This entry is so long that it deserves its own folder!
Springfield, of course. We don't know where it is, but we have a pretty good sense of where it isn't.
When the creator of the cartoon Danger Dog visits Springfield Elementary, the children are given the chance to ask questions. Hundreds of hands go up. The first question is "What state is Danger Dog set in?" "Michigan." All but one hand immediately goes down again.
As part of the publicity for The Simpsons Movie, a video contest was created to determine which was the "real" Springfield. The winner: Springfield, Vermont.
The Movie also Lampshaded the fact that there are too many inconsistencies for Springfield to have a real location: "Look at that, you can see the four states that border Springfield: Ohio, Nevada, Maine, and Kentucky!" Of these states, only Ohio and Kentucky border each other (and both of them have a Springfield); the others are separated by thousands of miles.
One Treehouse of Horror episode has multiplying Homers in a Grey Goo scenario. A map of the outbreak shows that the Homers started spreading from various Springfields.
In "Bart vs. Lisa vs. the Third Grade," a state representative (the Capital City Goofball) says: "The time has come to change our state flag. This Confederate symbol is an embarrassment, particularly as we are a northern state."
"Behind the Laughter" mentions them as a "Northern Kentucky family." It also mentions them, on different broadcasts, as a "Southern Missouri" family. Regardless, that's not the Simpsons as characters, but the Simpsons as animated actors who play caricatured versions of themselves on the show.
The most probable truth that most will have to come to terms with, however, is that when creating the show Springfield was intentionally designed to be a sort of Everytown USA. An amalgamation of sorts combining common qualities of many cities in the United States in order to make the satire within the show broader... as well as give the writers more to work with. So in a sense, it's wherever you want it to be.
One episode continues the joke, claiming that Springfield is "The entertainment capital of this state."
Homer is talking with Alec Baldwin about why he moved there and this happens:
Alec Baldwin: Most people don't even know where Springfield is.
Homer: Heh, yeah. To tell you the truth, I'm not even sure!
In Season 21 episode 21, Moe says that Springfield's zip code is 80085, which, in calculator spelling, spells boobs. However, 80085 is not an actual zip code. We checked. But other zip codes beginning 800* are in Colorado.
Holding the calculator upside down, 58008 is North Dakota.
And as mentioned below, they mention that North Dakota is one of the only two states the family isn't banned from. Are they not banned, or have they not been there?
In the next episode, Sideshow Bob shows up and kidnaps Bart, taking him to Five Corners (similar to the real Four Corners) in a scheme to avoid being arrested by having the crime committed in all 5 states. The four other states are Texas, Minnesota, California and New Jersey in that order. Which makes even less sense than the above scene in the movie.
From 'Bart's Comet', when the titular comet is heading towards Springfield:
Congressman #1: Then it is unanimous. We are going to approve the bill to evacuate the town of Springfield in the great state of....
Congressman #2: Wait a second, I want to tack on a rider to that bill.
From "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday," Marge gives her street address to get replacement parts for an egg arts-and-crafts set.
Marge: "742 Evergreen Terrace, Springfield, Ohio oh, hiya, Maude! Come on in!"
In "Burns, Baby, Burns," a man named Larry realizes that Mr. Burns is his father when he sees Burns on a moving train:
Larry:(to the conductor) Hey, Casey Jones, where's this train headed?
Larry: Yeah, yeah. What state?
Conductor:(muffled by the train whistle)-aska
Yet another episode contains this memorable exchange:
Reporter 1: We're going to Springfield!
Reporter 2: Which one?
Reporter 1: The one the Simpsons live in!
To really confound the matter, one episode had the Simpsons visit Florida, which they were banned from ever visiting again. It was then revealed they were banned from visiting every state except Arizona and North Dakota.
Get me two plane tickets to the state that Springfield is in!
In 'Much Apu About Nothing' Homer tries to locate Springfield on a map, and points near Chicago (note that the state capital of Illinois is named Springfield). Lisa says that that's nowhere near Springfield, and indicates the right location, which we're prevented from seeing when Bart blocks the view.
In another episode, Homer goes to "West Springfield", which is described as "three times the size of Texas". All this does is rule out any state west of the Great Lakes.
According to David Silverman (who directed many episodes and The Movie), the show takes place in the fictional state of North Takoma. Which probably makes this the best possible answer to the question.
The latestWord of God is that Springfield is based on Springfield, Oregon, near Matt Groening's home town.
That week's episode had the opening's chalkboard read "The true location of Springfield is in any state but yours."
There's also Bronson, Missouri where everyone bears a resemblance to Charles Bronson. The only clue to where in Missouri it is, is that a #10 bus goes from there to Branson.
Springfield has the KBBL radio station. The letters K and W are used for broadcasting in the US. K is used for stations west of the Mississippi River and W is for east of the Mississippi, but there are a few exceptions.
In "The Changing of the Guardian" we get this exchange:
Marge: The kids could end up wards of the state! Homer: Connecticut?! Marge: No, our state.
In an episode of Futurama, Fry and Leela are searching for Bender in an abandoned amusement park which leads to the entrance of Robot Hell (It Makes Sense in Context). There's a brief shot of a wall that has "HS & MB" (Homer Simpson and Marge Bouvier) surrounded by a heart carved into the wall. Leela asks, upon seeing the entrance to Hell, "Who would have though Hell actually existed? And that it was in New Jersey?". While this could just mean that Homer and Marge visited a park in New Jersey, there IS a Springfield in New Jersey, and New Jersey's reputation as a Crapsack World would fit with Springfield's rundown nature. However, The Simpsons is fictional in Futurama, and the other way around, so this was likely just a nod to Simpsons fans on the part of the animators.
In a rare Live Action film mention, both Springfield and Shelbyville come up in conversation. In The Bird Man Of Alcatraz, the Springfield prison and the Shelbyville hospital are described as his likely new homes.
In an episode where Lisa is pestering Marge to allow her to go cleaning down seabirds after an oil spill, Marge retorts that the nearest coast is four hundred miles away. This would rule out Springfield being in coastal states like Vermont.
Though it seems to have a naval base nearby. As well as the Squidport boardwalk. That appears to be along the coast of one ocean or another.
Or the boardwalk and Navy base could be attached to Lake Springfield.
This is finally justified in the season 23 premiere:
Wayne: I needed somewhere to lie low. Your town appears on no maps or charts. Homer: Yeah, they couldn't find a Google Map photo without me naked or urinating. Marge: And when there was a mapmaker's convention here, they all got Lou Gehrig's Disease. Homer: Not the one you're thinking of. There was another one.
Anime & Manga
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 in the wrong area).
Seems to be common of Toei Animation to make amalgammated cities. Ojamajo Doremi's own Misora Town (alternatively called "Misora City") is noted to be in the Kantou region of Japan. Many viewers suspect that it's based off of the real-life Misora Town in Otsu, but that's all the way in the Kansai region, not Kantou.
The town in Princess Tutu has a vague location, made only worse in that the town changes names depending on what language you're watching it in. It's Kinkan in the Japanese, and Gold Crown (the translation of "Kinkan" in the English dub. However, the last episode has a map of the town clearly labeled "Goldkrone," German for Gold Crown—so it's likely that the town is located in Germany, or a fantasy-world equivalent. Nearly all of the text in the series is in German, too, which helps to back up this idea. The town is based on the real-life German town Nördlingen, so it may be an alternate version of that town.
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 looks like a seaside European villa. The anime added a character that claimed to be an exchange student from America, but otherwise countries aren't really mentioned. In fact, the audio commentary for the English dub has two actors from it 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 Kantou region of Japan (the same area that Tokyo resides in).
Excel♥Saga is set in "F City, F Prefecture"; various clues in the series point to Fukuoka City. The manga is explicitly set in Fukuoka.
Domino City, the city where the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise originates, is almost definately in Japan; which island, however, is unclear. (Some have speculated that it may simply be a ficticious version of Tokyo, but this is not official.
Heartland City, where Yu Gi Oh Zexal takes place is probably in Japan too but again, exactly where is unknown.
Most of Kiki's Delivery Service takes place in a city that explicitly borrows architectural elements from such locations as Stockholm, Visby, Lisboa, Napoli 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.
Most of the race locations in Initial D are actual mountains, with one very notable exception...Akina. Except for the fact that it's somewhere in Gunma and looks kinda-sorta like the real-life Haruna, details are sketchy at best. (The fact that the closest settlement is "S City" doesn't help.) For that matter, there's some question as to exactly what the course looks like, as, unlike what's shown in the video games, it's not Haruna.
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 the architecture in question pegs the series as taking place in thirteen different cities on four different continents. note Dubai, New York City, Taipei, Shanghai, Tokyo, Frankfurt, Singapore, Curitiba, Shinzuku, Milan, Cologne, Moscow, and Yokohama.
The town the story of Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka? is set in is supposedly located in Japan... And yet everything, down to the language on the signs to the architecture, make it so the locale wouldn't be out of place in either Germany, Bavaria, or Austria.
In very early Archie stories, Riverdale is explicitly situated somewhere in Massachusetts, the home state of creator Bob Montana. For example, Mr. Lodge first appears as a Massachusetts senator. (Indeed, at the time the character was introduced, Massachusetts had a real-life senator named Lodge). This location has long since ceased to be canon.
Bob Montana named it Riverdale in the first place because his hometown is Haverhill, MA, a city whose sole salient geographic feature is the Merrimack River winding its way through town.
Nowadays, Riverdale is stated to be close enough to New York to make driving there not unbelievably long, pretty solidly putting it on the East Coast.
Although a few stories have implied it to be in California.
After a "Where is Riverdale?" contest, it was revealed that Riverdale is "All of America, including Canada and Mexico."
In Gold Digger by Fred Perry, the Diggers family lives in Atlanta, Georgia. However, since the whole point of the comic is that Gina is an Adventurer Archaeologist and explorer, most of the stories are set in various "lost lands" like El Dorado or Atlantis whose locations are, of course, never specified.
Duckburg and Mouseton from the Disney comics and cartoons.
Duckburg is in Calisota, United States. Which is itself a Springfield, being a combination of California and Minnesota.
According to that map, Duckburg is in about the real-life location of Eureka, CA.
As early as Romano Scarpa's "Emperor of Calisota" (1959), Calisota is identified on a map and resembles the California coast, with Duckburg and Mouseton seen next to each other.
