Follow TV Tropes


Hollywood New England

Go To

"I dwell 'neath the shade of Harvard
In the State of the Sacred Cod,
Where the Lowells speak only to Cabots,
And the Cabots speak only to God."
Richard Clarke Cabot

Ah, New England: Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Cradle of The American Revolution. Home of Plymouth Rock, Walden Pond, Harvard, Yale, Dunkin' Donuts, Ben and Jerry's, the Red Sox, the Patriots, the Celtics, the Bruins. And chock full of fish.

In media, by contrast, New England gets Flanderized into... well, there's kind of a duality here.

On one side, we have the highbrow intellectuals who go to Ivy League universities, write books, dabble in philosophy and end up as magnificent eccentrics. Many of these are scions of the "Codfish Aristocracy" or "Boston Brahmins", uber-exclusive, old-money White Anglo-Saxon Protestant families who can trace their ancestry back to the Mayflower passenger list.note  All this snootiness comes in very handy when a producer requires a Black Sheep... or just wants an excuse to film in and around Kennebunkport, Hyannis, or Martha's Vineyard.

On the other side of the coin, we have the tough immigrant laborers, folksy down-home farmers, and of course the crusty flannel-wearing fishermen who give us the seafood we so crave. All of these people will be veritable founts of down-to-earth wisdom, generally dispensed using as many goofily inscrutable metaphors as possible ("Cold enough to freeze the skin off a beanpole!")

Come to think of it, fish is brain food, so maybe it all fits together after all...

In reality, New England is one of the oldest regions of the United States: six separate states,note  with a mountain rangenote  running up the middle and the Gulf Stream just offshore, meaning the climate and geography are all a lot more variable than that found in most other regions of the country. (Don't like the weather? Wait five minutes.) Consequently, seacoast Massachusetts is a very different place from the suburbs of Connecticut's Fairfield County, the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, the "Northern Plantations" of Maine, or the Green Mountains of Vermont,note  and each area has its own variations of culture, accent and traditions. All of which is pretty much lost on Hollywood.

The standard protocol is for the lowly, regardless of region, to be given a generic Down East accent. The grand get the Boston-specific version, as heavily popularized by JFK and family. The irony here is that no other person in New England actually speaks like the Kennedys. Their infamous accent actually has a touch of the Queen's English mixed in, because the founding generation spent a fair amount of time in the UK while growing up (family patriarch Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. was Ambassador to the Court of St. James's 1938-1940 and had other business there as well).

Their ubiquitousness on the cultural scene, meanwhile, has resulted in 95% of Hollywood having no idea how to use a Boston accent, thus bolstering the careers of Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and brothers Mark and Donnie Wahlberg. For that matter, non-New Englanders generally don't realize that there are in fact four versions of the "Boston" accent, only one of which is the stereotypical version — and in real life, it's hardly as exaggerated as depicted.

This trope mostly covers Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, and eastern Massachusetts (Boston, Plymouth, Cape Cod, and the islands). More individualized stereotypes of the less-covered areas are as follows:

