We All Live in America

When Jericho has the Millennium Eve scheduling explained for him, including the requirement that the Prince of Darkness do his dirty deed precisely before 11 a.m. and midnight, he asks the very same question I was asking myself: "Eastern standard time?"

Every nation-state and (multi-national) country in the world has a unique series of cultures and traditions, and even the smallest of the world's nation-states (e.g. Singapore) has numerous diverse cultures and traditions. However, personal experience and common knowledge aside, you probably couldn't tell that just from consuming entertainment media.

Often, when writing a story set in another country, the writer basically takes their own country and substitutes in some foreign (or 'foreign') names, and might refer to a famous local festival or two if you're lucky. If you're not, it will be the writers' own country half-dressed-up as a Land of Hats in "the local style". If you find an author who demonstrates a more-than-superficial understanding of other countries and cultures, cherish them - for they have a gift.

The title is inspired by (but is not a direct quote of) a line in the Rammstein song "Amerika", which is about the spread of American values and culture across the globe.

Please note that, despite the trope name, this is not an exclusively American phenomenon; writers from other countries will often project their own cultural mores, vernacular, and sense of geography onto countries other than their own, including the United States, as well. Most common is the strange tendency to treat all the landmarks and major cities of a country that spans an entire continent as if they are within a couple hours' drive of each other. However, writers from non-American English-speaking nations writing chiefly for an American audience will often do this too.

Super Trope of SoCalization, when American media, most of which is produced in or around Los Angeles, wrongly assumes that aspects of life in L.A. are the same at a national level.

Compare Creator Provincialism, in which nothing important happens outside the writer's home country. Politically Correct History is the temporal version of this. Also compare Canada Does Not Exist, a weird mutation of this trope that Canadian TV producers often impose upon themselves in order to sell their shows in America.

Contrast Eagleland Osmosis, where the influence of another country's media (chiefly the United States') causes people to do this to their own society. See also Values Dissonance, which is perhaps the most compelling reason why this trope doesn't work.

Related to Culture Chop Suey, which is about fictional locations that are based on cultures of several different real-life locales, often accidentally including the author's own. When a dub attempts to make it seems like the series takes place elsewhere, but the numerous set pieces make it apparent it's not the case, see Thinly Veiled Dub Country Change.

Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the Chri, er, Heaven's Day episode of The Big O, despite Paradigm City clearly being future New York, the celebrations do seem to emphasize romance more than family.
  • The Opening Monologue of Code Geass makes a big deal about how the Britannian Empire has suppressed Japanese culture. However, the school system we see has almost nothing in common with the British or American systems; it's really just the Japanese system with funny uniforms.
  • Death Note has some of the most Japanese "Americans" ever seen. At least once, a member of a crime family bows to another member - his subordinate, no less. Most of the Americans' names are completely fake-sounding (though a few do manage to at least be similar to actual American names).
    • Every mafia thug knows exactly what a Shinigami is.
  • In Eden of the East, at least one American uses "Johnny" as a euphemism for a man's special organ. (It's also used by a Japanese person in The Tatami Galaxy, so it's apparently not a made-up euphemism.) Americans have...numerous common ways to say "penis," but "Johnny" isn't one of them (although "Johnson" is, and "Johnny" is somewhat outdated British English slang for "condom" but still not a word for a penis itself). In a way, this makes it an example of Gratuitous English from an English-speaker.
  • In FAKE, Ryo (who is half-Japanese, but was brought up in the USA) and Dee, two New York cops, celebrate Christmas the Japanese way, with a romantic date. This could happen in the USA as well, but it probably isn't popular.
  • Gunslinger Girl, though it's set in Italy, had many of the adult handlers be quite reserved towards their charges, probably causing Values Dissonance for any Italian viewers. They even bow sometimes. The girls don't act much like typical Italian girls, either.
  • Kaleido Star does this a couple times. It takes place in America, but the characters who are supposed to be non-Japanese occasionally do Japanese things, like bowing. One of Sora's friends, Mia, uses the Japanese gesture for "come here" (the maneki neko paw gesture), in an episode of Kaleido Star New Wings, but it may not count since she was signalling Sora.
  • Red Garden is set in New York and does a good job of reflecting that, but a few bits of Japanese society leak through: people bow to each other, students have access to the roof of their school, the metric system gets used casually, etc.
  • Sanzoku No Musume Ronja is set in medieval Sweden. And yet Mattis and his crew, can sometimes be seen wearing, what looks like Japanese "Oni" type masks.
  • In Soul Eater, it's implied that the school is located in Nevada in the US, since Spirit is the local Death Scythe of North America, and there aren't many other deserts that fit the bill. Yet there are certainly a lot of Japanese cultural tropes at work, such as the bento lunches, students can go anywhere in the school (barring the underground Sealed Evil in a Can), group baths, etc. Soul Eater Not! states that Death City has its own culture independent of its surrounding, but Japanese culture is still represented disproportionately both with locals (like Maka) and characters from other countries.
  • In the Iron Man manga, Tony Stark works hard to curtail his American sensibilities (especially his womanizing) while in Japan, knowing it won't win him any points with the locals. His behavior, however, more closely resembles what a Japanese writer would guess an American hotshot would act like. For example, at one point, he is sparring with a Japanese fighter and compliments the man on his Japanese Spirit...before cheating and then proclaiming that as an American, he instead has "Pioneer Spirit". Not only is Japanese Spirit something most Americans have vaguely heard of, at best, but no American would ever use the term "Pioneer Spirit". The "American Way", maybe, but in this context, even that's a stretch.

