Where the Hell Is Springfield?

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/screen_shot_2013-08-23_at_17_22_49_8038.png
And this doesn’t even include Springfield, IL.

"It's kind of a mystery, yes. But if you look at the clues, you should be able to figure it out."
Lisa Simpson being unusually cryptic in The Simpsons

The location of the city, state, region, or sometimes even the country in which a work is set is never revealed or intentionally hidden.

It’s most often used as a Running Gag, but it can also be used in drama to create an atmosphere of mystery and uncertainty. Leaving a location unspecified can help it serve as a geographic Audience Surrogate. It can serve to create a City of Adventure (if only because very few real locations have every possible thing to see and do). Other times, the writers simply never see a reason to bring it up.

Creator Provincialism and No Communities Were Harmed come into play if the location is vaguely based on a real place, but here the difference is that the creators can also play fast and loose with the accuracy. Nevertheless, fans will still sometimes go to extensive effort to piece together clues and pin down the location, which usually just leads them to conclude that it’s set wherever it was filmed.

The trope is named after Springfield, the hometown of The Simpsons, which even has its own Separate Simpsons Geography Thing. “Springfield” is one of the most common names for towns and cities in the United States, so the name serves as an indicator of an Everytown, America.

Compare City with No Name and Fictional Province. Contrast No Communities Were Harmed and Canada Does Not Exist, where the setting is based on a real-life location but never outright identified. The temporal version of this trope is Ambiguous Time Period.


Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Attack on Titan is implied to take place sometime in the future and mentions the Far East, so the geography is assumed to be the same as ours. However, the Walls officially have a combined radius of about 480 km, or larger than most European countries or American states. Chapter 86 seems to suggest that Never Was This Universe was in play all along.
    • Maps shown in the series are of an upside-down horizontally-flipped version of Madagascar, which is named Paradis. The enemy Kingdom of Marley is somewhere in Europe, with depictions of ghettos similar to the ones Jewish people were forced into during WWII. They also just finished a war with a country that seems to be the universe's equivalent of Turkey.
  • Futari wa Pretty Cure is set in Wakabadai, an amalgam of various suburbs surrounding Tokyo on different sides. There is a real town by that name, but it's not anywhere particularly near Tokyo.
  • Yes! Pretty Cure 5 is set in a city that is supposedly somewhere in Japan. But it’s full of French signs, and some fans have noted that it looks like The Theme Park Version of London.
  • Dragon Ball is heavy on World Building, but it’s still not clear where on Earth much of the action is taking place. None of the nations are named or specified, and cities have names like “East City” and “Ginger Town”.
  • Ojamajo Doremi has Misora Town (or “Misora City”), which is claimed to be in the Kanto region of Japan (i.e. near Tokyo). There is a real Misora Town, but that’s in Otsu, in the Kansai region.
  • Triangle Heart 3: Sweet Songs Forever and Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha are both set in Uminari City; all we know about it is that it’s somewhere on the coast of Japan.
  • Princess Tutu is set in the town of Kinkan, which is translated to “Gold Crown” in the English dub. But nearly all the text in the series is in German. Only in the last episode did we see a clue as to its location, where a town map named the town “Goldkrone” – German for “Gold Crown”. This implies that it’s either in Germany or a fantastic equivalent. It appears to be based on the real-life German town of Nördlingen.
  • The town that D.N.Angel is set in is a strange case. All the characters have Japanese names and they seem to follow Japanese customs, but the town's architecture makes it look like a seaside European village. The anime added a character who claimed to be an exchange student from America, but otherwise countries aren’t really mentioned. The audio commentary for the English dub has two of its voice actors asking, “Where is this set, anyway? France?”
  • It's never revealed what country the jungle in Haré+Guu is in. It does have Indonesian flowers, bears, and orangutans, but the rest of the wildlife is totally bizarre.
  • Prétear is set in the fictional Awayuki Town, somewhere in Japan. We're shown that the town appears to be on a small island connected to the main part of Japan by a bridge, but it's hard to tell much else.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima! features Mahora Academy. All that can be determined of its location is that it's likely somewhere in the Kanto region of Japan (so somewhere near Tokyo).
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: Daten City and neighboring Oten City are equally vague. The setting itself is an Americasia, so while we see several Eagleland references, Daten City also has parts that look just like a Tokyo suburb.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! is mostly set in Domino City, which is almost definitely somewhere in Japan. Some speculate that it’s a fictitious Tokyo. Yu Gi Oh Zexal takes place in Heartland City, and all we know about it is that it’s somewhere else in Japan.
  • Most of the race locations in Initial D are actual mountains, but Akina is a notable exception. It’s somewhere in Gunma and looks kinda-sorta like the real-life Haruna; beyond that, details are sketchy at best. The closest settlement is “S City”, which doesn’t help. The course in the manga also doesn’t match the Haruna course in the video games.
  • Umi no Misaki is set on what is for all intents and purposes a fictional small island in the vicinity of Okinawa.
  • Mitakihara, in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, is one of the stranger examples of this trope: there's a lot of very recognizable architecture, but it puts the series setting in thirteen different cities on four different continents. note 
  • Is the Order a Rabbit? is supposedly set in Japan; everyone follows Japanese customs, eats Japanese food, and uses Japanese currency. But the town is modeled after Colmar, a town in Alsace – a region of France with a strong German influence, so there are both French and German influences in the show as well (like the German-style Christmas market). And the military rations shown in Episode 3 include things like raisin walnut, marshmallow fudge, and panna cotta, which the Real Life Kaiju Defense Force is unlikely to provide.
  • Much of the Nasuverse media is set in or around three fictional Japanese cities: Misaki, Fuyuki, and Mifune. Fuyuki is a coastal city modeled after Kobe, while Misaki lies further inland, near Tokyo. Beyond that, we know nothing about where they might be.
  • Most of Kiki's Delivery Service takes place in a city that explicitly borrows architectural elements from such locations as Stockholm, Visby, Lisboa, Naples, and Paris. It is implied to be located in Northern Europe, and the inhabitants seem to be a mix of European and East Asian phenotypes with no hint of racial segregation or discrimination.
  • Part of Your Name is set in Itomori, a fictional town in Gifu Prefecture, Japan that is based on the real-world Hida City, but is also next to a lake based on Lake Suwa in not that near Nagano Prefecture. Given Shinkai's pendant for Real Place Background, fans have tried to determine its location, but in Real Life there is only a swamp where it should be.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dykes to Watch Out For: The city is never named, but depicted as a medium-sized American Midwest town with snowy winters, a university, and a large and diverse LGBT community. Maps included as title pages in some of the collections show a surprising number of streets named after famous lesbians. Author Alison Bechdel has said that the look and character of the city is very loosely based on Minneapolis.
  • Calvin and Hobbes never makes any direct mention of where it's set, and Calvin and Hobbes themselves aren’t quite sure. Played for Laughs when Calvin is daydreaming during geography class, and Ms. Wormwood asks him what state he lives in. Calvin replies “denial”. Ms. Wormwood states she can't argue with that.
    “If I remember my atlas, we live in a big, purple country.”
    “And our house is by the giant letter ‘E’ in the word ‘States’.”
    • That said, there are some hints that it’s in Bill Watterson’s hometown of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, near Cleveland. This strip clearly shows the Great Lakes when Calvin imagines he’s climbed up to outer space, and a splash panel from a Sunday strip with GROSS had a sign next to their treehouse reading “Beware: falling buckeyes!”, a reference to Ohio’s nickname of “the Buckeye State”.
  • Peanuts never explicitly stated its setting, but the few clues given suggest either Minnesota (where Charles Schulz grew up), Northern California (where he spent the last four decades of his life), or a combination of the two. Since it hardly ever snows in most parts of Northern California, Minnesota is probably the answer.
    • Lampshaded in one strip from April 1995, when Rerun says that marbles-playing bully Joe Agate is “the best player this side of the Mississippi.”
    Lucy: Which side of the Mississippi are we on?
    Rerun: I don't have the slightest idea.
    • The strip never brought up the name of the town, but it's been mentioned in other Peanuts material on at least two occasions: the 1963 book Security is a Thumb and a Blanket calls the town “Pinetree Corners”, while the 2002 TV special Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales lists it as “Sparkyville, USA”.
  • Garfield's location is never specified in the comics, though according to the animated special Garfield Goes Hollywood, it's Muncie, Indiana, Jim Davis' hometown.
  • Zits is never precisely clear on where it’s set, but a number of references suggest that it’s somewhere in central Ohio (although Jeremy does state that he was born in Nebraska). The strip is drawn by Jim Borgman, a chief cartoonist for the Cincinnati Enquirer, which is in southern Ohio.
  • FoxTrot has hinted that the town in which the Fox family lives is called Hillsdale (e.g., a Hillsdale Mall in an early strip, H's on the school team's uniforms, etc.), but besides an address in the first strip, no specifics are given. Peter and Roger are fans of Northeastern sports teams (like the Boston Red Sox, Washington Redskins, and Chicago Bulls), but even that doesn’t necessarily place them in the Northeast.
  • At least one early strip in Pearls Before Swine said the strip took place in Stephan Pastis’ hometown of Albany, California, which is near San Francisco. However, this is never mentioned again, and a later series shows the characters needing to take a cross-country bus trip to San Francisco.
  • Dick Tracy's adventures take place in an unnamed analogue of Chicago (based on the presence of Capone counterpart Big Boy). Interestingly, the 1990 Warren Beatty film adaptation never revealed the city's name (the characters just called it “the city”), but many film critics automatically assumed it was Chicago.
  • Curtis takes place in a city that was unnamed for decades – until 2009, when Curtis and Barry play hooky to watch Obama’s inauguration in Washington. They travel there by city bus, proving that they live in Baltimore.
  • Beetle Bailey: When first seen, Camp Swampy had palm trees and was definitely not in Alaska. That's about all we have, except the palm trees aren't there anymore, and it now snows there.