  • Connecticut: Posh universities with lots of old money, endless suburban sprawl, tons of rich spoiled brats, two casinos where you can blow your retirement fund in an afternoon, stupidly aggressive and ill-mannered drivers, and some horrifically nasty cities with very small pockets of safety that you do not stray from under any circumstances (Hartford, New Haven, and Bridgeport all come to mind). Rural CT overlaps with Lovecraft Country. There is also the vastly different "Quiet Corner" in the Northeast, which is a lot like rural Mass, while its southern portion is mostly known for tourism (primarily Mystic) and submarines, as Groton holds the East Coast's main United States Navy submarine base. There's some debate as to whether Western Connecticut (Greenwich, Stamford, Fairfield) should be considered part of New England as the area is geographically and, often times, culturally part of the New York City metropolitan area, with many of its residents commuting to the city for work.
    • Hartford: Like Springfield, mentioned below - i.e. a rough, mean city desperately grasping at whatever fragments of former greatness remain, mostly held up by the insurance industry (leading to its other reputation as a haven for Corrupt Corporate Executives). If you don't work here, you're probably passing through on your way up or down 91.
    • New Haven: A city of haves and have-nots, split roughly between the affluence of Yale and the remnants of opulence from the city's better days, and many, many seriously impoverished and notoriously dangerous areas that you do not wander anywhere near after dark, and marked by an economy that attracts enough talent to not be in danger of collapsing any time soon, but is so heavily stratified and stagnant that the city is unlikely to ever get ahead. Also famous for its pizza, particularly the white clam pie, as well as for being the most likely birthplace of the hamburger.
  • Western Mass: Farmland, woods, college kids, and more farmland. There's also quite a bit of suburban sprawl down in the southwestern corner, particularly in Agawam, Longmeadow, and Wilbraham. Stay out of Springfield, Holyoke, and Chicopee at all cost, and it may not be a bad idea to just stick to Amherst and Northampton if you're averse to rednecks as well. Depending on your delineation (Palmer, Ware, and Hardwick generally being the line between Western and Central), the Quabbin region (including Athol, see below) is sometimes put into this area... and the Quabbin itself being a reservoir built atop four dissolved townships (with some ruins still standing, explored by scuba divers) adds to the forlorn and isolated feel of the area. Your coffee most likely comes from Pride, Cumberland Farms, or a Big Y Express location, as Dunkin is comparatively rare out here compared to the rest of the state, and you also most likely do your grocery shopping at Big Y or Stop & Shop, as this is the only part of New England where none of the big three grocery outlets (Market Basket, Hannaford, and Price Chopper) operate.note 
    • Springfield: As mentioned above, a rough, decrepit, dangerous city whose best days passed eons ago, and now rests on life support with the occasional well-meaning but ultimately doomed revitalization effort coming and going with little impact (particularly MGM, which was billed as a game-changing reviver for the city, did very little of what it was projected to do, and nowadays is viewed as another flash-in-the-pan that contributes to the city's already rough traffic situation and little else). It does have something of a reputation for quality restaurants, however, namely Red Rose (Italian), Student Prince Cafe (German), and fast-rising newcomer Puerto Rico Bakery. If you're here, you're almost assuredly passing by on the Mass Pike or 91 on your way to Hartford and 95, and if not that, you're on your way to Six Flags New England or the Big E.
    • Northampton: The Provincetown of Western Mass - while traditionally viewed as the domain of women (primarily due to Smith College and the nearby Mount Holyoke College in Hadley) and still having the highest percentage of lesbians anywhere in the US, the whole LGBTQ+ spectrum has a presence there these days and you will find about as many gay and queer men and nonbinaries there. Also generally known as Western Mass's countercultural hub, rivaled only by Amherst and possibly Brattleboro, Vermont (about forty minutes to the north - while not in Western Mass, it is close enough to the border to have a fair bit of cultural overlap), with numerous independent art spaces and music venues (though any self-respecting Northamptonite will not include Pearl Street or anything else owned by Iron Horse Entertainment Group in that assessment).
  • Berkshires: Trees. Lots of trees. May as well be another plane of existence. Often treated as a part of upstate New York with the serial numbers filed off, and Pittsfield is often viewed as your first taste of the Rust Belt. Say your prayers if you have to traverse the North Adams-Charlemont stretch of the Mohawk Trail at literally any point during the winter or during heavy rainfall; between the absurdly steep hills and even more absurdly sharp hairpin turns, there's a wealth of opportunities to lose control and slam into a guardrail (if you're lucky) or a rock wall or tree (if you're not). The point where the hilltowns end and the Berkshires begin is something of a matter of debate, though anything west of Shelburne Falls (for the North Adams side) or Goshen and Chesterfield (for the Pittsfield side) is generally a safe bet.
  • Central Mass: 50/50 split between rednecks and bedroom communities for Boston, Worcester, and (as you head south) Hartford. Also Lovecraft Country, particularly Athol (which formed the basis for Dunwich, and Route 2 for the Aylesbury Pike) and Orange, though most of the locales between Greenfield and Winchendon would probably count, as well as the ones south of Gardner. Might also be one of the few places in Mass where Dunkin' Donuts (or just Dunkin' nowadays) and/or Honey Dew aren't necessarily what's occupying the cupholders in your car on your way to work, as Gourmet Donuts has managed to work its way up into being a fairly common part of Central Mass life.
    • Fitchburg: The fabled "Dirty Burg". Once a reasonably prosperous mill city, now a notoriously decrepit and depressed Dying Town marked largely by abandoned mill buildings, run-down triple deckers, equally battered and half-shuttered strip malls, and vacant lots, plus a middling state university and various pockets of halfhearted redevelopment attempts.
    • Worcester: Gangs, a labyrinthine and endlessly confusing highway layout, even more confusing and frustrating road layouts (particularly Kelley Square, which anyone from Worcester will agree is an absolute nightmare on a good day), a staggering amount of unbelievably steep and lengthy hills (one of which famously caused a delivery truck to roll down a hill and wipe out a parked car), slumlords galore, and a notoriously terrible public transit system. If you're from here, you're probably of French-Canadian, Italian, Syrian, Lebanese, or Armenian descent. If you're here, you're probably attending something at the DCU Center or the Palladium. Avoid the area near the Midtown Mall after dark. If you're from the Boston area, anything west of here may as well be marked "here there be dragons".
  • Merrimack Valley: Suburban sprawl and lots of it, especially as you cross into New Hampshire (Nashua in particular is legendary for its vast loosely-connected web of strip malls, chain restaurants, and office parks near the Mass border). Do not, under any circumstances, ever enter Lawrence unless you have a deathwish.note 
    • Nashua: Maze-like, absolutely nonsensical urban design and some of the most egregious suburban sprawl in central New England. Good luck navigating West Nashua and its endless labyrinth of one-ways without a GPS. If you're here, you're probably either mall-hopping or on your way to Manchester, Salem (for Canobie Lake Park), or Merrimack (for the outlets).
    • Lowell: A textile city that actually managed to bounce back (unlike its neighbors Lawrence and Haverhill), mostly due to UMass Lowell and, to a much lesser degree, tourism from the historical architecture in the center. If you're here and don't go to school here, you're probably attending something at the Tsongas Center.
  • Metro West: So named by the local newspaper Middlesex News in 1983 to define its coverage area, a cluster of towns in western Middlesex County, but the definition is malleable, with many organizations including towns in the 495/128 belt as far north as Wilmington and as far south as Foxborough, making the term a sort of catch-all for the arc of suburban sprawl between Boston and Worcester. During Massachusetts's economic recovery and pivot towards pharmaceutical research and technology, this area became known as the "Arc of Innovation" because of the presence of dozens of Massachusetts's fastest growing companies. Playing host to one of the densest clusters of colleges and universities in the nation, and the resulting academia-to-industry pipeline, has given this region a reputation as a brain trust of sorts. More negatively, the towns here are very posh and it's de rigeur that the houses and colleges here are out of reach of basically everyone but the wealthy — especially in places like Sudbury and Weston. Places like Framingham, Natick, and Marlborough are generally considered more working class and affordable, but this area, by its nature as a hub of the educated professional class, is always gentrifying. If you live here, you are probably working in pharma, IT, or the defense industry. If you're visiting, it's to look at Revolutionary War-era houses and monuments, view the fall foliage, visit friends and family attending college, or you're attending a Patriots game at Gillette Stadium.
  • North Shore: Fishermen, townies, and heroin. Also has some Lovecraft Country features, especially since Salem—yes, of the witch trials—is located here. If you're venturing up here, you're probably either going to a large gathering at the Kowloon or passing through on your way to the New Hampshire Seacoast. If it's the month of October, you are not making it into Salem unless you get there at the very beginning of the day. If you live here, you're either a townie or you work in Boston or Cambridge but don't want to live there (or can't afford to) or don't want to commute from New Hampshire (or can't afford Portsmouth housing prices). Lynn and Revere used to be much worse than they are now and will certainly get you a lot of bang for your buck if you find a good living situation, but both still have areas that you don't want to go walking in too far after darknote , and Lynn still has the stench from the wastewater plant and the horrific summer traffic from people trying to get to Nahant and Swampscott to contend with.
  • South Shore: Suburbia in a way that would make even the Merrimack Valley jealous. The only reason there's anything to do at all (what little there even is to do) is the fact that if you live here, you almost definitely work in Boston and are probably sick of seeing it, ergo you don't want to go back on the weekends. There's a good chance that you drink Marylou's instead of Dunks on your way to work. Give Brockton a very wide berth. If you're driving a truck, don't be yet another idiot who hits the Morse Street bridge in Norwood and backs up traffic, because you will be named and shamed in the news.
  • South Coast: Everyone is Portuguese and Roman Catholic. Come for the caldo verde and malasadas, stay for the abandoned mill buildings, dirty needles, and endless rows of check-cashing outlets and rent-to-own stores if you're not passing through on your way to Rhode Island or Cape Cod, and endless rows of cranberry bogs and old farmland if you're heading through the rural areas. You probably drink Dunks normally if you don't get your coffee from Cumby's, but take every chance you get to grab a Chippi at Mirasol's instead.
    • Fall River: A once-great textile city that lost its reason for existence a long time ago, and now limps along on life support. Notorious for its serious longstanding drug problems, Dirty Cops, and disgraced former mayor Jasiel Correia's corruption scandals and eventual arrest and conviction. If you're not passing through and are up to legal business here, you're probably of Portuguese or Cape Verdean descent and visiting your family members who still live here.
    • New Bedford: See Fall River, but with a slightly better economy (mostly due to tourism along the historic waterfront, as well as the fishing industry) and lots of issues with the aforementioned fishing industry, namely lots of crooked captains and crewmen who take advantage of this to run illicit business from the ships.
  • Vermont: Tourists, cows, tourists stuck in traffic behind cows, Bernie Sanders, mountains, LGBTQ+ people (Truth in Television, it has the highest rate of LGBTQ+ identification in the US after the District of Columbia), and leftist gun owners (also Truth in Television, Vermont is one of the most overwhelmingly blue-leaning states in the US and has some of the highest rates of firearm ownership and some of the most lax gun laws in the country). The existence of Burlington and its suburban sprawl in much of Chittenden County is never acknowledged, although it's home to over a quarter of the state's population, nor is the historic east/west divide that came from areas west of the mountains being closer to Albany and New York City via Lake Champlain and the Hudson River than the rest of New England while parts east had a direct line to Boston via the Connecticut River, although that's faded since Interstate 89 opened in the '60s crossing the mountains from Burlington via Montpelier and White River Junction and then to Concord, NH. Brattleboro may also sometimes get a mention due to its proximity to I-91 and the New Hampshire and Massachusetts borders, as well as New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA) and the School for International Training (SIT), which both help contribute to its reputation as a nexus of travelers and transplants.

Rural Hollywood New England is where you usually find brilliant autumn foliage displays, and picturesque snowy winter landscapes. This is largely Truth in Television; they look like scenes from a Norman Rockwell painting because they are. Keep in mind, of course, that this is also Lovecraft Country. Some depictions will draw upon the region's history of religious fundamentalism (see New England Puritan).

The phrase "Pahk my cah in Hahvad Yahd, 'cuz that's a good ideer" is a well-known shibboleth of the accent, though through years and years of joking overuse of the phrase the pronunciation of it in most media (and amongst most non-Bostonians) has distorted it and exaggerated it beyond recognitionFor a somewhat fairer/more accurate shibboleth . By the way, the car will get towed, and saying it to an actual Bostonian or attempting to get them to say it is asking to be thumped.