Carl Barks reportedly said Duckburg can't be found on the map because it is under the letter A with the large font of U.S.A.
However, one episode of DuckTales was about Scrooge McDuck, Gyro Gearloose, and Doofus finding Atlantis (clearly located in the Atlantic Ocean) where they are all forced by the Atlanteans to clean up the lost city as punishment for polluting it.
In the G.I. Joe comics, one of Cobra's bases is "a nice little town called Springfield," a Stepford SuburbiaTown with a Dark Secret somewhere in the United States. Even when a Joe is brought to Springfield and escapes in one storyline, Cobra manages to evacuate by the time GI Joe can stage a counterattack, suggesting that Cobra has set up more than one "Springfield."
This is a running gag in the franchise dating at least from the Marvel series #5 where Cobra troops disguise themselves as a marching band from Springfield. In the reviewing stand, the officers chat that every US state has a Springfield and one quips, "Yeah, and some have two or three."
This was used in the "There's No Place Like Springfield" episode of the TV series. After Shipwreck is attacked by Cobra, he wakes up several years later with no memory of anything that happened since the accident. Cobra was destroyed and the Joes disbanded, and Shipwreck himself got married and had a kid. And they live in a town called Springfield. It was all just a set on Cobra island.
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, though there are a few hints that it's probably in Ohio or thereabouts.
"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'."
Residents of the east side of Cleveland recognize it as Chagrin Falls, Bill Watterson's hometown.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Two British comics The Beano and The Dandy (made by the same company) are contained within their own fictional towns that are meant to be somewhere in the UK, called Beanotown and Dandytown respectively (it's assumed that the two towns are close to each other, as they are rivals). Not only that, but the geography within the towns changes according to where a character is and where they are trying to get to. So that wherever you are now is always relatively close to where you want to be.
Viz, the filthy, funny, scatological and definitely not for children adult comic, that models itself on the Beano and the Dandy and caricatures its characters and settings, introduces the North-Eastern English city of "Fulchester". It has a football club - F.U.F.C - and the conceit is that it is somewhere near Newcastle and Sunderland. The Clitoris of the North - a hidden gem that's hard to find but gives great pleasure when you do.
Where is Astro City? Kurt Busiek has been asked numerous times by fans on the Internet, but refuses to tell, only confiding that its real-life location contains a small town rather than a city. Context (e.g., KBAC as the local station's call letters, which isn't just an In-Joke) puts it in the Western United States, in a location consistent with having at least one large mountain (Mount Kirby).
From the comics we know that it is west of the Mississipi, and that the town founder was on his way to California when his wagon broke an axle (with the implication that he never actually made it there). Various characters talk about going to California in a manner that implies that they do not already live there. So Oregon or western Nevada seem like strong contenders.
Zits made a reference once that indicated the nearest interstate highway was I-70. This means the strip most likely takes place in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, or eastern Utah (and the terrain doesn't look that much like Colorado or Utah). Jeremy once said that he was born in Nebraska.
Jeremy's dad once mentioned a business meeting in which he had to drive to Dayton. The strip is drawn by Jim Borgman, a chief cartoonist for the Cincinnati Enquirer, which might imply that it takes place in the Cincinnati area. I-70 passes through Dayton and just north of Cincinnati.
There was another strip where Jeremy tries to drive somewhere and gets lost, ending up near Bucyrus, so it seems that they somewhere in Ohio.
In a recent strip, Walt responds to one of Jeremy's complaints by commenting that "Surf's down in central Ohio" which seems to confirm the Ohio location.
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.
It's possibly somewhere in the Northeast, given that Peter is a Boston Red Sox fan and Roger of the Washington Redskins. (Some fans have also suggested Chicago, as Roger claims to have been born there in a couple early strips and Andy has tickets to a Bulls game where she gets an autographed Michael Jordan basketball - but it's likely the Bulls were the visiting team in that game)
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).
The geography of The DC Universe and its fictional cities is vague and inconsistent at best, but some facts have been "officially" or quasi-officially established from time to time. DC's "house fanzine" from the '70s, Amazing World of DC Comics, established some city locations, which were mostly followed in The Atlas of the DC Universe, a supplement for the DC Heroes Roleplaying Game. As an aside, the JLA/Avengers miniseries established a reason why DC's Earth seems to have so many large cities with no analogues on Marvel's Earth (which generally speaking conforms much more closely to Real Life Earth). The reason? DC's Earth is physically larger. Not by a lot, but by enough to have a bit more room for extra cities.
Metropolis (Superman's city, of course) has rarely if ever been nailed down to a precise location in the comic books... but it was in the comic strips - specifically The World's Greatest Superheroes, which ran from 1979-1982. Metropolis was unequivocally located in Delaware, The Delaware location was used in The Atlas as well, and in the JSA vs. Kobra miniseries, "Metropolis, DE" had its first official comic book sighting (as the address of a criminal suspect seen in a database). But there are a lot of other candidates for Metropolis' location, or real-life cities that "inspired" Metropolis:
Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster grew up in Cleveland. Shuster lived in Toronto, Canada until age 10. Both cities have been suggested as inspirations for Superman's Metropolis.
New York is another obvious inspiration (made explicit in the 1978 movie and its sequels). It should be noted that the city of New York also has an independent existence in The DCU.
Chicago is sometimes mentioned as an analogue for Metropolis. This notion tends to be more plausible in Superboy-related series, which sometimes portray Metropolis as "the nearest big city" to Clark Kent's hometown of Smallville (but see below for more about Smallville).
Occasionally, Metropolis has been referred to as being in the fictional state of "New Troy." New Troy has also sometimes been referred to as part of Metropolis - it's the "Manhattan Island" analogue within Greater Metropolis in The Atlas, for example.
Gotham City, home of Batman, is located in New Jersey, across the Delaware Bay from Metropolis, according to the World's Greatest Superheroes comic strip (see above). But it too has had several alternate candidates:
New York. A few have said "Metropolis is New York by day; Gotham City is New York at night."
The relative location of Gotham City to Metropolis can vary greatly. Sometimes, the two cities are practically "Twin Cities" (as in World's Greatest Superheroes), while in other depictions, they're hundreds of miles apart.
The 1966 Batman TV series mostly follows the "New York under a different name" principle, but the show has enough ambiguities to rate its own entry in the Live-Action TV section (see below.)
Batman: The Animated Series and its tie-in comics inconsistently imply that Gotham is located in its own state named Gotham or in some area of New York State named Gotham States. A license plate in one episode proclaims it the "Dark Deco State," a winking nod to a crew nickname for the series' art style. According to The Lost Years arc from the comics, Gotham City even has its own Gotham Empire State Building (the tower is never actually named in the animated series episodes the comics arc is adapted from).
The Young Justice animated series puts it in Connecticut, around where Bridgeport is in real life.
Most maps of Gotham City depict the city as having a huge body of water, probably an ocean, to its east, which in the U.S. would imply a location on the east coast, or conceivably on a large non-oceanic body such as one of the Great Lakes, San Francisco Bay, or Puget Sound.
Another plausible location is in New Jersey's Great Bay.◊
Less about the geography and more on its cartography, Gotham (or at least the main downtown make up) is clearly modeled as a "Manhattan Island" analogue; maps shown during the "No Man's Land" event clearly show it as a large inland island, as the federal military was able to blow the bridges to keep all (okay, most) in/out movement at bay.
Central City, home of The Flash (Barry Allen), is in Missouri, across the Mississippi River from Keystone City (which places it in the neighboring Kansas), home of The ''Original'' and the third Flash, Jay Garrick and Wally West, according to The Atlas. However:
Pre Crisis, Central City may have been in Ohio, and Keystone City may have been in the Keystone State, Pennsylvania.
Sometimes Central City is suggested as having been named for being "in the center of" the United States. However, this might mean very different things depending on when the city was founded.
One Bronze Age story depicted Central City being near sizable salt flats, of all things.
The DCU's 2011 relaunch actually recalls that "salt flats" story. Central City and Keystone City (collectively known as "the Gem Cities") are shown to have "badlands," drawn with a Monument Valley look, "just outside Central and Keystone City."
Opal City, home to multiple generations of Starman, is in Maryland, according to its creator, James Robinson. It's a rather bizarre location, since Opal City seems to have been at least somewhat on the edge of "the Wild West" in the late 19th Century.
Coast City, home of Green Lantern Hal Jordan, has somewhat surprisingly always had an unambiguous state in the comic books. It's in California. Its location within California is pretty vague, though. (The Atlas puts it in the north, about halfway between San Francisco and Eureka).
Smallville, hometown of Clark Kent, was given an unambiguous location in Kansas in the 1978 movie. This location carried over into the comic books. Its location was previously unspecified, however:
As noted above, Smallville was sometimes depicted as being relatively close to Metropolis. This could suggest a Midwestern location for Metropolis... or an Eastern location for Smallville. Smallville could have easily been in, say, rural New York or Pennsylvania. And in any case, the northeast was much more rural in the 1930s, which would have been the setting of the first Superboy stories (Superboy stories were first published in the late 1940s).
In fact, the series admirably resigns itself to implausibility and places both Smallville and Metropolis in central Kansas, regardless of how absurd that is. (Smallville is covered in forests, mountains and lakes, while the real Kansas is famously flat and featureless. And Metropolis dwarfs Kansas's largest city, Wichita, by at least an order of magnitude, probably two, though Kansas City, while paradoxically largely located in Missouri, straddles the river separating that state from Kansas.)
As with Central City, a number of Superboy stories depict nearby geography (e.g., mountains) that would be inconsistent with a Midwestern location.
Basin City, aka Sin City. It is seemingly in the West somewhere, considering it's located near a desert and was started as a boomtown. There are also Western-style bars and strip clubs (Nancy dresses as a cowgirl, often) as well as the term cowboy thrown around sometimes. Country music is also popular there, apparently. The city seems based mostly on Las Vegas with elements of New York, Chicago, and LA thrown in for good measure.
Tintin, though a Belgian creation originally intended to be a reporter for a Brussels newspaper, essentially became of undetermined nationality and hometown once the comic went international. Though the drawings incorporate features of Brussels, he is never stated to be from anywhere more specific than Europe in the comics, nor does he ever acknowledge being in Brussels when he is in the city. The English translation at one point puts Captain Haddock's estate of Marlinspike in England (based on the address on a letter), but this is never acknowledged elsewhere in the series and the French original does not specify Belgium.