    Eastern European Animation 
  • Investigation Held By Kolobki is an interesting example. Originally, the city the story takes place in was called “Ensk”, a Russian catch-all term for a small provincial town meaning “City n”. The sequel shorts and video games, though, have established it as Berdichev, Ukraine, which moves it into “Wacky Detectives in Berdichev” territory.

    Fan Works 
  • Calvin and Hobbes: The Series goes back and forth on this. An earlier episode revealed it to be near Yellowstone National Park (i.e. Montana or Wyoming). A later episode lampshaded when the weather reporter simply calls the nearest county “that unnamed county that’s next to us.”
  • Its very ambiguous where Amestris is in Alternate Universe Fic Im Giving You A Night Call. Countries like the U.S. and Japan exist separately, and Amestris is further implied to have been created post-WWII based off Edward the 1st's stories of the actual Amestris.
  • Pretty Cure Perfume Preppy takes place in the fictional town of Oriyama, which neighbours the equally fictional town of Tsukimiya. Add another equally fictional town, Isuten, and you have the Tri-Cities. The author is still not sure where exactly they’re located.
  • We don’t know where exactly Cellar Secrets is set, but we can assume it’s in America (the author’s home country), based on little details like the house having a basement and characters having middle names. But we don’t know exactly where in America they live.
    • Similarly, in Kiryuuin Chronicles, we can assume that the fic takes place in America; Rye is community somewhere in New York, and Satsuki's father, Soichiro lives there, although other details suggest that the story itself (or most of it) takes place somewhere in the Midwest.
  • Quartz, TX from In the Eye of the Beholder is said to be located somewhere between Houston and Galveston, with part of the QIB visiting Houston at one point to visit a con.