    Comic Books 
  • Frequently in U.S.-set comics of The Beano and The Dandy. For example, steering wheels are often portrayed on the right side of the car. The Mayor of Cactusville in Desperate Dan dresses like the Lord Mayor of London, complete with gold chain of office and tricorn hat. Even British mayors don't really dress like that, except on special occasions.
  • Judge Dredd occasionally shows people driving on the left side of the road in America. Also, background text tends to use U.K. spellings.
  • The Muppet Show Comic Book: On The Road has a brief reference to replacement comedian Mitch Wacky getting his gags from Christmas crackers; a UK and Commonwealth tradition that doesn't exist in the US, where the Muppets live. (Writer/artist Roger Langridge is British.)
  • El Libro Vaquero is an erotic Mexican graphic anthology of stories that take place in the American Wild West, and most of the characters are Americans. The problem is, most of the American characters act and behave like Mexicans and this was completely deliberate, according with the creators, as they didn't like the way how American creators of Wild West stories write them. Basically, the Wild West depicted in El Libro Vaquero is basically the Mexico from the same time period, with more romance, and soft-core erotism.
  • Neil Gaiman briefly but memorably flirts with this in The Sandman. In #7, the American John Dee calls Morpheus "a spittle-arsed, poxy pale wanker", which is the least American (and most British) thing he could have possibly said.
  • Swamp Thing supposedly lives in a "County". Unfortunately, it is also set in Louisiana, which has parishes, but not counties.note 
    • There's a number of instances of British terms and phrases used in Top 10 despite the American setting of Neopolis. For instance, Neural 'Nette compares the Libra killer's Razor Floss to "candy floss", which any American would call "cotton candy." Oddly, this seems fairly unique to Top TenAlan Moore has written dozens of comics set in the US without running into this problem.
  • In an issue of Ultimate Avengers, War Machine tells the second Black Widow not to refer to their teammate Tyrone (the original Hulk) as an "African-American" since he comes from England. Widow responds by saying she's still not comfortable saying "black", and asks if she can just call him "African-English".
  • The comic book W.I.T.C.H. tends to hint it's set in America (currency, American flags, law enforcement with US-like uniforms and cars and, in one vacation town, being led by a sheriff). The problem is, the human members of the cast act as generic Europeans (with a light leaning on how Italians act), and the traffic signs are obviously European.
  • A very subtle example in Watchmen: some American police officers mishear the name "Rorschach" as "raw shark". This specific mishearing is far more likely to someone with a British accent than an American one because of different pronunciations of the word "raw", leading American readers to think the cops were very stupid or that the person talking to them mispronounced the name.

