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Sweet Home Alabama

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Lyons: Gentlemen, you ask me about the South. It is the land of romance, of roses and honeysuckle, of Southern chivalry and hospitality, fried chicken and waffles, salad and coffee.
Lippman: No dessert?

The Deep South in a (usually) more positive light. The Rural South in the United States is a land of honest, down-to-earth folks, unlike the pretentious City Slickers in New York or "New South" Atlanta. Some may have their little quirks, but everyone takes those in stride. When one wants to escape the morally bankrupt superficiality of city life and get in touch with one's true self, the South is the place to go to.

A Sub-Trope of Arcadia. Frequently features Southern Hospitality, a form of Sacred Hospitality. Minnesota Nice is the equivalent above the Mason-Dixon.

Whether white or black, the churches are usually Baptist or Pentecostal, which is to say this trope usually averts Christianity is Catholic (with the exception of parts of Louisiana and Kentucky which have Catholic majorities).

Named after the song by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Not to be confused with the 2002 film Sweet Home Alabama. Also has nothing to do with the internet's favorite memetic incest joke.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • ∀ Gundam is set in a post-apocalyptic future that bears an uncanny resemblance to late 19th century Dixie. Ironically enough, Nochis (the town where the story begins) is placed in New Jersey on official maps.

    Comic Books 
  • Bart Allen, the fourth Flash, was sent to live in Manchester, Alabama (which is real, despite what Impulse #1 claims) with his mentor Max Mercury (Max specifically chose it for reasons made clear in issue 16). This is deliberate; the series is based off Mark Waid's childhood in the South.
    Manchester is the No Communities Were Harmed substitute for the actual city of Birmingham (which, like Bart's town, has a statue of Vulcan on top of a really high pillar in the middle of town and was also named after an English city).
  • Although nine times out of ten, it's just treated as fairly generic big city, the Diggers family and its eccentric neighbors in Gold Digger live in Atlanta, Georgia.

    Comic Strips 
  • Pogo leans more this way, although some of the Okeefenokee Swamp denizens are less than brilliant. Most of them are this, with elements of The Deep South every so often coming in.
  • Similar conditions in Li'l Abner. Dogpatch, Kentucky may be full of unrefined, impoverished hillbillies, but in general they're pretty nice people.

    Fan Works 
  • The farming planet of Elysia in We Can Be Heroes! (Steven Universe) is full of rural towns that are themed after an ideal Southern town: Golden Acres in particular is full of passionate, friendly folk with thick Southern accents skilled in the arts of cooking, moonshine brewing, and gunslinging. They're initially hostile towards Lapis and her friends when they first visit, but the tensions are only due to bad experiences with corporate saboteurs trying to cause chaos on behalf of their corporate overlords. Once Lapis helps fight off a team of saboteurs that seek to burn the community to the ground, they go all-in with the Southern hospitality.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Smokey and the Bandit: Coming out in 1977, it was probably the first film out of Hollywood in 20 years to show the South as a fun place.
  • In The Legend of Bagger Vance, Will Smith's character gets on fine in 1930s Savannah, Georgia.
  • Cookie's Fortune: If Atlanta is "the city too busy to hate", Holly Springs is the town too lazy to hate. Everyone's laid back with everyone else, and ethnic prejudice is nonexistent.
  • Doc Hollywood plays with it. While the people and town are charming enough, they have a few backwards qualities to them, such as an illiterate couple that need to have their mail read to them.
  • My Cousin Vinny: plays it both ways. Some of the Southerners are portrayed as rednecks and somewhat dim but the rest are presented as decent folks. The Northerners act more like stereotypical New Yawkers. It's basically stereotype vs. stereotype and played for laughs.
  • The movie Sweet Home Alabama is about a Southern girl who thought for a moment that some New York yuppie could be her Mr. Right. Obviously not; her Mr. Right is her childhood sweetheart back home in Alabama.
  • Dolly Parton starred in the 1986 TV movie A Smoky Mountain Christmas, where she was a country musician named Lorna Davis, essentially a fictionalized version of herself. Disenchanted with the glitzy MTV videos she's being forced to shoot in Hollywood, Lorna goes back to her parents' old cabin in East Tennessee for the holidays and spends Christmas with (among others) some orphaned children and a "mountain man." This actually proves to be good for her career, as the Appalachian setting restores her creativity and inspires her to write a number of new songs.
  • Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay features the titular duo staying with a couple who initially appear to subvert the stereotypes. They don't seem to mind the duo's ethnicity and even help the two of hide from government agents. They also make a joke about how they keep their inbred son in the basement when they have company. However, then it turns out they were serious, and they are brother and sister.
  • The character of Wooderson from Dazed and Confused seems to inhabit this trope, although the rest of the film isn't particularly like this. (It's set in Austin, Texas.)