The last album even makes all the press write that Marlinspike is in Western Europe.
Even though some of the international editions change this, the names of streets as well as the people who live in Tintin's hometown are clearly French. So even though Brussels is not named, the location is more specific than just "Western Europe": it has to be either France or Belgium.
More evidence: In The Black Island, Tintin narrowly catches the ferry to England, making it very clear that that's not his home. Seeing that the entire journey from his hometown to the port takes place in one day, this makes his Belgian/Northern French roots all the more evident.
Tintin's address is clearly written on the letter that Chang sent him in Tintin in Tibet... in Chinese. It says "Hong Kong, Chang Chong-Chen, for Mr Tintin, Belgium Brussels". You can barely see the double l of Bruxelles on the envelope.
In early editions of Tintin in the Congo, Tintin is seen teaching schoolchildren that the homeland is Belgium. However, later editions retcon this into a mathematics lesson.
In-universe example in Miracleman. The City of Spies in Spy Story is just called 'the City', and when the main character starts asking questions like what country it's in, people look at her as if she's mad. It turns out that the City was built to house all the spies in the world, who couldn't deal with the utopia the world had become and were instead given a fictional war of intrigue to carry out amongst themselves.
W.I.T.C.H. has Heatherfield. Here's all the data we have: the location is easily recognizable as a generic big European city on the sea with a Los Angeles-style bridge; the names of the vast majority of the residents are of British origin (Hay Lin's family doesn't count because they're Chinese, with her mother being explicitly a native of Hong Kong); football (soccer for the Americans) is apparently the most popular sport; Halloween is a popular celebration; language in signs and insignias switches between English (most used) and Italian (rarer); the Sheffield Institute was build on a former pumpkin patch due an Italian-language pun (pumpkin being sometimes used as synonim for 'head' and 'brain' in Italian); France and Italy are explicitly shown as foreign countries (and French is often treated as a foreign language that Will and Irma have problems with); the school sometimes flies the Stars and Stripes; currency has been alternatively shown being the American dollar (early on) and the Euro; the police has called the Interpol for an apparent case of illegal aliens. Many people tried to narrow that location down to at least a country, everyone failed.
Apparently the authors intended Heatherfield to be somewhere on the US East Coast, resulting in a location looking like a generic middle-sized or large American city as seen by an Italian and people who act like Italians but with some American things.
Beetle Bailey and Camp Swampy. When first seen, it had palm trees and was definitely not in Alaska. That's about all we have, except the palm trees aren't there any more, and it now snows there.
The City of Transmetropolitan gives few clues as to it's location, save that it is near both a mountain and the ocean, though even these have to be taken with several hefty bags of salt, since it's also said The City is the size of a small state at least once and has its own block of national electoral votes. And much like the Tick example above, it really is just called "The City".
Lampshaded/parodied in Calvin & Hobbes: The Series: the weather reporter in "Surge" lists the nearest county as "that unnamed county that's next to us".
Oddly, an earlier episode averted it by revealing the series to be near Montana and Wyoming (which makes sense, given that Old Faithful of the latter state has a major role in the plot).
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 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.
Although Alternate Continuity might be coming into play now, Freddy vs. Jason moves the city all the way to the east coast: Springwood is shown to be a short walk/drive from Camp Crystal Lake which, according to some of the Friday the 13th sequels, is in upstate New York. If we go by the Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash comic book, Crystal Lake (and, by extension, Springwood) is also near Ash's hometown of Dearborn, Michigan. This town really gets around!
Actually Crystal Lake is in Central New Jersey, and Freddy vs. Jason just failed to show the amount of time it would take to get there from Ohio. The problem is addressed in the Friday the 13th documentary His Name Was Jason, and by the screenwriters, no less.
The Dark Knight Saga never hides the fact that the 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 final film throws New York into the mix.
A number of movies shown on MST3K are like this; Danger: Diabolik is ambiguously Europe-y, Hobgoblins is in a town big enough to have its own movie studio but the main character's house, the strip club, and the make-out spot are all very clearly suburban if not exurban.
Payback is set in some city during some decade. The architecture, clothing, furniture, and phones all make both its city difficult to place both in location and time.
Office Space had cars with generic "USA" license plates, though 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); the fact that both Beavis and Butt-head and King of the Hill are set in Texas, and that Austin (the state capital) is Mike Judge's hometown.
Incendies is set in an unnamed Middle Eastern state in a state of unrest and rebellion.
The college that Sam Witwicky attends in Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen is never identified outside of it necessitating a plane ride from Mission City. In this particular case, though, the college's status in this trope was largely due to Executive Meddling, as the scene where Sam's mother's wild escapades throughout the campus after ingesting a pot brownie resulted in both Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania forbidding Michael Bay from identifying the college (for understandable reasons).
That same fight sequence is also partly shot in Detroit (the building Sam runs into to escape Megatron was an abandoned train station in downtown Detroit).
Batman Forever lampshades Gotham's ambiguous geography by giving it landmarks associated with different real-world cities (e.g., Two-Face crashes his helicopter into the Statue of Liberty, while the Gotham Hippodrome is located right next to the Golden Gate Bridge).
The "Statue of Liberty" is actually true to some Batman continuities. Gotham City has The Statue of Justice located offshore.
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 (the author found writing a novelization difficult at best without doing so), naming the town Bedford and placing it in Connecticut, and the school Marshall College, named after Frank Marshall, a collaborator of Spielberg and the producer of all four films.
In The Name of This Book Is Secret, the narrator specifically says that he cannot reveal where the story is set( or even the real names of the characters) because it is too dangerous. The book is just as strange as it sounds.
In the Discworld continuum, one of the very early books (when they were "straight" parodies of mainline fantasy fiction) has an author's foreword by Sir Terry Pratchett, reading This book contains no maps. If this disturbs or offends you, feel free to go and draw one of your own.
This worked extremely well until a fan went and did, and about thirty books along, it became official and canon. Although fans have seen lots of problems with the published version.Ref. discussion on The Discworld Mapp
Older Than Steam: Explicitly invoked in Don Quixote in its very first line: "In a village of La Mancha the name of which I have no desire to recall."
That has not stopped scholars from reconstructing Don Quixote's escapades and concluding that the village is Argamasilla de Alba, where Cervantes was imprisoned for a time (and, according to Word of God, he began to write the novel). No surprise the man didn't have any desire to recall that place.
It's even lampshaded that the name of that village is intentionally hidden in the very last chapter: Part II, chapter 74: Such was the end of the Ingenious Gentleman of La Mancha, whose village Cide Hamete would not indicate precisely,. in order to leave all the towns and villages of La Mancha to contend among themselves for the right to adopt him and claim him as a son, as the seven cities of Greece contended for Homer.
Justified by the "can't let you know who we are, or where we live" in Animorphs. The final book says that they live in California, somewhere around Santa Barbara.
There were actually enough hints given as to the surrounding area's geography, as well as the convenient nearby zoo/theme park "the Gardens" to guess it was somewhere in that general area.
Yep, forests, beaches, valleys (and mountains since you can't really have one without the other) that pretty much narrowed it down to somewhere on the West Coast, near the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and in America, that meant California. Although the part about being near the Sierra Nevada eliminated parts of California. The size of the Mall also gave clues about the size of the city, as did the size of the Yeerk pool as indicated by the number of other entrances and their geological distribution given that in was located under a large part of the city, but not all of it either.
Not only is not clear where the orphans are during any book, it isn't even clear which country or time period the books are set in (there are vague "hints" at the USA, but this is largely because the author is American).
The movie places the Baudelaire Mansion at "28 Prospero Place, Boston, Massachusetts."
If examined closely, the package the children receive at the end of the film is postmarked to Boston. The film is non-canon, and if Boston were the location, it'd be a highly fictionalized version of the city.
Lampshaded or subverted (take your pick) in Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon Days where, early in the book, he explains how surveyor error caused Mist County, the town's location, not to appear on maps of Minnesota.
John Dies at the End is set in the town of 'Undisclosed', with the only information ever given about it being that it's 'Somewhere in the American Midwest'
Before it was published, the town was Rockville. Unfortunately, there was such a place in Illinois so he changed it for legal reasons.
Players of the current ARG on the website have figured out that the town is most probably Cairo, IL. There's been photos of this town and multiple references to the Egyptian city of the same name, for example.
It has never been stated where the city of Newford, where most of Charles de Lint's stories are set, is located, whether or not it's in either Canada or the United States. It's probably in Ontario (where the author lives) but there's been no confirmation.
Nothing is known about the city, or even the country, of José Saramago's novels Blindness and Seeing. This was, of course, completely intentional.
Saramago does this frequently; the same thing happens in Death With Interruptions and All The Names. However, things seem quite Portuguese, despite the unnamed country in Death With Interruptions being supplied with a monarchy.
Without Blood by Alessandro Baricco includes a note at the beginning stating that this trope was used intentionally so as to universalize the story. Spanish character names are used "due to their music" and do not indicate a Spanish setting.
Huge by James W. Fuerst would seem, according to careful examination of Huge's descriptions in the story, to be set in Eatontown, New Jersey. However, while some aspects of the book's geography match up with Eatontown (the location of the mall and the Circle, the town's proximity to the Garden State Parkway), the author has obviously taken care to scramble other aspects and make the setting more generic. The proof is in the location of the reservoir relative to the mall...it just doesn't work in real life.
The main action in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, in the original U.K. edition, seems to be set somewhere in Britain (probably London) — but it's ambiguous. Cultural Translation has Charlie finding a dollar in the snow in the American edition, rather than the 50p of the UK edition. And then the sequel, which was published in the U.S. first, states the setting is in the United States instead!
With regards to adaptations, thanks to Willy Wonka being played by Americans in both movie versions (and Charlie being played by one in the first), the setting is very unclear indeed. In the DVD extras of the 1971 version, the director states that they left the location of the factory ambiguous so that kids could think it was anywhere and then it could be mysterious and exciting. The second movie deliberately invoked this too, with a setting designed to look like America to English audiences and England to American audiences!
The 2013 stage musical, which launched in the West End, is strongly implied to take place somewhere in Britian — but not London; Veruca Salt is stated to hail from that particular city.