    Fan Fiction 
  • This trope is very common in anime and manga fanfics. Many American authors completely forget that the original work was written and set in Japan and place the characters in an all-American setting. This ranges from things that you may find in Japan, but are clearly modeled on the version in the author's own culture (such as the existence of a McDonald’s restaurant or the celebration of Christmas) to things that simply don't happen (such as a character driving a car to school, or attending a school-sponsored social dance).
  • It is extremely common for fanfic writers using the English from their country when writing a fanfic about a story that takes place in another English-speaking country. For example, it's frequent for Harry Potter characters to be shown using American English. American English being used in British works is most frequent, but the reverse occurs quite often as well. And that's not even taking into account other English dialects...
  • An inversion of this can happen with fanfic writers who like anime, who might insert Japanese culture in works set in their own country, even where there is little to no Japanese culture.
  • In the Death Note fic A Cure for Love everyone sounds very British. This is a Justified Trope for L who was raised in England but it's a bit of a Mind Screw when all the Japanese characters speak like that (though they wouldn't be speaking American English either).
  • In Axis Powers Hetalia fanfiction, it is a very common mistake for personified nations to act like people from the nation the author is from. For example, Nordics having an Asian hot pot tradition in a Japanese doujinshi.
    • A rarer version of this trope occurs with the naming of the British Isles, for example England's brothers calling him 'Britain' or UK when in fact these are names for various groups of the British Isles countries - occasionally you get people referring to England as 'the United Kingdom of England' which causes a great deal of facepalming. More common is the misuse of British slang and accents (note the plural).
  • Most Degrassi fanfiction these days is written by American fans, whose grasp of Canadian geography and cities seems to be limited to stereotypes. Two particularly egregious examples included one which depicted Toronto, Ontario as a small town of about 300 peoplenote  only accessible by a long bridge over a lake from the United States, and a second which had a character drive from Edmonton, Alberta to Toronto in about eight hours, a trip which should take about a day and a half without stopping (as much time as a trip from New York to Salt Lake City) in real life.
    • Toronto is on the shore of a lake on the other side of which is the United States, so at least the author got that right. The problem is that the lake's name is Ontario, and "very long" is a mild description of what such a bridge would have to be like (there's about 30 miles of water between Toronto and the US shore). Not necessarily impossible ... the Lake Ponchartrain Causeway just north of New Orleans, for example, is almost 24 miles long ... but Lake Ponchartrain has an average depth of about 12- as opposed to the nearly average of Lake Ontario.
  • Eiga Sentai Scanranger sure likes to talk about its main character's love of Asian culture, but since he never actually demonstrates any knowledge of Asian culture (at one point the realization that people in Tokyo would speak Japanese falls on him like Dorothy's house on the Wicked Witch of the East) one kind of gets the feeling the author thinks of Asia as the same as America but with better TV shows, sushi and samurai.
  • Sailor Nothing is supposedly set in Japan, but the characters constantly refer to American media and pop culture. Some of this is understandable, some not; Hunter S. Thompson is famous, but why would Shin compare something to an NBC sitcom?
  • And, to counter this - there is a reason why so many American Sherlock fic writers need a "Britpicker". English children do not attend elementary school. Ever. Nor does John wear a sweater. A large percentage of American fanfictioners write fics for series set outside of America without at least researching local slang or terminology.
    • Many Sherlock fans also write Cabin Pressure fic. The most painful Britpicking failure - Gerti is not an 'airplane'!
  • There is a Shiki fanfic in which the residents of Sotoba do nothing remotely Japanese and seem more interested in the Gary Stu lead's attempts to introduce Halloween to them than they are in their own religion and traditions.
  • Reading an X-Files fic that has the very American FBI agents Mulder and Scully using such a high density of Britishisms that an American reader can barely figure out what they're saying is more than a little brain-bending. It could make sense in the case of Mulder, seeing as he went to college in England (though he never says anything in the show to give one the impression he adopted British culture to any degree). Scully, however, has no excuse. Ironically, the opposite would be true of their actors. Gillian Anderson spent some of her formative years in England and slips into a British accent easily in real life, while David Duchovny has lived all his life in the States.
  • In about every AU fanfiction where the characters go to the same school, the school is very American. They use lockers, which most countries only have for the gym class, they change classes and friends get to meet only in some subjects. In most countries all the students stay in the same class for all the time with the same people, they rarely carry books in their backpacks, they carry binders, etc. It's not a big problem until it's mentioned that characters wear Sailor Fuku. Or they're students at Hogwarts.
    • Most American high schools don't even use lockers. Passing periods are never long enough and lockers are generally in inconvenient places.
    • Most Japanese schools don't have proms either, instead they have Sport or Cultural Festivals. Group dancing may involve in those events but no prom or homecoming dance.
    • Semi-justified in the Doctor Who fanfic This Time Round High School A.U. setting "Then Do That Over", in which the school is established as changing, more or less at random, so that sometimes it's The Good Old British Comp, sometimes it's an American High School, and sometimes it's got elements of both (and a bit of Boarding School as well). Since the whole TTR setting is a Meta Fic with No Fourth Wall, it's specifically noted by the characters that this is based on whatever the writers are familiar with.
  • This could just as easily be called "European Writers Have No Sense Of Scale In North America".
    • British Supernatural fanfiction often has the Winchesters speaking in British slang and claiming that their small Indiana town is 30 minutes away from the Canadian border. Problem is, Great Britain is much smaller than the United States — "from Land's End to John o' Groats", the longest distance in the isle, means 874 miles by road, whereas "coast to coast" in the USA means at least 2,460 miles depending on where one is measuring from.note  In Real Life, anywhere in Indiana is at least three hours from Canada by car, and that's just going from the northern extremes of the state to Windsor, the closest Canadian city. From Indianapolis, it's closer to five hours, and from Evansville, seven and a half. For anywhere of note in Canada, tack at least a few more hours on to that.
