The homeland of Kino of Kino's Journey was one of these. Adults were all quite pleased and always smiling, happy to do their jobs. This turns out to be because when children turn twelve years old they go to the hospital and have an operation that changes their brains to think this way. It also seems to cause homicidal tendencies when someone questions this, as Kino herself is nearly killed for hesitantly asking if she could not have it. Things get particularly creepy when a man is stabbed and the town's residents cheerfully start trying to pull the knife out of him.
The surface world in Texhnolyze. Everything is picture-perfect cross of early 20th century aesthetics and high technology, but everything is slightly too perfect: birdsong is heard all around, but no birds are visible, the roads are too straight and buildings too perfect - almost like setpieces in a giant miniature railroad display - and flowers wither from the slightest touch. The people who call themselves Theonormals eliminated all aggression from their ranks by exiling everybody with genetic tendency towards violence into the underground city of Lukuss, but in result they've degenerated into living dead who barely seem real, flickering like ghostly shadows due to some unknown technology at their disposal, and don't care about anything, even their own life or death.
New Town from Soil: everything is neat and clean, the residents' flowers are oh so perfect, and the everyone is so nice and normal. The town council president is obsessed with maintaining its purity from "foreign organisms" like recent newcomers and possible interdimensional con artists the Suzushiro family. Privately he admits he too is a "foreign organism" what with the obsession and the secret video cameras, blackmail, and raping every boy in town thanks to being a dentist with laughing gas.
An issue of Shade, the Changing Man featured a Stepford Suburbia run by a man who had created a madness-powered machine that turned people "normal"note He thought his father made it, but actually his father's machine was a self-flagellation device with which he punished himself for not being "normal". He started as a Heteronormative Crusader with mild racism and an inablility to understand young people, but as his madness increased, his definition of "normal" grew even narrower ("You take milk in your coffee, right, Joe?")
The Walking Dead: Woodbury appears to be a type of this. It initially looks like a pleasant enough place inside the walls that protect it from the rest of the Zombie Apocalypse, but then the viewer is given views behind the facade, including but not limited to a leader that has aquariums with severed zombie heads and prevents anyone from permanently leaving the town.
Rebel Without a Cause was set in an idyllic American Dream suburbia filled with dysfunction and neuroses - and it was made during the Fifties.
Disturbia. A good pair of binoculars can reveal that the children next door are secretly watching porn, the man across the road is having an affair with his maid, and the quiet next-door neighbor is a serial killer with several rooms of his house designed to accommodate this...unusual habit.
The Graduate is, in many ways, about Ben and Elaine trying to escape this.
Downloading Nancy, though it may have been skewed by the protagonist's bleak outlook.
The films of Todd Solondz feature this. He uses deceivingly peaceful and idealistic settings to hide the fact that the worlds they're set in are exceedingly grim places.
Waverton in the story of the same name. In this case, everyone in the neighborhood is a cannibal. But the new couple in town doesn't know that.
Candor by Pam Bachorz is about a town that uses subliminal messages to create its Stepford Suburbia—especially creepy in the teens, who love their SAT study parties a bit too much for comfort. The town was planned by the protagonist's father as a way to have a perfect world after his other son died.
The town of Joyful Travail in Revenant, although it's run in a far more coldly efficient fashion than most examples of this trope.
Little Whinging, or at least the neighborhood roundabout Privet Drive, in the Harry Potter series, at least if the Dursleys are typical residents, which seems likely since the neighbors are apparently "the sort of people who thought scruffiness ought to be punishable by law." The Dursleys' attempts to appear as normal (read: boring) as possible are Played for Laughs and, of course, complicated by the fact that Harry is secretly a wizard.
This is played with in the films, where Privet Drive residents live precisely identical houses, and all drive exactly the same car.
Possibly the whole town since Harry came and went from the same house as pampered Dudley, scrawny and bruised and dressed in rags, and no one did anything. At least, anything successful enough for Harry to know about it. This is sometimes blamed on Dumbledore.
Parodied in a Doctor Who short story, where the Doctor insists the true horror of suburbia is that there aren't sinister secrets behind the net curtains - it really is that boring.
