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Small Town Rivalry

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Lisa: What's so special about this game anyway? It's just another chapter in the pointless rivalry between Springfield and Shelbyville. They built a mini-mall, so we built a bigger mini-mall. They made the world's largest pizza, so we burnt down their city hall.
Homer: Heh, heh, heh. Yeah, they swore they'd get us back by spiking our water supply. But they didn't have the guts.
Marge: (drinks the tap water) Ooooh. The walls are melting again.

Aliceville and Bobtown are right next door to each other, and they're both fairly quaint, rural towns full of nice loving people...unless you happen to mention one while in the other, in which case all hell breaks loose. The residents of the two towns hate each other with a passion, either due to some old score that remains unsettled or just because they don't like the looks of each other. If it's the former, you can bet the hero will delve into it.

Note that this is sometimes Truth in Television: small towns are more likely to have residents whose families have lived there for generations and often have rocky histories. If something happened a long time ago to spread bad blood between the two, the current population may well continue the fighting, especially if it's over something still relevant such as boundaries or land development. Team sports, particularly football, are a popular focus point for the rivalry now that cattle raids and arson are emphatically discouraged. Besides, sometimes there's not a whole lot else to do.


These towns may have some Feuding Families, or in extreme cases, one town's name may be The Scottish Trope in the other. This trope is also commonly used to throw out the Conflict Ball for a Feud Episode.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Slayers Try has Alto and Bantone exchange cannon fire every day at the same time. The cause of the war is that the rulers of these countries had a fight when they were kids.

    Comic Books 
  • In a Lucky Luke album, Luke is leading a group of railway builders when they come to the two rival towns East City and West City. Both want the railway to come to their city and when one of them holds a party for Luke and his horse Jolly Jumper, the other attacks. Luke and Jolly flee from the brawl, thinking that they are all crazy. While the inhabitants are busy fighting, the railway gets built right between the two cities.

    Films — Animated 
  • The two yards of Lawn Gnomes from Gnomeo & Juliet are towns to the Gnomes, and each side hates the other.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Baker's Wife:
    • Two of the villagers have a dispute about their gardens – the elms in one garden keep the sun from reaching the other.
    • Two villagers refuse to speak to each other, but don't know why – they only know that their fathers and grandfathers weren't on speaking terms either, so they figure there must be a good reason.
  • In Lagaan, two of the eventual members of the cricket team have a small town rivalry that stems from one's children pestering the other's chickens, and both being too Hot-Blooded to handle it reasonably. They do end up putting aside their differences for the match.

  • The two towns on either side of the wall in Dr. Seuss's The Butter Battle Book, named so because the conflict began on how the two groups of people have differing ideas on how butter should be eaten with toast.
  • Gulliver's Travels: Lilliput and Blefuscu are neighboring islands which are at war with each other over which end of an egg one should open.
  • In P. G. Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster story "The Ordeal of Young Tuppy" the towns Upper Bleaching and Hockley-cum-Meston have a heated rivalry which is expressed in the form of an annual rugby game known for its violence and injuries.
  • Lancre Town and Ohulan Cutash (which Lancrastians consider a big city because it contains over a thousand people) in the Discworld novels. Their rivalry comes to a head in the annual Morris Dancing championships, which in the Ramtops is an extreme sport.
  • A disturbing (and ultimately lethal) version of this occurs in Clive Barker's story "In the Hills, the Cities".

