- Woman in an argument with town council over a goose? Florida.
- Voters pass a law making the wearing of baggy pants a criminal offense that may cost you up to $150 and 60 days in jail? Just as baggy pants were starting to go out of style, one might add, extending the fashion for at least another year? Florida.
- Japanese stripper claims judge (who looks like Bill Cosby) shared business and bank accounts but insists their relationship is "a pure business matter"? Florida.
- Man tries to legally marry a letter opener because he believes it to be the reincarnated form of his dead wife? Florida.
And that's just from one day's worth of news in the Persistent Vegetative State. Quite literally one day's worth of news: All of the above (except the aforementioned fictional one) are summaries of Fark items from March 12, 2008. Don't get us started on the 2000 Presidential election either.
Of course, Florida doesn't actually have more weirdos than any other state with a large and diverse population. They're just more willing to talk about it. In most other states, the details of crimes and legal proceedings are either classified or not available right away, whereas Florida is quite proud of its transparency laws, also known as "sunshine laws", which give reporters easier access to police reports and court documents. So whereas an Ohio headline would read "Maple Heights woman arrested after assaulting sister," a Florida headline gets to go the extra mile and say "Manatee womannote punched sister during fight over vibrator." Of course, the manner in which these laws are enforced can themselves create some weird "only in Florida" stories, sometimes even creating A Rare Sentence in the process; see, for instance, the time when a father and son who were both Miami-Dade County commissioners had to file a public notice just to have a private chat because they'd be discussing public transit issues, or when the governor was legally required to invite journalists to cover his wedding.
It's perhaps for these reasons that Florida has developed a number of excellent newspapers, and several famous journalists like Dave Barry and Carl Hiaasen got their start here, which is perhaps why so much is known about the state's quirks. Also, the now-defunct tabloid Weekly World News, known for its extremely bizarre cover stories, was based here as well, doubtlessly drawing inspiration from the local headlines. One newspaper, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, has even used Florida's reputation as a recruiting tool, calling Florida "arguably the best news state in the country".
Given the fact that such headlines are usually worded in the manner of "Florida Man does X," Memetic Mutation has opted to interpret this to mean that all of these bizarre acts are the work of a single specific individual, a "superhero"/supervillain named Florida Man, who is considered to be the Anthropomorphic Personification of Chaotic Stupid and the Avatar of Meth.
Also check out Only in Miami, which is about the city, rather than the state. Note: there is little relation between this and the Bermuda Triangle, as the Bermuda Triangle is more about the paranormal than the weird and wacky.
People who remark about the unusually large quantity of weird news stories coming out of Florida:
- Most likely being referenced in this Sonic commercial.
- Stone Ocean is widely regarded as one of the weirder installments of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. After all, only Florida would have a prison escape with invisible zombies, fictional characters coming to life, "rods"* absorbing body heat being weaponized, and people turning into snails on the way to stop the Big Bad from resetting the universe.
- In the Marvel Universe, Florida plays home to the Nexus of All Realities, a multiversal intersection that leads to high weirdness. Which plays on the true source of Florida weirdness. It's a Deep South tourist state that's also popular to retirees and refugees alike, leading to a very diverse mix of culture (Miami-Dade county is often referred to as "Little Cuba.")
- In the Disney Kingdoms book Figment 2, the Academy Scientifica-Lucida relocated to a large plot of land in Florida to avoid any legal trouble with their experiments. At some point in the early 1980s, a large energy-filled geodesic sphere appeared with no explanation on the campus and occasionally wavers in and out of existence. The faculty includes an aged blue fairy man and they've still kept Dreamfinder's Mesmonic Spark Convertor in storage.
- As it turns out in Future Quest, the reason Dr. Quest set up shop in Palm Key was that it was the most regular incursion site for the interdimensional portals.
- In The Walking Dead, Douglas mentions a news story he read before the apocalypse where a man in Florida ate his son's eyeballs out of his head.
- In Tex Willer, at some point Florida had a medieval castle inhabited by voodoo cultists that followed a white man who believed himself Baron Samedi and had recently escaped from an asylum with his cellmate, who happens to be a Satanist with enormous magic powers, with the cultists, that include a houngan who can actually raise zombies, planning to conquer the whole United States and trying to ally themselves with the Seminoles for it. And it started out because the houngan, his daughter and a friend of theirs decided to scam the white man (who happened to be wealthy).
