Follow TV Tropes


Place Worse Than Death

Go To
"Okay! Okay! I'll behave!"

"New Jersey is not 'pretty much New York', you are not 'pretty much New Yorkers'. [...] This is the greatest city in the world, you have to earn the right to call yourself a New Yorker! So why don't you girls crawl into the open sewer pipe you call the Holland tunnel and flush yourselves back to 'pretty much New York.' Because I will do a lot to get laid, but I am not going to New Jersey!"
Ted Mosby, How I Met Your Mother

There are a few places in this world that nobody ever wants to go to. Not that it's immediately dangerous, like Hell. But its reputation is so bad that being sent there is a Cool and Unusual Punishment. The threat of sending someone there can function as a Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon threat. And willingly going there is an act of extreme bravery, insanity, and/or desperation. In a fantasy setting, there is a good chance your character will go there, for whatever reason (most likely because of The Law of Conservation of Detail).

Of course, sometimes this is merely a throwaway gag. I mean, who would want to actually go there?

See also Hell, Room 101, Maximum Fun Chamber, I Don't Like the Sound of That Place, Forbidden Zone, and Death World. See also You Would Not Want to Live in Dex and Reassigned to Antarctica.


Examples by location:

    open/close all folders 

New Jersey

  • It's said that New Jersey has the most toxic waste dumps per capita, while Washington D.C. has the most lawyers. The reason? New Jersey got to pick first.
  • It's also said that the most popular thing to do when visiting New Jersey is to leave.
  • Continuing that theme, why do all of the bridges over the Delaware and Hudson Rivers only have tolls on the Jersey side? Because no one would pay to get into New Jersey, but they'd gladly pay to leave.

    Comic Books 
  • Baron Zemo sends some of Captain America's allies there (and says sending people there is a Fate Worse than Death) during the Civil War Crisis Crossover.
  • Lampshaded in the lead-up to Secret Invasion:
    Spider-Man: Jersey? What are we doing in Jersey? Except, of course, for breaking my rule of never setting foot in Jersey.
    • When Spider-Man goes on live television to say that he's switching sides during Civil War, he says that the prison that unregistered heroes are being sent to is in the Negative Zone, which is like New Jersey... but worse.
    • He gets in on this in Ultimate Spider-Man, too. After ending up in Brazil during a fight with Doc Ock (which involved Ock hijacking a plane), he hitches a ride on another plane, smuggles himself onto a third plane, and is finally woken up by baggage handlers. "Ugh! What's that smell? Oh, good, I made it to Jersey!"
  • An issue of The Mighty Thor involves Hercules telling a group of kids a story about him fighting Thor. He's going on about how easily he was winning until he realizes that one of them is a Thor fan and the others are just hoping to pick on him. He quickly changes the story to Thor simply feigning weakness, and it ends with Herc getting punched across the sky. "I landed in a place the Gods forgot - New Jersey!"
  • Various media (such as The Atlas To The DC Universe) make mention of Gotham City (and neighboring city Bludhaven) being located in New Jersey. Considering that both cities are pretty much the definition of Wretched Hive in DC (or at least two of the strongest competitors for the title), it's no wonder that people think of them in terms of this trope (and anybody who is willing to live there to be as insane as the super-villains that call the place "home").
  • Ms. Marvel (2014) is set in New Jersey, and Kamala herself will passionately defend the place, but during Loki's guest appearance in issue 12, he and the All-Mother engage in this (possibly with a shout-out to the The Mighty Thor comic mentioned above):
    All-Mother: You're being reassigned. For the time being.
    Loki: You can't be serious. Reassigned where?
    All-Mother: A corner of Midgard that has been too long neglected by the gods... New Jersey.
    Loki: WHAT?!
  • One issue of The Transformers G1 comic book had Scorponok brawling with Starscream and Shockwave. Several humans in New York looked on from across the river when one of them asked if they should call the army or something. The guy standing next to him said "who cares, it's just New Jersey."

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animated 
  • The Addams Family (2019): After being chased by an angry mob on their wedding day, Gomez and Morticia decide they need to move to a remote place so horrible, no one in their right minds would go there... cut to them driving past a sign that says "Welcome to New Jersey: What Are You Lookin' At?"
  • Felix the Cat: The Movie: Felix comes over a hill and sees Progress City, a seedy town surrounded by a deadly swamp, to which Felix says "Where are we, New Jersey?"
  • In The Mighty Kong, Carl Denham discusses a plan to buy land in New Jersey for King Kong to inhabit. Anne protests this: "He can’t survive in Jersey! No one can!"

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In the movie version of James and the Giant Peach, the peach gets caught in a storm just as they are approaching New York, and the centipede yells out, "We'll wind up in Jersey!"
  • The whole point of The Toxic Avenger movies - where else would someone get turned into a hideous radioactive mutant?
  • Dude, Where's My Car?: "We will now use the power of the Continuum Transfunctioner to banish you to Hoboken, New Jersey!" Ironically, nowadays Hoboken is the one place in New Jersey that New Yorkers don't look down on — it's actually seen as quite a good place to live.
  • An outtake from Dogma has Loki and Bartleby wonder why they never tried to leave Wisconsin (see below) before. Loki says it's because they were afraid God would send them someplace worse.
    Bartleby: Where were we afraid he'd send us?
    Loki: New Jersey.
  • From Desperately Seeking Susan:
    "I thought you were dead."
    "Just in New Jersey."
  • Harold and Kumar live in New Jersey (Hoboken, to be precise), but after accidentally taking a detour near the beginning:
    Kumar: Now we're in Newark, of all places. We're probably gonna get shot.
    Harold: Maybe it's not as bad as they say, ya know? Maybe it's all just a bunch of hype...
    • And then they see two guys who Kumar describes as "a lame version of us" get the crap kicked out of them, prompting them to haul ass out of there.
  • In The Purple Rose of Cairo, Gil Shepherd finds out from his agent that the character he plays has walked off the screen to be with a moviegoer. Gil thinks it's physically impossible, to which his agent simply replies, "In New Jersey, anything can happen."
  • In the movie Fletch Lives, the protagonist has to track down a toxic chemical that only a few companies make. When his editor starts to list the names of the companies, he tells him, "Look, just tell me the ones that aren't in New Jersey." (The film takes place in Louisiana.) As you might expect, there's only one, and that's the right one.
  • The Long Kiss Goodnight has this exchange:
    "I got out of Bagdhad, I'm pretty sure I can get out of New Jersey."
    "Others have tried and failed!"
  • Russell Crowe's character in American Gangster warns a corrupt New York cop, "Everybody from New Jersey's crazy."

  • Dave Barry Slept Here jokes that Richard Nixon left politics to live in a state of utter disgrace: New Jersey. (He was not making that up; Nixon actually lived out his last years in Park Ridge, New Jersey.)
  • In one of Dave Barry's columns, he says scientists believe "at one time the earth was nothing but a bunch of slime and ooze, sort of like Bayonne, New Jersey."

    Live-Action TV 
  • On How I Met Your Mother, Ted insists that he has no problem moving to his fiancee's home in New Jersey. Cut to flashbacks showing Ted relentlessly bashing New Jersey, showing off his "I Hate New Jersey" T-shirt, and referring to the act of defecation as "taking a New Jersey".
    • Lily once told Ted that if he killed her and buried her in New Jersey, she would haunt him forever. However, she would be willing to forgive him if he buried her anywhere else.
  • All in the Family: Mike and Gloria are house hunting and Archie, wanting to get rid of Mike, keeps suggesting that he "Try Jersey":
    Mike: I hate Jersey!
    Archie: Everybody hates Jersey! But someone has to live there!
  • On The Drew Carey Show Drew is amused to learn that Kate's boyfriend (who claims to be the devil) was born in Jersey, although this could also be a reference to urban legends of a monster called the Jersey Devil.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): Both "Dealer's Choices" and "I of Newton" explicitly compare New Jersey (the city of Newark specifically in the latter) to Hell. In "Dealer's Choice", the Devil shows up for a card game:
    "What's the Devil doing here in New Jersey?"
    "What do you mean? I think he lives here!"
  • In a message he recorded for the 30th anniversary of the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum, Stephen Colbert mentioned trying to fire missiles at New Jersey as one of his favorite memories of visiting the Intrepid.
  • Played with in a Night Court episode where a crazy person who thought he was a space alien was brought before the bench:
    Defendant: I can't stand this oxygen atmosphere! I need methane and ammonia!
    Harry: Where's he from?
    Bull: New Jersey, your honor.
  • Burn Notice was originally going to be set in Newark, but network executives apparently found the idea of Michael Westen being exiled to New Jersey to be too depressing.
  • On the mid-season finale of the final season of Mad Men, Peggy and Julio (the son of the woman renting an apartment from Peggy) have this conversation:
    Julio: I don't want to move to Newark!
    Peggy: Nobody does.
  • Subverted in the Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "Want." A dancer at a strip club refuses her boss's suggestion that she transfer to a club in Jersey, with a disgusted tone that suggests this trope. But later, we find out that's where her mother lives: the implication is that the girl just didn't want to bring her unsavory work so close to home.

  • The singer Voltaire did a song about his childhood home statenote ... called "Bomb New Jersey." It's about Exactly What It Says on the Tin. His song "Hell in a Handbasket" has another jab at New Jersey, when he says he'd rather be dead and in Hell than "alive and kicking in Jersey any day."
  • Likewise, Less Than Jake has a song simply called "Never Going Back to New Jersey".
  • The "Weird Al" Yankovic song I'll Sue Ya features the line "I sued Delta Airlines cause they sold me a ticket to New Jersey. I went there, and it sucked!"
  • Bloodhound Gang has a song called "The Ten Coolest Things About New Jersey". It's ten seconds of silence.

  • In Waitress, Becky suggests that Jenna open up a pie shop somewhere where they could use one, like Europe, "or New Jersey."
  • Be More Chill:
    Mr. Reyes: You think I wanted to teach high school drama? In New Jersey?
  • Hamilton pokes fun at New Jersey, but Word of God says it's "with love".
    • In "Farmer Refuted":
      Seabury: I pray the king shows you his mercy!
      Hamilton: Is he in Jersey?
    • When Philip is about to duel:
      Hamilton: Where is this happening?
      Philip: Across the river in New Jersey.
      Both: Everything is legal in New Jersey.

    Video Games 

  • An issue of Ctrl+Alt+Del has Zeke heading somewhere 'devoid of humanity but where I can observe it'. Ethan questions: 'Jersey?'

    Web Original 
  • On the photoshop website Worth1000, the word "Hell" is censored guessed it!
  • On Atop the Fourth Wall, in the review of Action Comics #593 Linkara has to explain about the New Gods. When he describes Apokalips, this is what he says "... Apokalips, which is New Jersey." A text blurb appears on the screen apologizing for the joke.
  • "New Jersey: You'll never get the smell out"
  • In Epic Rap Battles of History Thomas Edison boasts that he is "so dope that I even make New Jersey look good".
  • JonTron upon finding out that the Barbie Game Boy game was developed in Glenn Rock, New Jersey.
    Jon: No! Bad New Jersey! Bad state! Go to Your Room!!

