CA was a Local call (as opposed to Long-Distance).
- Hoosier comedian Jim Gaffigan, after listing somewhat cliched boasts for residents of other states, said of his home state, "We're from Indiana and we're gonna move!"
- During one of his shows, Jeff Dunham got into an argument with Peanut over whether or not they were currently in Santa Ana, California, or in Hell.
- According to Saturday Night Live's incarnation of Joe Biden, Scranton, PA is the single worst place on earth. In fact, if you went down to the lowest circle of hell, you'd still be 45 minutes outside of Scranton.
- In the skit "Last Will and Temperament" by the Canadian radio comedy troupe, The Frantics, the will ends with the deceased leaving "my entire estate of 10 million dollars to the people of Calgary so they can afford to move somewhere decent."
English Bob: I thought that you were dead .
Little Bill Dagget: I heard that one myself, Bob. Hell, I even thought I was dead. Till I found out I was just in Nebraska.
- "Maybe that's what Hell is, the entire rest of eternity spent in fucking Bruges."
- "Good morning Baltimore! There's the flasher that lives next door, there's the drunk on his barroom stool; they wish me luck on my way to school..." (Most John Waters films tends towards an affectionate mocking of his hometown, though.)
- Cannibal! The Musical:
Polly Pry: You made it to Wyoming, right?
Packer: Yeah, but I would've been better off just letting those people catch me and kill me.
Polly Pry: Why?
Packer: You ever been to Wyoming? [cut to Packer in a lonely, barren wasteland] Heh-hello??
- Marty and Doc invoke this in the second Back to the Future film, faced with an alternate 1985 ruled by Biff Tannen.
Marty: It's like we're in Hell or something.
Doc: No, this is Hill Valley, though I can't imagine Hell being much worse
- In Defending Your Life, Daniel Miller asks if he's in Hell. His defender explains that there is no Hell, but he hears Los Angeles is getting pretty close.
- In Wayne's World, Wayne and Garth use a backscreen that's flashing exotic locales to which the two make make fun of the stereotypes associated with those places. Then the backscreen flashes Delaware, and the two can't think of anything associated with Delaware.
- In Easy A, Olive's narration commenting on a character's punishment for contracting a veneral disease:
"Due to his 'condition,' Micah was sent on an extended visit to his grandparents in Palatka, Florida. And if there's one thing worse than chlamydia, it's Florida."
- In Labyrinth, Hoggle is terrified of being banished to the Bog of Eternal Stench. Unlike many of the other places on this list, the audience actually does get to see it. Perhaps fortunately, however, we don't get to smell it.
- Vizzini threatens Fezzik with this in The Princess Bride. "Do you want me to send you back to where you were? Unemployed? In Greenland?"
- In Alien: Resurrection, Johner half-seriously says that he'd rather face the Aliens then go to Earth.
- As James Gandolfini's character in In the Loop so eloquently said, while talking about War Is Hell: "This is the problem with civilians wanting to go to war. It's terrible, horrible, and once you've been there you never want to go again unless you absolutely fuckin' have to.... It's like France."
- In the film Disclosure, Tom Sanders is offered a transfer to Austin, Texas. This is later described as similar to "a duck making a lateral move to 'à l'orange'", or in other words similar to being roasted and eaten.
- In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Arthur Dent says, "When I was little I used to have this nightmare about dying - all my school friends went to Heaven or Hell and I was sent to Southend!"
- Much sport of the city of Milton Keynes is made in Good Omens.
- Much sport is made of Milton Keynes by Britain in general. Also from Good Omens, Crowley is particularly proud of his work with Manchester.
- The ultimate example may be Gehenna, an area near Jerusalem so unpleasant that it actually became the Hebrew word for Hell. Any time The Bible refers to "Hell", it's probably been translated from "Gehenna".
- It's only referenced as such in the Bible because it used to be a place where refuse was burned, suggesting that sinners may as well wind up in the trash dump at death. It's not actually a bad place for any other reason; in modern Jerusalem it's actually a very pleasant little valley.
