Sweet Home Alabama

Lyons: Gentlemen, you ask me about the South. It is the land of romance, of roses and honeysuckle, of Southern chivalry and hospitality, fried chicken and waffles, salad and coffee.
Lippman: No dessert?

The Deep South in a (usually) more positive light. The Rural South in the United States is a land of honest, down-to-earth folks, unlike the pretentious City Slickers in New York or "New South" Atlanta. Some may have their little quirks, but everyone takes those in stride. When one wants to escape the morally bankrupt superficiality of city life and get in touch with one's true self, the South is the place to go to.

A Sub-Trope of Arcadia. Frequently features Southern Hospitality, a form of Sacred Hospitality. Minnesota Nice is the equivalent above the Mason-Dixon.

Whether white or black, the churches are usually Baptist or Pentecostal, which is to say this trope usually averts Christianity Is Catholic.

Not to be confused with the 2002 film Sweet Home Alabama or the song by Lynyrd Skynyrd.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Turn A Gundam is set in a post-apocalyptic future that bears an uncanny resemblance to late 19th century Dixie. Ironically enough, Nochis (the town where the story begins) is placed in New Jersey on official maps.

    Comic Books 
  • Bart Allen, the fourth Flash, was sent to live in Manchester, Alabama (which is real, despite what Impulse #1 claims) with his mentor Max Mercury (Max specifically chose it for reasons made clear in issue 16). This is deliberate; the series is based off Mark Waid's childhood in the South.
    Manchester is the No Communities Were Harmed substitute for the actual city of Birmingham (which, like Bart's town, has a statue of Vulcan on top of a really high pillar in the middle of town and was also named after an English city).

    Comic Strips 
  • Pogo leans more this way, although some of the Okeefenokee Swamp denizens are less than brilliant. Most of them are Sweet Home Alabama, with elements of The Deep South every so often coming in.
  • Similar conditions in Li'l Abner. Dogpatch, Kentucky may be full of unrefined, impoverished hillbillies, but in general they're pretty nice people.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Smokey and the Bandit: Coming out in 1977, it was probably the first film out of Hollywood in 20 years to show the South as a fun place.
  • In The Legend of Bagger Vance, Will Smith's character gets on fine in 1930s Savannah, Georgia.
  • Cookie's Fortune: If Atlanta is "the city too busy to hate", Holly Springs is the town too lazy to hate. Everyone's laid back with everyone else, and ethnic prejudice is nonexistent.
  • Doc Hollywood plays with it. While the people and town are charming enough, they have a few backwards qualities to them, such as an illiterate couple that need to have their mail read to them.
  • My Cousin Vinny: plays it both ways. Some of the Southerners are portrayed as rednecks and somewhat dim but the rest are presented as decent folks. The Northerners act more like stereotypical New Yawkers. It's basically stereotype vs. stereotype and played for laughs.
  • The movie Sweet Home Alabama is about a Southern girl who thought for a moment that some New York yuppie could be her Mr. Right. Obviously not; her Mr. Right is her childhood sweetheart back home in Alabama.
  • Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay features the titular duo staying with a couple who initially appear to subvert the stereotypes. They don't seem to mind the duo's ethnicity and even help the two of hide from government agents. They also make a joke about how they keep their inbred son in the basement when they have company. However, then it turns out they were serious, and they are brother and sister.
  • The character of Wooderson from Dazed and Confused seems to inhabit this trope, although the rest of the film isn't particularly like this. (It's set in Austin, Texas.)