    Western Animation 
  • In Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, one of the Rangers' semi-regular Rogues Gallery has bought all of New Jersey. Gooseman's tone of voice when Doc relates this fact to him is one of disbelief that anyone with that amount of cash would choose to live there, much less own it. Something of an in-joke, as the series was produced in New York.
  • In the Celebrity Deathmatch episode where the Super-Freaks are introduced, Nick Diamond says that to create them, "we had to break the laws of physics! And most of the laws of industrial New Jersey."
  • Codename: Kids Next Door:
    • The episode "Operation: D.I.A.P.E.R." has a shot taken at New Jersey where Numbuh Five tells the rest of the team where babies come from. The episode cuts off before Numbuh Five explains where babies come from, but we see the other operatives' reactions during the end credits. Most of them are sickened or confused, but Numbuh One (who has a reputation for being a Properly Paranoid Conspiracy Theorist) says, "Wait a second, that's preposterous! Babies don't come from New Jersey! They come from Philadelphia."
    • In "Operation: I.N.T.E.R.V.I.E.W.S.", the Grand Finale of the series, the Disney Villain Death of the Delightful Children from Down the Lane is rather undignified and takes place in New Jersey, apparently. Numbuh One is struggling with them on a roller coaster at a condemned, toilet-themed theme park (which gives you a good reason why the place was condemned), which climaxes when they pass under a sign that reads "Now Entering New Jersey", and the five villains plummet into a giant toilet.
  • In Dinosaucers, when the Tyrannos are on the brink of success, Quackpot (based on a Hadrosaurus) says he wants Florida. Genghis Rex tells him that he'll get what he deserves, at which Quackpot laments, "Not New Jersey! That's too small!"
  • Futurama
    • In the episode "I, Roommate" had Fry responding to an advert for a "Suspiciously Fantastic Apartment". After Fry admitted that he gave up and couldn't see the catch, the estate agent revealed that technically, they were in New Jersey. Cut to Fry back at the office complaining that not one place he checked was even remotely liveable.
    • In "Hell Is Other Robots", the entrance to Robot Hell is in an abandoned amusement park in Atlantic City.
      Leela: Who would've thought that Hell would actually exist? And that it would be in New Jersey?
      Fry: Well, actually...
    • When Zapp Brannigan destroys the DOOP space station headquarters in "Brannigan, Begin Again", they relocate to their old condemned HQ in Weehawken, New Jersey. Why they located it there in the first place is anyone's guess, but returning added insult to injury.
    • Landfills were full! New Jersey was full!
    • In a later post-revival episode, the gang gets sent back in the past to the time period of the founding fathers, just as they're drafting the constitution, and there's a scene where they decide that New Jersey will be the official joke state.
  • In the U.S. Acres segments of Garfield and Friends, Orson the pig's overactive imagination is so powerful that when he reads a book, reality warps to look like whatever he's reading about. In one episode, he accidentally transports everyone to the surface of the Moon; one character, when asked where they are, responds, "Looks like New Jersey, except with more trees."
  • Megas XLR doesn't miss the chance of poking some jokes about the series taking place in New Jersey, mainly Jersey City, by comparing cities.
    Jamie: There's always Hoboken.
    Coop: Yeah, but that's Hoboken!
  • A running gag in The Penguins of Madagascar is the horror of the Hoboken Zoo in North Jersey.
    • In the episode "All Tied Up With a Boa" there is a news report of a snake escaping from the Hoboken Zoo. When the anchor points out the panicked people running in the background, the reporter says, "This has nothing to do with the snake, it's just Hoboken."
    • One episode has the penguins actually arrive at the Hoboken Zoo, only to find that it's actually a pleasant place where everyone is nicer. Double Subverted when it turns out that the new zookeeper is a Stepford Smiler obsessed with cleaning who has replaced all the animals with robots.
  • Jokes about New Jersey are common in The Real Ghostbusters. For example, in one episode, the heroes are dealing with an Eldritch Abomination that could consume the city:
    Egon: First it will be all of Brooklyn, then all of New York, then all of New Jersey...
    Venkman: Oh, what will we ever do without New Jersey?
  • An episode of Robot Chicken has the Care Bears ethnically cleansing Care-A-Lot by killing the Care Bear Cousins. Because of their actions, the Cloud-Keeper-In-The-Sky turns Care-A-Lot into New Jersey. It turns out to be a video reenactment on the history of New Jersey.
    Cloud-Keeper-In-The-Sky: Care Bears, I have watched your actions with great displeasure.
    Love-A-Lot Bear: But we've purified the land of Care-A-Lot.
    Cloud-Keeper-In-The-Sky: For your dark and terrible deeds, I shall turn Care-A-Lot into a dark and terrible place; a Hell on Earth. I shall turn Care-A-Lot into... New Jersey.
  • In "It's a Jersey Thing", the residents of South Park mount a desperate defense against New Jersey spreading like a plague.
  • Even Steven Universe makes fun of New Jersey in "Same Old World". While Steven is showing Lapis Lazuli some of the sights near Beach City, they fly over "Jersey", which is full of smog-belching factories and traffic jams. Steven jokes "The people here seem to hate the Earth too", and a grumpy local throws a boot at Lapis for "flying through our airways".
  • In the T.U.F.F. Puppy episode "Law & Odor" Dudley describes the Stink Bug's stench as "A hobo with an abscessed tooth driving a garbage truck in August in Atlantic City!" The "Atlantic City" part becomes a running gag throughout the episode.
  • In episode 7 of Ugly Americans, Randall gets hit by a bus, tearing him in half, with his top half stuck to the bus. Because Randall's a zombie, this kind of traumatic injury isn't all that serious, and he seems moderately annoyed at the inconvenience of the situation... until he realizes the bus is heading to New Jersey, at which point he lets out a Big "NO!".

    Real Life 
  • New Jersey has more Superfund sites (basically sites so polluted with toxic chemicals they get designated as priority clean-up sites by the Environmental Protection Agency) than any other state. Keep in mind that New Jersey is the fourth-smallest state in the US by area.
  • For many years, Camden was at or near the top of the list for highest crime rate in the US, especially violent crime. After a drastic overhaul of the city's police department which amounted to in essence firing every single officer and implementing new police procedures like having officers actually walk around on patrol to intermingle with the local residents instead of just sitting in their cars for their whole shift, the crime rate has fallen significantly, though the city overall still has a long way to go to get out of the "blasted urban hellhole" image in general public's mind.
  • Lest you think nature is your refuge, South Jersey's Pine Barrens (named so because the sandy and acidic soil is so nutrient-poor that trying to farm here is futile) is eating the ruins of houses and includes carnivorous plants. Also, it's prone to being on fire, which spreads easily due to the kinds of trees that grow here: those that camp in the area are warned to be extra careful with campfires, as a negligent ember can set alight an underground vein of burnable material that has been known to cause bursts of flame coming up from the ground. Oh, and it's said to be home to The Jersey Devil, making the New Jersey is Hell jokes more poignant.
  • Some New Jersey locales in the New York metro area also suffer this reputation, assuming they deign to remember that New Jersey is more than just one giant blob of Chemical Coast petro-smell (which for the record are just in and around Elizabeth, near the port). On a more ignorant note, East Rutherford, New Jersey is often considered by New Yorkers to be comprised of only three things: the Meadowlands Sports Complex, American Dream (mostly because of the severe Development Hell it experienced before finally opening in stages throughout 2019-2020) and swamp.


    Film — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Supernatural, when Sam and Dean Winchester need to meet with Lucifer in person in order to implement their ill-advised plan, they find the Devil and his entourage in Detroit.
  • MADtv did a skit about words being removed from the dictionary and Detroit is one of those words.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Deliberately averted in Champions. In the Champions Universe, Detroit is leveled during an epic super-battle against Dr. Destroyer and is rebuilt afterward as Millennium City, a shining high-tech city of wonder that every other metropolis in the United States wishes it could be. Millennium City author Darren Watts specifically noted that he chose Detroit because of its underdog reputation and that "if any city deserved another shot ... it seems to me it's Detroit."
  • Every game line in the Chronicles of Darkness has a signature city. Vampires have New Orleans, mages have Boston, changelings have Miami, and so on. Prometheans, standard-bearers of Blessed with Suck? Detroit. The books explain it away as tying in with the themes of creation, something new rising from wreckage of old... and the Wasteland effect Prometheans inflict.

  • Trope inversion while almost playing it straight in the Triangle Show musical Doomsdays of our Lives in the song Urban Slight, where the safe haven is found to be Detroit...because it couldn't get any worse from the apocalypses.
    “I survive by eating rats! I have asphalt for a bed./But if I think carefully, it sure beats being dead!”
    “There's chaos and destruction; that's why it may appear/that nothing ever happened here!”

    Video Games 
  • In the horror movie-themed levels of Gex, Gex will compare his surrounding to Detroit.
  • In PAYDAY 2's Slaughterhouse job, going into the toilet as Houston will make him remark it smells like Detroit.

    Web Original 
  • The Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism videos (see Cleveland below) admit that, for all Cleveland's (many) downsides that make it a shithole, at least they're not Detroit.
  • "Cairo: at least it's not Detroit. "Safer than Afghanistan (most of the time)"
  • Matt of Two Best Friends Play brings this up during one Let's Play.
    Pat: You're in Silent Hill! The shittiest town in America!
    Matt: I don't know... there's Detroit.
    Pat: Whoa, okay, hold on a second. Are you telling me that Silent Hill is better than Detroit?
    Matt: Have you been to Detroit?
    Pat: I will... I will make, I will compromise that pre-RoboCop Detroit is way worse than Silent Hill, but post-RoboCop Detroit way better than Silent Hill, if only for the fact that it has fucking RoboCop.

    Western Animation 
  • Earthworm Jim found it on a list of the worst places in the universe when searching for an Artifact of Doom.
  • On South Park, when people already in Hell are killed, they simply revive unharmed somewhere else in Hell. After all, where are they going to go? Detroit?
  • Transformers: Animated:
    • Inverted - 22nd century Detroit is the modern and shiny heart of the robot revolution. That is, the technological shift towards the greater use of robots, not a violent overthrow by robots. Although Soundwave does try that at one point. This seems to be mostly harkening back to the days when Detroit was a major hub of automobile manufactures.
    • The Botcon script reading "Bee in the City" still had to get a dig in, however.
      Narrator: Our story begins one morning in Detroit. Police sirens fill the cool morning air. This has nothing to do with our story, but it's Detroit.
  • In the original series of Biker Mice from Mars, Detroit is portrayed this way, being a decaying, dingy cesspit overrun by marauding bandits under the control of Napoleon Brie, a Plutarkian agent who has been strip-mining the entire city to sell its resources back to Plutark. The only ones who don't shun Detroit are the titular Biker Mice, who have a fascination with the city due to its motorcycle connections.
  • The Simpsons: In one episode, Homer makes a crack about Detroit, and Moe admonishes him, telling him that the people there are "living in Mad Max times" so they have it bad enough already.
  • Family Guy: Tom Tucker once gave a news report that the city of Detroit was "officially giving up", and that the mayor was giving the key to the city back to the Huron native American tribe, one of the tribes that originally inhabited the area. Tucker's report is less than sympathetic.
    Tom: From Bob Sieger to Axl Foley, we never really cared.

    Real Life 
  • The 1950 US Census had Detroit as the fourth most populous city in the country with over 1.8 million people. A combination of suburbnization and the decline of US manufacturing (automobile manufacturing in particular with which the city is synonymous with for so long) meant that as of the 2020 Census its population has fallen to less than 650,000 and its rank down to 27th.
  • A lot of the city is okay (run down, perhaps, but okay). However, as of July 2013, the entire city of Detroit has become financially bankrupt. It's not a Wretched Hive by any stretch of the imagination, but hundreds if not thousands of residents are moving out of the city due to it drowning in debt.
  • Back in the 1980s, actual Detroiters could be seen wearing a T-shirt that read: "Welcome to Detroit. Where the weak are killed and eaten."
  • "Detoilet" is a common derogatory nickname for the city.

New York City

See also The Big Rotten Apple.

     Comic Books 
  • Captain America White: After being asked what he would do if his home neighborhood of Brooklyn was taken over by Nazis, Cap jokes that there are parts of Brooklyn he wouldn't wish on even his worst enemies. Keep in mind that this was 1940's era Brooklyn, though.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Ghostbusters II has Venkman calling Vigo the Carpathian an idiot for choosing New York as the site of his rebirth.
  • Any film set or created before Rudy Giuliani and the Disneyfication of Times Square casts New York City as a Wretched Hive the protagonists must endure and/or escape from (e.g., The Out-of-Towners, The Wiz, American Gangster...).
  • Men in Black:
    Jay: So the flying saucers were real and the World's Fair was just a coverup.
    K: Why else would they hold it in Queens?
  • Special credit must be given to future Manhattan in Escape from New York, which has been walled off as a prison and turned over entirely to the dregs of society.
  • The Captain America riff is copied from Casablanca where Rick tells the Nazi commander that there are parts of New York he would advise the German Army not to invade.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The ESPN miniseries The Bronx Is Burning centers around the turbulent 1977 season of the New York Yankees set against the backdrop of a New York in massive turmoil between the NYPD's hunt for the Son of Sam, the city's financial turmoil and mass layoffs of municipal workers, and most of all the epidemic of arson that literally left the Bronx burning - the situation had grown so twisted that landlords frequently burned their own apartments to the ground to collect insurance because they can't turn a profit either selling note  or renting.note 
    Howard Cosell: There it is, ladies and gentlemen, the Bronx is burning. (Said during Game 2 of the 1977 World Series when the telecast of the game cut to the neighborhood surrounding Yankee Stadium and filmed a building on fire)
  • Ted's fiancé in How I Met Your Mother was very very bothered by the crime rate and how fast the city was.

  • The Midnight Meat Train by Clive Barker (and its film version) shows New York as a real cesspit, even before the introduction of the serial killing Butcher and the ancient conspiracy he serves. The main character originally had hopes of "falling in love" with the city when he first moved there, but has become cynical about New York when the story starts. To be fair, he does love the city by the end, if only because he's been mutilated and brainwashed into serving as the new Butcher of New York after killing the old one in self-defence.

  • A Black 47 song: "You got two choices mate: castration, or a one-way ticket to New York!"
  • "If Heaven Ain't A Lot Like Dixie" by Hank Williams Jr.:
    Just send me to Hell or New York City
    It would be about the same to me.

    Web Original 
  • In Dimension 20: The Unsleeping City, while much of New York is celebrated, treating Staten Island like the worst place imaginable is a Running Gag. Whenever anyone who doesn’t live there talks of the idea of maybe going there, they come up with excuses not to do so. At one point, a monk treats his monastery as "far away, in a remote place, where only the most dedicated can reach it"… which turns out to be Staten Island.


    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons: Homer Simpson On New York City: "But Marge, New York is a hellhole! And you know how I feel about hellholes!"
    • It ends up subverted: Homer DOES have a miserable experience recovering his car, but the rest of the family have the time of their lives.