- In Transmetropolitan, Bob Heller, a colossally racist and fascist presidential candidate accurately described by Spider as "Hitler stuffed to the skin with Viagra, Jumpstart (a fictional stimulant drug), gila monster genes, and syphilis" holds has overwhelming support in Florida. After writing about one of Heller's violence-themed and profanity-laden campaign speeches, Spider was shaken to the point of appending a "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer to his report. The real kicker and what truly cements the Crapsack World of Transmetropolitan is that Heller is not the evilest candidate running for president. Hell, he's not the evilest candidate within his own political party.
- Soul Eater fanfiction Soul Eater: Troubled Souls has a mission. In it, a monstrous runaway train is trying to cause as much destruction as possible as it goes on a joyride down a high-speed rail. It takes a whole lot of effort to bring it down from both the Academy and emergency personnel. Property damage happens, and a couple of lives are lost. Guess where it happened? Even better, the resident Little Miss Snarker OC quotes this trope word-for-word.
- The fact that so much weird stuff happens in Florida inspired the Gravity Falls AU Gravity Key, which relocates the Mystery Shack (and the show's action) to the Florida Keys. The Bermuda Triangle is involved, naturally.
- Big Trouble is unsurprisingly this being adapted from a Dave Barry book. It's often discussed by two out of town hitmen who constantly refer to the complete oddness around them and call it as Weirdsville, USA.
- The book's Stealth Sequel Tricky Business is also set in Florida. Like Big Trouble, there is just as much weirdness.
- This trope is possibly the reason why, at the end of the 2002 made-for-TV version of Carrie, the title character heads to Florida to hide out after faking her death. Where else could a teenage girl with Psychic Powers blend into the populace? The setup for the planned TV series to follow (never picked up due to the film's low ratings) was that Carrie would be meeting other people with Psychic Powers, meaning that, at the very least, she's far from the only freak who came to that conclusion.
- Adaptation, A.K.A: Post Modernist Mind Screw: The Movie 2, takes place largely in Florida.
- Ace Ventura features the kidnapping of the Miami Dolphins' live mascot, and star player, Dan Marino as part of a convoluted revenge plot by a disgraced former player who hailed from a small town in central Florida. Said player then escaped from a mental hospital in Tampa, and then assumed the identity of a missing female hiker, became a captain in the Miami police department, and is in charge of the dolphin/Marino case. The case is solved by an eccentric private investigator who specializes in finding missing pets.
- The characters in Zombieland are all named after the cities they're from. Tallahassee, then, is a Florida man (from the state capital, even), and also a Florida Man: a Crazy Survivalist with a Mysterious Past on a quest for the last remaining Hostess Twinkies, and one who takes great pleasure in coming up with creative and badass ways to kill zombies. He is by far the most eccentric and over-the-top character in the film, and Columbus is understandably freaked out upon first meeting him.
- Carl Hiaasen: Apart from reporting on real Florida, he writes lurid but not really exaggerated fiction about it.
- Dave Barry, the Miami-based humorist. He says he is not making these things up, and has commented that all one really has to do to be funny is to live in Florida and write about whatever happened that day. And his Boca Raton-based counterpart, Frank Cerabino, as well as any other local humor columnists in the state.
- Piers Anthony sets his Xanth series in a land that is the exact size and shape of Florida, although it's almost as mountainous as Florida isn't.
- Tim Dorsey has a series about Serge A. Storms, Crazy Awesome and Ax-Crazy criminal/tour guide whose obsessions with Florida history drives a lot of the crazy plots.
- Alex Flinn's novel Cloaked is set in Miami and centers around a high school shoemaker being hired by a princess to search the Florida Keys for her brother, who has been turned into a frog. As the story goes on, it becomes apparent that there's a good number of enchanted people-turned-animals and fairy tale creatures in general in the region. Flinn's other novel, A Kiss in Time, has a modern-day teenage boy bring a fairy-tale princess he finds in Europe to live with him in Miami.