The eponymous town in the novel Tangerine is like this, to the extent that early in the story you start expecting mind-sucking aliens or an ancient curse or something. People are struck by lightning and part of the middle school is sucked into hell a natural sinkhole, and the viewpoint character's path to confronting this in the town and in his family forms the backbone of the story.
From The Regulators, we have Poplar Street in Wentworth, Ohio. Stephen King spends the first 5 or 6 pages of the novel practically gushing over its all-American normalness with narration so upbeat it's almost manic. And then everything goes straighttohell, in typical King style.
The first episode of the series revival features a town where troublesome teens were turned into fertilizer to maintain idyllic family harmony.
The episode of the original series "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street" and its remake in the UPN series are examples of this trope and a deconstruction of it. Each version of this classic ends with the same twist, but two very different antagonists.
The hell dimension in the Angel episode "Underneath" invoked this trope. Lindsey is condemned with no memory in a cheerful, happy suburban home with a loving wife and son. The cellar of the house is a medieval torture cell where a monstrous demon cuts out his heart every night. When they try to escape, the wife, son, and postman pull out submachine guns and start firing. Gunn later describes the worst of it being the buried knowledge that the happy facade concealed horrors without ever being able to know what they were. Angel, who had his son's memories wiped and placed him with a happy, suburban family to conceal the horrors of his past, is silently but noticeably troubled by the description.
Agrestic in Weeds. The reason why the Theme Tune is "Little Boxes" (see below).
One episode featured a cul-de-sac which appeared idyllic but was actually filled with "ennui", affairs and feuding neighbors. Bones learned that the key to dealing with the residents of the cul-de-sac was to treat them each as a component of a single large organism.
In "Chuck Versus the Suburbs" the main characters of Chuck go undercover in a suburban cul de sac to figure out which of the residents is an evil spy. They all are
The new ABC series The Gates, where everyone concentrates on petty issues of town status to distract from their bloodlust, channel the traditional vampire/werewolf enmity into less destructive competition, and conceal two witches warring over the town.
The Walking Dead: Like in its original comic book incarnation, Woodbury has dark secrets behind the cheerful facade of an "everytown USA" suburbia that are hidden from most of the populace.
Charmed: What our world would be like without sufficient evil to balance it out — sure, everybody would be friendly and nice, but parking your car in the wrong place is a capital offense and using your cellphone in a hospital gets your hand lopped off.
"Little Boxes", the 1962 folk song composed by Malvina Reynolds and popularized by Pete Seeger (and used as the original opening theme to Weeds). It was covered by The Decemberists, whose choice of chord progression drags the subtext kicking and screaming to the fore.
Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky-tacky... And they all look just the same.
"The Kids Aren't Alright", by The Offspring, tells the story of a neighborhood full of promising lives that went From Bad to Worse: Jamie got pregnant and dropped from high school, Mark has no job and spends all his days playing guitar and smoking pot, Jay committed suicide, and Brandon OD'd and died. Supposedly, Dexter Holland wrote this song after finding his old neighborhood torn apart by tragedy.
"Subdivisions", by Rush, details the oppression of conformity in the "mass-production zone" — and the inevitable draw they have on those who manage, briefly, to escape. In particular, from the chorus-verse bridge:
Any escape might help to smoothe
The unattractive truth
But the suburbs have no charms to soothe
The restless dreams of youth
"Pleasant Valley Sunday", written for The Monkees by Gerry Goffin and Carole King.
"Shangri-La" and "Well Respected Man" by The Kinks are about suburbia and the people who inhabit it. It was a regular theme with them, although there are subversions such as "Village Green" (where the singer longs for the "simple people," "fresh air" and 'Sunday school" of his idyllic hometown, and laments how modernization is turning it into The Theme Park Version).
The video for Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun." The song doesn't explicitly mention suburbia, but... this trope hardly seems out of place.
"Shop Vac" by nerd favorite Jonathan Coulton is about a couple that moves from the big city to suburbia to start a family... only the husband really isn't happy with the move.