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Flying Nun, Sisters Bertrille and Jacqueline find themselves caught between two villages both fighting for the right to be called Santa Thomasina in "The Patron of Santa Tomasina". The two villages are embroiled in disputes over stolen pigs and the statue of St. Thomasina, believing Bertrille to be the reincarnated St. Thomasina. Bertrille manages to bring the townspeople to their senses by employing a Judgment of Solomon gambit, threatening to cut the statue in half and divide it between the two villages unless they reconcile. The two towns decide to place the statue at the fork in the road, and designate themselves as the villages of East Thomasina and West Thomasina.
  • Residents of Dog River, the setting of Corner Gas, have a deeply entrenched dislike for nearby Wullerton, to the point that they reflexively turn their head and spit whenever they hear the town's name mentioned. The Dog River - Wullerton rivalry was inspired by the real rivalry between Brent Butt's hometown of Tisdale, Sask. and nearby Melfort. Exploited by Emma in "TV Free Dog River":
    Emma: Those in favor of no TV for a week and sticking it to Wullerton, spit!
    (everybody spits)
    Fitzy: *bangs gavel* Done!
    Oscar: Hey! You tricked us!
    • One episode, "Gopher It", shows that the rivalry might be one-sided, since Davis is transferred to the Wullerton police department and now spits whenever Dog River is mentioned, which just confuses the hell out of his new partner. However, that episode was All Just a Dream, or rather a long Imagine Spot by Hank. The Movie later confirms that the rivalry is one-sided. Wullerton is a Sugar Bowl full of incredibly nice, friendly, and selfless people who seem physically incapable of thinking a negative thought about anyone, and even bail out Dog River when the town goes bankrupt. It's implied that everyone hates them because their Incorruptible Pure Pureness just comes across as creepy to regular people.
  • Pawnee vs. Eagleton on Parks and Recreation is one of the major examples of this. The humor is heightened from the fact that Eagleton seems to have an endless town budget that would rival an elite country club.
  • Spanish TV series Villarriba y Villabajo is about two rival adjoining towns - they even share the main square and the bar, even if each town belongs to a different political-administrative division.
    • These fictional locales had previously appeared in European TV advertisements where the towns have had their respective fiesta with a huge paella, but Villabajo fails to clean the big paella dish because only Villarriba thought about buying the correct washing liquid.
  • Hooterville and Pixley on Petticoat Junction and Green Acres
  • The show Jericho had an extreme example. The series follows a small town (specialized in farming and salt mining) in Kansas after the US is hit with about 20 mini nukes. During the series, New Bern (an industrial town) decides to solve its food shortage by taking over Jericho and evicting all its residents.
  • This occurs between the towns of Middleton and Blairsville in Good Witch. Residents of Middleton treat Blairsville as a Wretched Hive and vice versa, going back to a rivalry between two prominent families in the 1800s. However, there are heavy elements of Sitcom Arch-Nemesis about the relationship.
  • In Resident Alien, Mayor Ben is so disgusted with the town next door, Jessup, that he almost pukes when he realizes that the tacos his wife bought him in one episode are from Jessup. A big part of the reason that he wants to build a resort in Patience in Season 2 is to stick it to Jessup.
  • New Kids is situated in the real Dutch town of Maaskantje and antagonizes the neighboring Schijndel as a kind of Wretched Hive. In the two films, Schijndel is struck by a ballistic missile and becomes the origin of a Zombie Apocalypse. That said, some of the Maaskantje scenes were actually shot in Schijndel, and even the famous 't Pleintje snack bar was in Schijndel before it was demolished in early 2020.
  • Savedbythe Bell has a rivalry with Valley that's typical for most high school shows.
  • In Welcometo Flatch, the residents of Flatch are pretty appalled that Cheryl would dare date someone from Pocktown and turn her into the town pariah over it.

  • A Running Gag that spans the entire Hatchetfield saga is the titular town's loathing of their neighboring town, Clivesdale. Hilariously, it's frequently hinted that Clivesdale doesn't care about and possibly doesn't even notice the rivalry, but all Hatchetfield residents take it seriously, to the point where "Fuck Clivesdale!" is a Share Phrase. Just take this dialogue from the saga's first entry, The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals.
    Emma: Man, my whole life, my one goal was to avoid dying in Hatchetfield, and... here we are.
    Paul: Hey, it could be worse. You could be dying in Clivesdale.
    Emma: Fuck Clivesdale!
    Paul: Fuck 'em.