The first series of Warrior Cats was set in a forest based off of New Forest in southern England, but in the second series, the Clans moved to an entirely fictional new forest and have encountered some wildlife that can't be found in the UK, making it pretty hard to determine where the series is set. Even the authors aren't sure.
Of course, the fans don't really care. In their minds, it's still set somewhere in the English countryside.
M. T. Anderson's Feed is somewhere in America, but apart from the only clues are that it is not too far from the ocean. The problem with pinning down location is that the book is set in the future, so all modern indications don't quite fit.
After Sinclair Lewis released Main Street some people were mad at him over using the real town of Sauk Center, Minnesota, that he created for every other book he wrote, the fictional state of Winnemac, (uses pieces of Michigan and Ohio), with its largest city of Zenith, and a town named Springfield, Winnemac.
Wicked Lovely - Although it is often presumed to be in Pennsylvania, it is never actually stated where Huntsdale is, although it's clearly American. Melissa Marr stated that this was intentional in an interview, wanting it to be a kind of everytown.
Leslie hopping on a train to Pittsburgh in Ink Exchange does give it a bit of a radius.
All the King's Men is set in a state that is never named and about which little is said except that it's in the Deep South. However, given that it is very loosely based on the career of Huey Long, a governor of Louisiana in the 1930s, to say nothing of other clues, it's not too much of a long shot to just say that it's set there.
The "Conni" series of books, written by Julia Boehme, is set in a town called Neustadt. Neustadt (New Town) does exist, but there are 26 Neustadts in Germany itself, not to mention the other 9 in other European countries and one in Ontario, Canada.
Moose County, from the Cat Who... books, is described as being "four hundred miles north of everywhere." It's definitely in the United States and is somewhat in the vicinity of the Great Lakes. That's all that has ever been explained about where it is.
The Keys To The Kingdom takes this to such ridiculous extremes that all we know about the protagonist, Arthur, is that he lives on Earth. The author put in the effort to make sure his country, town, and even school remain nameless.
In The Hunger Games, the exact locations of the Districts and the Capitol is never made clear. There are some geographical clues, as well as the industries each area is known for, but nothing specific.
Except for the parts where it says that District 12 is in Appalachia and the Capitol is in the Rocky Mountains.
In the endless Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys stories, they've always had trouble pinning down their hometowns:
Nancy's hometown of River Heights was originally placed in Iowa, but in the following years, it drifted as far east as New Jersey. In the most recent series, it's implied to be in Illinois, within driving distance of Chicago.
The Hardy Boys' home of Bayport was a little better. It was always implied to be a coastal town, but that didn't stop it from drifting up and down the East coast. Similar to River Heights, though, in more recent years, they keep it in the New York / New Jersey area to keep it within driving distance of New York City.
The novel series of Sandokan has a strange example that borders in real life: the island of Mompracem, Sandokan's base, is an actual island that the author choose from an old map, but more recent maps don't report its location, and the main candidate of Keraman is mentioned as a clearly separated island.
New Mayhem and Midnight in the Den of Shadows series. New Mayhem is probably somewhere around Concord, Massachusetts, but Nathaniel drugged Turquoise and Ravyn specifically so that they (and us) wouldn't know where Midnight was.
In The Supernaturalist, it's very unclear where Satellite City is. The story is set entirely within the city, and very little reference is made to the outside world. This makes it especially unclear since conventional nations-states no longer exist in the book's setting, and the city is inhabited by people of every conceivable ethnicity and background, although the currency is apparently Dinars.
Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell's Barnaby Grimes series is set in an unnamed city that seems to be a mix of various 19th Century European cities, mostly Victorian London. Apart from being on a coast, it's impossible to say where it is, and the few mentions of other places in the world are all fictional locations.
H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos stories intentionally avert this to help build up the sense that his horrors are very real and out there somewhere. He gives precise latitude and longitude for R'lyeh in The Call of Cthulhu, mentions real Vermont towns and faithfully recreates the local environs in The Whisperer in Darkness, and he often goes over travel plans in minute detail to recreate the protagonist's sense of discovery in the reader. Lovecraft Country flirts with this trope but is usually set firmly in New England - Lovecraft basically created a new river valley in Massachusetts to house Arkham, Dunwich, and any other usefully horrid little towns.
Live Action TV
Most US soap opera primary setting locations (e.g. Port Charles in General Hospital)
It's implied that the The Brady Bunch is set in California, but where exactly is unknown.
The DeconstructionThe Brady Bunch Movie explicitly sets the characters in Los Angeles.
It's more than implied that the original series is set in metro Los Angeles, given numerous references to L.A. sports teams.
The city and state that Malcolm in the Middle takes place in is never revealed though likely to be in California considering the fairly short car journey to the Irwindale Speed Rally and Disneyland and the license plates. Also, it was only a few hours away from Las Vegas, and seems to never get cold enough to wear winter outfits. However, it was a 26-hour bus ride to Whitehorse, Canada.
The city and state where Hill Street Blues took place were never mentioned, though it clearly resembled Chicago.
So much so that shots of Chicago were used in the series as background and transition shots, and the police uniforms and police cruiser livery strongly resembled that used by the Chicago Police Department at the time.
They also had a rotund African-American mayor, "Ozzie Cleveland", an Expy for then-Chicago mayor Harold Washington
On the other hand, there were also occasional references to an East River, which would imply a New York City setting rather than a Chicago one.
Oz takes place in an unnamed state, likely in the Northeast.
The creators specifically state it's in New Jersey in the commentaries. They even point out in the pilot that Alvarez is wearing the wrong gang colors for a NE hispanic gangster (IE wearing LA colors).
The Bill is set within the fictional district of Canley in London. Where exactly in London however is unclear despite it being seemingly large enough to reach the northern residential areas, and the central city itself all the way down to the Thames river.
It was filmed in Merton, around the Wimbledon and Tooting areas of South London.
Mission: Impossible: In the series the team was often sent to the vaguely named People's Republic of Tyranny. Other locations included the nation of "San X" in South America or the Caribbean Sea. Whenever the mission was in the United States, the city or state was rarely named beyond "Western" or "Central". Any named nation, used for a mission in Africa, was never a real nation. Finally, Western Europe was referred to as a friendly or neutral nation.
La Femme Nikita: the location of Section One's command center is only revealed to be in Paris when the center is destroyed to prevent the enemy from gaining control. The other command centers and Section One sub-centers are never revealed unless they are destroyed or are temporary installations.
The locations of the missions are constantly shown with on-screen text such as "Berlin, Germany, 20:00 hours". Other times the agents say "terrorist Smith was located in London" or "agent Greg is in Venice and will return by dawn". 
There are severalepisodes where the location is given as "Building X, Eastern Europe" or "this information came from Northern Europe", but generally the viewer knows where the operation is taking place.
The filming location of Portmeirion, North Wales, however, (which was carefully only credited in the final episode) works perfectly in context, though. And it's still just as weird and colourful when visited today.
The final episode implies that it can be reached by a road tunnel from the South of England, but with that episode in general being a Mind Screw, this might not mean anything.
A tie-in book suggested it was in Spain, but this is of uncertain canon.
Somewhat vague hints are given throughout the series, mostly contradictory. However, those that aren't seem to confirm that it's somewhere in the Eastern Time Zone—Little Pete goes west into the Central Time Zone in "Time Tunnel," and his radio station's call letters start with a W (possibly placing it east of the Mississippi).
A few episodes specifically state "Wellsville, Michigan". Which would be on the "W" call letter side of the Mississippi. Regarding New Jersey license plates and such: They Just Didn't Care.
Angel Grove, the setting of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, has every single sort of climate imaginable: mountains on one side, forest on another, desert on another, ocean on another. Its never outright stated where it is, but between Kirk's Rock, a "bank of California" sign, the similarity of the name to "Los Angeles," and all of those climates being available in Southern California, it's generally accepted as being smack dab on top of Los Angeles, which has the minor consequence of implying differences in history there, given that Angel Grove has been shown to have been a British colony in the 1700s. Of course Rita's telescope made it clear that it was actually located in Japan, in what is likely Tokyo.
To make it even more confusing, when Kimberly traveled into the past (ending up in the 1800's) in one episode, Angel Grove had an old west look. In another episode, however, where time travel took her about a hundred years earlier (a time when California wasn't even settled), it looked more like New England at that time. Of course, both cases were not all too historically accurate.
Power Rangers RPM has contradictory hints as to the location of Corinth; latitude and longitude coordinates given place it either in the center of Greenland or the middle of the Indian Ocean, whereas overhead shots, maps, and other minor clues place it smack dab on top of Boston, Massachusetts. The climate is desert, but its heavily implied that there was nuclear bombardment, which handwaves quite a bit there.
Power Rangers Samurai is set in a city that has English signs and a rather diverse group of citizens, but at the same time has ancient temples and other distinctly Japanese locations. When we eventually see someone's driver's license, it says "Panorama City, PR 649815" - an invalid zip code (the US uses five digits, not six), and it's probably safe to say that PR does not in fact mean Puerto Rico as it would in real life.
The fictional Fairview from Desperate Housewives is located in the equally fictitious Eagle State, although the state is rarely mentioned.
To make it even weirder, this check◊ shown in one episode shows the town to have a six-digit zip code.
It goes so far as to have fictional license plates and drivers licenses. The drivers licenses have the state abbreviation "ES" instead of one of the normal state abbreviations.
The setting of Scrubs is an amalgam of most of California. The writers call it "San Difrangeles."
The eponymous town in Jericho is in Kansas, but its real world location has been deduced to be non-existent. You see, a number of major highways were supposed to cross paths there; they do cross paths in Kansas but not in the way shown on the map.
Jericho was supposed to be close enough to Colorado that you could see when the bomb hit Denver. At one point, it was thought Oakley, Kansas, was Jericho's stand-in. If this was indeed the case, the town was still 90 miles from the Colorado state line. You have no chance of seeing mountains from there.
A map of Jericho that was once posted on the CBS web site showed I-70 and "state routes" 40 and 83 meeting inside Jericho's city limits. In real-life Oakley, I-70 meets U.S. 40 3 1/2 miles east of Oakley, then goes northwest to meet U.S. 83 about three miles north of town. U.S. 40 and U.S. 83 meet just inside Oakley's south city limits, then run together for about 2 miles before U.S. 83 turns north again.
