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Useful Notes: Seattle

"Well we spread the word through the underground
That we were the hottest new thing in town
A record guy came out to see us one day
And just like always, we didn't play
And it knocked him out - he said he loved our work
He said he loved our work but he wasn't sure if he could sell a record with nothing on it
I said, 'Tell him we're from Seattle'
He advanced us two and a half million dollars"
Todd Snider, "Talking Seattle Grunge Rock Blues"

A city situated on the eastern bank of Puget Sound in the state of Washington, and its surrounding metro area. Named for a 19th century Duwamish tribal chief from the region, who did not give an environmental speech often attributed to him. Home base of (or at least origin-point for) Microsoft, Nintendo of America, Valve, Starbucks, Boeingnote , Amazon and several other companies of note, and the birthplace of Grunge music (Nirvana in particular, despite not being from here). Its landmarks include Pike Place Marketnote , Pioneer Square (which pre-gentrification was the original Skid Row), The Experience Music Project, a half-mile Monorail constructed for the 1962 World's Fair which exemplifies Zeerust to a tee, the Seattle Underground which was a partial inspiration for Ankh-Morpork, and the Space Needle, also constructed for the World's Fair note .

Seen as trendy and bohemian by many, thanks to grunge and Frasier. Often used in fiction as a destination for a character being sent on a very long bus ride.

In media, thanks to the cheaper filming costs, Vancouver, British Columbia, is often used as a stand-in for Seattle or for unidentified parts of the USA resembling Seattle, leading to the term "Seacouver" for such settings.

Contrary to its treatment of other media Seattle remains one of the major hubs of videogame development in America behind the LA/San Francisco/Silicon Valley region. Possessing the aforementioned Nintendo and Valve software along with numerous other developers.

Until the 2014 Seahawks team and their "12th Man" fan-brigade finally broke the drought, the city trailed only Cleveland as the Butt Monkey of the U.S. sports world due to its spotty track record in regards to major league sports. (Four championships in the entire city's modern history.note ) In recent years, the situation had been particularly grim, with even the once-powerful University of Washington Huskies NCAA football team having the worst single season record in history, and the Seattle SuperSonics NBA team being spirited away to Oklahoma City. Not helping matters is the fact that the city is famous for coffee, computers, grunge music, liberal politics note , and rain,note  which are decidedly at odds with the interests of the typical sports fan. The sports fans who do call the area home responded to the aforementioned pirating of their NBA franchise by latching onto Seattle Sounders FC, the newest MLS expansion team, and making it one of the few teams in the league to regularly sell out the stadium. CenturyLink Field, the home stadium to the Sounders and Seahawks, was from 2007 to 2010 true to the city's rebellious spirit by being the only stadium in the NFL to serve neither Pepsi nor Coca-Cola beverages on its grounds, having instead awarded its concession to the locally-based Jones Soda Company. The rights have since been granted to Coca-Cola, which definitely makes going to Sounders games a lot less fun.

Home to the authors of the webcomic Penny Arcade, who, as the above paragraph illustrates, have difficulty understanding the Team Spirit of sports.

Bruce Lee grew up in Seattle, and graduated with a degree in psychology from the University of Washington.

Is also the hometown of Sir Mix-a-Lotnote , whose song "Posse on Broadway" was based on Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood.

In addition to the monorail, Seattle is the hub of the largest passenger and automobile ferry fleet in the worldnote . Its unique car ferries are almost always featured in media from Seattle. It's also home to the two longest floating bridges in the worldnote , spanning Lake Washington to Mercer Island east of the city. One carries Interstate 90, the other carries State Route 520. The third-longest floating bridge, the Hood Canal bridgenote , is around thirty miles northwest of the first two.

About half an hour to the south is the city of Tacoma (the "Tac" in SeaTac, which is a geographic area as well as the nickname for the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport). It used to be a fairly industrial town, infamous for the horrible "Tacoma Aroma" produced by the city's paper mills, but has undergone revitalization in recent years due to increased port traffic, various downtown renewal projects, and an influx of consumer dollars from troops stationed at the burgeoning Joint Base Lewis-McChord, an Army/Air Force facility just to its south. Even the former site of the ASARCO smelting plant is being turned into luxury housing (why anyone would want to live over a former toxic waste site is another question). Its most famous son is arguably the one-eyed glass artist Dale Chihuly, whose works are all over the city (from Benaroya Hall to one of the McDonalds). Unlike Seattle, Tacoma hosts no major league teams of its own, though the Mariners' triple-A affiliate (the Tacoma Rainiers) is regionally popular, and the Tacoma Dome (in addition to being an occasional WWE venue) has occasionally hosted Seattle's teams while their home venues were being renovated.