    Real Life 
  • Staten Island. The butt monkey of the city's outer boroughs, willingly taking the ferry to head over to that chunk of the city is said to be the definition of madness if you're a native New Yorker. Indeed, if you live in NYC, you throw garbage at it... literally: for decades, Staten Island was the home of the Fresh Kills Landfill, the largest landfill on the planet. Throw in that parts of the island are actually radioactive thanks to both said landfill and a separate mid-20th century uranium spill, and that the borough's residents vote Republican, and it's hard not to see why the place is a punchline to NYC natives. There were plans to expand the New York City Subway to Staten Island via the Fourth Avenue Line in Brooklyn and connect it with the SIRTOA at Grasmere (which electrified its lines and purchased subway cars similar to those on the BMT, and in turn, the BMT built provisions south of 95th Street-Bay Ridge should it ever be greenlighted), but that has been put on hold due to lack of interest and the subway's own funding issues.
  • There is a location known as Hell Gate, where the East River diverges from the Harlem River. It is located across from Astoria Park, Queens, on Randalls and Wards Islands. The place was originally known by the Dutch as Helle Gadt, which can be translated as "bright strait" or "clear opening", with the latter translation being ironic since it was originally full of rocks and considered a navigational hazard due to its strong incoming tidal currents from other waterways. By the time the English took over New York from the Dutch, Helle Gadt's name was corrupted and Anglicized into Hell Gate. It took about 70 years and tons of explosives to remove the rocks from the channel. Afterwards, a railroad bridge was built there, now known as the Hell Gate bridge.
  • The Bronx has the upper-class Spuyten Duyvil neighborhood, located north of the Spuytin Duyvil Creek. The name's Dutch translation means "spouting devil", also translated as "Spuitende Duivel", or loosely as "Devil's Whirlpool" or "Devil's Spate" note , a reference to the strong tidal currents found there.


  • W.C. Fields frequently referred to Philadelphia in seriously disparaging terms. The final punchline was his proposed epitaph: "On the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia." Might or might not be related to WC Fields, but some game show had a set of prizes based on this joke. First place got a week in Philadelphia. Second place got two weeks.

    Comic Books 
  • The Punisher MAX: "Six Hours to Kill" sees Frank get gassed and wakes up in Philadelphia, where yuppie criminals tell him they've injected him with a poison that will kill him in six hours unless he kills the people they tell him to. Frank kills the Smug Snake telling him this and goes around killing every Philadelphia operation he knows of. Then it turns out the yuppies are in league with the mayor of Philadelphia committing just about every crime possible (including corrupt cops used as hitmen). Frank is rescued in extremis (much to his chagrin: he didn't even bother looking for the antidote and spent those six hours removing as much scum as he could), and leaves, reflecting how much he hates the city (note that Frank lives in an even worse version of The Big Rotten Apple, where drug dealers, human traffickers, and snuff filmmakers operate in near-broad daylight).

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Eraserhead was partly inspired by David Lynch's stay in this city, which he claims left him with a sense of dread.

  • Philly also comes in for a snarking in Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. Jubal is sending his handyman, Duke, out on an errand that includes dropping off a car in Philadelphia, and Duke wants to spend the night there rather than come straight home once he's done. Jubal is shocked that anyone would willingly spend the night in Philly:
    Jubal: What on earth is there to do at night in Philadelphia?
    Duke: Plenty, if you know where to look.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angela Martin from The Office (US) hates Philadelphia. This is somewhat expected for someone from Northeastern Pennsylvania, though the intensity is (as expected from Angela) on another level:
    Angela: In the Martin family, we like to say, "Looks like someone took the slow train from Philly." That's code for "check out the slut."
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is this, period. Most of the jokes are directed at the characters, but it certainly doesn't let the town off easily either.
    Dee: We're in a dark, scary alley in Philly, we might as well call it Rape Bar.
  • After John McCain announced that he would "chase Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell," The Daily Show decided to have a correspondent file a report from the gates of hell... which are in Philadelphia/South Jersey.
  • In Barney Miller, Fish once encountered a cult leader who claimed to be preparing his flock for an exodus to the planet Saturn.
    Fish: Have you really been to Saturn?
    Cult leader: I have.
    Fish: Tell me, what's it like?
    Cult leader: Heaven.
    Fish: If that's Heaven, then Hell is..?
    Cult leader: Philadelphia.

  • The early Rodgers and Hart song "Any Old Place With You" (possibly):
    I'd go to hell for ya
    Or Philadelphia,
    Any old place with you.
  • Starbomb's "It's Dangerous to Go Alone" has Link mention Hyrule looking "just like Philadelphia but even more shitty" at one point in the song.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Steve Jackson games once asked its readers to write in their submissions for "useless random tables". The results were published in Murphy's Rules. One winning entry was for "dead character soul destination" (roll d4):
    1. Heaven
    2. Hell
    3. Purgatory
    4. Philadelphia

  • In the short play The Philadelphia, a character is said to be caught in "a Philadelphia" when everything goes the complete opposite of what you actually want, likened to actually being in Philadelphia. He solves the problem by asking the opposite of what he really wants.
    • The play does this to other cities too... another character is caught in a Baltimore, which is "like death, without the advantages".
    • On the other hand, the character in Los Angeles is living large, taking the loss of his girlfriend and his job in stride - until the main character sucks him into his Philadelphia and he instantly becomes a nervous wreck.
  • In the musical 1776, John Adams laments:
    "At a time in their lives when most men prosper, I am reduced to living in Philadelphia!"

    Video Games 
  • Pico: Philly is depicted as a demented City of Adventure home to child terrorists, nefarious cloning projects, and aliens looking to level the place, and that's in Tom Fulp's games alone. In order of appearance, its main "heroes" are an arsonist, a suicidal knife-wielding Dirty Kid, and the titular gun-toting hothead.

    Western Animation 
  • Megas XLR takes a shot at Philly, too, it being Coop's go-to place to dispose of the giant monsters he had accidentally unleashed.
  • Futurama: In "All The Presidents' Heads", Professor Farnsworth has this to say:
    Farnsworth: I'm sure nobody's ever said this before, but I must get to Philadelphia as quickly as possible!


  • Mario Puzo's books have mobsters talk of being "sent to Siberia", meaning upstate New York prisons in general and Dannemora State Prison near Malone by the Canadian border in particular.
  • In Siberian Light a post-Soviet Siberian town is depicted as a dreary hell-hole everyone is trying to escape from- except one American company. Ostensibly looking for oil, it is actually investigating the possibility of using Siberian prison camps to relieve overcrowded American penitentiaries. When one prisoner is placed there as a test, he escapes fairly easily.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Hogan's Heroes the Russian front and Siberia is frequently used as a running gag, often by Hogan. Justified as the German soldiers running the prison camp were often threatened with being sent to the Russian front, and the Germans were not doing very well on that front.

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television - Russia (both Imperial and Soviet) did send political prisoners there for a reason.
    • But it should be remembered that for every prisoner the Czarist regime sent to Siberia annually, the Soviet Union sent 50 to 100, and forced them to live and work in far worse conditions, and suffer far higher death rates.
    • Yogi Bear was afraid of this place for a reason.
    • By and large Siberia isn't all that bad, and a large part of it is actually very pleasant if you are Russian and thus don't mind the winters. Southern Siberia is, in fact, one of the main Russian grain-producing regions, just like Canada's Prairie Provinces. Its main problem comes from being so unbelievably huge, and sparsely populated, which leads to the huge tracts of land where there's nothing. If you end there with just the clothes on your back in the dead of the winter, then, yep, it might end not all that well. Otherwise, not so much.
    • "Not minding the winters" entails a bit more than you might suspect. Southern Siberia ... for example, Novosibirsk ... can be quite pleasant in summer. However, even there, the average high temperature is below freezing five months out of the year (the average low temperature is below freezing seven months out of the year). In recorded history, the list of months in which the temperature has never dipped to freezing is: July. And the vast majority of Siberia is further north than Novosibirsk is (though, for obvious reasons, most of the large cities are either south of Novosibirsk or not much further north).
    • Norilsk is the world's most northern city of at least 100,000 people, so far north that there are very few trees in the area — it is mostly tundra in the surrounding landscape. It's built on permafrost, covered in snow eight to nine months out of the year, and experiences snow storms in four of them. Now, there is a reason for such a populated city to exist in such an inhospitable climate: mining the largest known nickel deposits in the world. This economic reason, however, also contributes to the massive pollution and subsequent smog and health problems the city now has: by some estimates, the city's mining and refining industries alone are responsible for 1% of the entire world's sulfur dioxide emissions. The city is very much a Company Town as far as the mining company Nornickel is concerned, with all the attendant economic, social, and political issues that go along with that as well.

Cleveland / Ohio

  • Yakov Smirnoff: "In every country, there is a city everyone makes fun of. In United States, it is Cleveland. In Soviet Union, it is Cleveland."

    Comic Books 
  • Howard the Duck keeps ending up back in Cleveland, much to his chagrin.
  • X-Men: On seeing Krakoa (the Living Island) for the first time, Iceman quips that it could be Cleveland. After some rambling, he decides that yes, it definitely could be Cleveland.

    Fan Works 
  • The fluffy pony group fic The Fall of Cleveland has a developer build a theme park for fluffy ponies (small, fluffy man-made life forms often kept as pets) in Cleveland, a plan approved by the mayor in a desperate attempt to make some money for the city. However, the developer has rigged the park to explode as part of a plan to make his creations, "fuzzy ponies", the only biotoy on the market. The story ends with a massive tidal wave of fluffy ponies overwhelming the park, a herd getting into the local nuclear power plant, and Lake Erie swallowing the city.
  • In Sanity is Quite Simply Overrated Harriet destroys Azkaban prison with Fiendfyre.
    Makes me think of that quote at the end of Doom II, thank you, Dennis, for making me play it through. Now that Hell is destroyed, where are all the bad people going to go when they die now?
    Cleveland, most likely, would be my guess.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In the second Percy Jackson movie Luke had to go through the depths of Tartarus to find Kronos's tomb....and Cleveland.
  • In the plot of the John Candy movie Delirious he plays a soap opera writer transported into his own show and can write out other people's words and actions. When one character (played by Robert Wagner, who Candy's character calls Robert Wagner in a No Fourth Wall moment) becomes a nuisance he writes for them a hasty exit.
    Robert Wagner: I have to go to... Cleveland. Jesus, I hate Cleveland!
    John Candy: What are you doing here? I sent you to Cleveland!
    Robert Wagner: I should kill you for that alone.
  • At the beginning of Mr. Baseball, over-the-hill ballplayer Jack Elliot gets told his team (The New York Yankees) has traded him, and that there was only one taker. He immediately asks with horror if they're sending him to Cleveland, and is visibly relieved when the manager says it's not Cleveland.
  • In the Disney Channel Original Movie, The Luck of the Irish, Big Bad Seamus makes a deal with Kyle to return the latter's lucky coin after losing a bet, and to "live forever in the land of [Kyle's] father, in Lake Erie." Seamus misinterprets Lake Erie as Kyle mispronouncing Eire, the Irish word for Ireland, and is horrified when Kyle corrects him that his dad's from Cleveland, and Seamus gets transported into Lake Erie.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The pilot of Hot in Cleveland refers to the city very negatively for the most part. The only reason the characters change their mind is that they're seen as attractive there, unlike in Los Angeles.
  • It's mentioned a few times in Buffy the Vampire Slayer that there's a Hellmouth in Cleveland.
  • The Disney Channel movie The Luck of the Irish ends with the bad guy being banished to the shores of Lake Erie, right by Cleveland.
  • The Good Place:
    • Downplayed example in the first episode. Eleanor insists there ought to be a "medium" afterlife for people who aren't good enough to get into The Good Place but didn't commit any crimes worthy of eternal torture—then decides that Cincinnati would fit the bill.
    • When Tahani finds out how she died (being crushed by a statue of her sister she was trying to knock down) her immediate reaction is horror to find out she died in Cleveland.
  • In How I Met Your Mother:
    Robin: An airplane ticket to Cleveland?
    Ted: I know it's not Canada, but it starts with a C and it's cold as balls. So get packed, you're coming home with me for Christmas!
    Robin: Nice try, dude. I wouldn't go to Cleveland for 120 million dollars paid over six years.
    Ted: Still with the LeBron jokes?
  • In Maude:
    "I hope I didn't lose it in the wrong places!"
    "When you lose that much weight there are no wrong places—except Cleveland."
  • Used on a quick gag on Hogan's Heroes:
    Kinchloe: (while checking various maps the Heroes have for planning) Cleveland? Why do we have a map of Cleveland? Is it in case we need to go in?
    Col. Robert Hogan: No. It's in case we need to escape from there!
  • Used as a riff in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 presentation of War of the Colossal Beast:
    Maj. Barrett: There's no place in the civilized world for a creature that big.
    Servo: ...So we're sending him to Cleveland.
  • Inverted in 30 Rock, where Liz visits her then boyfriend after he's moved to Cleveland. She finds it to be far better than New York, including being asked if she's a model.

  • The original edition of The Lorax, no less, contained a dig at the level of industrial pollution in Cleveland’s Lake Erie, when the humming-fish were forced to leave their home:
    So I’m sending them off, oh their future is dreary,
    They'll walk on their fins and get woefully weary
    in search of some water that isn't so smeary.
    I hear things are just as bad up in Lake Erie."
    • While in the 1970s it really was that bad, some years later environmental researchers informed Seuss that efforts at cleaning the lake water had been successful, and he fairly removed the line from later printings.

  • In the Townes Van Zandt song "Pancho and Lefty", after Lefty sells out Pancho, he moves to Cleveland, where his fate is implied to be barely better than Pancho's.
    The poets tell how Pancho fell
    Lefty's living in a cheap hotel
    The desert's quiet and Cleveland's cold
    So the story ends, we're told
    Pancho needs your prayers, it's true
    Save a few for Lefty, too
    He just did what he had to do
    Oh, and now he's growing old
  • There's a Milwaukee-based musician (Sigmund Snopek) who wrote a ditty entitled 'Thank God This Isn't Cleveland', about how Milwaukee is far from the best place to live, but 'being anywhere is better than being in Ohio'.
  • Randy Newman's song "Burn On" is about that time that Cleveland's Cuyahoga River got so polluted it caught fire!
  • Electric Six's "Escape From Ohio" is all about the horror of finding yourself stranded in Ohio. They do also include shout outs to a couple of bands who happen to come from there though ("Except for GBV and Devo, nothing seems to redeem Ohio").
  • According to John Denver, "Saturday night in Toledo, Ohio, is like being nowhere at all." "Be thankful next time you get weighed... so wive and wet wive..."

  • Adeptus Ridiculous is a podcast about Warhammer 40,000. Sometimes, when the two stars (Bricky and DK) talk about a particularly horrible part of the galaxy (of which there are many), the editor (Shy) would display a picture of Cleveland. One time Bricky and DK noticed, and commented that the Warhammer 40k universe isn't that bad.

    Video Games 
  • In the Infocom interactive fiction game Leather Goddesses of Phobos, there is a scene in Cleveland. They make fun of it even in the InvisiClues. ('How do I get out of Cleveland?' 'Millions of people ask this question every day!')

  • Everyone in Skin Horse agrees... but the transgenic animals just love the place.

    Web Original 
  • Mike Polk's Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism videos admit that Cleveland is a shithole; however, as the second video puts it, "at least we're not Detroit!"
  • In United 300, a spoof trailer of both 300 and United 93, Xerxes begs Leonidas not to destroy his terrorists just yet, because otherwise they'll be forced to land the plane in Ohio. Leonidas responds with "Then tonight, we dine in Cleveland!"

    Western Animation 
  • In an episode of The Fairly OddParents, Cosmo and Wanda get carried away by a tornado and end up in Cleveland (which Cosmo mistakes for the Land of Oz). Everything is grey and stormy, and there's a sign saying "Welcome to Cleveland. NOW GO HOME!"
  • A one-shot gag on The Simpsons had a bus coming to a fork in the road with one direction leading to Cleveland and the other heading to Cincinnati. The bus starts along the Cleveland road, backs onto the Cincinnati one, then heads back the way it came.
  • Animaniacs: In "Meatballs or Consequences", The Grim Reaper brings the Warner siblings to the bleak and ominous Land of the Dead.
    Yakko: (deadpan) All is strange and vague.
    Dot: Are we dead...
    Yakko: ...Or is this Ohio?
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Nuisance", the Wattersons end up being such a nuisance to the town of Elmore that the mayor decides that they are to be relocated to Ohio. Anais comments that 8 people ended up becoming President of the United States just to get away from there.

    Real Life 
  • Forbes magazine rates it as the most miserable city in the USA
  • Ask a Steelers fan where the biggest shithole on Earth is. Most will say Cleveland.
  • In the 1980s, Cleveland's image suffered due to their declining economy and a river so polluted that it actually caught fire (thirteen times, all told). In an effort to promote tourism, West Palm Beach took out national advertisements that showed the two cities' skylines side by side and asked businesses where they'd rather hold a convention. This outraged Cleveland leaders and West Palm had to name Cleveland a sister city as an apology.
  • Isn't Cleveland one of those Inherently Funny Words?
  • Cleveland has the semi-official nickname of The Mistake by the Lake.
  • Baseball player Jay Johnstone once said in an interview that he drove through Cleveland one day, but it was closed. Needless to say, he was booed the next time he played there. From the 1960s until the early 1990s, many baseball players considered being traded to Cleveland the baseball equivalent of being exiled to Siberia.
  • ESPN once proclaimed Cleveland the most tortured sports city in America. Between the Indiansnote , the Cavaliersnote , and especially the Brownsnote , there's very little contest for that title. This may change with the Cavaliers' 2016 NBA Championship (breaking a 52-year title drought), but only time will tell.
  • An artist in Milwaukee realized his studio was directly under the path of incoming passenger jets. So what did he do? He painted 'Welcome To Cleveland' in giant letters on the roof. Cue 40 years and counting of horrified travelers.
  • Michigan and Ohio have hated one-another for centuries, so it should come as little surprise that, if you ask a person from either state, each ones' citizens view the other state as a hellhole, a warzone, or a toxic waste dump. No city bears the brunt of this more squarely than Toledo, OH. These two states' animosity stems from a long and bitter border dispute over a section of land called the Toledo Strip. Michigan (then only a territory) actually went so far as to declare war on Ohio over it. Ultimately, the folks in D.C. gave the Toledo Strip to Ohio, but the real loser of this war was Wisconsin because the Upper Peninsula was given to Michigan as "consolation" (At the time, Michiganders still felt they'd gotten the lousy end of the deal but that's because the Upper Peninsula's vast mineral wealth at that time remained undiscovered. And to this day, some Yoopers still want to become the 51st State and call themselves Superior, probably with Marquette as their capital).


    Comic Strips 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • From Sullivan's Travels:
    LeBrand: It died in Pittsburgh.
    Hadrian: Like a dog!
    John L. Sullivan: Aw, what do they know?
    Hadrian: They know what they like.
    Sullivan: If they knew what they liked, they wouldn't live in Pittsburgh!
  • In 42, being traded to Pittsburgh is used as a threat against some of the Dodgers.
  • Apollo 13, when asked why the networks aren't showing the astronauts' broadcast:
    "All the networks dumped us. One said we made putting a man on the moon about as exciting as a trip to Pittsburgh."
  • And then, when you thought Western PA didn't have anything more to throw you in the face, it shows it can go downhill... Pittsburgh, bad? Picture Punxsutawney. In winter. In a very, very silly festival. And then, every time you awake is February 2nd. Such is Phil Connors' fate in Groundhog Day.
  • In Videodrome, Pittsburgh is treated this way throughout the film. It is where the videodrome signal comes from, and "See you in Pittsburgh" is later used in lieu of the regular "See You in Hell".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Stephen Colbert on Pittsburgh, from The Colbert Report:
    "I know God hates the Steelers because he turned their hometown into Pittsburgh."
  • It's a running joke on Get Smart.
    KAOS Agent: We don't want Pittsburgh.
    Max: That's funny, neither does Pennsylvania.
    • Another one involves a retired bank robber who was deported... to Pittsburgh. "They really threw the book at him."
  • In one episode of Hogan's Heroes, while going through the POWs' collection of maps, Kimch is surprised to see a map of Pittsburgh amongst them and asks if they ever had anyone escape to Pittsburgh, getting this retort in response:
    Hogan: Not to. From.

    Video Games 
  • In the Fallout 3 DLC "The Pitt", the city of Pittsburgh has become a radioactive and highly toxic center for slavery.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Fairly OddParents, Jorgen Von Strangle lamented how Cosmo ended up stripping him from being a 4-star Fairy General down to 1 star because of his miraculous blunders. First, with the reasoning that he was making it cleaner, he sunk Atlantis.... nine times, erupted Mt. Vesuvius and destroyed the prosperous civilization of Pompeii (to make it warmer), and improved upon the "gleaming utopia known as Xanadu" (and all on the same day).
    Cosmo: "I call it Pittsburgh!"
  • In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Billy enters Pittsburgh through a magical porta-potty. The entire city is completely gray, Billy remarks that it looks unsanitary, even for a portable toilet, and to top it all off, he gets a tricycle there made out of pure evil.

    Real Life 
  • Quite a bit of The Road's film adaptation was shot in Pittsburgh.
  • The steel mills on which the city grew up on in the early-to-mid 20th Century were also a major source of the pollution that hung over the city when they were running and the most visible testament to the decline of the city's economy, via their closures, when the decline of US manufacturing jobs in the latter part of the 20th Century hit the Rust Belt especially hard. Nowadays it's much nicer and cleaner as the city has shifted to a service-oriented economy (there are no steel mills left in Pittsburgh), but it's easier to shed the grime and soot off the walls than it is to shed decades of negative perception.

Milwaukee / Wisconsin

    Comic Books 
  • The Great Lakes Avengers are based out of Milwaukee and treated as something of a joke by other heroing teams (and Marvel's writers); Squirrel Girl notwithstanding. The location is treated with the same reverence as the team.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Dogma, Metatron tells Bethany that God punished Bartleby and Loki for their crimes until the Rapture occurred.
    Bethany: Were they sent to hell?
    Metatron: Worse. Wisconsin.

  • The headline in Our Dumb Century "Harry Houdini Escapes From Wisconsin", about the famed magician's death.note 

    Live-Action TV 
  • NewsRadio
    Beth: Hello Dave.
    Bill: Hello employee! You look miserable and oppressed!
    Beth: Oh I am! I can no longer take cab rides home from the office!
    Bill: Excellent! That's good news to me. You see I'm from Wiscoooooonsin, where taxi cabs are feared and hunted for the delicious meat under their hoods!
    Beth: Comedy?
    Bill: Or Tragedy?
    Both: You be the judge!
  • Naturally being made in Minnesota, Mystery Science Theater 3000 is chock-full of Wisconsin bashing. Head writer Mike Nelson was from Wisconsin himself, and even he gleefully joined in on the bashing.
    • For example, during the host segment for The Deadly Bees, Brain Guy manages to trump two Observers who had come to take him home. After taking their brains, thus making them idiots, he decides that the absolute worst punishment he could give is to make them live in Wisconsin where they will work for a small dairy co-op, and be rabid Packers fans.
    • The plot of Clonus involves a protagonist in a completely isolated community discovering the outside world by finding a discarded can of Old Milwaukee beer in the river. As he tries to research the text on this strange object, the MST crew joke that "This is probably the most interest ANYONE’S shown in Milwaukee."
  • An episode of Night Court had Bull asking Yakov Smirnoff why it was so bad living in the Soviet Union. Yakov tells him to close his eyes and imagine he is "standing in the middle of Milwaukee. No matter where you go, you will still be in the middle of Milwaukee. You could get in a car and drive a hundred miles, you will still be in the middle of Milwaukee. You could..." At which point Bull screams for Yakov to stop.
  • While ESPN Brazil transmitted the 2015 NBA All-Star Game, a comedian acting as a guest commenter went on to bash Milwaukee every time a Bucks player appeared ("I studied in Nebraska, it's a cold hell-hole with nothing to do! Milwaukee is a similar disgrace, only ice and fat women!"). A few times he called it a state to make his case worse.

  • The song/spoken word poetry "Deteriorata" reflects that "And whatever misfortune may be your lot, it can only be worse in Milwaukee."

    Video Games 
  • Upon reaching the climactic fights against the Jin Twins in Fatal Fury 3: Road To The Final Victory, Jin Chonshu declares their intention to take over the world and reinstate the Qin Dynasty after they're through with you... With the exception of Oshkosh, of course. The free world post its subjugation can have that part of Wisconsin.

    Web Original 
  • A bonus video for Suburban Knights reveals that Malachite was banished to a cafe in Wisconsin, forced to work as a barista there forever and be abused by the owner.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Near the end of his career, original Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach John "Dial-a-Quote" McKay incensed Packers fans by saying, among other things, "If a contest had 97 prizes, the 98th would be a trip to Green Bay".
  • This trope in general was the reason the Green Bay Packers struggled to attract players for many years; not only did it mean moving to Wisconsin in general, but Green Bay in particular was a very small and homogeneous city (the latter was especially offputting to African-American players) compared to virtually every other NFL team city. It wasn't until a couple of players (most notably Badass Preacher Reggie White) took a chance on the team and began talking about it as a positive experience that more top free agents started coming in. Ironically, Green Bay is now considered a prime landing spot for NFL players, though that's likely in spite of the location rather than because of it (the Packers team is of a caliber that many players would want to play for no matter where that team is located).
  • Among Wisconsinites, the capital city Madison is regarded as a barren wasteland filled with New-Age Retro Hippies, leftists and college frat boys, the end result of being home to the University of Wisconsin–Madison. One of the city's nicknames is even "77 Square Miles Surrounded by Reality".



    Anime & Manga 
  • Cowboy Bebop: "Nothing good comes from the Earth anymore."
  • In one episode of Urusei Yatsura, Mrs. Moroboshi wins the grand prize in a grocery's festival lottery — an all-expenses-paid vacation for two to Atami. AnimEigo's subtitles helpfully gloss that this is "equivalent to a trip to Ogdensburg, New York."
  • This is how Tomoya from CLANNAD perceives the town he grew up in, which is actually quite nice. This is more due to his Dark and Troubled Past rather than the actual town. His opinion changes by the end of the series.
  • Downplayed in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Batou narrates that Berlin, Germany is the only city to have the "dubious honor" of having been bombed out in all four world wars, yet managed to rebuild after each time.
  • One Piece has a prison called Impel Down where all prisoners are tortured with various methods. It's referred to as hell thanks to all the (mostly true) rumors floating around. The Hells are based on various interpretations of hell from the sharp and pointy crimson hell on level 1, the vicious beasts of level 2, the desert heat and drought while starving on level 3, the conventional interpretation of hell as hot with fire, brimstone and boiling lakes of blood on level 4 and freezing to death by frostbite in level 5, level 6, and anything that may or may not be in there doesn't exist and is removed from history by the government for their actions — all you have there is utter isolation and waiting for death. The Hanging Judge of Enies Lobby considers death sentence a compromise — looking at Impel Down, it makes sense.
  • Asuka throws out a line on Germany in the manga of Neon Genesis Evangelion: since the Second Impact, all she can remark upon is how the streets constantly smell like alcohol and garbage.

  • British comedians of a certain age often speak this way about the Glasgow Empire, a venue notorious for giving acts very short shrift. Des O'Connor fainted on stage and Morecambe and Wise were booed off. Glasgow in general often gets this too.
  • The late comedian Robin Harris often made jokes that calling Hell from Compton, CA was a Local call (as opposed to Long-Distance). The joke was adapted into the animated adaptation of Bébé's Kids, with the titular kids' apartment building being the place: "Try to phone Hell from here, it'd be a local call."
  • Hoosier comedian Jim Gaffigan, after listing somewhat cliched boasts for residents of other states, said of his home state, "We're from Indiana and we're gonna move!"
  • During one of his shows, Jeff Dunham got into an argument with Peanut over whether or not they were currently in Santa Ana, California, or in Hell.
  • According to Saturday Night Live's incarnation of Joe Biden, Scranton, PA is the single worst place on earth. In fact, if you went down to the lowest circle of hell, you'd still be 45 minutes outside of Scranton.
  • In Robin Williams' special Live On Broadway, he talked about the 2002 Winter Olympics, wondering why they were held in Utah.
    Robin: "Utah, god, what a great place..." What, was Amish country booked? What happened?

    Comic Books 
  • The Sandman spin-off comic The Dreaming had one very lost character lament:
    Hell...I'm in hell...
    Mad Hettie: Nah, 's London. 's like Hell, but less crowded.
  • At one point the members of Justice League Europe believe they are going to be relocated from London to Vienna. They universally regard this with horror and dismay.
  • When Mockingbird is asked to rejoin the Avengers, she quietly whispers, "Please don't say West Coast Avengers. Please don't say West Coast Avengers..."
  • In a Decap Attack strip of Fleetway's Sonic the Comic, the crew are all bustled down into an infernal train station, where the intercom advises passengers bound for the netherworld, hell, and Milton Keynes to change trains.

    Comic Strips 
  • A common Running Gag in the Garfield comics is the titular cat's constant attempts to send his nephew Nermal to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Unforgiven
    English Bob: I thought that you were dead .
    Little Bill Dagget: I heard that one myself, Bob. Hell, I even thought I was dead. Till I found out I was just in Nebraska.
  • In Bruges regards the title city as such.
    "Maybe that's what Hell is, the entire rest of eternity spent in fucking Bruges."
  • Hairspray (2007): "Good morning Baltimore! There's the flasher that lives next door, there's the drunk on his barroom stool; they wish me luck on my way to school..." (Most John Waters films tends towards an affectionate mocking of his hometown, though.)
  • Cannibal! The Musical:
    Polly Pry: You made it to Wyoming, right?
    Packer: Yeah, but I would've been better off just letting those people catch me and kill me.
    Polly Pry: Why?
    Packer: You ever been to Wyoming? [cut to Packer in a lonely, barren wasteland] Heh-hello??
    Polly Pry: Oh god, it sounds horrible!
  • Marty and Doc invoke this in Back to the Future Part II, faced with an alternate 1985 ruled by Biff Tannen.
    Marty: It's like we're in Hell or something.
    Doc: No, this is Hill Valley, though I can't imagine Hell being much worse
  • In Defending Your Life, Daniel Miller asks if he's in Hell. His defender explains that there is no Hell, but he hears Los Angeles is getting pretty close.
  • In Wayne's World, Wayne and Garth use a backscreen that's flashing exotic locales to which the two make fun of the stereotypes associated with those places. Then the backscreen flashes Delaware, and the two can't think of anything associated with Delaware.
  • In Easy A, Olive's narration commenting on a character's punishment for contracting a venereal disease:
    "Due to his 'condition,' Micah was sent on an extended visit to his grandparents in Palatka, Florida. And if there's one thing worse than chlamydia, it's Florida."
  • In Labyrinth, Hoggle is terrified of being banished to the Bog of Eternal Stench. Unlike many of the other places on this list, the audience actually does get to see it. Perhaps fortunately, however, we don't get to smell it.
  • In Alien: Resurrection, Johner half-seriously says that he'd rather face the Aliens than go to Earth.
  • As James Gandolfini's character in In the Loop so eloquently said, while talking about War Is Hell: "This is the problem with civilians wanting to go to war. It's terrible, horrible, and once you've been there you never want to go again unless you absolutely fuckin' have to.... It's like France."
  • In the film Disclosure, Tom Sanders is offered a transfer to Austin, Texas. This is later described as similar to "a duck making a lateral move to 'à l'orange'", or in other words similar to being roasted and eaten. Part of this may have less to do with any general shittiness of Austin, and more to do that Sanders knows that the transfer is a thinly veiled plot to get rid of him. The Austin branch is due to close in six months, meaning that the company could transfer him, pay him six months of salary and then quietly let him go, instead of having to handle the messy sexual harassment suit he is caught up in.
  • The LeQuint Dickey Mining Company in Django Unchained is a mining company infamous for its cruel treatment of their slaves, such that Stephen, the head house slave of Candyland, considers being sold to them worse than being castrated, whipped to death, thrown to the Mandingos, or even ripped apart by Stonesipher's dogs. Django narrowly avoids winding up there after the Candyland shootout.
  • Mr. Barron from Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children considers Florida to be this.
    Mr. Barron: I had to spend three weeks masquerading as a therapist in Florida! Have you ever been to Florida?!
    • Later on, he adds Wales to the list.
      Mr. Barron: I had to spend two- no, three days, in Wales, pretending to look at birds!
  • Instructions Not Included: During the trial to see if Valentin is fit to remain Maggie's father, it's mentioned that his job (stuntman) is one of the three most dangerous jobs in the world. The other two are construction worker and bus driver in Mexico City.

  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Arthur Dent says, "When I was little I used to have this nightmare about dying - all my school friends went to Heaven or Hell and I was sent to Southend!"
  • Much sport of the city of Milton Keynes is made in Good Omens (both the angel and the devil claim it as a success for their side), while Crowley is particularly proud of his work with Manchester.
  • The ultimate example may be Gehenna, an area near Jerusalem so unpleasant that it actually became the Hebrew word for Hell. Any time The Bible refers to "Hell", it's probably been translated from "Gehenna". It's only referenced as such in the Bible because, when Israel was pagan it was where children were burned alive to Moloch, which caused the place to be considered Unholy Ground. It's not actually a bad place for any other reason; in modern Jerusalem it's actually a very pleasant little valley.
  • "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46)
  • The mock-atlas "Our Dumb World" by The Onion (which was created in Madison, Wisconsin) has a part entitled "Minnesota: Land of 10,000 Retards"
  • There is a story by Isaac Asimov about a man being exiled, with his attorney insisting that the punishment is way too harsh. In the end, it is revealed that he is sent from the perfectly controlled and conditioned underground cities of the Moon, to the eternally unstable surface of Earth.
  • In the Agent Pendergast novel Book of the Dead, Agent Coffey threatens the prison guards with termination and transfer to North Dakota. When everything comes crashing down on him, Coffey is heavily demoted and transferred to North Dakota.
  • The Devil's Dictionary:
    • Man spreads so rapidly as to conquer "the entire habitable Earth and Canada".
    • It was the fool who founded "theology, philosophy, law, medicine and Chicago".
  • In the children's picture book The Moon Lady, the narrator tells her two granddaughters a story about her childhood in China. She attended the Moon Festival, and (because she was unsupervised, bored, and not content with staying still as she was expected to do) snuck into the kitchen and messed around with eels that were meant to go in the soup at dinner, and got her brand new outfit covered in eel blood. Her nanny found her, and after making sure she was okay, said something along the lines of "Your mother is going to banish us to Kunming!" The narrator, however, was excited to go, because of rumors that Kunming was a wild place, ruled by flying monkeys.
  • Domina: In a Wretched Hive most of the world won't even touch, Acheron is still considered one of the worst parts of it, populated by nothing but traitors. And then there's Nishrek, the Fifty Battlefields, which is hated even more for its stupid design.
    Robyn: Where is it?
    MC: Nishrek. In Acheron.
    Robyn: ...I hate that place.
    MC: Everyone hates that place.
  • A Field Guide to the Jewish People by Dave Barry, Adam Mansbach and Alan Zweibel states that some Jews believe that "the souls of the not-so-awesome" are posthumously delivered "to a kind of purgatory realm called Gehennom, She'ol, or the Department of Motor Vehicles, where they spend a year being tormented by the personal demons they created within each sin, joining the righteous in heaven thereafter."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel:
    Spike: Am I in Hell?
    Lorne: No, you're in Los Angeles, though a lot of people make that mistake.
  • Being Human:
    • Nina asks Annie if she wants to talk about her experience of Purgatory:
      Nina: Annie. You were in purgatory.
      Annie: Yeah, I know. But I've been to the Isle of Wight so it's not really that much of a culture shock.
    • After rescuing her from Purgatory, Mitchell tells Annie that they've moved to a home in Wales. Annie jokingly replies that she'd rather go back to Purgatory.
  • In Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Season 3 ends with Jake and Captain Holt being forced to enter witness protection in Florida. It's pretty much portrayed as a hell of tanning beds, firearms, corn dogs, ATVs, and far-right conservatives. Jake refers to the state as "America's butt".
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Castrovalva":
      Tegan: What's a Zero Room, anyway? Doctor said something about non-interfaces.
      Nyssa: I suppose it's some sort of neutral environment, an isolated space cut off from the rest of the universe.
      Tegan: He should have told me that's what he wanted. I coulda shown him Brisbane.
    • "The Unquiet Dead": The Doctor explains to Rose that he's landed in the wrong place and time, and she's so taken with being in the past that she keeps saying "I don't care". Then he says "It's Cardiff!" and she stops dead in shock. Later in the episode, the Doctor himself is disgusted that he's "gonna die in a dungeon! In Cardiff!"
  • Joss Whedon recycled the Angel joke in Dollhouse:
    Topher: Do you know where you are?
    Priya: I'm in hell.
    Topher: You're in Los Angeles. I can understand the mix-up.
  • Firefly: The Academy is this to River.
  • A running gag in How I Met Your Mother is the gang (especially Barney) poking fun at Robin for being from Canada. This comes to a peak in "Return of the Slutty Pumpkin", where Barney is horrified to discover his paternal grandmother was born in Canada, making him one-quarter Canadian. Hilarity Ensues.
    Robin: Guys, I have a very important announcement to make. I was on Facebook, [...] and I just happened to be friends with Barney's long-lost father. And guess who thought my status update on Manitoba was so interesting because his mother was born in Manitoba?
    Barney: What?
    Robin: Which means...your grandmother...
    Barney: No...
    Robin: Which makes you...
    Barney: Don't say it.
    Robin: One quarter Canadian! Welcome to the tribe, hoser!
    Others: (cheering)
    Barney: No...that's not true...that's impossible!
  • In one episode of The Inbetweeners, Mr Gilbert threatens to sabotage Will's university prospects so that it's "Goodbye first-rate education, hello University of Lincoln."
    Will: Now this was serious. I've been to Lincoln, and it's a shithole.
  • Inverted in the second season finale of The League of Gentlemen, when the dim-witted and sheltered Tubbs, faced with the possibility of death, asks Edward, "Will heaven... be like Swansea?"
    Edward: Yes, Tubbs. Only bigger.
  • Often happens on 'Scenes We'd Like to See':
    Hugh Dennis: Bracknell, twinned with Hell!
    Ben Norris: You are leaving Croydon. Well done!
    Frankie Boyle: Both of you, welcome to Scotland!
    David Mitchell: Welcome to Butlins!
    Frankie Boyle: We had only been in there a day, but to us it felt like 15 years. That's Birmingham!
    Andy Parsons: Welcome to Mordor, twinned with Swansea.
    Russell Howard: Please, don't take photos of the natives, because they believe you're taking part of your soul. Apart from that, enjoy Norwich.
    Frankie Boyle: Of course, you have respect local customs. On the right-hand side, you'll see a woman being burned at the stake, and on the left, Dundee Town Hall.
    Kevin Bridges: We have now arrived into Sheffield. Could all passengers in first class please pull down your window blinds and take a look at the real world!
    Andy Parsons: For Middlesborough, take the exit marked "Hell", and then lose the will to live.
    Angela Barnes: Now there is a big mess on exit 16 on the M4; Swindon!
    • The same programme has also had this:
      Frankie: (Question: If the answer is '27' what is the question?) 'In Dundee, how long does a day seem to last?'
      Dara Ó Briain: Is that 27 hours, or 27 days?
      Frankie: Just the number '27'; they have not come up with the concept of either hours or days in Dundee. They live in a timeless pit.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: The "Election Night Special" sketch has a series of jokes about the "swing-o-meter", which ends up leading into a joke about how "Wales is not swinging at all; no surprise there."
  • John Betjeman wrote the poem "Slough" to trash its transformation into a dreary factory town, inviting bombs to obliterate it in the first stanza. This was one of the reasons the town was chosen as the setting for the original The Office (UK). The DVD packaging includes the poem. David Brent also gives his analysis of the poem in the series proper.
  • Red Dwarf: "What's death like?" "Ever been to Swindon?"
  • One episode of the American Whose Line Is It Anyway? had as a Scene From A Hat "Versions of Hell without fire or brimstone". Greg presented it as driving eternally in Mississippi. They've also made jokes about Fresno and Seattle.
  • As police commissioner Burrell says of his city during The Wire: "It's Baltimore, gentlemen. The gods will not save you."
  • Played with on a Saturday Night Live sketch in which a group of white nationalists are describing their perfect world, an agrarian society devoid of any ethnic minorities. A newcomer interjects to point out that they had just perfectly described Vermont. Overlaps with Damned By a Fool's Praise, since the white supremacists mean it as a compliment In-Universe.