    • RPG writer Graeme Davis once wrote a scenario for the Call of Cthulhu RPG set in the 1930s where an NPC starts in Los Angeles, drives over to San Francisco on an errand, drives back and "spends the rest of the afternoon in her hotel room". (From memory, some specifics may be off.) For reference, Los Angeles to San Francisco is roughly a 6-7 hour drive via modern highways in a modern car (not counting the frequent backups along that route); the drive would have likely been even longer in the '30s.
    • A pair of German Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans wrote a fic in which Xander and Faith drive from Boston to California in 8 hours...
    • And then there's the story set in rural northern Canada, where the protagonist keeps himself warm through the winter by raiding the local used book store for Harlequin romance novels and by digging through his neighbour's recycling for their old phone books. Putting aside the fact that books don't burn very well, rural northern Canada doesn't have used book stores, recycling, or large telephone books (some phone "books" up North are the size of magazines). Even if books were a practical fuel for heating, the number of books and other paper products you could scare up within 50 miles would probably keep you warm for two or three hours; you need cubic yards of wood to get through a winter where it gets down to -40 or lower for weeks on end. Did we mention that they were going to pick these books up via car, even though vast areas of northern Canada have no roads?
      • On the other hand, Americans have the whole "but it looks so small on the map!" thing - which really winds up most people in Europe when they regard the multiple regions of European countries- or even groups of countries - as all one, resulting in the Britain Is Only London trope. (Actually, most Americans from more thinly populated areas of the US have the same issue when writing about populous areas of their own country, resulting in, say, New York Is Only Manhattan and L.A. Is Only Malibu. It isn't.)
  • This fanfic-rant. Who could think, and yet...
    OP: Dear FFVIII fanthing: Balamb Garden does not celebrate the Fourth of July.
    one of the answers: Do they even have a July? note 
    • And another answer: 'I'm reminded of another fandom where the artist had drawn the main character with an American flag. His reasoning was that the canon had Christmas.' And it might not be a joke.
    • Another Final Fantasy VIII fic had them celebrating Easter. One reviewer: "Why do the FFVIII characters celebrate the traditional resurrection narrative of a religious figure from a different universe?"
    • The vast majority of British schools have uniforms. This includes Hogwarts. Most American schools, especially public schools, don't bother with uniforms.
    • Hot Topic is unlikely to be brought up — there are vague equivalents, but most are local to one or two towns or cities. The closest thing to a national indie clothes shop would probably be an online store, which weren't that popular in the 90s.
      • Plus the problems inherent in wizards from the Potterverse trying to buy clothes online.
    • It's easy to get mad at My Immortal but this is rather common with Harry Potter fanfic written by American fans. The "American exchange student" (or Japanese, for otaku fans) in HP Self-Insert Fic could be a trope all its own. It's to the point where some HP roleplaying communities require that all characters be born in the UK or Ireland, not just to keep with the established canon but also to remove this tendency.
  • Your Fave Is PoC, a comm for headcanon races of non-specified or non-human characters, is an interesting idea but almost every headcanon is from an American perspective, resulting in things such as Mexican characters apparently going unremarked in revolution-era France.
  • The Real Person Fics written by Polish teenage girls and sporked at this Polish blog tend to embody this to an absurd degree. In the weird world of these fics, Americans such as Miley Cyrus go to schools that use the Polish Educational System; there they attend Polish classes, then they go back home to talk to their friends via Polish instant messaging clients, and buy stuff on Polish auction websites.
  • One Yu-Gi-Oh! fic that took place in Ancient Egypt had a scene where a royal party is a ball with people dancing in Western-style dances. And the Pharaoh's proposal to his love by kneeling down and holding up a ring.
  • The Hunchbackof Notre Dame fic Back to the Frollo has the protagonist playing baseball with the medieval Parisian kids, eating/preparing foods exclusive to the midwest, wearing modern American clothing that would shock a medieval Parisian, and even sharing American Civil War history with Quasimodo. Despite all that, none of the characters find her behavior shocking or inappropriate.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Avengers: The German company being guarded by security officers complete with SMGs may be somewhat believable in an American setting, but in Germany, most private security firms would get into trouble issuing as much as tasers to their personnel.
  • Despite being ostensibly an American film, Tim Burton's Batman (which was shot at London's Pinewood Studios) comes off as British. The Joker holds up a bottle of "moisturising" shampoo in one scene, and at the end of the film Alfred can be seen driving an automobile whose steering wheel is on the right side.
    • That car is however a Rolls Royce Silver Wraith so it's most likely meant to be an import. According to the IMC Db all the other cars in the film are American models with the steering wheel on the left.
  • Best of the Best: The South-Korean Tae Kwon Do team cheered for their country as "Korea, Korea!", but "Korea" is an exonym. It should've been "Hanguk, Hanguk!" (Korea) or "Daehan Minguk!" (South Korea).
  • The Great Muppet Caper is pretty good about this. Yes, the take on London is a bit touristy, and all the Muppets who supposedly live there still have the same accents as they did on The Muppet Show (this also happens in The Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island). And then Beauregard shows up driving the only yellow cab in the city. It's particularly confusing and distressing for Sam the Eagle, who is an in-universe moral guardian who is deeply patriotic... toward America.
    Sam the Eagle: Mm, you will love business. It is the AMERICAN WAY!
    Gonzo: [whispers] Sam...
    [whispers in Sam's ear]
    Sam the Eagle: Oh... It is the BRITISH WAY!
  • Vantage Point: It's set in Spain, yet the Secret Service (the U.S. President's bodyguards) are seen seizing cars from the locals, as well as chasing, arresting and shooting them, even cops. Plenty of wars have started over much less.
    • Such a policy was proposed in real life. See here. The USSS asked Britain to allow its agents to shoot to kill when protecting the US president in the UK. The British said no.