    Films — Animation 
  • Wallace & Gromit takes place in a generic Northern English town, though when Wallace gets post, the address can be briefly seen as “62 West Wallaby Street, Wigan.” Other hints also suggest a Lancashire setting; though ironically (given the counties' infamous rivalry) Peter Sallis' voice acting gives Wallace a Yorkshire accent.
  • Chicken Run is set on a farm in Northern England, which could be pretty much anywhere. (The Other Wiki claims it's in Yorkshire.)
  • Most Pixar movies are set in undetermined locations (the only big exceptions being Finding Nemo and Finding Dory, which are set in the Pacific, with the former going to Australia, and the latter to California; and Inside Out, which deals with a Minnesota girl moving to San Francisco):
    • The Toy Story movies are set in “the Tri-County area”, as seen on newspaper vending machines, TV ads for Al’s Toy Barn, the local airport, and WebTuraMaps. Some of the architecture suggests a Southern California setting, albeit a rather provincial, suburban one; Simi Valley is a good bet.
    • The Incredibles is set in Metroville, which is in an undetermined location, and much of the action takes place on Nomanisan Island, a tropical volcanic island in another undetermined location. We do know, though, that Violet’s middle school is based on Brad Bird’s high school in Corvallis, Oregon.
    • Cars is set in Radiator Springs, which is clearly located somewhere in the southwestern U.S. near I-40 and Route 66, but its exact location and state are never explained.
    • In A Bug's Life, the setting is never specified, but the arid landscape and mention of a rainy season heavily implies it is either in Texas, the American Southwest, or Southern California.
  • In Whip It, Bodeen, Texas is clearly within driving distance of Austin, but other than that its precise location and geography are left ambiguous.