Contrast California Valley Girl speak.


    open/close all folders 

  • The old-money life is spoofed with abandon and made gangsta in this ad for Smirnoff Tea. "High tea in the pawlah makes the ladies hawlah!"
  • There was a fast-food commercial where a recent trade to the Boston Red Sox was eating his burger as he listened to a tape teaching him how to speak New Englander. "Hahd. I like to play wicked hahd. Hahd."
    • It was an ad for Dunkin Donuts featuring Curt Schilling, the Sox' star pitcher at the time. The ad played on the fact that there are two things that make Boston great: the Red Sox, and Dunkin Donuts.
    • There's a similar commercial for McDonald's coffee. Two flannel-dressed guys on a pier correct each other's New Englandisms (like how to pronounce Worcesternote ). "Best Broadway show ever?" "Wicked"!
      • Ironically, the McDonald's version was for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters' coffee which is based in Vermont west of the Green Mountains, which had been closer to New York City pre-Interstate and never had a nonrhotic accent.
      • There's another one in the same vein where a guy quizzes his girlfriend on her New England trivia.
      • The great irony with these commercials is that they are giving the quizzes as a way to show whether someone is a "true" New Englander. A true New England drinks Dunkin's coffee (though Honey Dew comes in at a close second).
  • Southie accents get a workout in ads for the Hopper (indecently a slang word for a toilet) satellite dish system.
  • Tourism advertising for the states themselves often falls into this. If you listen to Massachusetts' tourism board, the entire state is Cape Cod and the Freedom Trail.
    • Similarly, Vermont is happy to tell you at length about its trees and skiing. The only cities that exist are Burlington (We All Live in Chittenden County is a thing in local media) and Brattleboro, the latter of which is technically a town and is known only because people coming up from MA, CT, or NYC or down from Montreal or Ottawa usually pass through it and/or stop there to get gas and food or to find some way to get their kids to shut up.
    • And apparently, all Connecticut consists of is two enormous casinos and a couple of boats. Bristol sometimes gets a weak mention due to Lake Compounce. Not to mention the main studios of ESPN.
    • According to Rhode Island's tourism ads, the state consists exclusively of downtown Newport (and, if they're lucky, Bristol and Wickford)
    • New Hampshire is basically just the White Mountains, the Lakes Region, and maybe the Seacoast, though most ads focus on Portsmouth and Hampton Beach. Ask anyone from Mass, and they'll tell you that the real draw is the discount stores; the art of "goin' up to fahkin' New Hampshuh" is well-ingrained in Mass culture (alcohol and tobacco are taxed far lower in NH than in MA and the former cannot be sold in MA grocery stores, while fireworks cannot legally be sold or possessed in MA). Canobie Lake Park in Salem might also get a mention here and there, as it's far closer to Boston than Six Flags New England in Agawam, MA.
    • Maine is nothing but beaches and beachfront restaurants serving "lobstah". Any further inland and it's essentially a no man's land unless they're trying to attract hunters. City-wise, only Portland and maybe Saco and Old Orchard Beach exist.
  • It's lately been a fad in Boston-area billboards to write the text in an "accent". Even the Department of Transportation has gotten in on the act.
  • Hyundai's 2020 Super Bowl commercial for their new "smart park" car features Boston native John Krasinski showing off the feature to fellow Bostonians Chris Evans and Rachel Dratch while they all speak in exaggerated versions of their natural dialects. Red Sox slugger David Ortiz even makes a cameo.
  • For many years Pepperidge Farm bakery ran a series of TV commercials featuring a prim, straw-hatted salesman with a horse-drawn wagon and a heavy Down East Maine accent. ("Pepperidge Fahm remembahs!")

    Anime & Manga 
  • ADV Films' English translation of the Azumanga Daioh manga gives Osaka an exaggerated New Englander accent in her earliest appearances as a form of Accent Adaptation; in the Japanese version, she speaks with a Kansai accent. ADV would switch over to a Southern Belle-style Texan accent after a few strips to keep in line with their dub of the anime adaptation, and later translations (both official and fan-made) have followed suit.
  • Chibi San Date by Hidekaz Himaruya is a Slice of Life comic taking place mainly on Nantucket Island, which is off the coast from Massachusetts.

    Comic Books 
  • When made man Nicky Cavella first appears in The Punisher MAX, he and his partners arrive in New York from Boston. The first thing his liaison to the local mob families asks him is, "So you guys are from Boston too, huh? Did ya leave ya cahh inna pahkin' laht?"
  • While the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles originated in New York, after getting chased out by the Shredder they spent a while in and around Northampton, Massachusetts, which is where their creators hail from.
  • Averted, surprisingly, in a DC Elseworlds book: The main story takes place in a fantasy realm with high fantasy counterparts of the Justice League, but the opening and closing pages faithfully depict areas in Brattleboro, VT.
  • As of The New 52, Black Manta was born in and has as his base of operations Gloucester, MA.
  • The Dark Horse miniseries Colder is set in Boston, but averts this: The artwork gets the geography right.
  • New England is, together with neighboring upstate New York, one of the most popular guesses as to the location of Riverdale, the all-American small town setting of Archie Comics. Bob Montana, the initial artist for Archie, based the high school on the one he attended in Haverhill, Massachusetts, complete with a replica of Auguste Rodin 's sculpture The Thinker. The TV adaptation Riverdale largely keeps to this, with the Blossom family's wealth shown to have been built on their maple syrup business (maple syrup being a big industry in northern New England).
  • Carol Danvers is from Boston, and the miniseries The Life of Captain Marvel is largely set in Harpswell, Maine, where her family spent their summers.

    Comic Strips 
  • Mort Walker and Dik Browne were both from Connecticut, so their comic strip Hi and Lois took place there, but depicted the usual small towns positively instead of mocking them. There would occasionally appear beautiful landscape drawings in the panels.
  • Much of the comic strip Non Sequitur is set in in the fictional town of Whatchacallit, Maine.
  • One FoxTrot strip had Peter and Jason deciding to adopt this accent while eating clam chowder, with Peter even saying "Pahk the cah in tha Hahvahd Yahd" in the throwaway panels. They stop upon threat of violence from Paige.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Scooby-Doo! and the Witch's Ghost is set primarily in a Hollywood New England town. Complete with accents, autumn foliage, legends of witch trials, and a replica pilgrim village. A major character in the movie is a rather obvious expy of Maine native Stephen King.
  • Epic takes place in the deciduous forests of either Connecticut or New York, Blue Sky Studios' then-current and former base of headquarters. During the end credits, we see memorabilia from both those states, as well as a few others in New England, like Vermont.
  • The Iron Giant takes place in coastal Maine, but none of the characters sport anything like an actual Downeast accent.
  • Although set on the Great Barrier Reef, the stereotypical Bostonian accent appears in Finding Nemo courtesy of a lobster (a New England culinary staple) who relates part of the tale of the fishes' adventure ("...and so they go all the way down into the dahk, it's like wicked dahk down theah...") The director, Andrew Stanton, is a native of Massachusetts.
    • "Hayeh, hayeh, hayeh, hayeh, hayeh!"
  • ParaNorman is set in a small Massachusetts town that has become a tourist trap playing off its historical association with witch trials.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Departed, being set in Boston, uses this.
  • Dead Poets Society is set in Vermont, focusing, of course, on the highbrow intellectual side. Given that it was a high-end boarding school, it's unlikely that all of the students were actually from Vermont, and it was actually filmed in Delaware.
  • Dolores Claiborne, adapted from the novel by Stephen King, is set on the fictional Little Tall Island, but was filmed in Nova Scotia. All the characters speak with a thick accent.
  • Jaws takes place in the fictional New England resort community of Amity Island. The first film was filmed on Martha's Vineyard.
    Ellen: In Amity you say yahd.
    Martin: They're out in the yahd, not too fah from the cah. How was that?
    Ellen: Like you're from New York.
    • Roy Scheider makes a rookie mistake in saying "yadd" instead of "yahd." Which actually makes sense, since Martin isn't actually from the Cape.
  • On Golden Pond - set in rural New Hampshire and actually filmed there on beautiful Squam Lake.
  • Hitchcock's The Trouble with Harry takes place in rural Vermont, with gorgeous autumn location footage to match.
  • Good Will Hunting, which is about Boston as much as it is about the characters.
  • Gone Baby Gone is set in the Boston neighborhood of Dorchester.
  • The Town takes place in Charlestown, another Boston neighborhood. Maybe we should just rename this trope Ben Affleck New England. There is a line in one trailer for The Town that the Boston-based SlashFilmcast couldn't let pass without comment. Apparently, there are "over 300 bank robberies in Charlestown" every year. Which means that we should be hearing about at least one bank robbery per day.
  • What About Bob? was set in rural New Hampshire but actually filmed in southwest Virginia.
  • Wet Hot American Summer was set at a camp near Waterville, Maine; one character is a professor at Colby College, and halfway through the movie the characters go into town.
  • The Perfect Storm, though Gloucester, Mass. doesn't actually figure much in the story, which mostly takes place on the sea.
  • The Cold War comedy The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming takes place on a fictional island off Gloucester.
  • Summer of '42 is set on a fictionalized version of Nantucket.
  • In the Bedroom is set in coastal Maine.
  • Tom Hanks in Catch Me If You Can has one of these accents, making his memorable "knawk-knawk" joke all the better. Especially cute in an outtake where he tries to speak with a mouthful of food, flubs the line and says "But you could hear the accent, right?"
  • The Social Network is set at Harvard.
  • It's never 100% clear where Animal House is set, but the college all the characters attend is known to be based on Dartmouth, New Hampshire. (It was actually filmed around the University of Oregon; the parade at the end rolled down the streets of nearby Cottage Grove.) The film mentions the mayor being the mayor of Amherst, though... and the local women's college is named after Emily Dickinson, who was a resident of Amherst and attended the all-women's Mount Holyoke College nearby before her agoraphobic self-isolation.
  • Me, Myself & Irene was basically about a road trip from Rhode Island to Vermont. Unlike most movies filmed about the area, the filming locations were actually in Rhode Island and Vermont (not Massachusetts, which was odd, since there is no easy way to drive from Rhode Island to Vermont without passing through it). In fact, avoiding Massachusetts means driving the long way through Connecticut, and then the long(er) way through New York.
  • Hocus Pocus takes place in Salem, Mass.
  • Thanks to opening narration and the titular character's Boston Bruins apparel, we can peg the setting of Happy Gilmore as Waterbury, Connecticut. It helps that the film deals heavily with both hockey and golf.
  • Outside Providence takes place, well, in the suburbs of Providence, Rhode Island. Despite being written by famed local directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly (of Dumb and Dumber fame), and based off of Peter's 1988 autobiographical novel, it actually wasn't directed by them as often assumed, but by Micheal Corrente.
  • The Fighter takes place in Lowell, Mass.
  • In Ronald Colman's one Academy Award-winning film, A Double Life, he has an affair with a coffee shop waitress (Shelley Winters' film debut) who tells him that he sounds like Baaston. (Colman was English-Scots, and spoke in his normal voice for this film.)
  • A Summer Place is set primarily at the titular locale, an upscale Maine island resort.
  • Jumanji has the town being located in New England. The film was shot in Keene, New Hampshire, as well as North Berwick, Maine (the location of the Parrish Shoes Factory). The film and its sequel are set in a town called Brantford, New Hampshire.
  • Beetlejuice was set in the fictional village of Winter River, Connecticut - exteriors were filmed in East Corinth, Vermont.
  • Dark Shadows takes place in the fictional Maine town of Collinsport (as does the original TV series.)
  • Super Troopers allegedly takes place in Vermont, although Rule of Funny applies heavily.
  • The Heat: The extremely thick Boston accents possessed by Mullins' family results in a humorous scene where one of her brothers asks Ashburn if she's a Narcnote  — pronounced "knock" — and she has no idea what he's saying. That same family also has a number of hilarious spiritual paintings showing Jesus playing for Boston sports teams.
  • Mystic River : As with Good Will Hunting, the neighbourhood is as much a character as any of the players, and the actors, particularly Laura Linney and Tim Robbins, affect thick Boston accents.
  • All That Heaven Allows
  • Captain Phillips is from Boston and currently lives in Vermont, but Tom Hanks made him sound like JFK, especially in the line (cut from the film for probably this exact reason) "We can't let 'em attach that laddah!"
  • The Shawshank Redemption: The novella and the film are set in Maine but the film was shot in Ohio.
  • Spotlight has lots of Pahk Yer Cah at Hahvad Yahd, by both working-class and middle-class characters.
  • The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane is set in Wells Harbor, Maine but filmed in both Maine and Quebec, Canada.