- Tangerine plays a lighter version of this trope. One of the subplots is about how the upper-middle-class families of the Lake Windsor Downs development keep trying to build a perfect Stepford Suburbia paradise for themselves, and how Florida just fights back. Tear down a citrus grove, bury the wood and build a street of houses on top it? Now you have termites. Try to put out an eternally burning muck fire by pumping water over it? Now you have a swamp breeding mosquitoes. Fill your storm runoff retention pond with expensive Japanese koi? Now the local birds of prey have a new food source. Plus the sinkhole, the daily rain, the lightning... By the time the deep freeze comes around, they just break out the hot cocoa and fake fire logs in defeat, while the lower-class families of Tangerine are busy trying to save their orchards.
- Wayne Dilkes: Y'all are having a regular ten plagues of Egypt over here.
- Spider Robinson's Callahan's Crosstime Saloon eventually moves down to Key West, wherein the sudden influx of time travelers, talking dogs, aliens, and general weirdos goes completely unremarked upon.
- Weird U.S is a series of books that detail some of Americas strangest locations, stories, urban legends, etc. Unsurprisingly they have an entire book, Weird Florida, devoted solely to the sunshine state.
- Mostly Dead Things takes place in Florida and leans into the weirdness.
- The Daily Show:
"But without tacky shit on your lawn, how does anyone know they're in Florida?"
- A "10 F#@king Years" segment was devoted solely to Florida stories.
- This video from the show features Desi Lydic going to Florida to investigate the source of Florida Man news stories, including interviews with actual Florida Men who had made bizarre headlines (two of them involving alligators). Upon finding out about the state's sunshine laws and that, in reality, every state has its own weird stories that just get buried in unreleased police reports, she concludes that there's a Florida Man living inside all of us.
- An episode of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! on the subject was planned before the 2007/2008 WGA strike.
- From Criminal Minds, which sees some of the most bizarre, gruesome, inventive, and just generally screwed-up serial killers not set in a Stephen King novel:
JJ: We got a bad [case].
Morgan: How bad?
- Examples include a hitchhiker who takes his victim's identities and an insane cannibal who feeds his victims to other people in the form of chili.
- Countdown with Keith Olbermann included a regular segment called "Oddball" where Keith talked about the weird stories of the day. Florida was such a regular part of the segment that, at the end of every year when they did a week-long recap of the news of the year, they always did one episode on Oddball, and there was always a part of that episode on Florida.
- Florida is always mercilessly mocked in Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. "Felony Disenfranchisement" is a segment dedicated to injustice in voting restoration in Florida, but it wouldn't be right not to mention some other bizarre things that have made headlines there.
- On Strangers with Candy, most of Jerri's drug-riddled, highly-sexed Expansion Pack Past seemed to have taken place there.
"Florida. Beautiful weather...harsh penal system."
- Every episode of World's Dumbest... seems to have at least one thing that takes place in Florida.
- Seinfeld portrayed South Florida (home to most of our senior citizens) as being Cloud Cuckoo Land, where the most trivial things affect condo board politics.
- In the season 2 finale of Star Trek: Enterprise, a devastating alien probe attacks Earth. Free to target anywhere on the planet, it, of course, levels its deadly energy beam directly at...Florida.
- The X-Files:
- The season 2 episode "Humbug" was set in Gibsonton, Florida — a small town seemingly populated entirely by carnies and sideshow performers. This is Truth in Television as Gibsonton is the off-season home for a large number of carnival employees. More appropriate for the trope, the carnies are represented as mostly being the Only Sane Man.
- The episode "Agua Mala" is set in Florida amidst a hurricane and has "Don't all the nuts roll downhill to Florida?" as a Running Gag.
- In season 12 of Degrassi, devout evangelical Christian boorish homophobes Luke and Becky just moved up from Florida. They're widely believed to be a Take That! to the Florida Family Association (see the "Real Life" section).
- Let's not forget that Dexter, the show about the world's most lovable serial killer, takes place in Miami. Not only is it strange that Dexter lives there, but Miami is apparently so full of messed-up people that Dexter usually slices up a character an episode while he is looking for each season's "Big Bad". Also, almost no character is introduced to the show who isn't in some way completely insane.
- Late Night With Seth Meyers has a recurring game segment titled "Fake or Florida" in which three selected audience members had to guess if the headlines Meyers reads to them are fictional or from Florida. Audience members who actually are from Florida are given a handicap to even the playing field.