    Films — Live Action 
  • Se7en takes place in an unnamed American city. Some take it to be Seattle due to much of the film taking place on rainy days. Word of God, on the other hand, calls the film Andrew Kevin Walker’s “love letter to New York City.”
  • American Beauty takes place in a generic Stepford Suburbia in an unspecified location, although it was filmed in Chicago.
  • Miller's Crossing takes place in an unnamed American city during The Roaring '20s.
  • Saw takes place in an unnamed city, with no hints as to where it is located.
  • The state represented by Senator Jefferson Smith in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is not named, even though (or more likely because) its two senators, the governor, and the boss of its political machine are all central characters.
  • The opening voiceover of Danny Boyle's Shallow Grave states that "this could be any city."
  • The city of Springwood in A Nightmare on Elm Street wanders all over the country as the series goes on. The first movie is set in an unnamed Los Angeles suburb, but as Continuity Creep sets in with each sequel, the setting picks up the name Springwood and enough backstory to turn into a Town with a Dark Secret. The sixth film's opening finally puts Springwood squarely on a U.S. map – in Ohio. Freddy vs. Jason suggests that it’s near Camp Crystal Lake (which is in central New Jersey), but Word of God clarified that the movie just didn’t show how long it took Jason to get to Springwood.
  • Batman films tend not to be consistent with Gotham’s location (the city is supposed to be an analogue for the dark side of New York, in contrast to the more idealistic Metropolis):
    • The Dark Knight Saga never hides the fact that the first two films were shot in Chicago, with prominent landmarks like the Wrigley Building visible, but there the location of its Gotham City is apparently fantasy, given that its license plates state that it's located in Gotham State. The map of Gotham is the same one from Batman: No Man's Land, which puts the city on a group of fictional islands in New Jersey’s Great Bay. The final film throws New York and Pittsburgh into the mix as well.
    • Batman Forever hangs a lampshade on Gotham’s ambiguous geography by giving it landmarks associated with different real-world cities, like the Statue of Liberty and the Golden Gate Bridge. Some Batman continuities give Gotham a “Statue of Justice” or "Queen of Freedom" instead.
    • Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice takes this a step further by placing Gotham quite literally across a bay from Metropolis (in the comics, they're a short drive away, but not that close). Suicide Squad has papers saying Gotham is in New Jersey, and Word of God says Metropolis is a federal district in Delaware.
  • Payback is set in some city during some decade. The architecture, clothing, furniture, and phones all make its city difficult to place both in location and time.
  • Office Space had cars with generic “USA” license plates, but it's implied to be set near or around Dallas-Fort Worth: the boat Peter, Joanna and Lawrence fish in has a Texas registration number (with Texas state shape), the place where Lawrence mentions he's helping build a new McDonald's is an actual Dallas suburb, Las Colinas (where many big companies have operations), the “channel 39” Joanna mentions at the restaurant is an actual Dallas station (for many years it aired lots of Westerns; now it's the Telemundo station); and the fact that both Beavis And Butthead and King of the Hill are also made by Mike Judge and are both also set in Texas.
  • Incendies is set in an unnamed Middle Eastern country in a state of unrest and rebellion.
  • The Transformers film series is all over the place. Sam Witwicky lives in a place called Mission City, which in the first film was 22 miles from the Hoover Dam, putting it somewhere in Nevada or Arizona. Its final battle sequence, though, was very obviously filmed in downtown Los Angeles (with some bits in Detroit as well). Sam also goes to college somewhere far enough from Mission City that he has to fly there, although Executive Meddling necessitated this one – since the second film also shows his mother’s marijuana-fueled escapades around campus, several colleges forbade Michael Bay from identifying the place.
  • Zigzagged in the Indiana Jones movies. Originally, there was no need to name Indy’s home town (although the maps showed it was somewhere in New England) or the college where he taught, and neither is given a name in the films. Novelizations and video games, however, do both, as the author found writing a novelization difficult without doing so. The town was named Bedford and put in Connecticut, and the school was named Marshall College after Frank Marshall, a collaborator of Steven Spielberg and producer on all four films. It did, though, conflict with the video game Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, which called the school “Barnett College” – fans theorize that Indy teaches at more than one school.
  • Footloose takes place in Beaumont. Many viewers assume it’s meant to be Beaumont, Texas, but dialogue references (e.g., being within driving distance of Chicago) place it somewhere in the Midwest. The stage version lampshades this (see Theater below).
  • In Cinderella (2015), the kingdom's location is never given; however, it is clearly set in the real world, as various globes and maps can be seen around Ella's house. Influence was drawn from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and France is also nearby, or at the very least, Ella is fluent in French.
  • The Double takes place in a dystopian city, but the time and location are both unclear. The actors are predominantly white and speak English with American accents, but there is a noticeable number of British accents as well. In one scene, Simon uses a Japanese coin to play a Japanese song on a jukebox. Another scene features a lounge band playing a song referencing Iwo Jima.
  • No Escape went to great lengths to make the setting as vague as possible, other than it being somewhere in Southeast Asia. Despite being filmed in Thailand, no Thai is spoken or seen written. The police officers’ shields have a modified Khmer script, and dialogue is a mix of several languages. This was done because the setting is not shown in a good light, and they didn't want to offend their audience.
  • The cult favorite slasher film Sleepaway Camp is known to take place in Upstate New York, made evident by the natural scenery of the camp’s location and the New York accents and dialogue of several characters, who obviously live in the New York City area and would logically head upstate for summer camp. However, it's unclear exactly where upstate the camp is.
  • Carry On Cowboy is set in a town called Stodge City somewhere in The Wild West. They seem to get telegrams from Washington, D.C. very quickly, but the Loveable Rogue cowboy says that he's from Texas and he's been wandering the roads for ten days. Furthermore, although Stodge City is firmly in The Wild West, Washington looks like it’s in The '60s.
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Shock Treatment are both set in a town called Denton – 18 towns in America have that name. In Rocky Horror, Janet is seen reading the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which suggests that it’s Denton, Ohio (confirmed by the Rocky Horror Scrapbook). But Shock Treatment tried to throw that out of whack by filming it in Denton, Texas (but due to a writers’ strike, they had to film in England instead). Shock Treatment’s Opening Narration also refers to it as “a town not far from yours.
  • Wonder Woman (2017) took Themiscyra, which in the comics is explicitly a Greek island, and put it in a vague Northern Sea location (as not only Steve crash lands there escaping from the Western Front and is followed by the German Navy, but he and Diana get to London from Themiscyra overnight).

     Puppet Shows 
  • The Muppets:
    • Kermit's swamp is initially in an undisclosed location in The Muppet Movie, is revealed to be in Florida during The Muppets at Walt Disney World, and then Kermit's Swamp Years puts it in Mississipi, not far from Jim Henson's birthplace. That seems to have stuck, with Denise commenting that his state tree is magnolia in The Muppets episode "The Ex Factor".
    • The locations of the Muppet Theatre in The Muppet Show and KMUP Studios in Muppets Tonight are never revealed in the original series either, since what exists beyond the show isn't relevant. (The deliberately Conspicuous CGI of the MuppetVision studio in The Jim Henson Hour arguably isn't intended to have a realspace location.) It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie establishes the Muppet Theatre is in a city with a park, a bank, and, for some reason, Whos, but doesn't name it (even the Official Historical Landmark certificate just says "the City"). The Muppets makes it part of Muppet Studios in Hollywood.