- "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46)
- The mock-atlas "Our Dumb World" by The Onion (which was created in Madison, Wisconsin) has a part entitled "Minnesota: Land of 10,000 Retards"
- There is a story by Isaac Asimov about a man being exiled, with his attorney insisting that the punishment is way too harsh. In the end, it is revealed that he is sent from the perfectly controlled and conditioned underground cities of the Moon, to the eternally unstable surface of Earth.
- In the Agent Pendergast novel Book of the Dead, Agent Coffey threatens the prison guards with termination and transfer to North Dakota. When everything comes crashing down on him, Coffey is heavily demoted and transferred to North Dakota.
- The Devil's Dictionary: Man spreads so rapidly as to conquer "the entire habitable Earth and Canada".
- It was the fool who founded "theology, philosophy, law, medicine and Chicago".
- Many World War II based series will have Those Wacky Nazis threatening to send a subordinate to "ze Eastern Front!"
- The threat was a running joke in Hogan's Heroes.
- This has actual basis in real life. The Soviets treated captured prisoners much, much worse than the western powers, and the Eastern front was much more brutal in general. (This was in part because the Nazis were much worse to captured Russians, as well, since their doctrine of racial superiority put them on a lower tier.)
- In 'Allo 'Allo!, many of the Nazi characters had a particular horror of being sent on covert missions to Bognor. And, Bugger Bognor!
- One episode of the American Whose Line Is It Anyway? had as a Scene From A Hat "Versions of Hell without fire or brimstone". Greg presented it as driving eternally in Mississippi.
- They've also made jokes about Fresno and Seattle.
- "What's death like?" "Ever been to Swindon?"
- John Betjeman wrote the poem "Slough" to trash its transformation into a dreary factory town, inviting bombs to obliterate it in the first stanza. This was one of the reasons the town was chosen as the setting for the original The Office. The DVD packaging includes the poem.
- From Angel:
Spike: Am I in Hell?
Lorne: No, you're in Los Angeles, though a lot of people make that mistake.
- In Being Human, Nina asks Annie if she wants to talk about her experience of Purgatory:
- Also, after rescuing her from Purgatory, Mitchell tells Annie that they've moved to a home in Wales. Annie jokingly replies that she'd rather go back to Purgatory.
- Inverted in the second season finale of The League of Gentlemen, when the dim-witted and sheltered Tubbs, faced with the possibility of death, asks Edward, "Will heaven... be like Swansea?"
Edward: Yes, Tubbs. Only bigger.
- As police commissioner Burrell says of his city during The Wire: "It's Baltimore, gentlemen. The gods will not save you."
- In the Doctor Who episode "The Unquiet Dead", the Doctor explains to Rose that he's landed in the wrong place and time, and she's so taken with being in the past that she keeps saying "I don't care". Then he says "It's Cardiff!" and she stops dead in shock. Later in the episode, the Doctor himself is disgusted that he's "gonna die in a dungeon! In Cardiff!"
- A common Running Gag in the Garfield comics is the titular cat's constant attempts to send his nephew Nermal to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
- A Canadian millionaire in The Frantics sketch Last Will And Temperament left his estate to the people of Calgary so they could afford to move somewhere decent.
- Mel Brooks's original opening for the musical version of The Producers was Max Bialystock's horrible spoof of Oklahoma, titled "Hey Nebraska". The entire song was essentially this. Lyrics include "Oh, what a terrible morning/Oh what a terrible night,/Things in the state of Nebraska/Never will ever go right" and "Hey, Nebraska- You suck!"
- London, according to Sweeney Todd:
There's a hole in the world like a great black pit
and the vermin of the world inhabit it
and its morals aren't worth what a pig can spit
and it goes by the name of London.
- Often seen in farces with do-it-yourself-dialogue in the script along the lines of: "I shall put a curse on the lot of them, and doom them to live in [unpopular town or state]".
- In the Invader Zim episode "A Room with a Moose," Zim threatens to send the entire class into the titular room with a moose, a dimension that simply consists of a white plane with a giant moose graphically munching on walnuts, which apparently is worse than both a dimension of pure doogie and one of pure itching.
- In Futurama, Fry wakes up from a second cryo-stasis and finds himself in a blasted wasteland. It's really Los Angeles in his own time period.