  • 1960s/70s folkie Dion Dimucci managed to zing four cities at once (none of them Cleveland or Milwaukee or Philadelphia, interestingly), in his song Sanctuary:
    There might be war in the core of Baltimore, A breakdown in L.A.
    They bring me down in the heart of Memphis town, And people look the other way
    Well, if the lights burn cold in New York City, It's sad, but, god, it's true
  • Axl Rose, and by extension, Guns N' Roses, have had a lot of bad beef with St. Louis, and especially the municipality of Riverport. Not only was it the place where Axl gained notoriety in 1991 for having a concert halted midway due to poor security refusing to take down someone allowed to have a camcorder in the audience and indirectly sparked a city-wide riot, which the blame was then laid onto the groupnote , but Axl also had some messy experiences in the town, including nearly getting raped by an ice machine repairman who hitchhiked him to a nearby hotel when he visited the city as a runaway teen. As such, the reason why Use Your Illusion I & II has the nice hidden message of "Fuck You St. Louis".

  • In the skit "Last Will and Temperament" by the Canadian radio comedy troupe, The Frantics, the will ends with the deceased leaving "my entire estate of 10 million dollars to the people of Calgary so they can afford to move somewhere decent."
  • In The Men from the Ministry Outer Hebrides (where all civil servants too incompetent are reassigned) are considered the worst possible place to go; apparently bowler hats will get moldy in a week and the climate is so cold that even germs can't live there.

  • Mel Brooks's original opening for the musical version of The Producers was Max Bialystock's horrible spoof of Oklahoma, titled "Hey Nebraska". The entire song was essentially this. Lyrics include "Oh, what a terrible morning/Oh what a terrible night,/Things in the state of Nebraska/Never will ever go right" and "Hey, Nebraska- You suck!"
  • London, according to Sweeney Todd:
    There's a hole in the world like a great black pit
    and the vermin of the world inhabit it
    and its morals aren't worth what a pig can spit
    and it goes by the name of London.
  • Often seen in farces with do-it-yourself-dialogue in the script along the lines of: "I shall put a curse on the lot of them, and doom them to live in [unpopular town or state]".

    Video Games 

  • Nonspecific, but combines with Fate Worse than Death in Zebra Girl as the ultimate fate of Harold DuVase.
    "Wherever he doesn't want to be... that's always where he'll go."
  • In Overside, Surya: a frozen wasteland where criminals and dissidents are exiled.
  • In Blue Yonder, Black Dog is told his pilot, if lucky, is in the rings of Saturn, and if not -- Edinburgh.
  • Brian Clevinger's opinion of Alabama from 8-Bit Theater - it's hell. There's also an in-universe one in Corneria.
    Princess Sara: Well, the poll only had two choices: One, be ruled over by King Steve forever, two, get a sword through your head. We lost 52% of participants.
  • In Multiplex they are discussing the source of the zombie invasion of the movie theater.
    Franklyn: So what if the projector is opening a portal to hell, or, uh, whatever.
    Tease: Hollywood?
  • Light and Dark: New Hadden, the main setting of the comic, has a bad reputation for being a hellhole run by a corrupt mayor, where crime rates are high and gangs run amuck.
  • Terminal Lance: The suck that is deployment to Twentynine Palms has apparently reached memetic levels within the Marine Corps. However, according to the author's dispassionate analysis, Camp Lejeune is actually worse. While Lejeune is just as hot and the surroundings just as inhospitable as Twentynine Palms, the heat at Twentynine Palms is dry, and Twentynine Palms is within a couple of hours' drive from both Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Lejeune is stuck in the swampy ass-end of North Carolina nowhere and the humidity is murderous.
  • In All Saints Street, Australia is part of Hell's territory.

    Web Original 
  • Visiting Gore Calls Pennsylvania 'A Hellhole'
  • The Bastard Operator from Hell does this with Luton.
    BOFH: Well, coverage in the third world is always a bit dodgy...
    PFY: Really? Where did you go, Luton?
    BOFH: Luton, Hull, and Glasgow. A package hole-iday
    PFY: You didn't drink the water, did you?
    BOFH: Hell no, my interpreter warned me about that!
  • The That Guy with the Glasses Anniversary Brawl begins with The Nostalgia Critic singing an ode to Chicago, (Oh what an adequate morning!) loaded with Take Thats to Chicago that make it sound like this.
    "Corruption's as high as an elephant's eye... and the meters cost $74.25..." (Rob Walker is shown angrily kicking a parking meter)
  • This forum is full of this trope. Some specific examples listed above. 14 of them were selected by Cracked.
  • According to Helloween4545: Swindon.
  • Homestar Runner:
    • In the Strong Bad Email "mini-golf", Strong Bad gets an email signed from "Somebody No-one Cares About in Iowa", to which Strong Bad quips "Also known as, everyone in Iowa."
    • "Where The Crap Are We?", a short originally included as an Easter egg in Macromedia Central, has Strong Bad freaking out on realizing the "blue fadey land" he and Homestar were trapped in isn't heaven. Then Homestar chimes in with "Yeah, you're right. I think it's Massachusetts."
  • Rooster Teeth's Burnie Burns apparently feels this way about Houston (which is just a freeway away from the company's headquarters in Austin).
  • A meme created around the middle of 2020 features characters dreading the prospect of being forcibly sent to Brazil, often in over-the-top violent ways. Allegedly, the meme was the end result of internet celebrities being tired of Brazilian fans demanding they visit the country. Although the fact that Brazil is a notoriously violent country that was being hit hard by the 2020 pandemic around the time the meme popped up certainly helped things along.
  • Game Grumps: In the first episode of their Hollow Knight playthrough, Arin and Danny jokingly compare Dirthmouth to Pittsburgh, and Hallownest/the Crossroads to Columbus, OH.
  • God in Puppet History freely admits to crafting some of the worst natural catastrophies on Earth, but also includes creating "Tampa, Florida, and also the rest of Florida" with this list.
  • In Diva of Musical Hell's review of the 1986 Made-for-TV Movie version of Babes in Toyland, she is spectacularly unimpressed by the characters' fanatical pride in their hometown of Cincinnati, expressed in song form. When the song is reprised and protagonist Lisa's hometown pride counters the antagonist's magic, a disgusted Diva asks, "Have you ever actually been there?" and cues an unflattering picture of an inner-city street as she adds the scene to the film's sin count. As one of the film's punishments, "for singing the praises of a very un-praiseworthy city", she condemns the late Leslie Bricusse (who composed the new songs for the adaptation) to an extended stay there.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Sam & Max: Freelance Police: In "Dysfunction of the Gods", Max accidentally opens Pandora's box in the middle of a Las Vegas casino.
    Sam: You've just unwittingly liberated all the ills and horrors of society!
    Max: It's Vegas, who's gonna notice?
  • Animaniacs (2020): The short "Equal Time" has Dot doing a news report on the 2020 primary election in Iowa, which is depicted as a backwater farm covered in half-melted snow with no one around but a single bored cow. She also describes Iowa as "the one state we pretend to care about one January every four years."
    Dot: I'm cold and lonely... just like everyone else in Iowa!
  • In the Invader Zim episode "A Room with a Moose," Zim threatens to send the entire class into the titular room with a moose, a dimension that simply consists of a white plane with a giant moose noisily and graphically munching on walnuts, which apparently is worse than both a dimension of pure dookie and one of pure itching.
  • Futurama:
    • In "The Cryonic Woman", Fry wakes up from a second round of cryo-stasis and finds himself in what appears to be a post-apocalyptic Earth in the year 4000. Turns out he was only frozen four days and he was really in Los Angeles in his own time period. When he tries explaining that there were ruins and children with guns, the other characters reply that L.A. is just like that.
      Bender: He just won't stop with the social commentary.
    • And Utah gets it in the episode "Mars University".
      Fry: I'm impressed. In my time we had no idea Mars had a university.
      Professor Farnsworth: That's because then Mars was an uninhabitable wasteland, much like Utah. But unlike Utah, Mars was eventually made livable when the university was founded in 2636.
  • In God, the Devil and Bob, God needs Bob to talk Satan out of his funk...which means Bob has to go to Hell. "You've been to Branson, Missouri. It's not that different!"
  • The Looney Tunes short "Devil's Feud Cake" (also known as the "Satan's Waitin' Segment in The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie) involved Yosemite Sam going to Hell.
    Sam: It's powerful hot here. Is this Dallas?
    Satan: No, but you're close.
  • South Park:
    • In "Merry Christmas, Charlie Manson!", when Cartman and the boys go to visit his grandmother they pass a sign that says "Now leaving Colorful Colorado," on a mountain background with a rainbow. The scenery changes abruptly to a gray sky (that is literally split on the state line) and seemingly-endless corn fields and a new sign reads "You are now in NEBRASKA. ...Sorry."
    • There's also an episode where Kenny gets hit by a bus but doesn't die, instead ending up carried under the bus all the way to Mexico. In the next episode, Kenny manages to call his friends, and when he describes the place he wound up (i.e. drinking the water gives you bloody diarrhea), they're convinced Kenny is in Hell. In the same episode, Jesus decides to punish Cartman by sending him to a place "worse" than Hell. Guess where?
    • And:
      Mr. Garrison: And where are you from, Damien?
      Damien: The seventh layer of hell!
      Mr. Garrison: Ooooh, that's exciting, my mother was from Alabama.
    • When going to the Worldwide Recorder Concert in Arkansas, the sign when they entered declared "Yes, we are a state!".
  • In one of the episodes of the short-lived Dilbert TV show, two teams of engineers are competing, and the losing team will be transferred to Albany, NY — which is shown as being incredibly cold on the first day of summer. When the episode's Big Bad — no, not the boss but the rival team's leader — is decapitated, her head comments "Well, better this than Albany."
  • The Simpsons:
    • In one episode, Homer travels to Winnipeg, Canada, and the road sign on approaching the city proclaims "We were born here. What's your excuse?"
    • And in the episode where they move to Cypress Creek:
      Scorpio: By the way, Homer, what's your least favorite country? Italy or France?
      Homer: France.
      Scorpio Heh heh, nobody ever says Italy.
    • For Lisa Simpson, any university (and that is ANY university) that is not Ivy League is seen as an example of this. The very thought of the possibility that only Brown University will accept her if she doesn't ace a random test drives her to cheat on the episode "Lisa Gets an "A"".
    • In another episode, Marge stared in a musical version of A Streetcar Named Desire with a song that said some pretty bad things about New Orleans. This caused an outcry from quite a few actual citizens of that city, so much that Bart's chalkboard gag in an episode a few weeks later read "I will not defame New Orleans."
    • At the end of "Kill The Alligator and Run", the Simpsons are banned from ever returning to Florida. In the final scene of the episode, Marge is standing next to a map of the United States, with 48 of the states crossed off, leaving North Dakota and Arizona as the only remaining states where they haven't been banned from yet. Bart gives good reasons why they should never go there in the first place, and she crosses them off too.
    • In "Lisa Gets The Blues", Marge plans a family vacation to Gainsville, Florida. After immediate protesting by the family, the first thing she notices when buying plane tickets is that going there only costs $19. Getting out costs $999, much to Marge's annoyance. The airport employee consoles Homer after learning where they're going. Homer then incites a riot on board the plane, because nobody else wanted to go there either. This results in the plane landing in New Orleans instead.
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle had Mooslevania, a place so bad that people would vacation there because afterwards any other place seemed like a vacation. It was also the subject of a territorial dispute between the US and Canada; Canada said it was part of the US, while the US said it was a part of Canada. Mooslevania almost became a real place thanks to a nationwide campaign. However, it was cut short due to the visit to Washington D.C. coinciding with the Cuban Missile Crisis.
  • Dan Vs.: In the episode "Dan Vs. Burgerphile", the local Burgerphile manager Jeff is terrified of the prospect of being sent back to Maryland.
  • Family Guy:
    • In the episode "The Most Interesting Man in the World", Peter gets smarter from visiting America's smartest cities, so his family turns him back to normal by sending him to America's dumbest city: Tucson, Arizona. There, the people are giggling, snaggletoothed dolts who beat each other up, their philharmonic consists of wet t-shirt contests with chocolate milk, and the movie Battleship is still playing in theaters. (and apparently, this wasn't the first time Seth MacFarlane took shots at Tucson.)
    • In the episode "Into Harmony's Way", Peter and Quagmire go on tour as a singing duo; the first place they go to is New York, but it turns out to be a thin painting of New York over the road, with Delaware on the other side. The sign outside the state reads, "Sorry we had to trick you. This is how we get visitors."
  • American Dad!:
    • In "Minstrel Krampus", one of the songs Krampus sings has him lament his ex Sheila standing him up in "dirty-ass Baltimore".
    • After Krampus is killed and Stan's dad takes over as the new Krampus, Jack is then shown holding a steady job as a bus driver in Baltimore, and he's quick to rag on the city.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks gives us Starbase 80. Not much is known about this place, but mentioning the place is certain to put people like Military Maverick Beckett Mariner in line.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: St. Olga's Reform School for Wayward Princesses. A Running Gag is Star dreading being sent there for causing trouble.

