Useful Notes: Cleveland

Now with less fire, but plenty of steamers!note 

"In Russia, we used to make fun of Cleveland."
Yakov Smirnoff

Known in some circles as "The Mistake By The Lake" (i.e., Erie) or "The/Tha Land," Cleveland is the largest urban area in Ohio. Located on the state's northeastern coast, it's often considered a Wretched Hive and a Place Worse Than Death, and the source of a steaming joke that's been going for years. Recent polls and news articles only reinforce this image, as it was once rated the most miserable city in America. It was also the original Trope Namer for Aliens In Cleveland, as the city is considered by many the image of mundane mediocrity (at best).

Possibly the biggest reason why this goes unchallenged is because all but the most anal-retentive of locals have a sense of humor about it — they'll tell you themselves how Cleveland is America's down-pat Butt Monkey. With the brutal winters, massive urban decay, a river that was once so polluted that it caught fire thirteen times, several political scandals leading to multiple FBI raids, and the fact that road construction is never finished (also a staple of Ohio in general), most residents have no illusions of being in paradise, and often speak with Gallows Humor. Some choose to stay, however, as the city has a low cost of living, a growing healthcare industry (the world-renown Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals), and decent nightlife. It can even be called a mini-Chicago, due to its patchwork of ethnic neighborhoods, Midwest atmosphere, public rail that's both elevated and underground, division by a major river (east and west in this case, with people on either side almost never going further than downtown), and massive crime rates.

The term "Rock & Roll" was coined in Cleveland by local DJ Alan Freed, and the city has a proud musical heritage and is home to both the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Cleveland Orchestra, one of America's "Big Five" symphonies, and scat jazz, oddly enough. Also, Playhouse Square in downtown is the second-largest theatre complex in the United States, behind New York City's Lincoln Center. The city is also sometimes used as a stand-in for NYC or Chicago in film, due to lower filming costs, since it has similar architecturenote . It possesses a surprising number of truly beautiful churches, more museums than a city thrice its size generally has, and two of the best library systems in the country. Cleveland's the home of Case Western Reserve University, one of the more bizarrely named colleges in the countrynote , and Cleveland State University. An hour southeast is Kent State University, a Berzerkley known for an infamous shootout in 1970.

Its baseball and basketball teams — the Indians and Cavaliers, respectively — are fairly solid, although the Indians have currently gone for over sixty years without a World Series pennant, longer than any other team in the American League and longer than any Major League Baseball team that hasn't been cursed by a goat-owning bartender, while the Cavs lost star player LeBron James (from nearby Akron) to the Miami Heat for four years, where he finally won two titles, before choosing to return in 2014. And supporting its football team, the Browns note , tends to be a lesson in masochism. The city has had a rivalry with Pittsburgh for decades. Also, never, ever say anything nice about the Baltimore Ravensnote . Cleveland sports teams general go through periods of crappy performance, streaks of several games on end, interrupted with periods where they steamroll through everyone in their way.

The city was named for surveyor Moses Cleaveland (the first 'A' was reportedly dropped so the name would fit on a newspaper masthead) and has no connection to the English county of Cleveland, or the 22nd and 24th President of the United States (who was only distantly related to Moses Cleaveland).

Has been the subject of some rather infamous but hilarious videos.

Cleveland in fiction:

  • Antwone Fisher
  • Howard the Duck
  • American Splendor
  • The Fortune Cookie
  • Major League (the first was filmed in Milwaukee, the second in Baltimore)
  • The Drew Carey Show (whose one-time theme song is the former Trope Namer, used in full irony here)
  • Overton from Living Single
  • Marvel superheroine Dagger (of Cloak & Dagger fame) is from Shaker Heights, a wealthy suburb in the East Side.
  • On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, passing references are made to a Hellmouth in Cleveland. Robin is shown to have moved there with his own squad of slayers.
  • How I Met Your Mother: the main character of the show, Ted Mosby, is from Cleveland, namely Shaker Heights. Series creator Carter Bays (he based Ted’s character off of himself) also hails from Shaker.
    • Ted’s best friend from school, Punchy, still lives in Cleveland with his fiancée. In season 6, he asks Ted to be the best man at his wedding, which may or may not lead to a major turning point in the series.
  • Bosom Buddies: Kip and Henry went to high school in Shaker Heights.
  • The 30 Rock episode of the same name portrayed Cleveland as an idyllic paradise, albeit through the eyes of harried New Yorkers. In actuality, Public Square should have a lot more homeless people and pigeons hanging out.
  • The Escapists
  • The opening scene of Air Force One was filmed from the roof of Severance Hall.
  • Fat Freddy of The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers is briefly elected mayor (after trying to replicate Dick Whittington's adventures and become Lord Mayor of London, Cleveland is reckoned second best). People moon him and throw bottles during his inaugural parade.
  • Portal takes place in Cleveland, according to information in Half-Life 2: Episode Two. Later retconned, Portal 2 takes place in a salt mine in the state of Michigan, though both settings could have been used.
  • Welcome To Collinwood
  • The Soloist
  • Stranger Than Paradise
  • Kappa Mikey main character Mikey Simon is said to be from Cleveland.
  • Not fiction, but a number of Cleveland's restaurants have been featured on TLC.
  • Several books/movies based on the Torso Murder (a Cleveland serial killer) such as Butcher's Dozen or John Peyton Cooke's novel Torso.
  • Criminal Minds had an episode with a serial killer in Cleveland.
  • Blood and Rust by S. A. Swiniarski a book that contains two vampire stories set in Cleveland.
  • A few Route 66 episodes take place in Cleveland.
  • The short story "On a Clear Day You can See All the Way to Conspiracy" by Desmond Warzel.
  • The Infocom game Leather Goddesses Of Phobos includes a small area of Cleveland, where it is compared (unfavorably) to the slime pits of Venus and sandstorms of Mars.
  • A few Get Fuzzy strips mention Cleveland such as the one that rates it the smelliest city in America.
  • A proportionately high number of long running comic strips are written by Clevelanders and/or take place in Cleveland.
    • Crankshaft By Tom Batiuk and drawn by Chuck Ayers, and its spin-off Funky Winkerbean. Both have various references to Cleveland show up in the comics.
    • Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson, although the strip rarely has references to the city.
    • Flo & Friends by John Gibel and Jenny Campbell definitely makes references to Cleveland
    • Born Loser by Chip Sansom
    • Pajama Diaries by Terri Libenson
    • Ask Shagg by Peter Guren
    • Ziggy by Tom Wilson, Sr. and Tom Wilson, Jr. Senior lived in Cleveland while his son lived in Cincinnati, so there were references to both Ohio cities.
  • In View From The Top, Cleveland is the hub of Royalty Airlines' commuter-class sibling, Royalty Express, and serves as the setting for the middle third of the film.
  • Hot In Cleveland
  • The short story "Fields" by Desmond Warzel takes place in Cleveland during the final days of humanity, after most plant life on Earth has been choked out by genetically modified wheat.
  • In Little Shop of Horrors, Audrey II eats Cleveland.
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door Numbuh 1's history report decribes the founding of an adult paradise, "they named it Cleveland."
  • In Deadpool's ending in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, he accidentally destroys Cleveland during a drunken party aboard Galactus' ship.
  • Carl Sandburg's poem "Honky Tonk in Cleveland, Ohio" seems to paint the Cleveland of the first half of the 20th century as a happening jazz and blues scene, albeit with a darker undertone of hedonism and disappointment for the common worker (in keeping with Sandburg's socialism).
  • Les Roberts's series of detective novels featuring Milan Jacovich (fifteen books as of 2011).
  • In Skin Horse, the transgenic convention takes place in Cleveland.
  • In a darkly humorous twist of fate, Cleveland is left as the largest city left standing in North America within the timeline, Protect and Survive.
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun is set in the fictional town of Rutherford, Ohio. Throughout the series, Cleveland is treated as being the nearest big city.
  • S. Andrew Swann, a local, set the first book of his Moreau Series and both books of his Dragons of the Cuyahoga series in Cleveland.
  • The Avengers was partially filmed in Cleveland, probably in response to The Dark Knight Rises being filmed in Pittsburgh. Locals found it hilarious when "Germany" looked like the Cleveland Museum of Arts. Also, the exterior of the opera house in Stuttgart is actually the entrance of the Terminal Tower, one of Cleveland's most recognizable buildings.
  • Cleveland was seen in one episode of The Fairly Oddparents. Cosmo and Mr. Turner call it "the magical land of Cleve".
  • In NFL Quarterbacks On Facebook, the city of Cleveland, as well as Browns fans, were Driven to Suicide whenever someone mentioned the Baltimore Ravens' successes after the 1996 move, especially after they won two Super Bowls (XXXV and XLVII).
  • Draft Day, about the day in the life of a beleaguered Cleveland Browns GM.
  • Halo: Uprising is set in a 26th century Cleveland, now a prosperous resort city after 500 years of improvement. Too bad the Covenant attack.

Celebrities from Cleveland and the surrounding area:

Alternative Title(s):

Cleveland Rocks