- And Utah gets it in the episode "Mars University".
Fry: I'm impressed. In my time we had no idea Mars had a university.
Professor Farnsworth: That's because then Mars was a uninhabitable wasteland, much like Utah. But unlike Utah, Mars was eventually made livable when the university was founded in 2636.
- Animaniacs: Are we dead, or is this Ohio?
- A Looney Tunes short "Satan's Waitin'" from The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie involved Yosemite Sam going to Hell.
Sam: It's powerful hot here. Is this Dallas?
Satan: No, but you're close.
- South Park: When Cartman and the boys go to visit his grandmother they pass a sign that says "Now leaving Colorful Colorado," on a mountain background with a rainbow. The scenery changes abruptly to a gray sky and fields of wheat and a new sign reads "You are now in NEBRASKA. ...Sorry."
- There's also an episode where Kenny gets hit by a bus, but doesn't die, instead ending up carried under the bus all the way to Mexico. In the next episode, Kenny manages to call his friends, and when he describes the place he wound up (i.e. drinking the water gives you bloody diarrhea), they're convinced Kenny is in Hell.
- And in the same episode, Jesus decides to punish Cartman by sending him to a place "worse" than Hell. Guess where?
Mr. Garrison: And where are you from, Damien?
Damien: The seventh layer of hell!
Mr. Garrison: Ooooh, that's exciting, my mother was from Alabama.
- In one of the episodes of the short-lived Dilbert TV show, two teams of engineers are competing, and the losing team will be transferred to Albany, NY — which is shown as being incredibly cold on the first day of summer. When the episode's Big Bad — no, not the boss but the rival team's leader — is decapitated, her head comments "Well, better this than Albany."
- The Simpsons:
- In one episode, Homer travels to Winnipeg, Canada, and the road sign on approaching the city proclaims "We were born here. What's your excuse?"
- And in the episode where they move to Cypress Creek:
Scorpio: By the way, Homer, what's your least favourite country? Italy or France?
Scorpio Heh heh, nobody ever says Italy.
- In another episode, Marge stared in a musical version of A Streetcar Named Desire with a song that said some pretty bad things about New Orleans. This caused an outcry from quite a few actual citizens of that city, so much that Bart's chalkboard gag in an episode a few weeks later read "I will not defame New Orleans."
- At the end of "Kill The Alligator and Run", the Simpsons are banned from ever returning to Florida. In the final scene of the episode, Marge is standing next to a map of the United States, with 48 of the states crossed off, leaving North Dakota and Arizona as the only remaining states where they haven't been banned from yet. Bart gives good reasons why they should never go there in the first place, and she crosses them off too.
- According to the film Monsters, Inc., the main form of punishment for a monster is permanent banishment to the human world, though, given that the monsters believe that humans, especially children, are deadly, this is justifiable.
- Rocky and Bullwinkle had Mooslevania, a place so bad that people would vacation there because afterwards any other place seemed like a vacation. It was also the subject of a territorial dispute between the US and Canada; Canada said it was part of the US, while the US said it was a part of Canada.
- Mooslevania almost became a real place thanks to a nationwide campaign. However, it was cut short due to the visit to Washington D.C. coinciding with the Cuban Missile Crisis.
- Dan Vs.: In the episode "Dan Vs. Burgerphile", the local Burgerphile manager Jeff is terrified of the prospect of being sent back to Maryland.
- In the Family Guy episode "The Most Interesting Man in the World", Peter gets smarter from visiting America's smartest cities, so his family turns him back to nirmal by sending him to America's dumbest city: Tuscon, Arizona. There, the people are giggling, snaggletoothed dolts who beat each other up, their philharmonic consists of wet t-shirt contests with chocolate milk, and the movie Battleship is still playing in theaters.
- In the episode "Into Harmony's Way", Peter and Quagmire go on tour as a singing duo; the first place they go to is New York, but it turns out to be a thin painting of New York over the road, with Delaware on the other side. The sign outside the state reads, "Sorry we had to trick you. This is how we get visitors."
- Truth in Television:
- There is actually a Hell in Norway, though it just means "Cave." "Helvete" is Norwegian for "Hell".