- While Miami Vice was more straight-up cop drama, some of the more bizarre stories and quirky characters had true-life antecedents that were Ripped from the Headlines.
- Jupiter, Florida is the setting for American Horror Story: Freak Show and with good reason. It has the most outlandish plot twists and characters, and the highest body count of any of the show's seasons to date.
- The Good Place has Jacksonville native Jason Mendoza, who is best described as the Florida Man meme in human form. To give one example: he tried to pull off a bank heist with a buddy by locking himself in a safe, only to suffocate to death because he thought wearing a snorkel would be enough to give him oxygen.
- Much like in the case of France, Michael claims that being born in Florida automatically docks you points on the morality system dictated in the afterlife, mocking the stereotype of Florida being a corrupt and backwards location.
- When Tahani attempts to transfer a large amount of her fortune to Jason, the banker she talks to mentions that they're supposed to shut down the building if anyone from Florida shows up. Keep in mind, the bank is in Australia.
- To be honest, the show makes Florida sound more awesome than weird, such as being picked up in a monster truck taxi at the Macho Man Randy Savage Non-International Airport.
- Atlanta: Earn mentions to Darius that his parents are in Florida to visit a dying relative. Darius proceeds to tell Earn the tale of Florida Man, a creepy criminal responsible for a bizarre crime spree.
Darius: Florida Man is responsible for a percentage of abnormal incidents that occur in Florida. Think of him as an alt-right Johnny Appleseed. No one knows his true identity, date of birth, what he looks like. That's why headlines always say "Florida Man".
- Interestingly, back in the 1840s it was Kentucky, not Florida, which had this reputation, according to Punch.
- The March 2013 issue of Game Informer once had the Game Over segment "RPG or Florida?", in which you are given multiple weird stories and have to guess whether they happened in an RPG or in Florida. Play it here.
- This is a reliable and never-ending stream of material for British News Of The Weird publication, Fortean Times. While the whole of the USA is seen as an extension of Only In Florida, this state does seem to contribute more weirdness than the rest.
- Blue Öyster Cult made a song dedicated to this trope, aptly named "Florida Man", which imagines that Floridians have been permanently cursed by the native Seminoles as payback for the tribes mistreatment at the hands of the conquistadors.
A Miami nurse snatches a purse
And drives down the freeway in reverse (Florida Man!)
Phil asks the cops to test his drugs
After they find him hiding under a rug
- Anchorage, Alaska radio DJs Woody and Wilcox cover this daily in the "It Happened in Florida" segment; three recent news stories are presented, all real. Of the three, two are subversions, sounding like things that happened in Florida, but not actually occurring there. The calling guest who finds the straight example gets some prizes. They are now on 106.5 The End in Charlotte, North Caroline.
- When Adam Carolla was hosting Loveline, they played a game called "Germany or Florida", where listeners would call in with weird news stories and the hosts would have to guess whether it took place in Germany or Florida. Germany's reputation is well-deserved; it's one of the most common locations for such stories on The BBC radio show It's Been A Bad Week.
- NPR show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! has also done "Germany or Florida" segments.
- Former child star and current Seattle DJ Danny Bonaduce has a segment during the news portion of his morning drive program titled "Our 'Things Are Not Right in Florida' Story of the Day."
- The hosts of the Majic Morning Show on WMJI 105.7 (based in Cleveland) often make special mention of Florida stories during their "Knuckleheads in the News" segment.
- The Kevin and Bean Show has a recurring segment called What's Up With Florida, where they cover a block of about five to eight strange tales from the news.
- Mikey and Big Bob, Pittsburgh morning radio hosts, also have a special segment in which they talk about bizarre events that have happened in Florida. The trope has been referred to by name not only by the hosts but by the news segments they sample. They cover bizarre things happening elsewhere as well - West Virginia also has its own dedicated intro, though less than half the length of the one they use for Florida, which is a favorite area of the hosts for the sheer number of odd stories emerging from it.
- In Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Tommy Vercetti, a mobster from Liberty City, frequently snarks about the weirdness and stupidity around him. At least part of it has to do with him having just been released from prison after fifteen years, though — he's confounded as to how a porno parody of a movie about a killer shark can be popular.
- Kenny of The Walking Dead fame comes from Florida, and invokes this trope after he wonders if Lee, a black man, can pick locks.