The exact location of CTU Los Angeles is the best-kept secret about 24. One writer at Television Without Pity attempted to triangulate it by using the driving times mentioned in the show, but they couldn't possibly correlate with each other. And when it is shown in a long shot including the backdrop of Los Angeles, it shot even those calculations all to hell. In Season 8 CTU is rebuilt somewhere in New York City.
The building itself is pretty easy to find, having been shown from many different angles. It's in the district of Westlake, just across the 110 from Downtown. This would put it just a block or so from Viridian Dynamics. And everybody knows the driving times in 24 are meaningless.
"Camden County" on My Name Is Earl, which seems like it's supposed to be Southern despite the California doubling. Even odder, the county seems to be a town. Is "county" in the town's name officially or what?
The show has a lot of references to real locations that are, by and large, in northern Maryland. Maryland was also a border state in the Civil War, fitting Camden's history. Greg Garcia has even cited Waldorf, MD as his inspiration for Camden. Alas, he points out that it can't really be in that state — too many palm trees around!
Camden County, North Carolina, is actually a consolidated city-county, though most of the show's clues point elsewhere.
Raising Hope: Another Greg Garcia show, another non-identifiable location (called Natesville).
The exact location of Dog River, Saskatchewan in Corner Gas is never revealed, though it's said to be "40 kilometers from nowhere" and when characters refer to or drive to "the city" both Saskatoon and Regina are close enough to qualify.
Some of the locations in the show are actual businesses in Rouleau, Saskatchewan (The gas station isn't, but the bar is), with is about 40km southwest of Regina and about 200km south of Saskatoon.
Pushing Daisies is set in a large-ish city in Papen County; small town Coeur d'Coeurs is (pick one) a short drive away or 120 miles away. All the names are fictitious, and information on locating them within the United States is internally inconsistent. The pilot episode hinted that Papen County might be in Michigan; in a later episode, a letter addressed to Coeur d'Coeurs has a Massachusetts ZIP code.
None of Jonathan M. Shiff's productions explicitly state a location, although they're all set somewhere in Queensland. This works for Ocean Girl, which is set Twenty Minutes into the Future on the Great Barrier Reef, but H2O: Just Add Water and Cybergirl both feature locations easily recognisable to locals (The River City Museum is actually the Brisbane Powerhouse, H2O's water park is Sea World), even though they go to great pains to avoid referencing specific areas.
The Dukes of Hazzard never said which state Hazzard County was in. As a MAD magazine satire of the show observed, "If we suggested that any state in the nation allowed these kinds of goings-on, they'd sue our britches off!"
Early episodes were shot in various cities in northwest Georgia, primarly Covington, so that is usually taken as the home state. The General Lee has Georgia plates, and Daisy is once said to have "the best legs in all of Georgia." This has not stopped Hazzard, Kentucky from taking credit though.
Occasional mentions of day trips to Macon and day-long drives to Atlanta would suggest southeast Georgia, but many other hints suggest northwest Georgia. There are mountains, the town is said to be in a place where several states come together, and there was a reference to "the tornado of '74" possibly referencing the Super Outbreak of 1974 that hit that area.
Highlander: The Series took place in an unnamed city. It was filmed in Vancouver, but all the cars had Washington State (US) license plates, giving rise to the Fanon name for the city: "Seacouver" (a Portmanteau of Vancouver and Seattle).
Nick At Nite's almost entirely forgettable Hi Honey Im Home was the story of two families: The Duffs, a normal suburban family with modern concerns, and the Nielsens, a '50s-era sitcom family, sort of a Donna Reed Show/Leave It to Beaver/Make Room For DaddyExpy, who move into the real-world house next door as part of the Sitcom Relocation Program. When greeting the new neighbors, the "real" family politely asks where the Nielsens came from. "Springfield." "Which one?" "... Springfield." The issue is immediately dropped.
The character Ishboo of All That had a running gag that whenever someone would ask him where his Foreign Land was located, he would find a way to change the subject or distract them. This even happened when his father made an appearance and was asked the same question.
The Sentinel takes place in the fictional city of Cascade, WA, the exact location of which is never disclosed. Jim Ellison also has the non-existent ZIP code 98765. If you follow the clues, Cascade is easy to locate... it's actually Vancouver.
A major recurring theme in LOST is nobody knows where the island is, to the point that even those who have been there before can't get back easily. The island also gets bonus points for being a unique example, considering that it actually physically changes location every so often.
For the most part, Gotham City is treated as New York under a different name, with different names for famous New York landmarks and personalities. For instance, there's "Chime Square," a Times Square analogue, "Mayor Linseed," an analogue for then-mayor John Lindsay, and "Governor Stonefellow," an analogue for then-governor Nelson Rockefeller.
Other evidence is more ambiguous, such as the call letters for Gotham City TV stations KGC and KGOM, which imply that Gotham is located somewhere west of the Mississippi.
On the other hand, cowboy villain Shame states that they need not follow a Showdown at High Noon rule requiring that both participants be armed, because the rule doesn't count east of the Mississippi.
Occasionally, the series seemed to embrace its actual California filming location. The episode "Surf's Up! Joker's Under!" features surfing (at "Gotham Point") as a major plot point, which would lead most viewers to think "Southern California." But an earlier episode had a Mook suggesting that the Big Bad dispose of Batman and Robin by locking them in a room full of "California smog," which can be interpreted both in-universe and out as a Take That to Los Angeles. (On the other hand, maybe Gotham City is Los Angeles in this world, and the mook is complaining about his own city's smog.)
Batman keeps a (helpfully labeled, of course) "Giant Lighted Lucite Map of Gotham City" in the Batcave. Eagle-eyed viewers have noticed that this map is actually the reverse-image of a map of the greater St. Louis, Missouri area, as it was in 1966.
In one episode, a fortuitous blackout leads the Joker to remark "Gotham City is having a power failure — just like New York!" It's both a topical reference to the blackout of 1965, and evidence that New York has a separate existence in the show's continuity.
In the same episode, we learn that (according to clocks in the Batcave showing the time in Gotham, Los Angeles, Chicago, and other cities) Gotham City is in the Eastern time zone.
True Blood makes no secret that it is set in Louisiana, but the exact location of Bon Temps is a bit of a mystery.
Roughly speaking, there are 5 cities of note in the state: New Orleans, Baton Rouge, the smaller cities of Lafayette and Alexandria, and larger city Shreveport. One can travel I-10 from New Orleans to Baton Rouge to Lafayette, then travel I-49 to Alexandria to Shreveport.
A common joke in New York State is that you can drive from Greece to Rome and Egypt in only a couple of hours.
It is generally accepted that Bon Temps is somewhere near Monroe or West Monroe, as the characters go to the Monroe Medical Center when injured.
However, later seasons show them being much closer to Shreveport, although the medical centers there, being slightly more metropolitan, are larger and better staffed. The closer proximity to Shreveport is validated by travel time to Dallas being about 3.5 hours (5 hours from Monroe).
Scenes actually shot in Louisiana are filmed in Baton Rouge and its nearby wetlands, showcasing bayous and cypress trees, which are virtually non-existent in the northern part of the state.
The small town of Bunkie (a real place) to which Sookie travels in the first season in an attempt to gather information about the serial killer is described as being "not far," and can be traveled to in less than an hour, when in actuality, it lies between Lafayette and Alexandria, and would be at least a three hour drive from Monroe or Shreveport.
While The Wonder Years certainly looks to be set somewhere in Southern California (and a couple of episodes feature clues hinting that this is indeed the case), the exact setting is never specified.
Community's Greendale is placed rather ambiguously. It seems to be in Southern California from various small details in episodes, but it's never stated clearly, and All There in the Manual information says it's in Colorado. This may be for legal reasons, to make it more difficult to link the show to Dan Harmon's experience in community college in California, should one of his classmates accuse him of basing a character on them.
It seems to be a college in Southern California because it is. Community is mostly shot at Los Angeles Community College. Ever since the California budget crisis, schools (Particularly high schools and colleges) have been very eager to allow films, TV shows and commercials to shoot on campus, with their money of course.
We also learn that Greendale was apparently discovered by a Portuguese sailor named English Memorial while he was searching for a fountain that would cure syphilis.
In the fifth season it's finally stated in-show that they're supposed to be in Colorado.
Green Acres never indicates its location, though a mention of the state capital, Springfield, being four hours away by car suggests that it might be in Illinois (or any of the dozen or more other states that have a Springfield.) One episode revealed that the state animal is the kangaroo. Ummm, right.
Mr. Haney mentions in one episode that their state was named for a former US President, Rutherford B. Skrugg.
Sanctuary is set in the fictional Old City and takes place in Canada (they don't advertise the country, either, but the color of the money gives it away, if nothing else.) The Powers That Be have said they don't give a specific location on purpose, though.
Some more attentive viewers have figured out that the flagship Sanctuary is in the Vancouver, BC/Seattle, WA area, however.
In one episode, Sledge and Doreau have to bodyguard a Soviet dissident on a train, which is crossing the USA to its destination, Springfield.
Sledge's own city is left unidentified, but he holds the rank of Inspector — an uncommon police rank in American jurisdictions, but used in the city where the pilot episode was partially filmed, San Francisco. Which is also the home city of one of Sledge's inspirations, Dirty Harry.
Keeping Up Appearances actual setting is never revealed, since it is implied that the characters could exist anywhere in England, although the family are indicated as coming originally from Merseyside. In reality, the series was filmed in and around the city of Coventry and the West Midlands in general.
Mr. Lucky's yacht is anchored in international waters off the coast of a large city in America, but just which city - and even which part of America - is left intentionally vague.
Craggy Island from Father Ted. The general rule is if you're heading away from it, you're going in the right direction.
Ted: Oh no, it wouldn't be on any maps. We're not exactly New York! No, the best way to find it is to head out from Galway and go slightly north until you see the English boats with the nuclear symbol. They go very close to the island when dumping the old "glow-in-the-dark".
Word of God says it's based on a neighbourhood of New York, and several references in-show (such as Gordon being a Knicks fan) support this. Which neighbourhood, though...
This was spoofed in a short sketch by Obscurus Lupa and Phelous, where they go on a road trip trying to find Sesame Street. Eventually they drive into some small town and conclude that Sesame Street is somewhere in there, coming up with a convoluted list of directions (which involved going past a line of construction equipment).