    Literature 
  • The original Aladdin is often said to be set in China, as this was the most distant and magical land that most Arabs had heard of. The character's names, the genies and so forth all seem Arabian, however.
    • So much so that every movie adaptation and many fairy tale books change the setting to a real or fictional Arab country.
    • Unless you are watching Arabic movie adaptations, which usually set the story in China, or, for the more conservative channels, in an Asian Muslim country. One of the most popular Aladdin adaptations in the Middle East, Allauddinum Albhutha Vilakkum (Malayalam title), was created in Malaysia.
    • There's an interesting inversion in the Happily Ever After Fairy Tales For Every Child version of this story. The show tended to Race Lift fairy tales and stories by placing them in different cultures. Their adaption of Aladdin? It's in China.
  • The Alex Rider series of children's books subverts this this trope at one point. The British main character, who is undercover as a kid from the United States, uses language that is obviously not American and is chastised for breaking his cover. However, played straight for nearly every other scene set in the United States.
  • It's a minor point, but the American character in Nick Hornby's A Long Way Down refers to his apartment as a "bedsit," a very British term. It is set in England, so it's possible he just picked up the term, from his real estate agent or neighbours, perhaps.
  • Dan Brown's Angels & Demons for some reason has a British camerawoman for the British Broadcasting Corporation referred to as "African American". Her partner is also allegedly British, but seems to think and speak using an awful lot of American terminology and in an Imagine Spot he likens himself to Dan Rather — who is almost totally unknown in Britain. Even if the reporter has heard of Rather by virtue of his job in TV journalism, if he were really British he would have likened himself to Trevor McDonald.
  • Artemis Fowl and the Eternity Code has Chicago Police Officers referring to an elevator as a "lift."
  • Perhaps the most ridiculous claim about Spain in Digital Fortress's long list of gross misrepresentations of Spain, also by Dan Brown, is that cranberry juice is a very popular drink in the country. Not only is cranberry a crop mainly grown and consumed in the United States, Spain is chiefly one of the few European countries where cranberrynote  is neither grown nor consumed, nor does the plant even grow in the wild there!
  • In Dragon Bones, hamamelis (witch-hazel) is used to treat wounds, despite the overall cold climate and medieval Europe-ish setting. The plant does grow in China, and could be imported, but there are less expensive options.
  • The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers by Michael Newton includes an entry about Łucjan Staniak, a Polish serial killer allegedly arrested in 1967. He is, however, considered a fictional character as no other source supports Newton's entry. The book states that he was an interpreter and due to the character of his job he traveled a lot, so the authorities had trouble linking the victims found in different cities to one perpetrator and when Staniak was finally apprehended, he was deemed insane and committed to the psychiatric hospital. The problem is that the latter procedure was almost unheard of in communist countries (at least not in common criminal cases) and someone who knew foreign languages and travelled around the country would have been put under close surveillance (i.e. followed) by Security Service as a possible spy.
  • Fifty Shades of Grey is allegedly set in America. Despite this, there is no concession to the setting whatsoever. People refer to "exams" (not "finals"), and the very British "do go through" shows up. The riffing of it at Das Sporking has a count, "Key and Trumpets", for every time EL James used British terminology or culture (Ana offering a delivery man tea or getting a casual house call from a doctor setting her up on birth control). By the end of the first book, the count was at 50. By the end of the second book (the count being reset for each novel), the count was at 106.
  • For Want of a Nail is an Alternate History by American author Robert Sobel that depicts the world after a failed American Revolution. The British government sets up their colonies as the Confederacy of North America, which posseses a parliamentary government Nonetheless, later on in the book, articles of impeachment are drawn up against this system's equivalent of a Prime Minister despite the earlier confirmed existence of a vote of no confidence.
  • A minor example from the Iron Druid Chronicles: In Trapped, Atticus and Granuaile raid a sporting goods store for all manner of equipment, including guns and ammo. These are only sold in gun stores in Greece.
  • Older Than Steam: The Chinese Epic Journey to the West assumes that all countries have the same kind of governors and imperial courts as China and that all countries in the world recognise a monkey-faced being as looking like a thunder god (among many other We All Live In China examples).
  • Left Behind has references to "Captains" and "Lieutenants" at Scotland Yard — in the British police they would be "Chief Inspectors" and "Inspectors".
  • The British Saffy's Angel series has a recurring character who is a visiting American...and who speaks in distinctly British slang.
  • The Sum of All Fears mentions that the Super Bowl will be broadcast in Spain "in five different dialects" - implying that the event has a following there far larger than it actually does. In reality, American football is so small in Spain that when mainstream news cover the Super Bowl they only talk about the musical numbers. That's right, the teams in the Super Bowl aren't even mentioned.
  • Tom Clancy's Op-Center: Balance of Power: Aside of being actually Spexico, the Spain of the book has a government just like the US one, only with a king replacing the president. Spanish provinces are apparently as powerful as US states and have their own National Guards, and congressmen (read: deputies) have their own limos and drivers (in Real Life they don't).
  • The Night's Dawn Trilogy had a character who had served in the Australian Marines in The Vietnam War. Australia does not have a dedicated marine unit, just army and navy units trained in amphibious warfare.
  • Likewise Hannibal by Thomas Harris has an offhand reference to "an Australian quarter" — there's no 25 cent coin in Australian currency.
  • "Rule Golden" by Damon Knight has a BBC news reporter say "In Commons today..." But omitting the article like that is an Americanism; any real Brit would at least say "in the Commons", and a BBC announcer would more likely say "in the House of Commons", which after all takes only about half a second longer.