Kenny: Jesus, man, I'm from Florida! Crazy shit just comes out of my mouth sometimes!
- Hotline Miami and its sequel take place entirely in Miami, Florida and it shows. A guy in a pig mask shooting people is the least weird thing going on.
- In After the End: A Crusader Kings II Mod, the two biggest powers in post-apocalyptic Florida are a tribal cult that worships Mickey Mouse, and the descendants of Shriners who read Arabian Nights and decided to rebuild civilization in its image.
- Borderlands 3 awards the player a "Florida Man" achievement if they manage to blow themselves up.
- Ennui GO!: During Izzy's military invasion of Florida, we are introduced to a strange man with an autopsy scar, a drug habit, and a face that appears to have been partially torn off and sewn back on. After he robbed a bank as a distraction and appeared in the news, he earned the Fandom Nickname of "Florida Man". He is later shown to not only be connected to Izzy's past, but also having been around for about 200 years, always appearing in newspaper articles that only identify him as a "Florida Man".
Len:It isn't just the heat and cocaine that drives Floridans to madness, Izzy. In Florida, there's a MAN.
- Spring Trapped: Word of God is that the comic's version of Freddy Fazbear's Pizza is set in Florida because 'Florida Man Dies In Mascot Suit' was just too good to pass up.
- Distorted View, a podcast created to present interesting and disgusting things that happen in the news each day, has a special sound clip that plays whenever a news story occurs in Florida, "our most fucked-up state".
- Fark has, along with such categories as "Interesting", "Cool", "Asinine", "Scary", and "Weird", a category named "Florida".
- Drew Curtis has commented on this in his book. To paraphrase: California news gets no reaction because "Oh, it's just those crazy hippies." No one expects weird news from Florida. After reading all the examples though one has to wonder why. It's a massive tourist state with alligators. Stupid people plus giant reptiles. How bad could it be?
- If more than one category tag can apply to a story set in Florida, the Florida tag automatically wins.
- Chuck Shepherd, writer of the News of the Weird column, simply calls it the "F State".
- Less Is Morgue: The show is set in Florida and they never miss a chance to joke about how weird the state is. The pinnacle of this is episode 10, which is set during a hurricane and features Florida Man as a demented Santa Claus-esque character who travels house to house collecting offerings of meth.
Florida Man: Oh, I'm real, baby. I'm really real. Every story you've heard is true - The twelve-car police chase where I stopped off at the Mickey Ds drive thru? True. The 18 foot banana I stole and tied to the top of a two-seat smart car? True.
Riley: Uh, Im feeling very uncomf—
Florida Man: Burned down an apartment complex because the landlord threatened to kick me out if I didnt stop masturbating loudly to My Little Pony fan animations? The truest of all.
- The off-topic section of the NeoGAF forums frequently tags weird news stories with a guessing game—does the weird news story happen in Germany, Australia, or Florida?
- "Accidental human deaths in Florida" is a separate category on Wikipedia. It's since been changed to just "Accidental deaths in Florida", and joined by other categories of accidental deaths from the other states.
- Cenk from The Young Turks comments on this often.
- What the Fuck Is Wrong with You?, hosted by Nash Bozard of "Radio Dead Air" fame, features stories about the general craziness that is Florida on a Once an Episode basis. One of the early episodes was even made up entirely of Florida stories. The title? "The Wang of America." Part of the WTFIWWY Live drinking game includes taking a shot for Florida, and in the live episodes, Nash or Tara will normally comment "And it's Florida..."
- It's gotten to the point that specific cities and counties are showing up multiple times, especially Melbourne and Brevard County (also one of the most popular locations for episodes of COPS).
- Lampshaded this in their article "The 6 Most Horrific Lessons Ever Taught in Elementary School", where half of the six entries came out of Florida.
"Wait, what the fuck? That's three of our entries that are from Florida. What the hell is going on down there?"
- In "5 Recent Trends That Make It Hard to Trust Police", Florida is described as "America's one-stop shop for insanity of all sorts".
- The follow-up, "5 Recent Trends That Make It Hard to Trust Police (Part 2)", gives us this gem:
"Once again, let's hear it for Florida, or 'Japan of the United States' (if we're talking about areas that produce bizarre news stories)."