  • Welcome to Night Vale: Whenever the narrator talks about Desert Bluffs, he never fails to mention that it's inferior in every way to Night Vale. Even after StrexCorp, which owns Desert Bluffs, takes over Night Vale, and after Strex is defeated and Mayor Dana annexes Desert Bluffs.

    Video Games 
  • This is the basic premise of Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns.
  • In Mystery Trackers 8: Nightsville Horror the towns of Willowsville and Nightsville have a fairly long-standing rivalry. This presents some problems for secondary characters Sam (a Nightsville resident) and Mary (a Willowsville resident), who intend to run off together.

    Web Animation 
  • The towns of Hatfield and McCoy in No Evil, named after feuding families of the Wild West. It hasn't quite reached actual murder, but that's mostly because spiritual stuff keeps getting in the way (usually involving the main characters). It's mainly a problem because Amaroq adopted McCoy as his "side", and this led them to assume Huey was similarly aligned with Hatfield, meaning the main cast have to get creative when it comes to, for example, healing the sick in McCoy of the Black Tezcatlipoca.

    Western Animation 
  • In King of the Hill there's Arlen and McMaynerberry.
  • In the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "The Great Divide," Team Avatar mediate for two tribes (here used as the nomadic equivalent of towns, not extended families) whose conflict began over either a ritual courier being attacked or a wrongfully accused Good Samaritan, depending on who you ask.
  • Stoolbend and Goochland from The Cleveland Show.
  • Dimmsdale and Brightburg in The Fairly Oddparents.
  • Springfield and Shelbyville from The Simpsons hate each other despite being directly adjacent. It turns out that cause of the hatred is due to Jebediah Springfield falling out with Shelbyville Manhattan, when the latter expressed a desire to marry his cousins in the town they would found together.
    Jebediah Springfield: Why would we wanna marry our cousins?
    Shelbyville Manhattan: 'Cause they're so attractive. I thought that was the whole point of this journey!
    Jebediah Springfield: Absolutely not!
  • South Park, North Park, and Middle Park have this relationship.
  • In the VeggieTales segment "The Story of Flibber-O-Loo" (a re-telling of the Good Samaritan story), the towns of Flibber-O-Loo and Jibberty-Lot have a heated rivalry, where they launch shoes and pots at each other with catapults and other devices.

    Real Life 
  • There are two towns in Montana that were once one combined town called Vida. The split was due to an argument over what to name the place, and so both names are now used for the separate towns on opposite sides of the highway. There's still some contention.
  • This is the entire reason Milwaukee came into existence. Before the city was incorporated, there were three small settlements along Lake Michigan and the Milwaukee River: Juneautown, Kilbourntown, and Walker's Point. Juneautown (East Side) and Kilbourntown (West Side) in particular had a rivalry that frequently erupted in violence, culminating in the Bridge Wars on 1845 in which all three bridges that had been erected across the river being burned as each town attempted to isolate the other from it and Walker's Point. As a truce, all three were incorporated as the City of Milwaukee in 1846.
  • Minneapolis and St. Paul in Minnesota.
  • Cleveland, Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
  • Houston and Dallas in Texas.
  • The inhabitants of Turku and Tampere in Finland frequently make jokes about each other's city, most notably an annual tradition where a group of students from Tampere jump on Turku's market square to ostensibly push the city into the Baltic Sea.
  • Kibbutzim have a tendency to have long-standing rivalries (albeit often in tongue-in-cheek) with neighbouring kibbutzim, e.g. Ha'Ogen and Ma'abarot. There also used to be a rivalry that split up a few kibbutzim based on ideological lines and political party affiliation; ironically, the resulting kibbutzim called themselves "X ikhúd" ('union') and "X meukhád" ('united'), historically supporting (as neither of these parties exists today) Mapai and Mapam respectively.


Video Example(s):


Lone Moose Hates Other Towns

Because living in Alaska is boring, they find fun having rivalry with their neighboring towns.

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Main / SmallTownRivalry

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