    Radio 
  • In the Focus on the Family radio show Adventures in Odyssey, the location of Odyssey is never actually revealed (naturally, neither is Campbell County). It’s implied to exist somewhere in the American Midwest. At some points, it’s explicitly stated to be in Ohio, but other mentions contradict this (such as a claim that it was a month’s wagon journey from Virginia). The wiki still maintains it to be in Ohio.
  • Centerville, the hometown of the title characters in The Aldrich Family, is in an unnamed state. The fact that many episodes that aired during the winter months reference heavy snowfall implies that it is north of the Mason-Dixon Line, but that's as much as can be easily inferred.

    Theater 
  • The location of the nameless city in which Urinetown is set is a complete mystery. All that can be inferred (though the presence of Senator Fipp) is that it is in the U.S.
  • The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny is implied to be set in the U.S., but beyond that, it’s unclear exactly where. Consensus suggests that it’s Alabama, though; it’s near the coast (but not close enough), on the track of a hurricane that destroys Pensacola, within driving distance of Georgia, and of course mentioned in the “Alabama song”. But at the same time, there’s also a mention of Alaskan miners coming down the unspecified coast, which implies California.
  • Avenue Q takes place, according to Word of God, “in an outer-outer borough of New York City.”
  • As explained by this exchange in Footloose:
    “What he means is that he’s moving to some little hick town that nobody's ever heard of.”
    “Hey! People have heard of it!”
    “Oh, yeah? What's the name of it?”
    “You can find it on any map.”
    “What's the name of it?”
    “Folks are flocking there from all over.”
    What's the name of it?
    “Beaumont!”
    “Beaumont?! Where the hell is Beaumont?!”
  • Glengarry Glen Ross: While the Glengarry Islands and a few other (fictional) locations sold by the firm are in Florida, it is never revealed where their current focus, "Rio Rancho," is. There is a real Rio Rancho in New Mexico, and land there has actually become much more valuable since the play was written.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Comics 
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja is set in a town with haunted woods, a pharmaceutical research facility, a warehouse district, a pirate bar and various other locales useful for the plot or action scenes. It is eventually revealed, through a series of hints in art and dialogue, to be Cumberland, Maryland (and later lampshaded in the Alt Text).
  • Gunnerkrigg Court and Gillitie Wood are located somewhere in the UK (apparently in Campbell Country). So far, only two further clues to their location have been given: the nearby Annan Waters (a real river in Scotland), and a letter from Kat (whose contents imply that the Court is not in Scotland).
  • The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! is set in the aptly-named suburb of Generictown. It has not yet been specified what city Generictown is a suburb of. It is adjacent to Pitcheresk Forest, with a mountain range beyond that, including Mount Generic (which is notable for having a hole in its peak, thanks to events in one storyline).
  • Housepets! is set within Babylon Gardens, a suburban neighborhood somewhere in the United States; the exact location is not specified and has even been un-revealed, although the author has stated that the main characters’ home was based upon a former residence of his in North Carolina.
  • El Goonish Shive’s Moperville is in an undisclosed location somewhere in the US. At one point, in order to avoid revealing the location when Sarah is trying to search obituary records, the State abbreviation is replaced with asterisks. Fans have established that Moperville is most likely based on Naperville, Illinois, at least according to the wiki.
  • The location of the city in The Letters Of The Devil is never specified. See also City with No Name.
  • Unwinder's Tall Comics is set somewhere in Minnesota. Eli Parker tried to avoid revealing its exact location for a long time, but eventually, a conversation came up which would have been too awkward to write without the characters mentioning the town’s name. It wound up being set in Garen, Minnesota, a real-life Ghost Town.
  • Bob and George is set in an undisclosed location. They’re presumably Japanese, but if so, why do they celebrate the Fourth of July?
  • Homestuck originally played this trope straight and left locations ambiguous, but Andrew Hussie did an about-face and gave all the heroes’ homes exact coordinates, which puts three of them in various parts of the U.S. and one in the South Pacific. Only Dave’s location is kind of ambiguous; he’s near Houston somewhere, but Hussie hadn’t drawn the city to look like Houston.
  • In Blood Stain, Dr. Stein's house is known to be in a city by the Mediterranean Sea. Said city is dubbed “God-knows-where” in lieu of an actual place name. In chapter three, the protagonist is shown an envelope with the house’s address, showing that the city is literally named “Godknowswhere”.
  • Tailsteak intentionally avoids giving a precise location for the setting of Leftover Soup, though occasional hints are provided. One common theory is that it might have been set in Portland.

    Web Original 
  • Classic Alice is set in Valeton; all we know about its location is that it’s “somewhere in New England”. Based on the leak of Alice and Andrew’s phone numbers, we know that Alice is from Connecticut and Andrew is from Long Island.
  • In Legion of Net.Heroes, Net.ropolis floats from state to state. It has its own senator for this reason.
  • Homestar Runner is set in “Free Country, USA”. Not even the characters really know where it is (apparently, it’s in “Place”). The only map of the place showed the continental U.S. as a free-floating continent, with Free Country in the exact center (so presumably Nebraska). And in Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, even locations within Free Country move around freely. That said, Creator Provincialism puts Free Country somewhere on the East Coast (radio stations begin with “W”, and they’re within driving distance of a Hardee’s restaurant). This confluence could easily place Free Country in rural Illinois, Indiana, or western Ohio.
  • Worm is mostly set in Brockton Bay, which is on the Atlantic Coast, driving distance from Boston; fanfics have placed it in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and even New Jersey. Brockton Bay replacing Portsmouth, NH is popular.
  • Pact, written by Worm’s author, takes place in Jacob’s Bell, Canada, but the exact location is left ambiguous.
  • Welcome to Night Vale’s eponymous town is known to be somewhere in the deserts of the American Southwest (and by Word of God not in Texas), but beyond that the location is uncertain. The fact that local grocery store is a Ralph’s suggests that it might be in southeastern California, although the fact that the town’s natives have never seen mountains complicates the issue, as most of the candidate locations are actually quite hilly.
  • You Have Become Your Avatar parodies the trope; Marcie!Joshua purchases a map that has every city labeled “Springfield”.
  • The early episodes of RedLetterMedia’s Half in the Bag are inconsistent regarding where Mr. Plinkett's house is. It would switch between Teaneck, New Jersey (setting of Mr. Plinkett Reviews) and Milwaukee, Wisconsin (real location of RedLetterMedia). After the fan theory of there being two different Plinketts, they settled on Milwaukee.

    Real Life 
  • Naturally, in Real Life many cities in the same or different regions can share the same name. Sometimes this was deliberate, where one city is named after another; sometimes they might just refer to common geographic features which recur frequently; or multiple cities are named after the same person or entity.
    • Alexander the Great was one of the most prolific such people; not only were eight cities in his former empire named Alexandria (including the modern Egyptian city of Alexandria), several other cities of that name have popped up around the world, including two in Canada, three in Australia, and nineteen in the United States.
    • Over fifty places in the United States are named after the Marquis De Lafayette, a key figure in The American Revolution. As a rule, any location named "Lafayette", "Fayette", or "Fayetteville" will have been named in his honor.
  • Not Always Right gives us a caller who lives in Springfield and can’t seem to tell what state she’s in herself.
  • Some real-life places are undefined as well, likely because they’re a part of legend:
    • Polynesian culture, as a result of being spread around several distant Pacific islands, tended to refer to The Old Country in this way. Hawaiian mythology, for instance, refers to “Kahiki”, which is often interpreted to be Tahiti, but can theoretically mean anywhere in Polynesia that isn’t Hawaii. The Maori concept of “Hawaiki” is similar (and may or may not refer to Hawaii).
    • Aztlán, the ancestral home of the Aztec people, is in an undefined location; the descriptions of the place seem to contradict each other. The only thing everyone agrees on is that it was somewhere north of where Mexico City is today.
  • The London Underground has a fake station called “Ashfield West”, which has no particular location and is served by no particular line. It’s technically used for training purposes.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WhereTheHellIsSpringField