  • Little Women and the rest of Louisa M. Alcott's stories are set in and around her native Concord, Mass. Alcott's father Bronson was a prominent Transcendentalist, a philosophic movement whose leaders — likewise native to the area — also included Thoreau and Emerson. Virtually all of America's great silver age writers were either from or lived in Concord, including Nathaniel Hawthorne.
  • Nearly all of Stephen King's books are set in Maine, which is perfectly reasonable considering he lives there. One or two have also been set in New Hampshire. In fact, the isolation of its island communities provided the entire plot of Storm of the Century. "According to Stephen King, there's something nasty buried under every small town in Maine."
  • In keeping with family tradition, Joe Hill, author and son of Stephen King, uses a fictionalized version of New Hampshire and Massachusetts in his novels and short stories. The novel Horns takes place in the fictional Gideon, New Hampshire but was changed to the Pacific Northwest in the film adaptation. In NOS4A2, the female protagonist lives in a fictional western Massachusetts town and visits New Hampshire's Hampton Beach on her portal-producing bicycle.
  • Amelia Atwater-Rhodes' books in her Nyeusigrube series take place around Massachusetts. In the Forests of the Night takes place specifically in Concord and the main character, Risika's, house is based on a real house where a friend of the author lived. In The Persistence of Memory, Erin is given a phone number with Boston Suffolk County's 617 area code.
  • Almost all of Jodi Picoult's novels take place in New England, usually either Massachusetts or New Hampshire.
  • Most of John Irving's novels (The World According to Garp, The Cider House Rules, A Prayer for Owen Meany) take place in New England. Write What You Know applies again.
    • The same holds true for the other well-known "Johns" of mid-to-late 20th century American literature, Cheever and Updike. When their stories weren't set in Manhattan they were generally set here.
    • Updike's The Witches of Eastwick cross-pollinated Hollywood New England with Lovecraft Country. The fictional town of Eastwick has since become conflated with the actual town of Ipswich since much of The Film of the Book was filmed there, while the setting of the book was modeled after a small village in Rhode Island named Wickford which looks pretty much like a cross between the two.
  • The Devil and Daniel Webster makes much of its New Hampshire setting.
  • As H. P. Lovecraft set most of his stories in the region, Lovecraft Country is virtually coterminous with New England. For example, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward has been described as a "hymn to Providence."
  • William Dean Howells' classic The Rise Of Silas Lapham is set in Boston.
  • Lemonade Mouth is set in Rhode Island, although Disney moved the setting of The Movie to New Mexico.
  • Gace Metalious' Peyton Place is set in a small town somewhere in New England. The fictional setting was apparently a composite of several real-life New Hampshire towns in which the author had lived.
  • The eponymous island in S. M. Stirling's Island in the Sea of Time trilogy is Nantucket. In his Emberverse series it's Ground Zero for the Change (the same event that sends Nantucket back thousands of years in time) and is visited by Rudi and his fellow Questers where he acquires the Sword of the Lady.
  • The Island, like most of Elin Hildebrand's books, is set near Nantucket, Massachusetts. There's a little bit of both stereotypes, with the Cousins family being part of the wealthy elite, and Barrett Lee and his family being more salt of the earth types.
  • Robert B. Parker's Jesse Stone series mostly take place in the fictional Paradise, Massachusetts while his Spenser series is based in Boston.
  • Austin Grossman's You which is about a fictional gaming company takes place in Cambridge. The flashbacks take place in Newton and a computer camp in Lanesborough which is in western Mass.
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was one of the grand old men of New England and uses it as a background in such poetry collections as Tales of a Wayside Inn and The Courtship of Miles Standish among others.
  • Janet Evanovich's Lizzy and Diesel series is set in Salem Massachusetts and is a humorous take on the supernatural.
  • Neal Stephenson's The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.'s scenes set in the present day center on Cambridge.
  • The first half of near-future thriller Victoria takes place in this region, and it is depicted in a fairly stereotypical manner, complete with Funetik Aksent. As it begins, the hero, a former Marine and native-born Mainiac, leads a band of Boston vigilantes against ethnic gangsters in that city, and things escalate from there.
  • Megan Miranda's Fracture is set in small town Maine.
  • Lauren Oliver's Delirium, set in a near future where love is considered a disease, occurs in and around Portland Maine.
  • Laura van den Berg's Find Me, is divided between The Hospital in Kansas and Joy's trip to see her estranged mother who lives in Florida but there are numerous flashbacks to her past life in the Greater Boston area, specifically Allston, Charlestown and Somerville.
  • Bret Easton Ellis' The Rules of Attraction takes place in a New Hampshire liberal arts college and definitely has shades of this trope, although while the students definitely exhibit snootiness and self-importance, they're not really intellectual and couldn't care less about schoolwork, focusing on sexual melodrama and self-pity instead.
  • Much of Ron Mc Larty's novel Traveler is set in East Providence, a suburban city in Rhode Island. Having grown up in that same city, Mc Larty's depiction of the city and its landmarks is spot on.
  • In Jacqueline Susann's novel Valley of the Dolls, main character Anne Welles comes from the quaint little New England town of Lawrenceville, Massachusetts.

    Live-Action TV 
  • M*A*S*H has Major Charles Emerson Winchester III, a Back Bay-bred Boston Brahmin.
    • Trapper John McIntyre was also from Boston, albeit a presumably less fashionable part. Given his name (in full, John Francis Xavier McIntyre), it's likely he's a Southie, although neither the film nor TV version depicted him using that specific accent.
    • Hawkeye Pierce was supposedly the son of a lobsterman from Crabapple Cove, Maine, though (perhaps wisely) neither Donald Sutherland in the film nor Alan Alda in the series ever attempted a proper Down East accent, though it is mentioned in the original novels. In the TV series his father's profession was changed to doctor.
  • Thurston Howell III, from Gilligan's Island, spoke with a stereotypical "Larchmont lockjaw" accent and was emphatically a son of Harvard, despising Yale and all it stood for.
  • Murder, She Wrote, set in small-town Maine. Featuring William Windom, Tom Bosley and a slew of random extras using phony Down East accents thick enough that they may qualify as the network-TV version of Dick Van Dyke doing Cockney in Mary Poppins. Bosley's attempts were particularly egregious.
  • Cheers (or should we say Cheeahs?) was set in Boston Bawstin, though the only character with the accent was Cliff. There was still a fair bit of local color on the show, such as Sam's history with the Red Sox, Carla's fanatical defense of Massachusetts sports teams, and a guest appearances by Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill and a few Kennedys.
    • Making it particularly jarring when the most Ivy League milquetoast character on the cast was retconned, in the spinoff series, to be from the Pacific Northwest. Yeah, right.
    • Most of the local color can be seen in the background - the producers showed off serious knowledge of Boston minutiae, for instance having extra characters wear shirts from local high schools in the appropriate colors. (There's more than one Somerville High School in this country, after all.)
  • WCVB's Park Street Under is an extremely rare example of a locally produced sitcom. It was filmed in Boston, and it really shows. It was set in a bar much like Cheers; many believe PSU was an inspiration for the latter series.
  • Wings was also set in Massachusetts, but on the tourist island of Nantucket.
    • The airport on Nantucket is a lot bigger than the one on the show (although they've been known to take off early if the passengers are all there), but the show's version is very much like that in Hyannis, which is the closest airport to Nantucket.
  • Boston Legal; the name is a giveaway (even if little else is). Most of the cast being rich lawyers doesn't help. Also see such other David E. Kelley shows as The Practice, Ally McBeal, and Boston Public.
  • Newhart is set in a (highly eccentric) small Vermont town.
    • Although Larry, Daryl, and Daryl seem to be from Appalachia.
  • Mr. Wick from The Drew Carey Show describes Vermont as "the state that makes New Hampshire nervous".
  • Stars Hollow, Connecticut in Gilmore Girls definitely fit the small town version of this trope, with the elder Gilmores fitting the upper-class WASP stereotype to a T. And Rory, of course, goes to Yale for much of the later seasons.
    • The writers are clearly Californians, though. In Connecticut people take "84" not "the 84", New England houses almost all have cellars, no one there has heard of tri-tip, "New Haven" is spoken with the accent on the second word (like "New York"), etc.
  • Both Fringe and Leveragenote  are set in Boston.
  • Spenser For Hire was not only set in Boston, it was actually filmed there.
    • And still fell prey to this trope occasionally. Chase scenes were notorious for starting in one town, turning a corner, and finding the characters miraculously transported to a town on the other side of Boston in a split second.
  • Jay Leno can't open his mouth without reminding people he's from Andover, MA.
  • In 30 Rock, Jack Donaghy's love interest Nancy Donovan grew up with him in Boston. Nancy is played by Julianne Moore with a painfully forced Hollywood New England accent.
    • The exaggerated accent was spoofed in the next season when Liz is writing a TV movie about Jack and Avery, with Nancy played by Cynthia Nixon with an equally horrible Boston accent. When she asks why she has to do the accent, Liz says that all people from Boston sound like that to her.
  • The whole crew from This Old House but especially Norm Abrams and Tommy Silva. The show is based in Boston, and they seem to do a lot of houses in the area. Just sayin'.
  • The '60s sitcom version of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir was set in a Maine fishing village.
  • In NewsRadio, a botched speech therapy session has Lisa speaking in her native Boston accent, which she had dropped for being too embarrassing. It's also implied that it might have been intentional to ruin her radio voice.
    • Also in the series finale, Jimmy James retires and moves to New Hampshire, and wants to take the rest of the staff with him. In the second to last episode he actually takes a chair and sits down in NH in the middle of a field of cattle.
  • In a Season 4 episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Sarah Michelle Gellar takes on the role of Faith. She adopts a Boston accent in several scenes, since it was part of the character and due to Eliza Dushku being from Boston.
  • Several The X-Files episodes are set in New England, both falling victim and averting this trope. It is noted that Mulder grew up on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts and his parents had a summer home in Rhode Island, which averts this trope and is more used to imply that Mulder comes from a wealthy family. Other episodes set in New England, however, are pretty indistinguishable from other episodes in terms of character motivations, sets used, accents, etc.
    • A notable exception is "Chinga", which was written by Stephen King, set in Maine.
    • "Chimera" is set in Vermont, and is notable for having some accurate small details, like area code and zip code, but also for opening with a green outdoor picnic... in early April.
  • On the recurring Saturday Night Live sketch "Boston Teens", starring Jimmy Fallon and Rachel Dratch as Sully and Zazu, a teen couple who fight and makeup constantly and are obsessed with Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra.
    • When Glenn Close hosted in 1992 they did a game show sketch called "Whats The Best Way?". In it the host and all three contestants were New Englanders and the questions were all about the best way to get from one place in New England to another:
    Host: Ok folks, back to our game. From Hartford to Sturbridge -
    (Katie buzzes in)
    Katie (Glenn Close): Ok, now that's straight on route 84, but you're gonna want to avoid the tourist traps up there, now, if you go up Manhill Road,you'll see a pretty Bed and Breakfast in Bradford - but that's a little out of your way, but it's very reasonable. And there's a farm (fahm) down the hill where you can get fresh Maine blueberries, of course, but that's only in the summer -
    (wrong answer buzz)
    Host: Sorry Katie, I didn't finish the question. From Hartford to Sturbridge, how many Dunkin Donuts along the way?
    Donny (Affleck): The best part of my day is when I'm at Dunkin. Do you think that's sad?
    Another customer: Yes, very.
    Donny: [chucks his coffee at the guy's car] Go back to Stahbucks!
    • Another digital short centers around a commercial for Boston-based beer brewery Sam Adams and their new pumpkin-flavored seasonal beer which is being given out to customers at a local Stop & Shop. While several customers give it a great review, one working class customer (host Bill Burr) thinks it's terrible and criticizes it before getting into a fight with his son in the middle of the store
  • Dawson's Creek was set in the fictional town of Capeside, Massachusetts, but actually filmed in North Carolina. The only character that had a New England accent on the show was Jen's grandmother.
    • Then there's the episode that had them skinny-dipping in November. In Massachusetts.
  • Providence was set in that Rhode Island city, and most of outside filming was shot there during its first season. Naturally, the local NBC television station would not shut up about the show for months. By the time of the second season, only establishing exterior shots were shot in Providence and the rest in California.
  • Being Human (US) is set in Boston but shot in Montreal. And it turns out Montreal is not the best Expy for Boston: the geography is all wrong (their neighborhood could maybe pass for the Back Bay or the South End, but the streets are still too wide).
  • Season 6 of I Love Lucy had the Ricardos and Mertzes moving from New York City to Westport, Connecticut.
    • Samantha and Darrin Stephens, of Bewitched, also resided in Westport.
  • Soap was set in the (fictional) town of Dunn's River, Connecticut, and plays this trope straight - Dunn's River might as well be on Long Island for how much time the characters spend in Manhattan.
  • The clam-centric episode of Good Eats culminated in production of New England style clam chowder. A New Yorker with tomatoes (representing fans of Manhattan-style) and a New Englander with a bottle of cream glare at each other while Alton explained the history of the two variations...before getting into a brawl.
  • The real world portion of Once Upon a Time takes place in Storybrooke, Maine (though considering the town was created by a magical curse, its stereotypical nature is perhaps justified).
  • The short-lived '90s Molly Ringwald sitcom Townies was set in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
  • Due to the fact that WGBH, Boston's PBS affiliate, produces a fair chunk of their programming, many of PBS's syndicated shows are shot in Boston or the surrounding areas.
  • The first season of Falling Skies is set in Massachusetts and is centered around the National Guard unit the 2nd Mass. By the beginning of the second season they have moved into either western Massachusetts or southwestern Connecticutt, having come to and crossed the Houscatonic River. Later on however they leave New England entirely ending up in Charleston by the end of Season 2.
  • American Horror Story: Asylum is set somewhere in Massachusetts in the Sixties. Some characters have comically thick accents and Provincetown is mentioned so probably somewhere on the South Shore or Cape Cod.
  • Southie Rules is set is South Boston.
  • The paranormal investigation team TAPS featured in the reality television series Ghost Hunters is based in Warwick, Rhode Island.
  • Arrow uses quite a bit of stock footage of the Boston skyline in the second season, to the point where they imply a clock tower in the center of the city is Black Canary's hideout.
  • An early episode of A Haunting tells of a haunted house in Connecticut, but despite parts of the account taking place around Thanksgiving and Christmas, the trees and bushes around the house remain lush and green, a tree outside Town Hall has flowers on it, and the people involved wear light jackets at best.
  • The McCarthys is a comedy about an Irish American family set in Boston.
  • Since Lizzie Borden and her sister Emma both lived in Fall River, Massachusetts, that is where The Lizzie Borden Chronicles are set.
  • Rizzoli & Isles is set in Boston and some surrounding areas for the entirety of its seven seasons. However, since the show was shot in California, R&I's version of "Boston" never snows. It's worth noting that the two main characters are a Boston-Italian from Revere, and an upper-class Boston native globetrotter who once had a long-term college liason with a Boston Brahmin expy. Oh and she's actually adopted, and is really the daughter of an infamous Irish mobster in-universe. Opposites really do attract.
  • Daredevil (2015):
    • Like in the comics, Karen Page is from the fictional town of Fagan Corners, Vermont, though she hasn't been back there since the car accident that killed her brother. The town appears finally in season 3 as part of an extended flashback, and is established by road signs to be somewhere southeast of Burlington and south of Stowe. The scenes in Fagan Corners were actually filmed in Windham, New York, using the Catskill Mountain scenery to their advantage.
    • Benjamin "Dex" Poindexter, much like his actor Wilson Bethel, is established by some documents in the dossier Fisk has on him to be from New Hampshire.
  • Haven: Based on a Stephen King short story, the show is, of course, set in Maine. The show was filmed in Nova Scotia, lending to a more authentic coastal Maine aesthetic than many other places that double for New England. It also tends to avoid most of the stereotypes of Mainers, apart from lampshading them. When outsider Audrey decides to become a local, her police partner (and a local), Nathan, gifts her with duck boots, flannel, waders, a bucket hat, and a U-Maine travel mug. He also doesn't like lobster. The show is notable, however, for missing the Down East accent that is a trademark of King's work.
  • The Live Action version of Sabrina the Teenage Witch was set in Westbridge, a suburb or commuter town just west of Boston. Later seasons would have Sabrina working in Boston or attending a fictional Liberal Arts College in or near Westbridge.
  • Passions was set in the picturesque small town of Harmony, located in some unspecified corner of New England.