Most episodes of Criminal Minds take place in real cities in the U.S., mostly sizable cities such as Pittsburgh or Buffalo. However, occasionally they are known to make up places, with their locations in their state being vague. Two notable examples are North Mammon (from the eponymous episode) somewhere in Pennsylvania and West Bune from "Elephant's Memory", located somewhere along the border between Texas and Mexico.
In the Focus on the Family radio show Adventures in Odyssey, the location of Odyssey is never actually revealed (naturally, neither is Campbell County, either). It's implied to exist somewhere in the American Midwest, but at some points explicitly stated to be in Ohio. Several times, however, this was contradicted. The wiki still maintains it to be in Ohio.
Further muddling the waters, so to speak, are the radio stations. Two radio stations exist in the canon of the show (KYDS and KODY), and they use the K prefix, which denotes radio stations west of the Mississippi River. One exception does exist, in Philadelphia Pennsylvania (KYW).
At one point, there was even an episode claiming the land was somewhere out west, and to reach it required a month's journey by covered wagon from Virginia. This would place it somewhere out in the Mountain Time Zone area. They also mentioned that there was a swampy area originally, which would imply it was in a river basin, meaning it would be closer to the Missouri River area up in the north to northwest area of the United States. At this point, we should just say Odyssey is literally everywhere.
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 consensus seems to be that is located in Alabama, including mentions of being near the coast but not close enough, being on the track of a hurricane that destroys Pensacola and driving to Georgia and of course the famous Alabama Song. At the same time it can be on California since it mentions Alaska gold miners coming down the coast (which is never stated which coast it is, it's simply called "The Golden Coast."
Raccoon City is allegedly set in "the American Midwest", but the presence of mountains, lakes, rivers, forests, very warm autumns, and a sign with a 212 area code (Manhattan, NYC) greatly limit where it could be. Fan speculation puts it in either Colorado or Pennsylvania, the latter being where the novelizations placed it.
Despite what fanon would tell you, the Spanish-speaking European country where Resident Evil 4 is set is never explicitly named and was intentionally done that way according to the Word of God. Luis Sera tells you upon meeting him he "used to be a cop in Madrid" though (although theoretically there's no reason why he couldn't move from Spain to another country), and the fact that there is only one country in Europe with Spanish as the official language kind of destroys the entire point of not naming the country.
Additionally, the currency used in-game is the Peseta, which was the Spanish currency prior to being replaced by the Euro.
Resident Evil 5 has Kijuju, which is apparently supposed to be in Northwest Africa. The problem is that the official language is Swahili, which would put it on Africa's East coast (somewhere around Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, etc.). Another problem is use of the Naira, which is Nigeria's national currency. The flag on Irving's boat could've been a hint, but is useless, since it's the Pan-African flag with stars added to it.
Resident Evil 6 has Liangshang in China, although its urban structure and appearance make it seem like an Expy of Hong Kong.
Ditto the eponymous Silent Hill, which only has a lake, forests, and vaguely New England-ish architecture for clues.
The original manual describes the town as being in New England (the lake and forests fit), but the first two games exclusively feature what appear to be Michigan license-plates on cars (again, the lakes and forests fit). The town happens to be by a body of water named Toluca lake; there's a real Toluca Lake in California.
The movie version is very strongly inspired by Centralia, Pennsylvania, where a decades-old coal fire has turned the place into a Ghost Town.
It gets a little more confusing in that the movie version states that Silent Hill is in West Virginia, but other games largely place Silent Hill as being in Maine.
The movie makes it even more confusing when you realize that there's no Toluca County in West Virginia.
Until the Order rediscovered them, Harry raised Heather in Portland, which is the name of the largest city in Maine. After that, they moved to an unspecified town, where Silent Hill 3 starts.
While not technically an issue of where a city is, Sonic the Hedgehog managed to change its setting from an alien planet Mobius to Earth (albeit not one like the Earth we're on now). Of course even that wasn't enough, with the translation for the Sonic OVA calling Sonic's home world, "Planet Freedom," and Sonic X stating that, while the series is set on Earth, Sonic is not a native of Earth, and his actual home world's name is never mentioned. Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog actually then goes on to say that Mobius isEarth, but several hundred years in the future.
Okay, now that's somewhat confusing. On the nature of the games, Mobius, ever since Sonic Adventure, was rendered non-canon to align with the Japanese canon, where it was always Earth. However, the trope still applies in a sense, since some locations such as Station Square, obviously a city in the USA, are never said as to where they are. Central City in Sonic Adventure 2, however, is generally considered to be San Francisco, with City Escape having the characteristic sloped roads, Radical Highway undoubtedly being the Golden Gate Bridge, and Mission Street being Mission Street. Places like South Island don't count, as they're... Somewhere in the Pacific, presumably. Then Sonic Unleashed proceeds to muck everything up by making Earth almost unrecognizable except for similar cultures and the looks of locations.
The location of Fairport in FEAR is never explicitly stated. The official strategy guide for the third game claims its in the northwestern United States.
It is implied in FEAR 3 that the city is somewhere in the southern parts of the United States, as the Point Man is able to fly a high-tech and apparently very long-ranged Armacham helicopter there from an unspecified South/Central American city.
City 17 from Half-Life 2 has nothing more than a few subtle hints as to a general location provided in-game. The Word of God only goes so far as to confirm that it is, indeed, somewhere in Eastern Europe, as those hints indicated.
Subverted by the fact that, when you're riding up the tower towards Breen's office, the background texture representing City 17 is actually a picture of New York City.
According to the Half-Life wiki, the city that City 17 is based on the most is Sofia, Bulgaria (due to both the art director for Half-Life 2 being from Sofia and the various Cyrillic signs around the area spelling words in Bulgarian).
Although it's interesting to note that the Overwatch Nexus is modeled after the Parliament◊ of Serbia◊.
Following the clues, we can learn that City 17 has an extensive canal system, is in a former Soviet country, uses the Russian and English Alphabets, is located in a mineral-rich area (it's close to several large underground mines), is along the coast, and is near a rich Alpine-style forest.
St. Petersburg is also a possibility, as is Riga, the capital of Latvia.
In the second Destroy All Humans! game, there's a throwaway joke that the game's own Eastern European city, Tunguska, eventually becomes City 17.
Condemned takes place in Metro City, which is a highly decayed industrial city (most likely) somewhere in the rust belt.
Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow has a rather clever use of this; the good guys know the baddie is going to deploy some sort of weapon in "the Springfield demonstration," so the US has to start immunizing people in all of the Springfields. A portion of the game is spent finding out exactly which one and what weapon.
Even better: it's theorized by Third Echelon that the antagonist specifically chose "Springfield" because there are so many. An additional layer of security in case anyone found out the name of the operation.
Touhou: Gensokyo is somewhere in Japan. All we know beyond that is that it's landlocked and has at least two mountains and a lake. Of course, it's entirely possible that it wouldn't fit on a map.
The geography of the Outside may have also changed.
Gensokyo's Youkai Mountain has been stated to be Mount Yatsugatake, which... more or less exists. The complication is that the Youkai Mountain is the "original" version of Yatsugatake, which, according to legend, was once as tall as Mount Fuji before being torn down into the Yatsugatake mountain range it is today, which also exists outside of Gensokyo in Touhou's continuity. In addition, at least one real-world lake has been wholesale moved into Gensokyo. The word "where" doesn't mean much at this point.
Gensokyo has been described as existing halfway into an alternate dimension, facilitated by the Hakurei border. Some fan theories think that there is a point or small area where the border overlaps into our world, but outside that Gensokyo does not reside inside earthen geography.
It should be mentioned that there have been no official maps of Gensokyo; we don't even know where things are except in relation to each other.
Urban Dead: Where is the zombie-infested city of Malton? It features US style malls, UK style pubs, a great deal of African art and many further contradictions. Advanced possibilities include England, the USA, South Africa, Canada, Australia and Belize according to the wiki. As with everything else, the entire Back Story is left up in the air for each player to decide; fandom has mainly decided on England or some mysterious area of South Africa that receives snow every December.
Didn't Kevan specifically say it was in England? If nothing else, the quarantine forces are British Army, so it has to be somewhere in the UK.
One group Let's Play for Psychonauts had the players trying to figure out where Whispering Rock was located.
Valve based the maps of Team Fortress 2 on the environs of the American Southwest without giving any actual clues as to where 2Fort, Hydro, Badwater, etc. are located. The fandom has a lot of fun finding real life analogues all over the place. (And, of course, once you played enough hours, you start expecting to hear sounds of battle every time you come across an abandoned train yard, or dried out rain canal, or old industrial building...).
In the War! Update, the Demoman's comic opens in Badwater, New Mexico.
Where does Nanashi no Game take place? Well, the fictional university is called "Nanto," as is the subway line on which the second chapter is set, and Nanto is another name for Nara, so maybe it's there. But wait, the name of the protagonist's friend's apartment building is shared by a real building in Fukuoka — so is this supposed to be Fukuoka, or is that a coincidence? And then the protagonist goes to Nakano Broadway, which is the name of a real shopping mall in Tokyo...
Final Fight's Metro City (as seen in the intro of the first game) is somewhere on the East Coast of the United States. Seeing as its port leads directly to the Atlantic Ocean, fan speculation either places it as New York City or close to it (NYC explicitly exists in the SFverse, as seen with Street Fighter III and the Brooklyn-born Alex and Marvel vs. Capcom 3 shows Haggar running for mayor of New York).
Valkyria Chronicles takes place in Gallia◊; a fictional country that would be located near Poland. The game's creators didn't just make a whole country, with its own traditions, geography, political matters, and history, but a whole continent inspired by Europe, Europa◊ with just as much detail as Gallia.
Played straight in Metal Gear, where the only specifics of Outer Heaven's location was 200 miles north of the Galzburg region of South Africa (which likewise also doesn't have its location specified). Likewise, in Metal Gear 2, Zanzibarland is only mentioned as being part of the "Former Soviet Union"(the real Zanzibar is an archipelago off the coast of Tanzania). It's averted in most future installments, where the game/cinematics at least shows a map showing the specific location of the main location of the game (or in the case of Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, take place in actual real life locations (New York City and Costa Rica/Nicaragua, respectively) rendering the trope pointless anyway.).