    Live Action TV 
  • In his first appearance on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike suffers from a little of this: the phrase 'Uncle Tom', although widely used as an insult towards black males in the US, is usually used outside of it only to refer to avuncular male relatives named Thomas. This is justified in that he's been traveling the world for over a hundred years. One tends to pick up stuff from other cultures that way.
  • In the CSI: New York episode "Unfriendly Chat", Adam slacks at work by chatting with a girl who is promptly murdered on camera. The only clue about where the murder took place is a TV in the background noting what temperature is outside, so the team checks climate reports from all over the world to know what place had that temperature at the time. At no point do they notice that the temperature is marked in Fahrenheit, which is only used in the United States and four small island countries (the murder turns out to have happened in the very same Manhattan).
  • In an episode of the The Office (US), Andy refers to the singing group Ladysmith Black Mambazo as "Ladysmith African American Mambazo". This is despite the group being from South Africa, not the United States.
  • USA High is about a school for Americans in Paris, but even the non-American characters speak American English (in silly versions of their own accents).
  • On World's Craziest Fools, a British show hosted by the American Mr. T, Mr. T is made to use British terms for things.

    Theatre 
  • The Mikado has what are effectively Victorian Englishmen wearing Japanese costumes and going on and on about how Japanese they are.
    Ko-Ko: It might have been on his pocket-handkerchief, but Japanese don't use pocket-handkerchiefs! Ha! ha! ha!

