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Informed Location

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So Alice and Bob are running a bakery in...where are they? Let's just say Boston.

If your story takes place in a specific, extant location, some local color is to be expected: the natives of the place should act like people who live there do; the ones who are visiting should react to the unfamiliarity. Food, dialect, and weather all shape a town. But all that is complicated, particularly if it's a place with which you're not familiar. Just start off with "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night in New York" and just like that, your tale is set in New York. However, for the most part, the location is added in later.


TV series will usually go to some effort to shoot footage in the actual location (which may or may not feature the actors) for the Title Sequence. This will usually be the only time it is ever featured in the show.

Note: this isn't necessarily when a work fails to depict a location properly, merely when it isn't relevant. Often it appears to be done to avoid either Everytown, America or Where the Hell Is Springfield?. Contrast the Eiffel Tower Effect and Hollywood Atlas. See also California Doubling.



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    Comic Books 

  • All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr, is set (at least half of it) in the French seaside city of St. Malo, during the Second World War. Doerr certainly did his geographic research of the city (or what the city was like before it was bombed to rubble), but culturally the city is lacking compared to its real life counterpart. St. Malo has a distinct Breton culture - a culture with Celtic roots - complete with its own folklore, language, cuisine, crafts, and holidays. But the way that Doerr wrote about it, it could be just about any French town that happens to be on the sea.
  • An important plot point in Andrew Holleran's Dancer From The Dance takes place in Washington, D.C., which Holleran had not yet visited. Holleran provides no insights about the city that could not be gained from glancing at a map. His descriptions range from Everytown, America to hilariously wrong.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Being Human (US) is set in Boston, despite being filmed in Toronto.
  • Community is set in Denver. For legal reasons.
  • Fringe is set in Boston, but doesn't make much use of that fact. Oddly, when they go somewhere else, it doesn't really make a difference.
  • Full House is set in San Francisco. You can tell from the opening theme, and nothing else. Ditto Fuller House.
  • Quick, where's Three's Company set? Santa Monica.
  • Pretty much every Disney Channel Kid Com.
  • Parks and Recreation is set in south central Indiana, but all of its exterior shots are filmed in California. This means that the weather is peculiarly sunny and dry, with about two days of snow per year - you know, like Indiana has.
  • The Office (US) takes place in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and actually does manage to make reference to a few real locations in the area. However, the show itself was filmed in California.
  • A study in contrasts: two iconic NBC shows from The '80s, both set in Miami, Florida. One is Miami Vice, which shot on location and made full and ample use of the sights and sounds of the city. The other is The Golden Girls, which was almost entirely studio-bound and relied entirely on establishing shots to convey the location. Even the famous exterior of the home they lived in was actually of a house in California!
  • Low-budget soap operas made in Singapore or Malaysia are a particularly notorious offender of this trope, where an episode allegedly set overseas will take place entirely indoors, with the dialogue being the sole indicator that the characters aren't in their home country anymore. For example, Portrait of Home (a cheesy love drama made in Singapore) have two characters going on a business trip to Paris... and having all the Paris scenes being filmed in a hotel room that appears to be in Le Méridien Singapore, with one of the characters saying how much she missed home despite clearly having never left the country at all. For some baffling reason, they couldn't even throw in a brief stock recording of the Eiffel Tower?

    Western Animation 
  • The Autobot base in The Transformers was officially supposed to be in Oregon, but it was mostly a generic rocky desert/badlands environment that looked more like some part of Utah or New Mexico.


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