- From "6 Most Embarrassing Emergency Rescue Calls":
"Say you're taking a stroll one day when you come across a group of people gawking at something and taking photos. You look up, and there's a lady in pink just quietly hanging from a large wooden structure, 22 feet in the air. Did we mention you're in Florida? We probably don't need to."
- Lampshaded this in their article "The 6 Most Horrific Lessons Ever Taught in Elementary School", where half of the six entries came out of Florida.
- ScrewAttack's sidescroller makes frequent use of this during the Newsdesk (so much so that it's a running gag that Chad will either be ecstatic or upset if there isn't a Florida story) and at least one fan-submitted question said that he was in a dangerous place at the time. And yes, they are always the weirdest...
- The Cox n' Crendor Show, a podcast hosted by Jesse Cox and Wowcrendor has caught on to the phenomenon. The absurdity of some of Florida's news is highlighted, especially on the Valentine's Day episode when Jesse finds a quiz asking whether a set of seventeen statements are an RPG plotline or a Florida headline. It's about a 50/50 split. Now in glorious animation.
- Twitter account Florida Man collects odd news articles from the state and bills itself as "real-life stories of the world's worst superhero". Essentially, it acts under the premise that all of the stories are referring to a single individual named "Florida Man", playing on the fact that most news articles tend to begin by citing the location and gender of the subject in question, i.e "Florida man/woman arrested for committing X crime..." Florida Man has migrated to Reddit.
- Spoofed by ClickHole with "Only In Florida...", making bewildered commentary on completely ordinary photos of Florida life.
- There is a Tumblr blog dedicated to archiving the strange daily experiences of Florida natives.
- The forum at snopes.com has a thread in its "Fun House" section entitled "Florida Man: The World's Worst Superhero."
- Philip Defranco, who spent his teenage years in Florida, pokes fun at the state on his show from time to time.
Phil: It's like a douchebag factory, really.
- During an interview, Rotten Tomatoes played a game with the cast of The Force Awakens. In it they were told weird and outrageous stories and had to guess if they were from Star Wars or Florida news headlines.
- Brows Held High discussed this reviewing 'Spring Breakers''.
According to American stereotypes, everything outside of Disney World is a stew of rednecks, racists, racist rednecks, crazed ignorami, crass pornographers, charming serial killers, and of course, insipid, semi-nude drunks. The only people there who are happy are the retirees, and only because they know they're going to die soon and leave Florida forever.
- Texts From Last Night: the whole site runs on bizarre noodle incidents but some of the most truly odd come from Florida area codes.
- Mann Shorts has an entire series of "D&D: Florida Edition" videos on YouTube, all of which reference actual offenses committed in the State.
- In the first episode of the relaunched Beavis and Butt-Head, the two are watching the video for MGMT's "Kids" from Oracular Spectacular, in which a toddler walks down a street surrounded by zombies and various Body Horror-esque monsters. Their reaction?
Beavis: Is this Florida?
Butt-Head: Yup. That's Florida. [beat, laugh] Florida sucks.
- Big Mouth has an episode set in Florida. The main plot revolves around Andrew's cousin trying to seduce him. Maurice goes full throttle on this trope with his song "Anything Goes In Florida", which features children getting eaten alive by alligators, the KKK taking their children to Disney World, public masturbation and Maurice snorts bath salts right before eating his dealer's face of his skull.
- The Fairly OddParents: In "School's Out: The Musical", Timmy wished kids ruled the world. He was elected President of the whole nation except Florida because they're still voting.
- In Metalocalypse, The Governor of Florida gets lynched after decrying Dethklok and Nathan gets voted in as a replacement. Due to his complete lack of even the most basic life knowledge, he makes executions a standard punishment (because it's "Brutal"), introduces a new dollar that's printed in such quantities that it's useless (driving the state into a recession), and, when all else fails, they try to hold a concert because music makes everything better...except that considering who Dethklok is, it winds up summoning a category 6 hurricane that pretty much wipes the state off the map. And despite this, one of the tattered, starving-to-death survivors still says he's the best governor the state's ever had.
- Dumbo begins in Florida. Only in Florida would a flying elephant be born...(In real life, touring circuses such as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey had winter headquarters in Florida due to the climate.)