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television:
    • There is actually a Hell in Norway, though it just means "Cave." "Helvete" is Norwegian for "Hell".note 
    • There is also a Hell, Michigan. According to the story, after the first few names were rejected, their postmaster declared, "You can name it Hell if you want to!" They took him up on it. Both regularly freeze over.
    • Also, there's a Hell on the island of Grand Cayman. Considering that the island is in the Caribbean (and has the typical climate/terrain you'd expect) it's a fitting name for a large expanse of warped, pitted, ugly, sharp-edged black limestone formations.
    • The Netherlands has a town called Helmond, which translated literally into English is Hellmouth. The real meaning has nothing to do with hell however, as explained on The Other Wiki.
    • Scariest of all is the Door to Hell in Turkmenistan, a natural gas fire that has been burning since 1971.
  • There is a place named Lapin Helvetti (Hell of Lapland) in Kolari, Finland. It is an incredibly beautiful caldera lake.
    • The name Kolari itself, while meaning "colliery", can mean automobile accident in colloquial Finnish.
    • Just like the Poles have Tartars, the Swedes have Finns - a German proverb from the 30 Years War.
  • In Scottish humour, New Towns like Livingston are memetically boring and dreich, whilst former industrial towns such as Kelty and Wishaw are (not without justification, thanks to Thatcher closing down the pits) considered miniature Detroits with more general shittiness. Other targets are "the ring" of council estates around Edinburgh, all Glasgow (which itself is lost in its own legend), and Edinburgh's Princes Street Gardens at nighttime.
  • In England, the Hackney area of London has this reputation due to the crime in the area (in particular stabbings). However, it has gotten better in recent years.
  • Britain has a reputation for this. It seems that everyone outside of London thinks the town they live in qualifies. When a book called Fifty Crap Towns was published, with copious reasons for its selections, people wrote in and complained. Because their home town wasn't in it. The publishers obliged with a sequel, Fifty More Crap Towns.
    • Every British town and city has its less desirable areas. Londoners are not alone in pointing to Hackney and Tower Hamlets. Manchester has Wythenshawe, described as "the largest council estate in Europe". Wythenshawe and Hattersley were founded as out-of-town suburbs for working-class people with jobs to go to. Which worked fine as long as there were jobs to commute to. Take away the jobs and leave a residue of people who didn't have much to begin with and now have even less - and you get poverty-stricken ghettoes. The local joke is that no buses actually stop in Wythenshawe. They just slow down a little and you throw yourself out.
    • As mentioned in the Live-Action TV section, Slough is considered not only so dire that it's worthy of being blown up and restarted, but it's generally seen as a very boring, run down and extremely 'grey' (referring to the amount of concrete) place, where local landmarks include row upon row of decrepit shops and dingy housing estates, a huge power station that supplies energy to the trading estate - which is essentially just street after street of warehouses and office blocks - vast corporate campuses, roads clogged with traffic jams, plus a healthy dose of violent crime and underage gangs thrown on top. Slough is generally looked down upon by people from the towns and villages surrounding it, to the extent that in 2009, residents of neighbouring Windsor tried to block Slough's council from giving the go-ahead to the construction of a new housing project that would have rendered the skyline around Windsor Castle considerably more ugly.
    • Luton, Milton Keynes, and Swindon are all considered memetically awful for various different reasons. In the case of Milton Keynes, it's partly because it was a planned town that had to steal a football team (MK Dons, formerly known as Wimbeldon FC) from London, and is considered legendarily boring, to the point of lampooning in Good Omens. Luton, meanwhile, was voted top of the 50 Crap Towns, and has shown little sign of improvement since, being associated with post-industrial decline, radical Islamic terrorism, and the likes of the EDL (English Defence League - basically, skinheads and often, Neo-Nazis). It was once memorably described as "multi-cultural without the culture." Swindon, meanwhile, is a post-industrial dump of a town desperately trying to clean up its image, something its populace undermine at every given opportunity often by pointing out just how boringly average the place is, with nothing to make it stand out whatsoever.
  • Truth In Television: One of J. Edgar Hoover's ... idiosyncrasies ... was sending FBI agents who displeased him to New Orleans, a city he hated. Seeing as he was a well-known racist, you can probably imagine why he'd think that.
  • Particular scorn was heaped upon it by H.L. Mencken: "All other mammals would succumb quickly to what man endures without damage. Consider, for example, the life of a soldier in the front line—or the life of anyone in Mississippi." Indeed, the phrase "sold down the river" refers to slaves in northern slave states being sold to Mississippi farms, a terrible fate due to the much harsher conditions down there. Today the phrase is still used to mean "betrayed."
  • Twain said about Cincinnati, "When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Cincinnati because it's always twenty years behind the times."
  • In Argentina, during the first half of the 20th century, capital punishment was imprisonment in the infamous Ushuaia prison, in Tierra del Fuego, a frozen hell in the middle of nowhere in the most southern point of America. There were even not many guards, as it was understood that anyone so crazy as to escape would survive a couple of days, at best. A lot of them tried, anyway, with unsurprising results. Considering the kind of inmates you would share your cell with, you may have ventured into the frozen woods without second thoughts too.
  • In California the cities of Salinas, Bakersfield, and Fresno have this reputation, mostly spread by residents themselves.
    • In the northern half of the Golden State, Yuba City, though less well known, also has image problems - partly because of its place as the hometown of the 1970s serial ax murderer Juan Corona, and also because the "Rand McNally Places Rated" quality-of-life ranking in 1985 placed the city 330th and last among U.S. cities.
    • The Inland Empirenote  is generally the butt of jokes in the Southwest and is usually viewed as a disgusting shithole full of meth labs, desert bros, sky-blackening pollution (among the highest in the country), foreclosed homes, wannabe gangbangers, sociopathic cops, and just about everything else you can imagine. Most locals say that all of those are largely exclusive to San Bernardino and Muscoynote . Make of that what you will.
    • Los Angeles has its own as well. The lovingly named Skid Row is home to a permanent homeless population of between 5000 and 8000 people and the average income of the area is $14,000 a year, about $10,000 less than the poverty line and if you're unlucky enough to live in Skid Row, your chance of being victimized by a crime is 1 in 25.
    • In the Bay Area, Berkeley is seen as a hotbed for radical far-left shenanigans, as well as being filled with a substantial amount of Hipsters, dyed-hair feminists and New-Aged Retro Hippies.
  • In Mesa County in Colorado, Clifton is this, and it is routinely mocked. And sometimes Fruita.
    • For many Coloradans, the only excuse for being in Pueblo is if you're driving through it on your way to or from New Mexico.
    • When the community of Reunion was created, some residents lobbied for the development to get its own postmark. Why? Because otherwise their letters would be stamped "Commerce City," a Denver suburb notorious for crime, industrial decay, and general urban misery.
  • The dirty secret among Rhode Island expats: They know the state's population is made up of horrible, contemptuous people, especially as you get close to I-95. Problem is, most people don't even know Rhode Island exists, which makes Jersey comparisons difficult to swing. Within the state itself, Woonsocket, Central Falls, and Pawtucket all have particularly terrible reputations.
    • Central Falls is also incredibly notorious for these reasons: It's 1.3 square miles, and a population of (by the 2014 census) 19,328 (meaning it's more densely populated than Boston) it has rampant gang and violence issues (in 2015/2016 there was a shoot-out in the city over someone being short-changed on marijuana); It also has the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility, which is a maximum security prison, right in the middle of the city.
  • Among Floridians, Gainesville is often referred to as a barren wasteland filled with hicks, poverty, and Gators fans.
    • Florida itself tends to get a pretty notable reputation as one of these, especially due to the prevalence of the Only in Florida trope.
  • Uryupinsk, Volgograd Oblast has a reputation of a memetically boring hicksville in Russia, mostly in the name. It has a uniquely undignified sound to it. Kolyma and Magadan, on the other hand, are genuinely notorious for being the central hubs of prison camps in the USSR.
  • When Nazi German forces invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941 and broke the nonaggression pact, Winston Churchill when supporting the U.S. decision to send aid to the U.S.S.R. remarked "I have only one purpose: the destruction of Hitler... If Hitler invaded Hell, I would at least make a favorable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons."
  • In Greater Vancouver, Surrey has this reputation; when people get more specific they usually paint it as being populated by hicks and/or trailer trash and petty criminals. (It is the car-theft capital of British Columbia.) Being the largest suburb by a good margin, it's sort of like the local equivalent of New Jersey. There's also the Downtown Eastside, which has a reputation more along the lines of "if you go here you will die (or at least get mugged)" than mere lack of class.
  • Minnesotans think of the northernmost part of Minneapolis as a gang-ridden, violent hellhole. The light rail ends at Target Field, and to most natives, that's where the city ends. That this is more or less the truth doesn't make this any less the trope. To a lesser extent, Lake Street has a reputation as the city's red-light district, with all the issues associated with such.
  • Marylanders are weird about this in regards to Baltimore. It is, after all, a city that is nearly as corrupt as Gotham but with no Rich Idiot With No Day Job to help against that. There are only a few "safe" parts of town and gang violence is a regular occurrence. But Marylanders do generally love their city and its charm (it's even nicknamed Charm City). Yes, Baltimore is a horrible city, but it's our horrible city! That said, it has improved - somewhat - from the days when it was both the murder and STD capital of the United States. Now they have a football team. A winning football team.
  • Among Wisconsinites, Waukesha, if not the entirety of Waukesha County, is quickly gaining a reputation as 'Wisconsin's Alabama', which manages to actually slam two places at once.
  • Pennsylvania is sometimes described as being "Philadelphia at one end, Pittsburgh at the other, and Alabama in the middle." (Or Mississippi, or Kentucky, or whichever state is your Acceptable Target.)
  • And on the topic of Pennsylvania, there's Centralia, (alleged) inspiration for Silent Hill, which has had an underground fire burning since 1962. Due to this, the majority of the town was abandoned by 1984, after Congress voted to give residents $42 million in aid for relocation. This even caused a neighboring town to need evacuation once the fire spread far enough.
  • The British town of Corby, Northamptonshire, England has achieved memetic status as this locally, partly because it combines the worst aspects of Milton Keynesnote  and any large town Oop Northnote , but also because a lot of its residential property is built on land contaminated with toxic waste.
  • In Mexico, at least from the end of The Mexican Revolution to the 90s, the Marias Islands were the Mexican equivalent of Siberia or Alcatraz, since it was (then) a desolated wasteland and most prisoners were (then) forced to work. Ironically, being sent to the Marias Islands right now is, for many prisoners, almost a gift, since the Mexican government took many years to change its nefarious reputation and now it has become a model, almost jail-less prison when the prisoners can live with their families just like when they were free in continental Mexico.
    • Mexico's Northern States and very especially Ciudad Juárez. Not only are those states the most violent and dangerous of the country (due to drug-trafficking), the Values Dissonance between those states with the rest of Mexico is so high, many outsiders prefer to return to their places of origin, that's it, if you can even survive living in those cities first.
    • El Paso, Texas, is roundly mocked by just about everyone in south Texas and New Mexico. Unlike the rest of Texas, which you can at least mock affectionately, El Paso is the gutter end of both states. (A typical joke is that Texas tried to sell it back to Mexico and were refused.) However, El Paso itself is actually a very nice place, especially compared to many other cities; it has been consistently ranked the safest large city in the U.S. for many years and received an All-American City Award in 2010 and 2018. Jokes about El Paso are really more of a reference to the fact that it's directly adjacent to Juárez (and, for some, the city's more liberal politics).
    • On a less serious level, telling someone in Mexico to go to la chingada (vete a la chingada) is the equivalent of telling someone "Go fuck yourself". However, there happens to be a villa in Mexico named "La Chingada", so being told to go there may not be so bad...
  • Connecticut has Hartford, Waterbury, and Bridgeport, all of which are viewed as the state's answer to the Rust Belt, being former industrial hotbeds that later became crime-ridden, impoverished wastelands full of houses one step away from being condemned, storefronts comprised entirely of shoddy bodegas, liquor stores, bail bondsmen, and payday loan centers, and the rotting shells of former factories. They have lessened their horrible status in recent years and compared to other rust belt states they benefit from the nearby hedge funds, but they in general are the rougher parts of the state.
  • Wisconsin in general has a distaste of Illinois, calling residents "Flatlanders" (Wisconsin is more hilly than most of Illinois) and "FIBs" (Fucking Illinois Bastard/Bitch). People from Illinois call Wisconsinites "Cheeseheads" (Wisconsin is famous for its dairy production), which hilariously backfired when they adopted the nickname quite fondly, including making hats of foam and other various items to look like cheese. The fact that the oldest rivalry in the NFL (Bears/Packers) is between the two states' teams doesn't really help matters much.
  • Speaking of Illinois, the multi-faceted rivalry between Chicago and the rest of the state causes this on both sides. Chicagoans see the rest of the state as a corn-filled barren wasteland, aside from college towns like Normal/Bloomington, Champaign-Urbana and Carbondale, that's completely irrelevant and filled with rednecks who vote Republican. The rest of the state sees Chicago as a crime-ridden hellhole filled with political corruption that takes the rest of the state's money, and votes Democratic.
  • Even worse than that is the contrast between St Louis and the rest of Missouri. On one hand, you have a steadily declining city filled with Wretched Hive type Gangster Land neighborhoods and very vocal progressives, on the other you have some of the most violently backwards Republicans in all of America.
  • Worcester, a rather unattractive industrial city with a bewildering highway system, is frequently described as "the armpit of Massachusetts." Most Massachusetts residents admit that they visit Worcester just to see a show at the DCU Center (formerly The Centrum). Revere ("Reveeeah"), just north of Boston, and Holyoke, just north of Springfield on the Connecticut River, also come in for a lot of abuse. (Revere has a "Jersey Shore"-like reputation; Holyoke is another depressed industrial city that has lost most of its industry and half its population. Holyoke actually has a real-life version of the abandoned warehouse district.)
  • Massachusetts has lots of these. There's Lynn ("Lynn, Lynn, city of sin, you never go out the way you came in."), best known for its serious gang issues; Fitchburg, which was once a reasonably okay mill city but is now a depressing melange of dilapidated houses, abandoned mill buildings, and dwindling storefronts; Leominster, which most New Englanders only know for The Mall at Whitney Field; the rural parts of Worcester and Middlesex Counties (Lunenburg, Sterling, Townsend, etc.) which are full of rednecks who vote Republican and contain nothing but average Everytown, America attractions and farmland; Cambridge, which is basically Harvard & MIT and nothing else; Chicopee, which is essentially Holyoke-lite; Pittsfield, which is a little slice of the more decrepit areas of northeastern NY; Greenfield, which takes all the trashiness of Western Mass' nastier rural areas (Athol, Orange, Millers Falls, etc.) and magnifies it... yeah, that's not even the tip of the iceberg.
    • Athol gets bonus points for actually being the Athol of Massachusetts.
    • When H.P. Lovecraft wrote about decaying, degenerate rural New England towns home to Eldritch Abominations, he was inspired by a visit to Athol. With sky-high unemployment, widespread poverty (most of the jobs that are available don't pay worth a damn anyways), rampant commercial vacancies, and rates of alcoholism, child abuse, domestic violence, and teen pregnancy that are well above the state average, it's not hard to see where the inspiration came from. While it's not quite as bad as it once was, it's still a pretty miserable place.
  • Boston has its problems with poverty and violence, but it's mostly okay by comparison with a lot of the places mentioned above... except for Mattapan. People from Roxbury and Dorchester sometimes call it Murderpan. Parts of the city like Charlestown and South Boston that were once essentially the hood for white people, with their notoriously violent and racist (and mostly Irish-American) townies, have long since been gentrified into something more civilized.
  • There was a time, up until the mid-1990s, where Chelsea was objectively the worst municipality in Eastern Massachusetts, with a government so corrupt that the entire city had to be placed in state receivership and the school system turned over to Boston University to run. While Chelsea in its current form isn't really anyone's idea of nice, it's greatly improved over the bad old days.
  • Brockton, some 20 miles south of Boston, is a self-perpetuating disaster — a largely immigrant-populated city with serious troubles with violent crime and constant turnover in demographics as anyone who can afford to move anywhere nice leaves for nearby suburban towns like Abington and Randolph. It has some illustrious history in local sports (especially boxers like Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Rocky Marciano), but other than that, almost no one who lives there takes pride in it.
  • Lawrence, about 25 miles north of Boston, is a cramped, depressed former mill town that serves as Essex County's answer to Brockton, even more so than Lynn. It gained some notoriety in the 1990s for a spate of unsolved arson cases.
  • For Iowa, Sioux City and Waterloo have this reputation.
  • Nevada, a state known for little else other than Las Vegas and (sometimes) Reno, is this in general. Even residents joke about how awful the state is. The rural areas are extremely popular for meth production, as police simply can't get there or don't know it exists, and unemployment is consistently high. However, in the state itself, Battle Mountain definitely has the reputation as 'The Armpit of America'. This Washington Post article even names it as such.
  • Naples, Italy, is considered to be this by many Italians (including Neapolitans). And if you think crime and corruption are not enough, the city also sits between a couple of very dangerous (currently dormant) volcanoes, including Mt. Vesuvius.
  • For the Hampton Roads, Virginia area, either Portsmouth or the parts of Norfolk immediately surrounding NOB.
  • Neighboring Tacoma, Washington seemed to garner this reputation in Seattle. Things were worse in the past, and arguably more justified, with the city's numerous paper mills contributing to the infamous 'aroma from Tacoma' (they also polluted Commencement Bay, so much so that at one point touching the silt would give you a chemical burn).
  • In Sydney, Australia, the entire western half is considered shady. Beyond Parramatta, Redfern is also considered unsafe.
  • Philip Sheridan, a Union general in the The American Civil War, said, "If I owned Hell and Texas, I'd rent out Texas and live in Hell."
  • Generally, Iranians tend to think of their country as the worst place a person could have the misfortune of living in. It's not hard to see why:
    • Politics: The most stable dictatorship in the Middle East, the Islamic Republic is one of the most oppressive, corrupt and outright incompetent regimes anywhere in the world. The only thing they're good at is keeping themselves in power, through the Guardian Council (which disqualifies "disloyal" candidates before every election) and the Revolutionary Guard (a special military force that answers solely to the Supreme Leader, originally designed to prevent coups from the actual military but over time grown into a full-on deep state that controls the biggest construction firm in the country along with the national phone comany, several banks and media outlets). The bureaucracy is allowed to buy and sell organizations, which means the same capitalistic bs the rest of the world has to deal with is actually controlled by the government in Iran, except most of these bureaus don't answer to the democratically elected branches (all those people are good for is being scapegoated). The economy crashes every two years, inflation rates are ALWAYS at an all-time high, the poverty line is above around 60 percent of the population and unemployment is out of control. Personal freedoms and all journalism-related subjects are a human rights nightmare, there are more activists (women's rights, ethnic, labor, religious minority, LGBT+, environmental, etc.) in prison than thieves. And then there's the foreign policy...
    • Climate: Hot, cold or wet. Take your pick. Of course, thanks to climate change the last 20 years have seen cold parts grow dryer, hot parts get dustier and wet parts more insect-y. And hotter. And the less we talk about the environmental issues, the easier it'll be to sleep tonight.
    • Crime: Crime rates are ridicuolusly high all over the country, even the richest neighborhoods in the richest cities are never safe. Guns are hard to come by, unless you're a Black Shirt in which case you may be given firearms with live rounds for free, or if you know someone who lives along the western border. Drug addiction is treated as an acceptable character flaw on national television for a reason: Every (extended in some cases, but still) family has at least one user.
  • In India, being sent to the North-Eastern states of the country (Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, and Mizoram) is generally considered a punishment posting by anyone who isn't from there. However, in an aversion of the usual reasons why (such as poverty - which is a problem, or violence - terrorism and separatist movements are a huge pain in the ass over there), the main reason no one wants to go there is the weather, climate and an unrepentantly hostile array of flora and fauna.
  • In Brazil, the most widespread targets are Brasília (the capital, thus filled with corrupt politicians), and many a Northern state given living in the middle of The Amazon Rainforest is not very attractive (a widespread joke is that the state of Acre doesn't exist, and a comedian said that Rondônia has so many ugly people the Devil must have left some of his offspring there).
  • Amongst Australians, Tasmania is stereotyped as a hotbed for incest. Amongst Tasmanians, that stereotype is narrowed down to the city of Launceston.
  • A joke in Germany which pokes fun at the fact that current standard German is closest to the Hannover dialect goes "If you want to learn pure and correct German, you should go to Hannover. (Beat) But then you'd be in Hannover." It doesn't help that the German equivalent of the British phrase "Sending somebody to Coventry" is "sending somebody to Hannover".
  • One of the complaints many Germans have with regards to Deutsche Bahn is the fact that its Intercity-Express high-speed trains stop "too often" and most cities below a certain size or touristic value are often treated to this. Probably the only cities for which this is averted are Munich, Hamburg, Cologne, and Berlin - the four cities above one million inhabitants in Germany. But don't get someone from Düsseldorf started on Cologne, or someone from not-Bavaria started on Munich or... Suffice it to say German Humor is full of jokes at the expense of other cities and regions.
    • One of the cities that gets this the most is Wolfsburg. Firstly because the city is basically the Volkswagen factory and nothing else and secondly because ICE drivers regularly forget to stop there. In 2011 it happened four times in the span of a few months.
    • Cologne has a reputation for looking inherently dirty, and its inhabitants also tend to be pretty rude. It also has one of the "ugliest cathedrals in Europe".
  • Turku, the ancient former capital of Finland, is perceived by the rest of the country as being too xenophobic while at the same time as being "too foreign" (owing to the preponderance of Swedish-speakers in the area), and its citizens are often characterized as dumb or slow because of their distinctive dialect.
  • Paris, of all places, is sometimes considered the equivalent of The Big Rotten Apple by those French who don't live there, due to the pollution, high prices for everything, and Drives Like Crazy mentality.
  • Canada:
    • Ottawa, the capital city, isn't described as "The City that Fun Forgot" by its own residents for nothing. Firstly because the city is seen as being mostly comprised of government & diplomatic buildings and nothing else, and secondly because it's otherwise completely boring and unexciting. This is to the point where half the city's TV stations are repeaters of stations from Toronto.
    • The entire province of Quebec also holds this reputation amongst some Anglophone Canadians, and is stereotyped as a hotbed for rude people (and not to mention that language laws and Quebec sovereigntism and nationalism are a huge pain in the ass over there).
    • The city of Edmonton, located in the western province of Alberta, is called this by both locals and out-of-towners, earning the nickname "Deadmonton" due to its brutally cold winters, lack of nightlife, high crime rate, the aggressive homeless population and drug addicts that run rampant in all parts of the city, and its statistically high murder rate.
    • The northern city of Fort McMurray in Alberta is regarded within Canada as being 90% oil fields and nothing else, and is regarded outside Canada as being "filthy" by left-leaning public figures and anti-oil activists.
  • The British territory of Montserrat, formerly a Caribbean holiday destination for Brits, was mostly destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 1995. This caused two-thirds of the island's population to relocate elsewhere, primarily to the UK mainland, leaving fewer than 1,200 people on the island in 1997 (rising to nearly 5,000 by 2016)
  • When Oliver Cromwell's forces conquered Ireland in 1652, they forced thousands of Irish Catholics, mainly those who fought against them and particularly for Irish independence, to relocate 'to Connacht' - i.e. west of the River Shannon - and seized their land. The displaced Catholics were said to have been told to go 'to hell or to Connacht'.
  • Huge distances, harsh weather and relentless resistance from the Soviets made the Eastern Front an absolute nightmare for the Germans from start to finish, as their blitzkrieg was ground to a halt, turned into a bloody stalemate for three years and then thrown back.
  • In Hong Kong, mainland China as a whole often has a reputation of this. Within Hong Kong, Tin Shui Wai is usually stereotyped as this, and nicknamed as the "City of Tragedy" for this reason.note 
  • Among both Arkansas residents and those who don't live in the state, Harrison is seen as this due to being a hotbed for far-right xenophobic groups.


Video Example(s):


Take him to Detroit!

You wouldn't be so cocky if you get sent to a place that bad.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (37 votes)

Example of:

Main / PlaceWorseThanDeath

Media sources: