troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Welcome to the Big City
"You know where you are? You in the jungle, baby! YOU GONNA DIE!"
Guns N' Roses, "Welcome to the Jungle"

Our Country Mouse character is young, idealistic, innocent, naive, you name it - and it's their first time in the big city. How to show that? Why, by him or her being confronted with any combination of pickpocketing, prostitution and generally upsetting behaviour, of course.

And the sooner the better, often right as they step off the train/plane/coach/boat from whatever idyllic rural paradise they came from.

New York City is a popular venue for this.

As seen in:

Comic Books
  • Happens to Altar Boy when he first arrives in Astro City. It also leads to his first encounter with superheroes when the Crossbreed stop the pickpocket.
  • Many versions of Superman, both in the comics and in TV and movies, depict Clark Kent's arrival in Metropolis as being a little overwhelming (at least initially) for the small town Kansas-raised protagonist, who is often portrayed as being shocked by the city residents' apathy, which stands in stark contrast to the attitudes of his neighbors back in Smallville, Kansas. However, Clark inevitably gets over the shock pretty quickly.

Film — Animated

Film — Live Action
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray (the 2010 movie) has Dorian arrive at the London main station and confronted with children trying to steal from him and women offering their services to him right away.
  • In Across the Universe, "Come Together" is used as a song about this when Jojo first arrives in New York. Nothing bad actually happens to him, but he's obviously traumatized.
  • In Joe's Apartment, our hero is fresh off the bus from Iowa...
    Joe's Letter: "Dear mom, I made it to New York safe and sou-
    Mugger: HEADS UP PIN-HEAD! [whack!]
    Joe: Dear mom, I made it to New Yor-
    Mugger #2: HEADS UP PIN-HEAD! [whack!]
    Joe: Dear mom -
    Mugger #3: HEADS UP PIN-HEAD!
    Joe: ...send money."
  • Gotham City is shown to be a Wretched Hive in the 1989 film version of Batman by showing a hapless tourist family getting accosted by beggars, prostitutes, and finally, a pair of armed robbers.
  • In Crocodile Dundee, our title character is mugged pretty soon after he gets to the big city, but the mugger's switchblade is no match for Dundee's bowie knife.
  • In Star Wars, Luke is established to be a somewhat naive farmhand with no "street smarts" yet. His first time in Mos Eisley almost gets him killed by a pair of goons in the cantina who were looking for an easy mark to pick on. Too bad they didn't know Luke had a retired Jedi Knight along with him.
  • In the 1984 film Tightrope, Clint Eastwood's character tells of how he fell in love with New Orleans from the moment he first arrived carrying all his belongings in a suitcase. His Love Interest asks if he ever reconsidered this. He says, "Yes, when I looked down and saw my suitcase was missing."

Literature
  • Franz Kafka's Amerika. This is the basic premise.
  • Vonda McIntyre's Thieves' World short story "Looking for Satan". 4 naive Northerners encounter the rough and crude denizens of the city of Sanctuary. One local tries to hire a female party member as a prostitute, and another woman is almost raped and murdered when she goes out alone.
  • Discworld:
    • In Soul Music, Imp Y Celyn moves from Llamedos to Ankh-Morpork, and tries some busking. As buskers do, he puts a few coins in his bowl as "seed money". The next time he looks down, they've gone.
    • Carrot's arrival in Ankh in Guards! Guards!; he doesn't get robbed himself, but he doesn't cope well with the idea that theft is legal (and that the Watch are probably closer to criminals than the Thieves' Guild are). Although he's so naive he doesn't notice the prostitution, even when he's staying at Mrs. Palm's.
    • In Thief of Time, Lu Tze says the first thing that happened to him in Ankh-Morpork was he "learned an important lesson on the value of material goods" when some people took it upon themselves to "welcome" him to the city in this way.
  • In Aesop's Fables, after the City Mouse scorned his home as simple, Country Mouse visits him in the city. The cat makes him realize that home is Arcadia.
  • Beatrix Potter subverts the trope. The Country Mouse goes to the city first and is frightened off. But the City Mouse visits him after, and is terrified by the weather and the prospect of being stepped on by a cow. Country is terrifying.

Live-Action TV
  • Benton Fraser in the pilot movie of Due South, except that—as befits the general theme of the show—some of it ends up coming out right in the end (e.g., the panhandler he "loans" $100 to returns it at the end of the episode).
  • On Cheers, Woody mentions how earlier that day, something was stolen from him when he took his eyes off it for only a moment.
    Cliff: Welcome to the big city.
    Woody: Gee, thanks, Mr. Clavin!
  • Inverted in The Big Bang Theory. After a break-in in their apartment, Sheldon decides that Pasadena is too dangerous, so he moves to Bozman, Montana, which he determines it's the safest city in America. (It's also where aliens first make contact, according to Star Trek: First Contact.) The moment he arrives, his bags are stolen. He immediately buys a ticket back to Pasadena.
  • This is essentially what happens with Lindsay arrives from Bozeman on CSI NY, in the sense of her plunging right into a gritty, dirty case involving a man found dead in a tiger exhibit.
  • The first thing the title character in Merlin (who starts off as a teenager in this version) saw when he arrived at Camelot is the execution of a magic user, and he was born having magic.
  • Referenced in How I Met Your Mother. Marshall and Lily settled on having an outdoor ceremony for their upcoming wedding, but they had to change their plans as Marshal's dad was certain they would get mugged if they stayed outdoor in New York. Marshal's family comes from a small town in Minnesota.

Music
  • The spoken word portion of Stevie Wonder's "Living in the City" is about a man who, within minutes of arriving in New York, is approached by a drug dealer, arrested for possession, and sent to jail for ten years.
  • This is the whole theme of Guns N' Roses' song and vid, "Welcome to the Jungle". Axl Rose literally gets off the bus with a hayseed piece of straw in his mouth, and walks right into the parking lot of corruption.

Musical
  • Used in Ruthless! The Musical in the teacher's song, "Teaching Third Grade":
    "Sure, I went to New York to be an overnight sensation
    More than a face, I was a winning combination
    Of talent and grace, shoulda packed mace
    'Cause I was tripped, raped, and robbed before I left Penn Station!"
  • Used at the beginning of the stage version of Thoroughly Modern Millie
    They took your shoe?

Videogames
  • Squall's first impression of Esthar.
  • Merrill's initial disappointed reaction to the Kirkall Alienage in Dragon Age II.
  • In one of the Mega Man Battle Network games, Lan travels from Electopia (read: Japan) to Netopia (which is pretty obviously a stand-in for America), and gets robbed the moment he steps off the plane. Then he gets robbed again. Then he has to go to the ghetto and fight a Scary Black Man (using only the crappy chips he has left) to track down his stuff.
    • In the fourth game's visit to Netopia, Lan gets chloroformed and locked in a hotel room by some thugs who intend to ransom him off, and has to escape. It winds up subverted, the guy's a tournament official and the staff was in on it, they were testing his ingenuity and capabilities in a real world crisis, and it's implied they did this to the other contestants if they could get away with it.

Web Comics

Western Animation
  • The Legend of Korra's première episode is aptly named, "Welcome to Republic City". In it, Korra, who has spent her life sheltered in a compound in in the South Pole, goes to the bustling Republic City, only to learn that it's not all it's cracked up to be. She is literally "fresh off the boat". (Though true to form, it's not her that gets traumatized; instead she ends up in a police station getting the concept of vigilantism-as-crime explained to her).
  • Tom and Jerry. Mouse In Manhattan. Jerry gets bored with country life, comes to New York, things are great at first. Then things take a dark turn. Jerry kisses Tom and encourages him to chase him after experiencing the big city.
  • The Simpsons did it when Homer first came to New York. He's robbed several times (once by a police officer), has a bird eat his hot dog, has garbage dumped on him by Woody Allen and is chased around by an angry pimp.
    Homer: And then the CHUDs came at me.
  • Wait Till Your Father Gets Home - Harry goes on a business trip to New York and gets robbed of everything but his underwear the moment he steps out of his hotel.
  • Alice's sister on The Critic gets a similar treatment when she arrives in New York from Knoxville. She doesn't even make it off the bus before someone shoves her down. It gets worse when she later steps out of Alice's apartment for all of five seconds and returns covered in graffiti, among other things.
  • When Max and PJ go downtown unsupervised on Goof Troop, they end up losing all their money, and then finding some and losing it twice, they are unable to eat despite PJ spending his money on food (lousy pigeons), Max almost gets run over, they get rained on and are unable to find shelter they're allowed to be in, and they miss the last bus home. Pete and Goofy also had some bad luck with a con artist cab driver when chasing after them.

Wedding DayNarrative DevicesWe Need to Get Proof
Watching Troy BurnThe CityWretched Hive

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
25992
7