    Literature 
  • Most of Charlaine Harris's books have Southern settings, the most famous being The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries series. On the surface, these settings are examples of this trope, with Southern hospitality and idyllic rural settings. Scrape below the surface, however, and the trope is subverted: there's plenty of dark secrets, criminal activity, and bigotry going on. Not to speak of all the vampires, werewolves and zombies, of course.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee takes a nuanced view. The central plot (and title) of the book centers precisely around racism and the less-savory aspects of Southern society, but many characters in the book are perfectly sympathetic, kindly folk.
  • Joan Hess's Arkansas mysteries tend to be like this, as even the weirdos and idiots of Maggody are seldom anything worse than annoying.
  • The planet Grayson in the Honor Harrington series is an entire planet of this, with a few aspects of Meiji Japan.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Dr. McCoy of Star Trek has a slight Southern accent (which was DeForest Kelley's natural accent; he was from Atlanta) and is a self-described "simple country doctor" from the "Old South" where he attended the University of Mississippi. He is presumably from this version of the South.
  • Mayberry, North Carolina in The Andy Griffith Show, based on Andy Griffith's actual home town of Mount Airy, North Carolina.
  • When The Dukes of Hazzard isn't making the characters ridiculous caricatures, it shows the sense of honor and hospitality people have in the Southern US. The picture of rural Georgia is quite an idyllic one. Even the rampant corruption displayed by Boss Hogg and Sheriff Coltrane is depicted as rather quaint and harmless, and even those characters have a sense of honor deep inside.
  • Sergeant Eugene "Sledgehammer" Sledge of The Pacific is, appropriately enough, from Alabama. His family is portrayed as honest, hardworking folk. His family also has Black menservants, but they don't treat them badly.
  • Pretty much every time Blanche talks about her childhood in Atlanta on The Golden Girls.
  • Dolly Parton starred in the 1986 TV movie A Smoky Mountain Christmas, where she was a country musician named Lorna Davis, essentially a fictionalized version of herself. Disenchanted with the glitzy MTV videos she's being forced to shoot in Hollywood, Lorna goes back to her parents' old cabin in eastern Tennessee for the holidays and spends Christmas with (among others) some orphaned children and a "mountain man." This actually proves to be good for her career, as the Appalachian setting restores her creativity and inspires her to write a number of new songs.

    Music 
  • The Trope Namer is the song "Sweet Home Alabama" by the Southern Rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. (The film, above, was also named for it.) The song was a rebuttal to Neil Young's songs "Alabama" and "Southern Man".
  • Despite its Shout-Out to the Trope Namer, Kid Rock's "All Summer Long" explicitly takes place in "northern Michigan''.
  • "Georgia on My Mind" by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell, made famous by Ray Charles, which was made the official state song in 1979, although originally written about Carmichael's sister, Georgia Carmichael.
  • Phil Harris' song "That's What I Like About The South" is filled to the brim (of the mint julep) with this.
  • Take Me Home, Country Road does for West Virginia the same thing that Sweet Home Alabama does for Alabama.
    • Similarly, James Taylor's "Carolina In My Mind" is about Taylor's childhood in North Carolina, but it's also popular in South Carolina. It is not to be confused with "South Carolina On My Mind" by Hank Martin and Buzz Alredge, South Carolina's (second) state song.
    • Likewise, "My Old Kentucky Home" does the same for Kentucky.
  • Boondox has elements of both this and Deep South in his lyrics.
  • Buddy Jewel's "Sweet Southern Comfort"

    Video Games 
Taking it one step further, the Trope Namer song loads up on Jimmy's jukebox during the infamous Bar Fight.

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied in "Southern Fried Cruella" on 101 Dalmatians: The Series in which Cruella De'vil tried to convince a magazine editor giving out an award for humanitarianism that she was just a "good ol' sugar borrowing neighbor" of the Dearlys and failing miserably.
  • Although the program is never stated to be anywhere other than "Lake Hoohaw," many of the characters of PB&J Otter speak with a southern United States sort of accent and advocate a style of life that seems to match very closely with the best ideals of Southern hospitality. Additionally, much the show's music, particularly the instrumental cues, has a southern twang to it.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: the earth pony communities of southern Equestria, and any rural Apple family household.

ROLL TIDE, ROLL

WAR EAGLE
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SweetHomeAlabama