    Video Games 
  • The Crazy Cars games, developed in France by Titus Software, invert this: all the races take place on American roads, but speeds are only given in kilometers per hour.
  • The Grand Theft Auto series of games is, in theory, set in America, but is made by Scottish developer DMA Design/Rockstar North; Americans who play it can tell this is neither real America nor quite Hollywood America. A lot of place-names in San Andreas are thinly-disguised ones from Scottish cities, and there's even an exact replica of the Forth Rail Bridge. Rockstar are based in Edinburgh and Dundee, and evidently like their Creator Provincialism in-jokes.
    • The games frequently use the term "car park", which is commonly used in Britain but not in America, where "parking lot" or "parking garage" are much more likely to be heard. As of V, they seem to have caught on, however.
    • One of the trailers for Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony is done in the style of a celebrity news program. The (American) announcer refers to television as "the telly".
    • At certain points, the words "pedophile" and "pedo" can be heard pronounced with a long "e"; the pun in the name of the Speedophile jet ski only works with the British pronunciation. Likewise, in Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned, Johnny Klebitz's brother refers to Billy Grey in an e-mail as an "arsehole". "Asshole" would be the more American term.
    • In Grand Theft Auto V, the pop music station Non Stop Pop FM features tracks by Mis-Teeq, N-Joi, Modjo, and All Saints (with the Updated Re-release including Bronski Beat, Moloko, Morcheeba, and Simply Red), all of whom were successful in the UK but fairly unknown in the US, despite the station being based in a pastiche of Los Angeles. It's also hosted by the thickly-accented English model Cara Delevingne, though her case is admittedly justified; she came to America to pick up the new Righteous Slaughter game early. (It might also explain the large number of British pop stars on the station.)
    • In Grand Theft Auto III and Liberty City Stories, The Yardies exist in the New York pastiche of Liberty City, despite being a primarily British criminal trope.
  • The Harvest Moon games are apparently set in Europe or America, but the characters retain certain Japanese mannerisms such as bowing, a lot of the characters love Japanese foods, and some of the plants are native to Japan.
  • Indigo Prophecy and Heavy Rain are set in New York and Philadelphia, respectively, but were made by a French company, and there are a bunch of telling details — for example, both games feature apartments with the bath/shower and toilet in separate rooms, which is not unheard of in Europe but is never seen in America.
  • While ObsCure is set in an American high school, it was made by a French developer, and it shows. Metric measurements are frequently used in place of American Customary Measurements, the parking lot has a large bike shed (most American schools have, at most, a small rack to park bicycles), dates are rendered in the form of "DD/MM" rather than the "MM/DD" format used in the US, British spellings are employed frequently, and a notice makes reference to the "Ministry of Health" (the US' equivalent is the Department of Health and Human Services). On top of that, one of the calendars still has the French names for the months of the year (octobre, janvier, avril), though that could just be something that the translators overlooked. If it weren't for the American flag in the gymnasium, one might guess that the game took place in Quebec rather than the US.
  • Raccoon City in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is a supposed to be a modern, Midwestern, American city, but the size of the streets and presence of extensive back-alleys and shopping arcades are clear evidence that Raccoon was based on a contemporary Japanese city. For reference, many of the streets are blocked by a single, longitudinal car across the road. In America, the only roads that narrow are called "back alleys". Further games in the series that revisit Raccoon City, however, seem to retcon them to a more American layout.
  • SimCity:
    • There is a very mild—and entirely justified (though not Justified)—version of this by having the police be run and funded by the city government. On one hand, this just isn't true in many places, where either the national (as in France) or state/provincial/what have you government (as in Germany) is responsible for the police. On the other hand, this is SimCity we're talking about. What national government? Simnation's, of course.
    • SimCity also has the city responsible for power plants and many other things that would in most places be run by private companies or are municipal services. Admittedly, big plants are mostly in private hands.
  • Having been made in the UK, all the cars in TimeSplitters: Future Perfect have their steering wheels on the right side. However, one of the missions takes place in Russia, where cars should have their steering wheels on the left side.

    Western Animation 
  • Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi is about a real Japanese pop duo. Or so we're led to believe. The characters themselves say and do things easily identifiable with American culture as all the writers and animators are from North America. They attempt to remind the viewers that Ami and Yumi are from Japan by having them speak in Gratuitous Japanese, use chopsticks to eat, obsess over sushi, and spend yen (even though there doesn't seem to be any rate of conversion...), but it doesn't go much deeper than that veneer.
  • A minor example happens in Justice League Unlimited: the Injustice League tries to rob a trainload of euros, but when we see some notes, they look more like American dollars.
  • Other then cultural references, Kappa Mikey falls into this headfirst with people getting fired and rehired constantly in Japan, where a job in a company is considered a lifetime occupation and the main punishment is being demoted as opposed to fired.
  • The Simpsons:
    • During a trip to the UK, Bart and Lisa visit a Candy Store, rather then a Sweet Shop.
    • Similarly when they go to Ireland they are arrested by the police instead of the Gardaí. While the American characters calling them the police out loud is acceptable (and not uncommon in Ireland anyway) the vehicles having POLICE written across them in big friendly letters is completely wrong.
  • An episode of The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries set in Australia featured a sign in miles (not kilometres), and a character with a thick "Australian" accent talking about putting something up in aluminum (not aluminium as any Australian would say).
  • The Amazing World of Gumball is made in Europe, mostly London, but set in the United States—Elmore is eventually shown to occupy the space that is taken up in real life by Vallejo, California (the place where most of the show's photographic backgrounds come from). It's convincing enough that the majority of American viewers don't notice this, but several things slip by, mostly background details like cars sometimes driving on the left or signs using British word spellings.