Saints Row and Saints Row 2 take place in the fictional city of Stilwater which has been implied to be a city in the Great Lakes region. Possibly in Illinois or Michigan. Saints Row: The Third takes place in Steelport which is loosely based on New York City and Pittsburgh. It's safe to say that Steelport and Stilwater are close to eachother because the Saints were known there and it didn't take too long for Pierce and the rest of the Saints to travel to Steelport after they were called in to meet with the Protagonist and Shaundi. Steelport is possibly in the Great Lakes region due to most of the city being surrounded by water. Or possibly Pennsylvania.
MOTHER takes place in the United States... in a completely unidentifiable part of the country that has no ports and just one mountain, and where they name all of the towns after various holidays.
The Persona series likes this. The first game was set in "Mikage-cho," apparently part of an unnamed larger city (there is a Mikagecho in Japan, very close to Kobe). The Persona 2 duology invented Sumaru City which was somewhere on Japan's east coast, near to but distinct from Mikage-cho (unless Mikage-cho was a part of Sumaru, as the first game's cast minus the protagonist were all present in the second). Persona 3 featured the city of Iwatodai, all but owned by the fictional Kirijo Group of companies. Finally, Persona 4 heads for the countryside in the large rural Dying Town of Inaba. Most other games in the Shin Megami Tensei meta-series by Atlus avert the trope, however, placing events firmly in Tokyo.
SouthTown: While in the games never explains from which part of the U.S. is located, additional info heavily implies it's located in Florida and being inspired in Miami.
Paradise City in Burnout: Paradise resembles Miami, but has mountains to the northwest, which don't exist in Florida.
It is unclear if Kadath in Shikkoku No Sharnoth is either north of Britain somewhere or in an alternate dimension. Evidence all points to the latter apart from the fact that to get to Kadath you have to go north.
Annyseed Is definitely set in Scotland, and it's definitely set on the isle of Skye, but exactly what part of the 639 square miles, with a population of just under 10,000 people, remains a mystery. And how come the kids wear what they like, whist attending The Good Old British Comp ? No clues there... Perhaps it's an alternate reality?
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 and/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, although the author has stated that the main characters' home was based upon a former residence of his in North Carolina.
During King and Bailey's wedding ceremony, a cough covers the state name.
The exact location of Domain in Kevin & Kell is not mentioned. Even stranger, the town of Domain is explicitly stated to not exist in our world. Since a variety of other places such as "The Wild" exist the world of K&K, this probably isn't surprising.
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. Moperville has been worked out to be based on Naperville, Illinois on the wiki.
Then again, she might have wanted to do an all-state search. What's the chance that the Grace she's looking for lived in the same state as Moperville?
Eli Parker tried to avoid revealing the location of Unwinder's Tall Comics (beyond "somewhere in Minnesota") for as long as possible. Eventually, a conversation came up which would have been too awkward to write without the characters mentioning the town's name. So Unwinder lives in Garen, Minnesota, which is a Ghost Town in Real Life.
Averted in Homestuck: All the heroes' homes are given coordinates (although they were originally left ambiguous and played this trope straight). John/Jane lives in Maple Valley, Washingtonnote they have an exact address, which really exists, Rose near Rainbow Falls, New York, Dave around Houston, and Jade/Jake's island is in the South Pacific, somewhere northeast of Australia.
The main reason Dave's location isn't set in stone is because Andrew Hussie is savvy enough to realize that Houston doesn't look how it is portrayed in the comic (being much closer to New York or Boston) but wanted to have someone living in a big city, so it remained only hinted, but can clearly be seen on the map on the Act 6 character select screen.
Dirk and Roxy live in the same approximate locations as Dave and Rose, though they live After the End.
Reality On The Norm: It's never made clear which country Reality even lies in. At the beginning of Invasion of the Space Aliens..., the characters argue whether it's in America or Britain, with the narrator chiming in to claim that it lies in Australia. In any case, the city seems to have its own currency, "Reality Dollars".
In Legion of Net.Heroes, Net.ropolis floats from state to state. It has its own senator for this reason.
Trinton Chronicles takes place in a fictionalized version of Virgina, USA where the Chesapeake Bay is actually a mountain range, the land mass is extended out a few miles, and its somewhere plopped between real life towns of Nassawadox and Eastville. The only major changes are that the areas are widened on the map for the city and the Campell Airport doesn't exist nor does the town of Birdsnest, replaced by the city.
Worm is mostly set in Brockton Bay, which is on the Atlantic Coast, possibly in the general vicinity of Cape Cod.
Pact, written by Worm's author, takes place in Jacob's Bell, Canada, but the exact location is left ambiguous.
Welcome to Night Vale: The titular 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 Ralphs 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.
The G.I. Joe cartoon also used a town named Springfield, in the episode "There's No Place Like Springfield"ï¿½where Shipwreck was subjected to a Truman Show Plot to try to get him to spill classified information.
Fans of the show Daria continue to argue over the location of Lawndale even though the creator has actually stated the city's location largely because the alleged location, Maryland, contradicts three of the show's five seasons, which have shown the characters taking day trips to both deserts and mountains.
It doesn't help that Lawndale is always green.
Lampshaded in The Tick, in which the city is literally named "The City." This leads to landmarks being named things like "City City Hall."
Ditto Frisky Dingo, where the town in which all the main characters reside is consistently referred to as Town.
Complete with extensive pauses and shifty eye movements. "... on the street of... the town."
They're probably somewhere near Seattle. When driving to Vegas Killface says "16 hours in the car..." A mile marker w/ different cities on it seems to indicate they are driving south to Vegas. Assuming a 70-75 mph speed limit you end up somewhere in the vicinity of Washington state/northern Oregon
Atlanta may be more likely, since the freeway map on GPS screens corresponds to the I-285 perimeter highway. Also, the Haggar Pants Arena is a carbon copy of the Georgia Dome, albeit with a giant pair of dress pants attached to the roof. Furthermore, [adult swim] is based in Atlanta as well as the production company behind the show before their shutdown.
We've never seen it snowing in Bellwood and there's a desert within fifty miles of the town as shown in the episode "Paradox." Wild Mass Guessing usually places Bellwood somewhere in California or maybe Nevada.
King of the Hill is set in Arlen, Texas. Where in Texas Arlen is, however, is never made clear. The county is mentioned as Heimlich, which is made up, and geographical details change from one episode to the next.
Also, Arlen is based off the town of Garland, Texas.
In a Crossover Punchline on The Simpsons, it is suggested that Arlen is 2000 miles from Springfield, but that doesn't really clear things up one way or the other.
The water park in the episode Four Wave Intersection is eerily similar to Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark in South Padre Island, Texas. In the same episode Dale mentions that Boomhauer was a highly renowned surfer in Corpus Christi. In the episode Escape from Party Island, Hank and his mother and her friends to Port Aransas during Spring Break. All three cities are in the southern part of Texas along the Gulf of Mexico, which suggests that Arlen could be as well.
There are quite a few real world locations mentioned in King of the Hill, however, and most of them suggest that Arlen is a suburb of Austin, Texas. Travis County, where Austin is located, is mentioned in one episode as being very close to Arlen, and Arlen apparently even shares a zipcode with Austin.
Backing this up is the fact that Strickland Propane's Real Life counterpart is in Leander, Texas called Action Propane. Leander is only a short drive from Austin.
It's pretty explicitly around the Dallas/Fort Worth area. What with the strong Dallas influence, driving distance from Arkansas and Oklahoma, and... the bulk of the series.
It could also be based on Bell County with references to the cities of Belton and Kileen. There are also references to them living in central Texas, where Bell County is found (Belton, Kileen, and Temple are all around halfway between Waco and Austin, a 60 mile drive either way).
When Kahn is fired from his job and finds another in Houston, he gripes that it is "a three hour commute."
Code Lyoko is another case, even without the Geographic Flexibility of the American dubbed version. The satellite shots clearly show the place of action to be in the suburbs south of Paris, but the actual town is never named by the characters even in the French version (nor is the river stated to be the Seine). The actual Renault factory which inspired "The Factory" was in Boulogne-Billancourt (and its emplacement fits exactly with a map shown once) but it was destroyed in 2004. Kadic Academy, on the other hand, was inspired by the Lycée Lakanal based in Sceaux, further to the South. Hence the town of the heroes seems to be an alternate-universe hybrid of these two places.
The Island of Sodor in Thomas the Tank Engine is large enough to contain mountains, lost cities, and every other sort of geographical feature... sometimes contradicting itself from season to season. This is in contrast to The Railway Series books' rigid Fantasyworld Map, which place it between the Isle of Man and the Walney Channel, off of Barrow-in-Furness. The island seems to be broadly British in terms of scenery and architecture, but there are notable exceptions.
An unnamed "mainland" is often mentioned (in The Railway Series, this was very explicitly Britain). However, locomotives originating from the Mainland have been both British and American designs.
As of the episode 'The Thomas Way,' the Mainland has been firmly established as Britain. Duck is stated to have worked at Paddington, and a flashback unambiguously shows this to be the one in London.
Complicating matters further, Misty Island, which can be reached by a tunnel from Sodor, appears very North American. Somewhere that is Japan in all but name (see below) is close enough for regular visits.
The geographical uncertainly even extends to other countries. The character Hiro has a Japanese name, speaks with a Japanese accent, is a Japanese class of locomotive and the Art Shift flashback explaining his Origin Story couldn't look any more Japanese. Yet he only ever refers to his home country as "my island."
Bigg City in Tugs is never clearly given a location. One episode is called '4th July,' and features a very red-white-and-blue themed regatta, suggesting an American location. However, almost all the characters have British accents and not a single one has an American accent. The architecture, vehicles and generally the sheer size of the place suggests America. Wherever it is, it's at the mouth of a river near extensive logging camps and it sometimes freezes over in winter. Word of God suggests that inspiration was taken from New York, Chicago and Baltimore.
Phineas and Ferb takes place in Danville, somewhere in the Tri-State Area. Which Tri-State Area? They never say.
In The Pilot, Doofenshmirtz shows the Tri-State Area on a map, putting it somewhere around the Denver Area. While this is consistent with some information (the family can drive to Mt. Rushmore and back easily in a day), in "Hail Doofania" he points his micronation out as being near San Francisco. However, its broadcast station in other episodes is WJOP, which would designate it as being east of the Mississippi River.