  • Most of Charlaine Harris's books have Southern settings, the most famous being The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries series. On the surface, these settings are examples of this trope, with Southern hospitality and idyllic rural settings. Scrape below the surface, however, and the trope is subverted: there's plenty of dark secrets, criminal activity, and bigotry going on. Not to speak of all the vampires, werewolves and zombies, of course.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee takes a nuanced view. The central plot (and title) of the book centers precisely around racism and the less-savory aspects of Southern society, but many characters in the book are perfectly sympathetic, kindly folk.
  • The planet Grayson in the Honor Harrington series is an entire planet of god-fearing, hospitable people that hold to traditional family values, with a few aspects of Meiji Japan mixed in. At least, these are the ideals that they strive for - as with any culture, there are wide variances in actual character. a large part of the character arc for the planet as a whole is learning to recognize and their home-grown Steel Magnolias.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Dr. McCoy of Star Trek has a slight Southern accent (which was DeForest Kelley's natural accent; he was from Atlanta) and is a self-described "simple country doctor" from the "Old South" where he attended the University of Mississippi. He is presumably from this version of the South.
  • Mayberry, North Carolina in The Andy Griffith Show, based on Andy Griffith's actual home town of Mount Airy, North Carolina.
  • Evening Shade is about an ex-professional football player who returns to his hometown of Evening Shade, Arkansas, to coach a high-school football team with a long losing streak, and the overall general theme of the show is the appeal of small-town life, with the opening including clips from around Arkansas.
  • When The Dukes of Hazzard isn't making the characters ridiculous caricatures, it shows the sense of honor and hospitality people have in the Southern US. The picture of rural Georgia is quite an idyllic one. Even the rampant corruption displayed by Boss Hogg and Sheriff Coltrane is depicted as rather quaint and harmless, and even those characters have a sense of honor deep inside.
  • Sergeant Eugene "Sledgehammer" Sledge of The Pacific is, appropriately enough, from Alabama. His family is portrayed as honest, hardworking folk. His family also has Black menservants, but they don't treat them badly.
  • Pretty much every time Blanche talks about her childhood in Atlanta on The Golden Girls.
  • Jo Danville from the later seasons of CSI: NY is from Alabama and still plugs her alma mater ("Roll Tide!") when meeting folks from her home state. She tells Mac that New Yorkers don't know what to do with her Southern charm so they open up and tell her things they wouldn't otherwise reveal. It helps her get information out of both suspects and superior officers.

  • The Trope Namer is the song "Sweet Home Alabama" by the Southern Rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. (The film, above, was also named for it.) The song was a rebuttal to Neil Young's songs "Alabama" and "Southern Man".
  • Despite its Shout-Out to the Trope Namer, Kid Rock's "All Summer Long" explicitly takes place in northern Michigan.
  • "Georgia on My Mind" by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell, made famous by Ray Charles, which was made the official state song in 1979, although originally written about Carmichael's sister, Georgia Carmichael.
  • Phil Harris' song "That's What I Like About The South" is filled to the brim (of the mint julep) with this.
  • Take Me Home, Country Road does for West Virginia the same thing that Sweet Home Alabama does for Alabama.
    • Similarly, James Taylor's "Carolina In My Mind" is about Taylor's childhood in North Carolina, but it's also popular in South Carolina. It is not to be confused with "South Carolina On My Mind" by Hank Martin and Buzz Alredge, South Carolina's (second) state song.
    • Likewise, "My Old Kentucky Home" does the same for Kentucky.
  • Boondox has elements of both this and Deep South in his lyrics.
  • Buddy Jewel's "Sweet Southern Comfort".
  • Deana Carter's "Southern Way Of Life".
  • The Doobie Brothers' 1974 hit "Black Water" is all about this. Writer/singer Patrick Simmons has said his two influences were "my childhood imaginings of the South from reading Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer" and his actual visits to New Orleans.
  • A variation can be seen in the "bro-country" and Country Rap genres, in which the rural South is portrayed as a non-stop spring break party and the most awesome place in the world for a young man. Lyrics often involve plentiful liquor, gorgeous women in tiny shorts, big trucks with lift kits and off-road tires, and hanging out with one's buddies (or getting laid) out by the lake under the moonlight.

    Video Games 

    Web Original 
  • DSBT InsaniT: Even disregarding her emulated Southern voice, Teacher definitely has traces of this character type. She is really friendly and hospitable.

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied in "Southern Fried Cruella" on 101 Dalmatians: The Series in which Cruella De'vil tried to convince a magazine editor giving out an award for humanitarianism that she was just a "good ol' sugar borrowing neighbor" of the Dearlys and failing miserably.
  • Although the program is never stated to be anywhere other than "Lake Hoohaw," many of the characters of PB&J Otter speak with a southern United States sort of accent and advocate a style of life that seems to match very closely with the best ideals of Southern hospitality (helps that creator Jim Jinkins was born and raised in Virginia). Additionally, much the show's music, particularly the instrumental cues, has a southern twang to it.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: The earth pony communities of southern Equestria, and any rural Apple family household.
  • The titular Wander from Wander over Yonder gives off this vibe, with his hospitality, gentle kind-heartedness, love of playing the banjo, and Dixie accent.
  • Parodied in Futurama with the Underwater City of...Atlanta. It turns out that over the years Atlanta, Georgia became so overdeveloped that it sunk underwater and its inhabitants evolved into mermaid-like creatures thanks to pollutants from a nearby Coca-Cola bottling plant. They retain their Southern hospitality and good manners.
  • Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum: In "I Am Zora Neale Hurston", the kids travel back in time to Florida, where Zora Neale Hurston is. Everyone there is super polite.