We hung a flag above the door
Checked out the gourmet grocery store
I bought a mower I can ride around the yard
But we haven't got real friends
And now even the fake ones have stopped calling
The video for Das Weisse Licht by Oomph! shows that this order is maintained by replacing the inhabitants with robots, in a Stepford sort of way.
[The] Arcade Fire's third album, The Suburbs, is a Concept Album which focuses on, well, the suburbs. It takes a somewhat nuanced view of the subject (Win Butler is on record as saying that it's a letter "from" the suburbs, not for them or against them), but the Stepford form is definitely visible (particularly "Sprawl II: Mountains Beyond Mountains").
The The Smashing Pumpkins video for "Try, Try, Try" contains a sequence that takes place in a dark Stepford Suburbia.
blur often sang about apparently normal suburban characters who are a lot weirder under the surface. Tracy Jacks and Stereotypes are two examples.
The Sound of the Suburbs by The Members is a late '70s punk anthem about teenagers bored by suburban conformity.
Happily averted in Richard Thomson's Cul De Sac, set in a tightly-packed suburban neighborhood of lookalike houses - the inhabitants are all charmingly "off" in some way or other.
"Night Horrors: Wolfsbane", a sourcebook for Werewolf: The Forsaken features a town where everything's nice and orderly, a little oasis in the midst of the New World of Darkness. What made it so nice and orderly? Simple; several years ago, the town's spirit went completely power mad, ate everything nearby in the Shadow to become the only semi-sane magath in existence, and simultaneously Claimed the entire town. Stay too long and he'll happily add you to his safe, happy, and duller-than-a-bag-of-hammers-on-downers Hive Mind.
Flaming Tree Grove, setting for the Australian play Ruby Moon.
The Zaibatsu corporation owns an upscale suburb in Grand Theft Auto II called "The Village", apparently a shout out to The Prisoner. It's a swanky community with pink cobblestone streets, art deco houses, and luxury cars roving the streets.
In Hitman Blood Money, Agent 47 pays a visit on a gated community located in southern California. The target of the day, Vinnie, is a mob informant living under witness protection with his family in an idyllic house. Scratch the surface, though, and the American dream isn't exactly working out for Vinnie: his wife is getting hammered on wine while hitting on pool boys, the feds are upstairs sniffing his daughter's panties, and Vinnie is too terrified to leave his bodyguard's side for even a second.
In Mercenaries, North Korean dictator General Song builds one as a backdrop for his propaganda films. What's creepy is that the buildings themselves are just facades with nothing behind them.
The towns of Andale and Tranquility Lane, the virtual world of Vault 112. Suffice to say, there are other factors that make them both even creepier than the standard Stepford Suburbia.
This applies to much of suburban America in it's pre-war days, where people were being killed in everything from government experiments, to malfunctioning factory robots, to taste-testing soda. Chinese Americans were also being rounded up and imprisoned after the Sino-American war began in 2066, and fears of Communism and sabotage led to the Unites States becoming a police state in everything but name.
Although most of the human characters in the first Destroy All Humans! game fit comfortable into the Stepford Smiler trope, Santa Modesta is set in a pleasant 1950s suburbia... in which everyone has various psychological hang-ups seething just underneath the surface.
Harvesterruns with this. The protagonist's mother bakes cookies all day, ignoring her children even though one is clearly ill; his father is covered in bandages from an S&M session gone wrong; the neighbor is clearly a pedophile, but no one seems to notice; and everyone won't stop talking about "the Lodge" that everyone important in town is a member of. There's a reason it's like this: it's not a real town. It's a computer simulation designed solely for the purpose of twisting the protagonist into a serial killer as part of a government experiment.
At first, Tazmily Village in MOTHER 3 is a beautiful Sugar Bowl where no one locks their doors and even the concept of money is foreign. Then the timeskip rolls around. All of a sudden it's a modernized suburbia with stores, a train station, cars, and all sorts of modern conveniences... and anyone who doesn't join in has their house struck by lightning. The guy who ran the inn has it bought out from under him, every house has a "Happy Box" that people are compelled to stare at, anyone old and not rich is forced to live in a complete dump, everyone else (even the kids) is expected to slave away in a factory for a living, and becoming a Pigmask is treated as a great career goal. It gets worse.