The heavily screwy episode "Hip Hip Parade" implies it was named for a guy called Tristate.
And to make it more complicated, what John P. Tristate actually did was unite the "Bi-State Area" with the "Adjacent Area" (founded by Otto H. Adjacent, of course), as if a "tri-state area" was an actual political entity.
Believe it or not, there is a actual city called Danville, which is in the San Ramon Valley in Contra Costa County in California. Unlike the Danville in the series, it is not in a Tri-State Area and is much farther away from Mt. Rushmore.
There is also a Danville in Pennsylvania, which is even farther away.
It might be a Simpsons joke, then; "Danville" was chosen because it's a common and generic name.
For a more minor example, Doofenshmirtz's homeland of Druelselstein. Arguably it could to be some sort of fictional region of Germany, as Doof's dad spoke German, Lawrence described Doof as having "some sort of a German accent", and he's used the German word "dummkopf" ("idiot") a couple times, but later we see that it has its own princess, whom Ferb describes as speaking with "an upper-class Druelselsteinian vocal pattern."
The PBS cartoon series Arthur takes place in Elwood City, with no clear location. But it's probably on the Atlantic coast, because it's within an easy drive of the seashore and is not very far from either Washington. D.C. or Crown City, a New York City lookalike. It also appears to be near the real New York.
If you follow the clues, it's in Pennsylvania. One episode mentions a school field trip to Erie, and another has a short driving vacation to Washington, D.C. And one of the books has Arthur getting a package, with a partial address confirming that yes, it is Pennsylvania.
Interestingly enough, there is an Elwood City in Pennsylvania. It's near Pittsburgh, and less than 90 miles from the above mentioned Erie.
They went on a field trip to visit the Amish, so yeah.
In an early episode, D.W. asks Arthur, "Where's the nearest island?" He replies, "Staten Island."
Middleton in Kim Possible is apparently close enough to the heartland to be able to access Tennessee in less than thirty minutes, but has California weather.
It's been shown on maps several times — in a different location each time.
Amity Park from Danny Phantom has been hinted at to be anywhere from states like Louisiana to the northwest states like Oregon and Washington. General consensus is that it's located in the central U.S., but that doesn't explain why Casper High has "Northwestern Standardized Testing"...
The Grand Finale actually zooms in on Earth, implying Amity Park is indeed, in the central U.S. area. Whether you still wanna take that as canonical is up to you.
Lake Eerie puts Amity Park up north! Which would actually make sense, since they drove to Wisconsin... then again, it's also been implied to be in Louisiana, too.
Metalocalypse: The location of Mordhaus, Dethklok's home, and the surrounding land is up for grabs. People have tried to get clues based on how Dethklok got to various gigs, but then it starts getting inconsistent. The only thing fans can conclude is that it isn't Los Angeles.
Or the Marianas Trench.
And it doesn't help that season three reveals that Mordhaus can fly.
Rocky and Bullwinkle come from Frostbite Falls, supposedly in Minnesota, which is just about as conveniently populated as Springfield; Boris and Natasha (and their respective cohorts, superiors and employers) come from Pottsylvania, a tiny eastern European republic, which according to The (live-action) Movie Boris And Natasha is nestled between the two other tiny eastern European republics of Wrestlemania and Yursovania.
Frostbite Falls is based on the real-world town of International Falls, Minnesota. One episode even lists Frostbite Falls as being located in Koochiching County, the real-world county International Falls is in.
Monster Buster Club takes place in Singletown, but the sub-national territory of Singletown and the nationally of Singletown is never explained.
WordGirl's Fair City never has its location fully explained, though it has been revealed that it's situated near some type of body of water.
Hilariously parodied in Pinky and the Brain: Brain creates his own country named Brainania, and after Pinky accidentally declares war on America, The US is forced to call for a truce because they don't know where Brainania is, and they can't go to war with a country they can't find.
The city in which the Teen Titans animated series takes place is never explicitly named in the show, though it's shown to be on the west coast of the United States. In the Teen Titans Go!! comic based on the animated series, it's given the (rather unfortunate) moniker of Jump City. The Titans East, however, get to live in and protect "Steel City." In the Teen Titans comic that inspired the series, the team was based first in a secret location near Gotham City. Later incarnations were based in New York City and San Francisco.
There are multiple other episodes which place it in southern California; the founding episode is the only exception. For example, the Old West episode, in which Timmy's family reaches the desert in their car in just a few hours, and the another episode states it's in a time zone three hours behind the East coast.
"Fairy Idol" makes it even more explicit, where Dimmsadale is zoomed in on from satellite maps to locate Chester McBadbat. Apparently it's in Southern California. Makes sense, given the town's easy access to the beach, desert, and mountainous forests.
Where is Doug's hometown of Bluffington? It's near Bloatsburg.
Gardenia, the home town of Bloom, protagonist of Winx Club. It appears to be in some English-speaking nation given the number of English signs such as the big "Welcome to Gardenia" sign in the first episode. It certainly isn't Italy like some fans thought since in Season 4 they had to travel to Italy in order to find a certain fairy.
In Making Fiends, there's the town of Clamburg. With clams, Puritans and a relation to Vermont and Canada, you would assume it's somewhere in New England. However, that wouldn't explain how it manages to be blazing hot in December and February, and the creator lives in Los Angeles and may have been raised there.
The Transformers has "Central City", from the 2-part episode "Megatron's Master Plan", which apparently isn't that far from Autobot Headquarters. While the Autobots' crashed ship isn't given a specific location in the cartoon (it was said to be on the side of "Mt. St. Hilary" in the Marvel Comics, somewhere near Portland, Oregon), in "Cosmic Rust" Perceptor is left in Fox Creek Canyon, just 3 miles from Autobot Headquarters.
The Blue Falcon and Dog Wonder, a Batman and Robin parody come from "Big City" with their state never stated. They have a port on the ocean and are near a huge lake - an apparent joke on one of the great lakes. This was reiterated when they visited Dexter's Lab on Cartoon Network. Dexter's Dad asked how the Falcons football team were doing To which the hero replied "No, I'm the Blue Falcon, from Big City!" "Yeah, how is life in the big city?". No reference to the state was given there either.
League of Super Evil is set in "Metrotown". Its location is hinted at when explosions and such are seen from space suggesting it is near Vancouver, Canada where the show is made. Like Springfield, Metrotown has a statue of its founder, the aptly named Jeremiah Metrotown.
There's a real-life neighborhood of Greater Vancouver called Metrotown. However, it's a neighborhood, not a town in its own right; it's part of southern Burnaby.
The spinoff Dora's Explorer Girls is equally vague. The city is unspecified, all of Dora's friends speak fluent spanglish, and it seems to be set in the same area as the original.
Johnny Test can't decide whether Porkbelly is in an unspecified American state or in Ontario.
The animated adaptation of W.I.T.C.H. never really describes Heatherfield's location either, though the English version seems to be set in a North American city that has moderate snowfall in winter and is located by the ocean.
The Rugrats franchise is very vague about this. The main setting is never touched on for various reasons:
Rugrats: A show about the world through the naive eyes of the little babies. Because of this, no baby would know about the background of their hometown.
All Grown Up!: A show where the former babies of the first series are too preoccupied with pre-teen issues, extracurriculars, middle school, and sibling disputes to even mention or take note of where they live (let alone take the time to smell the roses)
But aside from the obvious, more information explaining the franchise's setting ambiguity can be read here.
Many clues do point to California. In an early episode "Special Delivery" there's a California flag at the post office. Grandpa has a California license plate in "No Bones About It."
It may be in California, because in the episode "Boats", Mr. Scatterbrain mentions taking a wrong turn at Tahiti.
In "Travel", you can see a bridge similar to the Golden Gate Bridge, which also supports this theory.
Fillmore!: although X Middle School is easily large enough to qualify as a small city by itself, there's really no solid information on where it is beyond "somewhere that snows in the winter", "north of Tennessee" and "not Cleveland". Character accents don't help much, since you can find virtually any accent if you look hard enough - everything from Southern to Scottish has been used at least once.
According to The Other Wiki, X Middle School is located in the suburbs of Minneapols and St. Paul in Minnesota.
Krazy Kat kept the location of Kokonino Kounty ambiguous for decades, until this short established it's in Idaho.
Littlest Pet Shop (2012) is set in a American city know as Downtown City. It's location in the country is unknown but the references the show makes imply it's based on New York and San Francisco.
Not quite the same, but the person on the receiving end of this call was probably asking this in their head.
The German running gag, ''the Bielefeld Conspiracy''. The joke of this is, that since the city, despite having a population of 330 000, bears no significance in German culture, tourism, history, politics and economy; there is no reason why anyone would know anything about it. Therefore, Bielefeld doesn't exist and is really just a conspiracy by the Powers That Be.
The European Community once published a map of Europe that omittted the whole of Wales and gave Great Britain a brand new coastline running north-south from the Wirral to the Severn Estuary. Towns like Chester and Shrewsbury could apparently look forward to reinventing themselves as beach resorts. Many apologies were made to an irritated Welsh nation and the country was eventually restored.
Many cities share the same name, which can make telling which is which a bit of a pain. Alexandria, which most would think of as the city in Egypt, is only one of eight cities in Alexander the Great's former empire, (several other Alexandrias changed their names since his time). There even more in other countries, with two Alexandrias in Canada, three in Australia, and 19 in the US.
In Hawaiian Mythology, frequent references are made to The Old Country, an island or archipelago known as "Kahiki." Ninety percent of the time, Kahiki is understood or interpreted to be Tahiti, but it actually could refer to pretty much anywhere in Polynesia that isn't Hawaii. (In other words, including but not necessarily limited to, Tahiti.) Making this trope Older Than Dirt, or at least Older Than Feudalism.
Very common in Polynesia as a whole, actually, presumably due to the nature of their nomadic, oceanic culture. The Maori, for example, had an identical concept called Hawaiki.
There are over 50 placenames in the US with Lafayette, La Fayette, or Fayette in them. Almost all of them were named after this guy.
Used in the short info film Swingin' Six to illustrate the importance of zip codes. The Springfield part begins at 10m10s.
The London Underground has a fake station used for training purposes called "Ashfield West," based on no particular line or location.