Just to the east of Lake Washington is "the Eastside", which covers Bellevue, Redmond, Renton, Kirkland, Issaquah, Medina, and other assorted smaller cities and towns. If you hear someone from this area mention the Eastside, this is what they're talking about—not Central and Eastern Washington, on the eastern side of the mountains.

Fiction set in or near Seattle:

Comedy
  • One of Bill Cosby's early comedy routines is about the city, and its supposed lack of sun.

Comic Books
  • Green Arrow has spent much of his career based in Seattle.
Film

Literature

Live-Action TV

Music

Tabletop Games
  • Genius The Transgression includes a premade setting, the Seattle of Tomorrow.
  • Shadowrun: Features Seattle and most of south Puget Sound as a walled-off metroplex. Considering its central location between several nations and status as a transportation hub between North America and Asia, it is treated as the setting's "home base".
    • Word of God has it that Seattle was singled out by all the (Chicago-based) game designers because, at the time (1980s), it wasn't sufficiently prominent in pop culture to constitute a trope of its own; thus, they could freely make stuff up about the area without most of their game's audience catching on. They were aiming for Aliens in Cardiff, not realizing how Grunge and various movies and TV series would elevate the city's prominence in the near future. Ironically, Jordan Weisman (the lead designer on the original Shadowrun) would later move to Seattle, in part because of Microsoft acquiring FASA, and later to engage in game studio serial entrepreneurship.

Video Games
  • Deus Ex: Invisible War has its opening act set in Seattle.
  • World in Conflict: The first and last missions take place in Seattle.
  • Phantasmagoria 2 happens in Seattle.
  • In Mass Effect 3, the opening levels take place in a Seattle/Vancouver hybrid megacity, where the two grew so large they sprawled into each other.
  • An expansion pack for Railroad Tycoon 2 features a rather unique scenario where the player must build a metro transit system in Seattle. The city also shows up on North American maps in general.
  • inFAMOUS: Second Son is essentially developer Sucker Punch's love letter to their hometown of the Seattle/Bellevue area.
  • As per the tabletop game above, almost every (but not all) Shadowrun-licensed video game is set there, including Shadowrun Returns.
  • The Gran Turismo games starting from 2 up to 4 had fictionalized circuits of the city. One prominent feature of the circuits was the Kingdome which had been recently demolished in 2000 because of the newly built Safeco Field. The exclusion of the Seattle circuits from 5 was due to the Kingdome featured in the earlier games.
  • In Zak Mc Kracken, the title character is working on a tabloid article about a two-headed squirrel which lives in Seattle. The SEA-TAC airport and Mt. Rainier are also featured.

Web Comics

Web Original

Western Animation
  • Hey Arnold!: The city is never named, but per Word of God it's an amalgam of Seattle, Portland, and New York City. Arnold's house is underneath the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
  • Appears briefly in The Simpsons Movie.
    • And in an Itchy & Scratchy short. Itchy saws the top off the Space Needle, and it gets stuck in Scratchy's eye.
    • Springfield itself is an amalgam of several urban areas throughout the northwest, including Seattle as well as Portland, Oregon (where Matt Groening grew up) and Olympia, Washington (where he went to school). On one instance, a letter addressed to the Simpsons had the state abbreviation "NT", which Word of God claimed stood for "North Tacoma".
    • In "Homer the Clown", Krusty gives a list of inherently funny place names, including Walla Walla, Cucamonga, and Seattle.
    • Krusty himself is (vaguely) based on longtime television host and Seattle icon JP Patches.
  • A setting for one episode of Scooby-Doo. Features a sequence set at a "Space Needle" that was evidently animated by someone who had the structure described to them third hand over a bad telephone connection.
  • Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1 is nominally set in Seattle, although the backdrops are competely unchanged from the earlier seasons when the show was set on the Jersey Shore. One promo refers to the setting as "Seattle and/or New Jersey".
  • Phineas and Ferb though not set in Seattle, the city is mentioned more than any other U.S. city, and at the end of "The Chronicles of Meap" the credits were played beneath a "promo" for Meapless in Seattle which was originally not going to be made, but it was and was released.

Twin CitiesMajor World CitiesBaltimore
San FranciscoImageSource/PhotographyShanghai
San FranciscoUsefulNotes/The United StatesSt Louis

alternative title(s): Seattle
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