Trailer Park Tornado Magnet
Tornadoes always seem to hit trailer parks. In Real Life
, they're no more vulnerable to tornadoes than major cities, as the odds of a twister hitting any one particular area are relatively low. However, mobile homes are lightweight for buildings and not anchored to the ground, making them more vulnerable to a tornado's fury. (Some studies say that tornadoes tend to touch down just outside of cities because of the landscape change, and that's not an uncommon location for a trailer park
, but they still don't specifically go after mobile homes)
Thus, tornadoes that kill several people and make the news
tend to hit trailer parks in the outer ring of exurbs. Twisters that wander harmlessly over empty fields or merely suck a farmhouse up into the sky
are too common to be big news anywhere outside the immediate area. Also, in a major case of If It Bleeds, It Leads
, news crews want scenes of utter devastation to report on, which the light, easy to pick-up-and-throw trailers provide, as opposed to normal houses which are anchored to the ground and can usually survive a much closer pass and thus do not provide a good image for TV.
However mundane the above explanation, the fact that newsworthy tornadoes often seem to hit trailer parks have spawned the Running Gag
that "trailer parks have buried tornado magnets under them". Thus, movies and other media that feature tornadoes or trailer parks will usually have both, not just one.
- Notably averted in Twister, of all movies. Although tornadoes devastate several farmhouses, two towns, a Drive-In Theater and a whole bunch of empty fields, they never once whack a trailer park.
- In Cars, Mater remarks that he's "as happy as a tor-nado in a trailer park!"
- The Annals of Improbable Research took on this issue quantitatively in "The Correlation Between Tornadoes and Trailer Homes" (reprinted in The Best of Annals of Improbable Research). The article presented a statistical analysis, ultimately concluding that "real statistics can be used to verify virtually any harebrained fable about tornadoes".
- Tornadoes seem to hit Camden pretty regularly on My Name Is Earl. In fact, there was a whole episode where several came through, one right after another, causing all sorts of mayhem.
- This is referenced in an episode of WKRP in Cincinnati, in which Johnny Fever tells Andy that he'd been in a mobile home when a tornado struck. "And I think God must hate mobile homes, because in a tornado they get very...mobile."
- Referenced in "Trailerhood" by Toby Keith: "When the storm starts gettin' bad and you hear those sirens hummin' / Grab a six-pack and a lawn chair, there's a tornado comin'." This is much Harsher in Hindsight considering his hometown of Moore, Oklahoma was struck by devastating F5 tornadoes in 1999 and 2013. At least half of the town was leveled during both tornado outbreaks and dozens of people were killed (including several schoolchildren).
- Smash Mouth's "Pet Names" includes the metaphor "you're my little tornado and I am your trailer park."
- Jeff Foxworthy has a memorable routine about how TV news crews interviewing survivors after a tornado hits a trailer park always seem to find the least coherent person around to interview.
- The Drive-In level of Redneck Rampage has a trailer park with two tornadoes swirling around. They're needed to get a secret in the level, but it's not easy.
- No One Lives Forever 2 has a trailer park hit by a tornado; you have to fight off ninjas inside one of the trailers as its picked up by the twister and beginning to disintegrate.
- Animaniacs had a short called "The Brave Little Trailer", in which the title character battles a tornado that always attacks the trailer park he inhabits.
- There was one episode of The Fairly OddParents where Timmy meets Cosmo and Wanda's previous and infamous godchildren. One of them proudly takes credit for wishing that tornadoes always hit trailer parks.
- Referenced in another episode when, while Timmy is moonlighting as a superhero called the Masked Magician, a tornado does end up heading for the trailer park that Timmy's friend Chester lives in. He even screams "They tried to warn me, but I didn't listen!"
- King of the Hill episode had Luanne's former trailer park home hit by a tornado.
- Parodied in Eek! The Cat. A bunch of government officials have a discussion about what to do about a tornado that is heading towards a trailer park. But suddenly one of them panics and reveals there isn't a trailer park in the path of the tornado. This results in the government actually dumping trailers near the tornado so this trope plays straight.
- Beavis and Butt-Head once got stuck in a trailer park during a tornado. They managed to survive the experience, and the trailer containing the chicks they had been trying to score with ends up in Oz.
- The Simpsons episode "Colonel Homer" has two scenes in a trailer park. In the first, there's a sign reading "14 days without a tornado." In the second, the sign's been updated to "2 days" and the park is littered with debris. The tornado goes unmentioned, as if it's business as usual in a trailer park.