  • New Kids on the Block. And, you know, we probably ought to mention their infamous Band Toon here but... the voice actors and the writers just didn't care.
  • You can't talk about music and Boston without mentioning "the bad boys from Boston", Aerosmith!
    • The "bad boys from Boston" actually formed the band that would later become Aerosmith in Sunapee, New Hampshire (which is far closer to Concord and Manchester than it is to Boston), but Aerosmith as we know it did indeed form in Boston.
  • Boston, obviously.
  • The Dropkick Murphys, who famously provided the song "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" for the soundtrack to The Departed.
  • The J. Geils Band.
  • Extreme (Malden, though Nuno Bettencourt was from Hudson, which is closer to Worcester)
  • The Fools, best known for their classic: "Life Sucks, Then You Die."
  • "Wicked Little Critta" by They Might Be Giants plays with the accent, as does "A Self Called Nowhere." Although the band itself is based in Brooklyn, New York, the founding members, John and John, grew up in Lincoln, Massachusetts.
  • Galaxie 500, formed by three Harvard students.
  • Abnormality (formed in Central Mass, though Mallika Sundaramurthy currently lives in the Czech Republic)
  • Abiotic (as of their reunion, as John Matos lives in Connecticut and Kilian Duarte lives in the Boston area, and current drummer Anthony Lusk-Simone was a longtime Massachusetts resident and major figure in the scene before he relocated to Maryland).
  • The Adam Ezra Group, a Boston-based roots-rock band, plays up just about every aspect of the urban version of this trope up to eleven in "The Devil Came Up to Boston", an Affectionate Parody of the Charlie Daniels classic "The Devil Went Down to Georgia".
  • Agoraphobic Nosebleed (formed in Springfield, Massachusetts, now based largely out of the general DC area, though Jay Randall still lives and works in Springfield)
  • Atheist (while they are still based out of Florida, Dan Martinez del Campo and Yoav Ruiz-Feingold are both Berklee alums and live in the Boston area, as does their live drummer Anthony Medaglia)
  • GG Allin (born in Lancaster, New Hampshire and was based somewhere near Manchester for a while)
  • Anal Cunt
  • While the '60s garage-rock classic "Dirty Water" has become an iconic Boston anthem, the band that recorded it (the Standells) were actually based out of L.A. (The song was actually written by their producer, Ed Cobb.)
  • Johnathan Richman is from Natick, part of Greater Boston, and his best known song, "Roadrunner" is about driving around the city listening to your car radio (and when we say "around", we mean that literally: the song's subject is Massachusetts Route 128 which is apart of the beltway that bypasses Boston). He seems to use the accent too, to judge by his reference to "the Southern sho-ah".
  • The Cars.
    • Interestingly enough, while the band operated out of Boston, bandleader Ric Ocasek hailed from Baltmore, moved to Cleveland where he met Ohioan Benjamin Orr (bass/vocals), then they moved to Boston, where they met Brooklyn native Elliot Easton and Fulton, Maryland native Greg Hawkes (keyboards), both attending Boston's Berklee College of Music. Only drummer David Robinson hails from the Boston area.
  • Dysentery (Scott Savaria lives in eastern Upstate NY, though they are very much a New England band as a whole)
  • Fates Warning (originally; as of now, Ray Alder, Joey Vera, and Bobby Jarzombek all live on or near the West Coast. Only Jim Matheos and Frank Aresti still live in New England, with the former living somewhere up in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire and the latter living somewhere in Greater Hartford, while live guitarist Mike Abdow lives down near Springfield)
  • Fit for an Autopsy (Blue lives in Woburn, while Nate Johnson and Seth Coleman were originally from the New Hampshire half of the Merrimack Valley)
  • Job for a Cowboy (originally based out of Glendale, Arizona, now based out of the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire due to Alan Glassman, who has assumed the leadership role; also, Tony Sannicandro is from the Greater Boston area)
  • Lorna Shore (based out of New Jersey, but Andrew O'Connor lives in the New Haven area and Mike Yager lives in Boston, and they have historically had extremely strong ties to the region)
  • Tony MacAlpine (grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts and studied at the Springfield Conservatory of Music and the University of Hartford)
  • Mighty Mighty Bosstones
  • NewEdition
  • Orchid (the screamo/grindcore act, formed in Amherst when the members were undergrads at UMass Amherst and Hampshire College and later came back as Ampere after initially folding)
  • The Shaggs, who pronounce every word with 'ome' in it as 'om'. Naturally this means they "have no time to rom" and "have to go hom" regularly.
  • Phish
    • Arguably the ultimate example: none of them were from Vermont, the state they're most associated with, and only one of them is even from New England. They're controversial in the state itself for propagating a certain view of the state as a hippie paradise, which is often at odds with the reality of the situation.
  • Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
  • Several noteworthy Metalcore bands: Killswitch Engage, The Acacia Strain, and Shadows Fall among them.
  • Revocation (formed in Boston, though none of the current members live there, and Dave Davidson is the only current member who is even originally from Boston)
  • At the end of Tom Lehrer's "The Elements", from An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer, he sings the word "Harvard" in such a way that it rhymes perfectly with the word "discovered."
  • "Massachusetts" by Green Greenway. Apparently, this is the only state where the traffic is worse than Joisey.
  • Shadow of Intent (formed in central Connecticut and are still based out of there, but Andrew Monias lives on Long Island)
  • Taj Mahal (born in Harlem, raised in Springfield, Massachusetts, also a UMass Amherst alum)
  • Talking Heads were formed at the Rhode Island School of Design.
  • Trap Them (formed in New Hampshire when Ryan McKenney and Brian Izzi met while working at a Newbury Comics and became bandmates in Backstabbers Incorporated, now based out of both Seattle and Boston)
  • Vital Remains (though they are at least partially based out of Florida for the time being)
  • Rob Zombie, who was born in Haverhill, Massachsetts.
  • Worth noting is that Boston has the Berklee College of Music, one of the most respected music schools in America the world.
  • The 80s punk compilation album "This is Boston, Not LA"
  • The well-known punk indie label Deathwish, Inc. was formed by Jacob Bannon (Converge) and is based out of the North Shore.
  • Weekend in New England by Barry Manilow
  • The Pixies, who formed in Boston (Joey Santiago and Black Francis were both students at UMass Amherst before they formed the band, too).
    • Dinosaur Jr. are another band with roots in Massachusetts, in their case Amherst.
    • And then there's Throwing Muses, from Rhode Island. Their were a lot of Alternative Rock groups from New England back in the 80s/90s.
  • Billy Joel's song "Downeaster Alexa" namechecks Block Island and Nantucket, among other New England fishing communities.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • WWE is headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut (basically a suburb of NYC, so barely an example), even though Vincent J. McMahon (late father of the Vincent K. McMahon we all know and Love to Hate) was born in Harlem, and Madison Square Garden in lower Manhattan has always been WWE's spiritual home. (Ironically, Capitol Wrestling Corporation, the immediate forerunner of WWE, was founded in 1953 in Washington, D.C.)
  • Triple H is from Nashua (and was even Mr. Teen New Hampshire in the 1980s), but bills himself as being from Greenwich, partly because of his marriage to Stephanie McMahon. (He also played up his French-Canadian heritage in the early days, going by the ring name "Jean-Paul Levesque.")
  • John Cena is from West Newbury, a suburb of Boston, and included an anthem called "Beantown" on his You Can't See Me album (where he raps, "I'm like the Big Dig, baby - nobody can finish me.")
  • Despite often dressing like a stereotypical Southern Californian, Scotty 2 Hotty was from Maine.
  • The Mean Street Posse were a "gang" of stereotypical Connecticut preppies in sweater-vests.
  • Jack Pfeffer, a Jewish immigrant who lived in Boston in the 1930s, promoted shows there and is generally credited with first designing the "Ric Flair" style of wrestling costume as we know it today. He is also considered to be the first wrestling promoter to break Kayfabe.
  • Perry Saturn, who wrestled in ECW, WCW, and the WWE was billed as being from Boston, Massachusetts and trained under Killer Kowalski, who lived in Massachusetts and died in Malden where he had started a very prestigious wrestling school which later moved to North Andover. Other Kowalski students included: Triple H, Chyna, Saturn's ECW tag partner John Kronus, Big John Studd, Chris Nowinski whom attended Harvard prior, Albert aka current NXT trainer Matt Bloom, Damien Sandow, and Fandango.
    • Kronus was born in Everett, MA and died in New Hampshire. Damien Sandow was born in Worcester, MA and resides in Detroit, Michigan. Fandango was born in Standish, Maine and resides in Florida. Albert/Matt Bloom was born in Peabody, MA.