- There is also a Hell, Michigan. According to the story, after the first few names were rejected, their postmaster declared, "You can name it Hell if you want to!" They took him up on it. Both regularly freeze over◊.
- Also, there's a Hell on the island of Grand Cayman. Considering that the island is in the Caribbean (and has the typical climate/terrain you'd expect) it's a fitting name for a large expanse of warped, pitted, ugly, sharp-edged black limestone formations.
- The Netherlands also has both a Hellmouth (Helmond) and a Sunnydale (Zonnedaal).
- There is a place named Lapin Helvetti (Hell of Lapland) in Kolari, Finland. It is an incredibly beautiful caldera lake.
- The name Kolari itself, while meaning "colliery", can mean automobile accident in colloquial Finnish.
- In Scottish humour, New Towns like Livingston are memetically boring and dreich, whilst former industrial towns such as Kelty and Wishaw are (not without justification, thanks to Thatcher closing down the pits) considered miniature Detroits with more general shittiness. Other targets are "the ring" of council estates around Edinburgh, all Glasgow (which itself is lost in its own legend), and Edinburgh's Princes Street Gardens at nighttime.
- In England, the Hackney area of London has this reputation due to the crime in the area (in particular stabbings). However, it has gotten better in recent years.
- Britain has a reputation for this. When a book called Fifty Crap Towns was published, with copious reasons for its selections, people wrote in and complained. Because their home town wasn't in it. The publishers obliged with a sequel, Fifty More Crap Towns.
- Every British town and city has its less desirable areas. Londoners are not alone in pointing to Hackney and Tower Hamlets. Manchester has Wythenshawe, described as "the largest council estate in Europe". Wythenshawe and Hattersley were founded as out-of-town suburbs for working-class people with jobs to go to. Which worked fine as long as there were jobs to commute to. Take away the jobs and leave a residue of people who didn't have much to begin with and now have even less - and you get poverty ghettoes. The local joke is that no buses actually stop in Wythenshawe. They just slow down a little and you throw yourself out.
- Truth In Television: One of J. Edgar Hoover's ... idiosyncrasies ... was sending FBI agents who displeased him to New Orleans, a city he hated. Seeing as he was a well known racist, you can probably imagine why he'd think that.
- Particular scorn was heaped upon it by H.L. Mencken: "All other mammals would succumb quickly to what man endures without damage. Consider, for example, the life of a soldier in the front line—or the life of anyone in Mississippi."
- The phrase "sold down the river" refers to slaves in northern slave states being sold to Mississippi farms, a terrible fate due to the much harsher conditions down there. Today the phrase is still used to mean "betrayed."
- Twain said about Cincinnati, "When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Cincinnati because it's always twenty years behind the times."
- In Argentina, during the first half of the 20th century, capital punishment was imprisonment in the infamous Ushuaia prison, in Tierra del Fuego, a frozen hell in the middle of nowhere in the most southern point of America. There were even not many guards, as it was understood that anyone so crazy as to escape would survive a couple of days, at best. A lot of them tried, anyway, with unsurprising results. Considering the kind of inmates you would share your cell with, I'd have ventured into the frozen woods without second thoughts too.
- In California the cities of Salinas, Bakersfield and Fresno have this reputation, mostly spread by residents themselves.
- In the northern half of the Golden State, Yuba City, though less well known, also has image problems - partly because of its place as the hometown of the 1970s serial ax murderer Juan Corona, and also because the "Rand McNally Places Rated" quality-of-life ranking in 1985 placed the city 330th and last among U.S. cities.
- The Inland Empire is generally the butt of jokes in the Southwest and is usually viewed as a disgusting shithole full of meth labs, desert bros, sky-blackening pollution (among the highest in the country), foreclosed homes, wannabe gangbangers, sociopathic cops, and just about everything else you can imagine.
- In Mesa County in Colorado, Clifton is this, and it is routinely mocked. And sometimes Fruita.
- For many Coloradans, the only excuse for being in Pueblo is if you're driving through it on your way to or from New Mexico.
- When the community of Reunion was created, some residents lobbied for the development to get its own postmark. Why? Because otherwise their letters would be stamped "Commerce City," a Denver suburb notorious for crime, industrial decay, and general urban misery.
- The dirty secret among Rhode Island expats: They know the state's population is made up of horrible, contemptuous people, especially as you get close to I-95. Problem is, most people don't even know Rhode Island exists, which makes Jersey comparisons difficult to swing.
- Uryupinsk, Volgograd Oblast has a reputation of a memetically boring hicksville in Russia.
- It is mostly in the name. It has a uniquely undignified sound to it. Now, Kolyma and Magadan, on the other hand, are geniunly notorious for being the central hubs of prison camps in USSR.
- In Greater Vancouver, Surrey has this reputation; when people get more specific they usually paint it as being populated by hicks and/or trailer trash and petty criminals. (It is the car-theft capital of British Columbia, according to some fuzzy half-remembered statistics I can't recall the source of.) Being the largest suburb by a good margin, it's sort of like the local equivalent of New Jersey. There's also the Downtown Eastside, which has a reputation more along the lines of "if you go here you will die (or at least get mugged)" than mere lack of class.
- Minnesotans think of the northernmost part of Minneapolis as a gang-ridden, violent hellhole. The light rail ends at Target Field, and to most natives, that's where the city ends. That this is more or less the truth doesn't make this any less the trope.
- To a lesser extent (largely due to size), people unfamiliar with the city consider it dangerous to go on Lake Street after dark. This is mostly due to xenophobia (it's a very Mexican part of town).
- Marylanders are weird about this in regards to Baltimore. It is, after all, a city that is nearly as corrupt as Gotham but with no Rich Idiot with No Day Job to help against that. There are only a few "safe" parts of town and gang violence is a regular occurrence. But Marylanders do generally love their city and its charm (it's even nicknamed Charm City). Yes, Baltimore is a horrible city, but it's our horrible city!
- It's gotten a bit better. At one point, they were both the murder and STD capitol of the United States. Now they have a football team.
- A winning football team, thank you very much.
- Among Wisconsinites, Waukesha, if not the entirety of Waukesha County, is quickly gaining a reputation as 'Wisconsin's Alabama', which manages to actually slam two places at once.
- Similarly, Pennsylvania is sometimes described as being "Philadelphia at one end, Pittsburgh at the other, and Alabama in the middle." (Or Mississippi, or Kentucky, or whichever state is your Acceptable Target.)
- And on the topic of Pennsylvania, there's Centralia, PA, (alleged) inspiration for Silent Hill, which has had an underground fire burning since 1962. Due to this, the majority of the town was abandoned by 1984, after Congress voted to give residents $42 million in aid for relocation. This even caused a neighboring town to need evacuation once the fire spread far enough.
- The town of Corby in Northamptonshire has achieved memetic status as this locally, partly because it combines the worst aspects of Milton Keynesnote and any large town Oop Northnote , but also because a lot of its residential property is built on land contaminated with toxic waste.
- Michigan and Ohio have hated one-another for centuries, so it should come as little surprise that, if you ask a person from either state, each ones' citizens view the other state as a hellhole, a warzone, or a toxic waste dump.
- No city bears the brunt of this more squarely than Toledo, and the state to which the city belongs is conspicuously absent from this entry for a reason. These two states' animosity stems from a long and bitter border dispute over a section of land called the Toledo Strip. Michigan (then only a territory) actually went so far as to declare war on Ohio over it. Ultimately, the folks in D.C. gave the Toledo Strip to Ohio, but the real loser of this war was Wisconsin because the Upper Peninsula was given to Michigan as "consolation" (At the time, Michiganders still felt they'd gotten the lousy end of the deal but that's because the Upper Peninsula's vast mineral wealth at that time remained undiscovered. And to this day, some Yoopers still want to become the 51st State and call themselves Superrior, probably with Marquette as their capital).
- In Mexico, at least from the end of The Mexican Revolution to the 90s, the Marias Islands were the Mexican equivalent of Siberia or Alcatraz, since it was (then) a desolated wasteland and most prisoners were (then) forced to work. Ironically, being sent to the Marias Islands right now is, for many prisoners, almost a gift, since the Mexican government took many years to change its nefarious reputation and now it has become a model, almost jail-less prison, when the prisoners can live with their families just like when they were free in continental Mexico.
- In a more current version of this trope, the Northern States and very especially Ciudad Juarez also counts. Not only those states are the most violent and dangerous of the country (due to drug-trafficking), the Values Dissonance between those states with the rest of Mexico is so high, many outsiders prefer to return to their places of origin, that's it, if you can even survive living in those cities first.
- Connecticut has Hartford, Waterbury, and Bridgeport, all of which are viewed as the state's answer to the Rust Belt, being former industrial hotbeds that later became crime-ridden, impoverished wastelands full of houses one step away from being condemned, storefronts comprised entirely of shoddy bodegas, liquor stores, bail bondsmen, and payday loan centers, and the rotting shells of former factories.
- Wisconsin in general has a distaste of Illinois, calling residents "Flatlanders" (Wisconsin is more hilly than most of Illinois) and "FIBs" (Fucking Illinois Bastard/Bitch). People from Illinois call Wisconsinites "Cheeseheads" (Wisconsin is famous for its dairy production), which hilariously backfired when they took to the name, including making hats of foam to look like cheese. The fact that the oldest rivalry in the NFL (Bears/Packers) is between the two states' teams doesn't really help matters much.
- Worcester, a rather unattractive industrial city with a bewildering highway system, is frequently described as "the armpit of Massachusetts." Revere ("Reveeeah"), just north of Boston, and Holyoke, just north of Springfield on the Connecticut River, also come in for a lot of abuse. (Revere has a "Jersey Shore"-like reputation; Holyoke is another depressed industrial city which has lost most of its industry and half its population. Holyoke actually has a whole Abandoned Warehouse neighborhood.)
- Mass has lots of these. There's Lynn ("Lynn, Lynn, city of sin, you never go out the way you came in."), best known for its serious gang issues, Fitchburg, which was once a reasonably okay mill city but is now a depressing melange of dilapidated houses, abandoned mill buildings, and dwindling storefronts, Chicopee, which is essentially Holyoke-lite, Pittsfield, which is a little slice of the more decrepit areas of northeastern NY, Greenfield, which takes all the trashiness of Western Mass' nastier rural areas (Athol, Orange, Millers Falls, etc.) and magnifies it... yeah, that's not even the tip of the iceberg.
- Athol gets bonus points for actually being the Athol of Massachusetts.
- When H.P. Lovecraft wrote about decaying, degenerate rural New England towns home to Eldritch Abominations, he was inspired by a visit to Athol. With sky-high unemployment, widespread poverty (most of the jobs that are available don't pay worth a damn anyways), rampant commercial vacancies, and rates of alcoholism, child abuse, domestic violence, and teen pregnancy that are well above the state average, it's not hard to see where the inspiration came from. While it's not quite as bad as it once was, it's still a pretty miserable place.
- For Iowa, Sioux City and Waterloo have this reputation.
- Naples, Italy, is considered to be this by many Italians (including Neapolitans). And if you think crime and corruption are not enough, the city also sits between a couple of very dangerous (currently dormant) volcanoes, including Mt. Vesuvius.
- For the Hampton Roads, Virginia area, either Portsmouth or the parts of Norfolk immediately surrounding NOB.
- El Paso, Useful Notes/Texas, is roundly mocked by just about everyone in south Texas and New Mexico. Unlike the rest of Texas, which you can at least mock affectionately, El Paso is the gutter end of both states. (A typical joke is that Texas tried to sell it back to Mexico and were refused.) The fact that it's directly adjacent to Juarez, above, helps not at all.
- Neighboring Tacoma, Washington seemed to garner this reputation in Seattle. Things were worse in the past, and arguably more justified, with the city's numerous paper mills contributing to the infamous 'aroma from Tacoma'.
- In Sydney, Australia, the entire western half is considered shady, beyond Parramatta, Redfern is also considered unsafe.
- Philip Sheridan, a Union general in the The American Civil War, said, "If I owned Hell and Texas, I'd rent out Texas and live in Hell."