Just a small-town girl, living in a lonely world.
She took the midnight train going anywhere.
A teenager growing up in a small rural town wants to get away from it all, to the big city, or abroad, anywhere but the boring old Small Town. Characters that come from this background generally Jump At The Call
. If they don't, expect the the Call to come looking for them anyway
Compare and contrast with Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here
and Hated Hometown
. Related to Grass Is Greener
, which is about someone in bad conditions dreaming of going to a better place. See also Farm Boy
, Ordinary High School Student
. Often seen in stories set in Dying Towns
, perhaps ones with Small Town Rivalry
Often, however, leads to An Aesop
about Home Sweet Home
and appreciating what you've got. A common subtype is leaving the Close Knit Community
and finding that Apathetic Citizens
are much worse.
When this happens in a musical, expect a Somewhere Song
or a Wanderlust Song
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Anime & Manga
- Corrie Swanson in the Agent Pendergast novel ''Still Life With Crows.
- The book The Dark Side Of Nowhere starts out with the protagonist thinking like this. Then he discovers that he and most people in the town are actually a race of aliens gearing up for a full-scale invasion.
- The mother in the novel Anywhere But Here.
- In the novel Dandelion Wine, one of the characters is complaining about just this when the Lonely One returns.
- The main reason Zoë in Saving Zoe decides to try to become a model. It leads to her death.
- Rusty, the protagonist of Warrior Cats, decides to give up place as a housecat and join the Clans because of this.
- In Devon Monk's Dead Iron, Rose wants to leave and go somewhere where even a girl can make devices. (It doesn't help that they all think she's touched in the head.)
Live Action Television
- Motivation for Joey on Dawson's Creek.
- This is a good portion of JJ's backstory on Criminal Minds.
- Once Upon a Time: Ruby (Red Riding Hood's counterpart) suffers from this. She actually tried to leave town prior to the show, but the curse gave her grandmother a heart attack, forcing her to stay in Storybrooke.
- Also Milah is often seen at the town's tavern and is bored of being a wife and a mother, so she fakes being kidnapped by Captain Hook to run away with him and his crew, abandoning her husband and young child. But when Rumpelstiltskin finds out the deception, it does not end well for her.
- In an episode of The George Lopez Show, George is considering taking a new job and moving the family to a small town in Colorado. He believes that it will be a better place for the kids instead of L.A. However, when they go there to look around, they see that the kids that live there have literally nothing else to do but smoke, drink, and get into trouble (a little girl encourages Max to steal for little more than the fact it's a cheap thrill.)
Stand Up Comedy
- On his album Werewolves And Lollipops, Patton Oswalt talks about growing up in Sterling, Virginia, and "The Test Of The Small Town". You pass the test when you say "I'm leaving before I kill everyone and then myself!" You fail it when you say, "I'm gonna get a job at the Citgo and fill my truck up for free!"
- Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters.
- Natalie from the musical All Shook Up.
- "Blow Wind Blow" from Frank's Wild Years
- The title character in Evita.
- The Golden Apple begins with Helen dryly complaining that "nothing ever happens in Angel's Roost."
- Touched on sometimes in King of the Hill, specifically the episode where Hank worries about losing Bobby to a more exciting place... like Wichita Falls, home of the Dallas Cowboys training camp. Hank tries to campaign to have the training camp moved to Arlen, with disastrous results, but in the end Bobby says that he would never move to Wichita Falls—because to be a prop comic you need to go to New York or Los Angeles.
- Belle from Disney's Beauty and the Beast: "There must be more than this provincial life!"
- Also Disney, Ariel from The Little Mermaid. She's an odd example, though, in that in her case the "small town" is actually the ocean.
- The title character from Katy Caterpillar begins her adventure because she considers the safe cherry tree where she and her sisters live to be "ever so boring."
- Truth in Television: Happens even with some good-sized cities that aren't as huge as others.
- Some states, such as Indiana, have problems keeping up job rates because college grads and other people of age immediately flee to larger cities such as Chicago or LA to seek gainful employment.
- It gets worse in the Great Plains states, where this trope, combined with industrialized agriculture outcompeting small farmers, has been causing a demographic crisis. Small towns are being abandoned as nobody shows up to replace the young people who leave, and the last Census survey holds that some areas now have a lower population density than they did in 1890, the year that the frontier was declared to be closed. There have even been calls to bring back the Homestead Act in order to resettle the Plains states.
- Some of the farm-country and Lovecraft Country areas of New England.
- Inverted in some areas of the American Rust Belt(particularly Michigan)where young inner suburbanites and city dwellers go from universities in the bigger cities to high-paying jobs in the exurbs.
- Inverted HARD in Michigan, where the fastest growing towns in the state are all boring bedroom communities 45 minutes from anywhere of import.