  • In a modern twist on the intellectual side, both halves of the radio comedy team Bob & Ray were born and raised in Massachusetts — in middle-class Boston and blue-collar Lowell respectively — and sounded like it. (In one early Boston-based show they do a funny bit on how to impress a local waitress by pretending you're from out of town. Their main suggestion is to "hit your 'R's verry harrd." "Yerss, I will have some erggs and orrange juice, please!")
  • The Magliozzi brothers of NPR's Car Talk. East Cambridge natives, auto mechanics...and both graduates of MIT.
  • One of the recurring characters in the "Allen's Alley" segments on The Fred Allen Show in the '40s was Titus Moody, a curmudgeonly New Englander with a thick "Down East" type accent.
  • Jim Rome loves to play this up on his radio show, particularly involving one of two things: Pete Gillen's "Duke is Duke" comment ("They're on TV more than Leave It To BEAHVAHHHH!... reruns."), or his favorite movie, Good Will Hunting ("Let's go beat up some rich kids-AAAAAAAAHH!").
  • Howie Carr

  • The play Spike Heels (a Pygmalion Plot set in Boston) benefits significantly if the actors (and the audience) understand the difference between upper- and working class Boston accents.
  • Almost, Maine makes a point of distinguishing rural, northern Maine, where the play is set, from the common "Down East" stereotype of the state.
  • Our Town by Thornton Wilder is set in southern New Hampshire, but does not use the exaggerated traits discussed above for this trope. It's just a small town at the turn of the last century.
  • The setting of Carousel is a Maine fishing village.
  • The Children's Hour is set at a New England girls' school.
  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?? takes place at an unnamed small New England college.
  • On Golden Pond takes place at a summer cottage in Maine (changed to New Hampshire for the film).
  • Curtains takes place in Boston where the cast of an upcoming Broadway musical is holding their out of town tryout. The only native New Englander character is the show's lead, a Boston police detective named Frank Cioffi.
  • Lizzie, as a punk rock musical based on the story of Lizzie Borden, takes place in Fall River, Massachusetts. Lizzie's greatest hope is to escape.

    Video Games 
  • The town of Silent Hill is located in New England, according to the manual for the first game. An obscure tidbit found on one of the soundtracks covers places it in Maine.
  • The Scout from Team Fortress 2: deliberately 'off' however, as all the character classes represent stereotypes.
  • The Commonwealth, mentioned in passing in Fallout 3 and the setting for Fallout 4. Much attention is paid to the areas around Fenway Park and Scollay Squarenote , which host the two major in-game settlements, Diamond City and Goodneighbor. Vault 111, where the game begins, is northwest of Boston in the fictional town of Sanctuary Hill, near Concord. The upper class stereotype is represented in Diamond City by the wealthy upper-stand residents; one of the families there is actually named "Codman." And Lovecraft references abound, including a location called the Dunwich Borers.
    Diamond City Security: "Pahk the cah in the yahd?" How 'bout I hit you in the heart with a haymaker?
  • Trauma Team doesn't outright state their exact location, but recognizing some towns and areas they name puts them in Portland, Maine.
  • The Lovecraft-inspired Eternal Darkness takes place primarily on (or under) the grounds of the Roivas family estate in Rhode Island.
  • Shattered Union has a faction called the New England Alliance which composes Northern New England, New York, and Ohio Valley territories.
  • Tony Hawk's Underground 2 features a "Boston" level that essentially crams everything a non-Bostonian might know about the area, from the Tea Party to the Common to the MBTA, into one level.
  • The Last of Us manages, oddly, to largely avert this: The geography isn't 100% accurate, but everything is in approximately the right place and the distance and timing both make sense as Joel and Ellie go from Fort Point, through the Financial District, to the State House. You even fight your way through the Old State House, which is largely accurately depicted.
  • Kaiserreich: Legacy of the Weltkrieg, an Alternate History Game Mod for Hearts of Iron about Imperial Germany winning World War I, features an independent New England as a playable country. When the United States plunges into civil war, Canada can occupy the New England states and upstate New York to prevent the violence from spilling over the border. As the war rages to the south, New England becomes a refuge from the fighting and a destination for thousands of refugees. The nation's main goal is to establish its credibility as an independent power and not just a Canadian Puppet State, all while either building up its fortifications to deter any attempt at invasion (which likely will come once somebody has won the civil war) or preparing to march south and intervene in the war (especially against the Combined Syndicates of America).