In Welcome to Night Vale, Desert Bluffs, run by Strexcorp, seems to be this. They desire to keep growing, spreading across the world, making everyone as Happy and Productive as they are, even Night Vale. And for now, they seem to be succeeding.
Moralton in Moral Orel. For all the Davey and Goliath stylings, it is a place filled with self-hating, hypocritical, abusive Jerkasses that seem dead set on crushing the naive and hopelessly optimistic protagonist. And that's when said protagonist isn't wreaking carnage because he takes the bad advice of his authority figures to extreme and unfortunate ends.
"Planned communities," such as Seaside and Celebration in Florida, are particularly subject to this trope.
It could be argued that such communities (also called Master-Planned Communities) actually attempt to use this trope on purpose. More than 25% of Orange County, California is made of such communities, with the crown jewels being Irvine and Mission Viejo, which regularly top the FBI's Safest Cities in America list. See also Hollywood California for some useful notes on Orange County's lack of personality and vapid suburban sprawl.
One thing that both renders them extremely safe but also extremely monotonous is the sheer amount of these communities being started for religious purposes. Granted, sometimes the founders genuinely ARE that religious and not out to create a cult-like Wretched Hive. Both Amish and Mormon communes qualify well under that regard.
Also, note that the Hollywood California entry is explicitly describing the way Hollywood portrays California rather than how it actually is. Orange County is highly sub-urbanized and generally politically conservative but, just like everywhere else, the people who live there are varied and pretty much like the people who live everywhere else (i.e.: they're people).
Many of the more upscale suburbs of Detroit and Flint, MI fit this trope, as it's one of the most segregated metro areas in the United States and many of its "idyllic" suburbs were built by the racist phenomenon of "white flight." Troy, in Oakland County, particularly invokes this - as it is regularly ranked as among the safest cities in Michigan, with one of its best school districts and "a great place for families," but it's also been the subject of negative news coverage for voters choosing to close their library rather than pay a small tax increase and, more recently, for the extreme homophobic statements coming from Mayor Janice Daniels. Then again, even wealthier neighbor Bloomfield Hills never had a library in the first place and very little in the way of any social services, again at least partly due to its rich residents' dislike of any taxes (although it is also partly due to the fact that Bloomfield Township, which mostly surrounds Bloomfield Hills, has a library and some other services which are open to Bloomfield Hills residents). Further west in Livingston County, Howell, MI is probably best known for being the former headquarters of the Michigan Ku Klux Klan.
Much like the Detroit example from above, pretty much any suburb of Milwaukee that's in a county other than Milwaukee County (and even a few that are) could be described as this. Nearly all of them began as planned communities that came of age in the "white flight" era, and most of the few that already existed were "sundown towns" (town where it was illegal for people of color to be in after sundown) at some point in their history. In fact, the segregation index is so high in Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington Counties that even if people of color were distributed evenly throughout Milwaukee County, it would still rank as the most segregated metro area in the United States.
New Berlin, Wisconsin, which is in Waukesha County is a specifically good example of this trope. Not only do they pronounce the name of the town New BER-lin in an effort to hide the town's obviously German roots, but it is actually being investigated by the Federal Government to see if the local government and civic leaders purposefully sabotaged an attempt to build mixed-income housing in the town out of fear that Black and Hispanic people from Milwaukee's inner-city might move there. Although in what could be seen as a subversion, the towns' now-former Mayor (who was in favor of the housing) claimed in a letter that the racism of New Berlin residents was the reason he was having trouble going through with the project.
Really, this could apply to 90% of the suburbs of any major city in the American Midwest.
In Cleveland, not only do you have all the attendant white flight problems, but there was also a housing boom in the years after World War II, with entire neighborhoods springing up overnight, most of which were built on one or two floor plans, meaning every house looks eerily similar.
Britain built a number of entire towns this way between the immediate aftermath of the Second World War and the mid-sixties. Most of them are still infamous for this trope, but at least one became a Wretched Hive instead.
Poundbury in Dorset was a direct response to "New Towns" and an attempt to defy this trope. The results were... mixed, at best.