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Gibbs: Says here you're from Boston.
Petty Officer Drew: South Boston, actually.
Gibbs: Does it matter?
Drew: If you're from Boston it does.
NCIS, "Sub Rosa"

Residents of South Boston, MA.

In fiction, this mostly Irish-American neighborhood and its still-distinct accent continue to be associated with hard-drinking working-class thugs, street fighting, bar brawling, organized crime and dollar donations to "freedom fighters" in Ireland whose bombs happen out of sight and out of mind on the other side of the Atlantic. Providence, Rhode Island is usually mentioned to suggest scope. It might be the base of a rival syndicate. As a general rule, they're put in opposition in fiction as Providence has a strong Italian-American background, so obviously it's a hotbed for The Mafia.

The real Southie is, in actuality, much less dangerous than in years past. It's been heavily gentrified in the last decade, and a large portion of the population today consists of yuppies. These days it's Charlestown, on the other end of the city, that's more stereotypically Irish (it was the setting for The Town), and even that is slowly being gentrified. As with New Englanders in general, Southie folk are really nice people — on the ten or fifteen days a year when it isn't freezing cold or blisteringly hot outside.

That said, we must strongly caution readers against wearing anything with a New York Yankees logo when visiting anywhere north of Hartford and/or or east of the Green Mountains, especially if the locals have been drinking heavily. Wearing orange in South Boston, especially on St. Patrick's Day, is also not a very smart thing to do. (Oh, you're free to wear it... just wear something else over it. Like body armor.) Also, if you see a lawn chair in a parking space, don't touch it.

As for the Irish bars, the grungier dive bar ones are also the more authentic ones; if it has a name like "Finnegan's" and has a dimly-lit/flickering entrance sign with a coffee can overflowing with cigarette butts out front and a bunch of patrons named Patrick, Sean, or Shane, you're a). looking at a very authentic Southie Irish bar and b). not getting very far inside unless you're Irish yourself. If a bar has posh wood paneling, velvet upholstered booths and a six-page food menu, it's a yuppie bar aimed at tourists.

The good folks of Boston hope that Hollywood will eventually stop assuming that fun things can only happen in New York City, and that someday we will get a movie set in Boston about sunshine and happy music and cute puppies and basically anything other than the mob, violent crime, Harvard, and so on. Expect this to be an increasingly common complaint if economically minded filmmakers follow the trail of The Women (2008) and start using "Boston Doubling" for scenes set in New York City. Ouch.

Incidentally, no two Boston residents will agree exactly where Southie begins and ends. Is the Waterfront part of Southie? How about Dorchester? Is Dorchester "really" part of Boston or is it a suburb?note  What about the other suburbs? Have we put way too much thought into this? (Note that the actual compass direction "South" hardly factors in.) In fact, many residents feel that "Southie" and "South Boston" are two different areas, with Southie being a tight knit Irish community and South Boston being the yuppie area right next to it.note  The short version is "if you're in Boston and surrounded by working-class Irish, you're in Southie."

Compare Hollywood New England, The Irish Mob (for the real crooks), Brooklyn Rage, Violent Glaswegian, and Fighting Irish, and Dublin Skanger for the homeland version.


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    Films — Live-Action 
  • Referenced a lot in The Departed.
  • In Good Will Hunting, the title character and his friends are Southies, as well as the psychologist that he has to see.
  • Of course, Southie, starring Donnie Wahlberg. Memorably had a tagline which claimed that the neighborhood was "the most dangerous city in America!" Yeah... no.
  • The Boondock Saints depicts a pair of Southies who decide to "clean the place up" with a liberal application of gunfire.
  • Gone Baby Gone is about Southie and certainly features many of the crime elements, but is more accurate than most, as Ben Affleck, who was actually raised in Cambridge, MA, and actively tried to get people who really lived there to contribute with the film, and Dennis Lehane, the author of the book it's based on, grew up in Dorchester.
  • Affleck's next film, The Town, also features much of the same Southie elements as Gone Baby Gone did.
  • The Forbidden Kingdom. Yes, you'd be excused if you thought this was an action fantasy set entirely in ancient China starring Jet Li and Jackie Chan. Well, there is also a Modern-Day Young, White, Male American Character who was evidently only in the story to get the plot moving and for the audience (who would be surely be confused and enraged by a story set in ancient China with an all-Asian cast) to relate to. Now, of all the arbitrary American cities this character could have hailed from...
  • Though The Fighter takes place in Lowell, Massachusetts, the Southie stereotype is in full force. It probably doesn't help that Mark Wahlberg is the star.
  • In Ted, you have Ted's girlfriend Tammy Lynn. Her Southie accent and upbringing is so strong that it makes her hate John's girlfriend Lori (who's much more well off) on instinct. Also, no one can figure out what she's saying.
  • In The Heat, Mullins' family are all very classic Southies, being Irish, crude, thick accents and a series of paintings showing Jesus playing for various Boston sports teams.

  • As All Souls shows, this trope does have some basis in Real Life. In the 1970s and 80s, this was one of the worst places in the country to live in, as Michael MacDonald found out growing up there.
  • In The Black Dagger Brotherhood novels, Butch is an Irish-American cop from Southie who chain smokes, drinks scotch, consorts with whores, occasionally indulges in police brutality (though few object) and otherwise tries to fulfill every applicable stereotype he can think of. Then he finds out he's a vampire.
  • The Kenzie and Gennaro Series a group of Neo-Noir novels by Dennis Lehane, (Gone Baby Gone, mentioned above in the film section, is one of these novels) take place mostly in and around Southie. Notably, the nature of the neighborhood gradually changes through the life of main character Patrick Kenzie, who experiences it as violent and crime ridden when he is a young, but by the time of the last book as Kenzie is approaching middle age, he reflects on the area's slow gentrification and thinks not all of that gentrification is bad.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Faith Lehane is a Southie. But the actress playing her, Eliza Dushku, was raised in Watertown, a city near Boston, and isn't.
  • The Criminal Minds episode "Drive" takes place in Southie. They do note that the area's been gentrified and even if it hadn't, public display of headless bodies is out of the ordinary. The unsub turns out to be motivated by the hypocrisy of his Catholic upbringing, which can be Irish if you squint, but otherwise, the area itself doesn't play too heavily into the episode.
  • Dollhouse: One of Echo's imprinted personalities, Jordan (a backup singer and secret bodyguard for a pop star) claims to be a Southie as well - and is also played by Dushku.
  • Fringe is set in the Boston area. Of course, some might not describe what's going on in that show fun...
  • The McCarthys is a sitcom about a family of Southies.
  • NCIS provides the page quote while interviewing a standard suspect who's just there to give a few facts about the case. The actor doesn't actually have a Southie accent. Because he's the impostor.
  • Ray Donovan is set in L.A., but the majority of the main characters hail from Boston and identify as Southies.
  • St. Elsewhere: Dr. Donald Westphall and Luther Hawkins are Southies, as are many of the patients of St. Eligius.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Lexxus, one half of WSU's Boston Shore and maybe the other half, Amber, too.
  • Sasha Banks plays with the trope. She's a California native but spent her teen years in Boston, and was billed from there. The character that brought her success was 'The Boss' - a ghetto girl who wore lots of rhinestones and tacky bling (crowds used to chant "ratchet" at her too).
  • Carmella pitched her character as essentially being a Mafia girl, fulfilling this trope. But as Sasha was being billed from Boston, Carmella's character became a New Yorker instead.

    Video Games 
  • The stereotypically brash and violent young Scout from Team Fortress 2 is from Southie, according to Valve. He has a Brooklyn accent as part of Stylistic Suck, though. These accents get exchanged fairly often, possibly because they're both poor neighborhoods with stereotypes set in the 1800s by Irish immigrants. Example: The Dark Knight Trilogy has a bunch of cops with on-par-with-reality, unexaggerated, Boston accents.

    Web Original 
  • "The Real Housewives of South Boston", a sketch sending up the Yankees/Sox baseball rivalry.
  • Vamp from the Whateley Universe is from Charlestown but fits the stereotype.
  • TV Tropes: "Southies" has become something of an inside joke here, due to the YKTTW for "Southies" having had no text other than "Self-Explanatory". That led to the page "Not Self-Explanatory" and similar "it's not obvious to everyone" examples.

    Western Animation 
  • Speaking of the New Kids on the Block, we probably ought to mention their infamous Band Toon here.
  • There was a failed [adult swim] pilot called Southies.
  • Diane's family in BoJack Horseman sound and act like stereotypical Southies despite her parents being Vietnamese immigrants.
  • The Simpsons episode "The Town" inverts and zigzags it with Bostonians shown as well-educated, civic-minded sports hooligans.
  • Carmen Sandiego: Zack and Ivy grew up in Southie. They're both somewhat rough and tumble, less cultured and rely more on brute force than Carmen, but they're also genuinely good, friendly people with a strong moral code. Their backstory episode reveals that they did have to resort to borrowing money from a loan shark in order to build a race car and follow their dreams, and an ill-timed crash caused them to resort to theft from a supposedly mob-owned (actually V.I.L.E.-owned) donut shop.


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Boston Chahms

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