  • American Elf is set in Burlington, VT.
    • It is also published weekly in Seven Days, the local Burlington alternative weekly newspaper.
  • The 21st century parts of The Dreamer are set in Boston, MA.
  • Misfile is an exception to "western Massachusetts doesn't exist". The fictional town of Tempest is somewhere in the Berkshires, not that far from Springfield. However other than a few references to Boston and one trip to Cape Cod, the comic could take place anywhere since the New England setting doesn't much figure into the story, and no one ever uses any New England colloquialisms.
  • Questionable Content is also in western Massachusetts, taking place in Northampton. Of course, this is because the creator lives in that area. And yes, being Northampton, there are multiple female LGBTQ characters (one of whom is a graduate student and works at "Smif" College). Local police robots have the accent to prove it, too.
  • Something*Positive takes place mainly in Boston, with side trips to Texas since that's where two of the three main protagonists originate from. Since Davan moved to Texas to take care of his father this has been flipped.
  • Breaking Cat News takes place in Rhode Island. The creator, Georgia Dunn says the action will remain centered there despite her, her husband and the cats the main characters are based on moving to California.

    Web Original 
  • New England is its own country in the Alternate History Decades of Darkness, where it also encompasses the Canadian Maritimes, New York, New Jersey and Michigan. It plays the socially liberal, democratic/socialist foil (apart from a brief period of vitalism) to the US, which serves as The Empire.
  • CollegeHumor:
    • In "Boston Chahams Cereal", which parodies Lucky Charms. Lucky is replaced with a baseball kid named "Mickey the Masshole". He takes Bobby and Sandy on a fountain of Sam Adams into a cartoonish Boston. Marshmellows include "Chowdah, Sox and Wahlbergs, a hand flipping the bird, pints of Samuel Adams, and Jeter sucking A-Rod's dick." For the Adjacent to This Complete Breakfast shot, they show a bowl of Boston Chahms next to a side of beans, a pint of Guinness, and a pile of Boston Creme donuts.
    • The Hardly Working video "Federal Maashals" features the College Humor office being raided by two Federal Marshals with incomprehensible Boston accents. The go around the office shouting "GO SAAHX" (Boston Red Sox), humming their theme song, asking David and Sarah confusing questions and beating other people up. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Bob Chipman, aka MovieBob, is from Lynn, Massachusetts, and has frequently discussed his life and upbringing in the Boston area and occasionally slips into his native accent, particularly when he's angry (such as when The Dark Knight didn't get any Oscar nominations). Even normally, he will occasionally drop his Rs when speaking. He also has the character of the Game Antithinker, a stereotypical "Mountain-Dew-and-Doritos" dude-bro gamer who speaks in an exaggerated lower-class Boston accent.
  • Guaranteed* Video is shot entirely in Massachusetts, all three creators being lifelong residents. It's rarely if ever played up for laughs, but Lovecraft Country elements do come into play, along with touches of local flavor such as Neil hiding his missing hand in a Dunkin Donuts bag.
  • Whateley Academy is located outside the fictional town of Dunwhich, NH, which is supposedly somewhere near the real town of Berlin, but the setting is Lovecraft Country, not Hollywood New England.

    Western Animation 
  • Pete White from The Venture Bros.. Series co-creator Jackson Publick claims to have copied the character's voice entirely from his own father.
  • Arthur is touched by Bostonian influences, as the PBS station in Boston, WGBH, is responsible for the academic portion of production. A few episodes mention Boston Creme Pie, and the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry is parodied. (Funny enough, the show was also Montreal-influenced earlier in the run — including a map of Elwood City and nearby Crown City looking a lot like a map of Montreal and the Elwood City Otters hockey team having jerseys looking suspiciously akin to the jerseys worn by the Montreal Canadiens, as the other production company at the time, Cinar, was based there. Hockey fans would of course be aware of the intense, burning hatred the Bruins and Canadiens have for each other.)
  • Family Guy also takes place in New England, specifically Rhode Island, or RhoDYlan as the natives call it. Peter and Lois have prominent Rhode Island accents. Indeed, the show's creator, Seth MacFarlane, is a Connecticut native and went to college in Rhode Island. Seth based Peter's voice on a portly Rhode Island police officer he got into a situation with while at art and design college.
    • Though Peter pronounces Pawtucket wrong, the locals pronounce it "Puhtuckit"
    • Special mention goes to Mr. Bottomtooth, who does to this accent what Boomhauer does to the Texan accent.
    • The show often throws in references that only Rhode Islanders or people familiar with Rhode Island could really appreciate. These references were especially frequent during the show's original run, and continue to pop up here and there post-un-cancellation.
      • The skyline that can very often be seen from the Griffins' front yard? It's the skyline of Providence. Peter, Cleveland and Quagmire standing in front a building Peter's about to jump off of because he's temporarily immortal in "Death Is a Bitch"? That's Kennedy Plaza, overlooking the Rhode Island School of Design and Brown University!
  • In Futurama, Elzar's accent is, contrary to popular belief, a New Bedford (Bedfid) or 'Fawl Rivah' accent. Elzar is, of course, ethnically Neptunian, but apparently hails from Massachussets anyhow. He is supposed to be an Emeril Lagasse expy.
  • As mentioned below, The Simpsons has Mayor Quimby and his family, Kennedy parodies all. One episode has Quimby's nephew Freddy harassing a French waiter over his pronunciation of "chowder". "Shau-dere? Shau-dere? It's 'chowdah'! Say it right!"
    • New England is very proud of its claym chowdah. Unlike that inferior Manhattan kind.
  • The same accent is used to great effect by the JFK clone in Clone High, which is strange, considering that his foster parents who raised him from birth aren't from New England. They're a male gay couple with somewhat generic American accents. In one episode, JFK is in a Pygmalion Plot to turn the Gandhi clone into a fellow ladykiller, and the most important aspect of that seems to be mastering the New England accent.
    Fowah suppah, I, er, uh, wanna pahty plattah!
  • Same as the above, Inside Job (2021)'s clones of JFK speak with this accent, and mindlessly keep saying "Er, uh," when wandering around. The same is applied to the real JFK shown in an orientation video on the moon landing.
  • In The Mighty B!, one time character Sissy Sullivan has a stereotypical Boston accent. But also subverted in the sense that Bessie's knowledge of Boston is hilariously limited: She's uncertain if Boston is even part of the United States and if they speak English there, and takes it for granted that they don't have Chinese restaurants.
  • One episode of Ugly Americans had the amoeba in Mark's group accompanied by a thick-accented green amoeba with a Red Sox cap.
  • Making Fiends takes place in the town of Clamburg, a coastal town that used to be a tourist hotspot for its clams. It's since been taken over by a little girl and her homemade demons. There are still Puritans in that town; Malachi and his family. The protagonist/antagonist(?) is Charlotte, a happy-go-lucky girl from Vermont.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man (2012): The episode "Spidah-Man!". Spider-Man is offered a place as Boston's resident superhero. Cue Boston accents out the wazoo and supervillains that embody New England stereotypes (Plymouth Rocker, the Salem Witch, and Slam Adams)
  • Diane's family in Bojack Horseman all speak in extremely broad stereotypical New England accents, unlike Diane herself, who's more articulate. It's implied that her efforts to culture herself and move beyond her working-class family is what ostracized them from her (along with the fact that they're all just rotten people to begin with).
  • In the King of the Hill episode "The Company Man," Bostonian client Mr. Holloway is a sheltered, dorky milquetoast who smugly endorses demeaning stereotypes about Texans and speaks in a shrill, nasal Kennedy impression. This is largely in line with how people from coastal areas are usually depicted on the show, but it makes the episode's Aesop about not believing stereotypes a little confused.
  • In the Close Enough episode "So Long Boys," Josh decides to get a vasectomy and goes to a clinic where the procedure is done by robots from Boston. The robots speak in thick Southie accents and make random references to Boston sports teams even as they go haywire and attack the main characters.
    Robot: You're worse than Jeter! Go Sox!


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): New England, Hahvahd Yahd In My Cah, Podunk



At a neo-Confederate meeting, one of the attendees brings up Vermont as a paradise for White people.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / HollywoodNewEngland

Media sources: