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Federal Government: What do you have that [Alaska] doesn't then?
Florida: Lobsters and lighthouses!
Maine: Settle down there, first page of Google.
Maine Joins The Table
Take a classic tale or even reality itself. Strip away all the complexities, boiling the source material down to a few tropes and a barely coherent plot. Congratulations! You now have the perfect blueprint for cashing in on the original's success. The characters are flatter than in the original, and the tropes have lost their justification, but surely the fans won't mind. Another word for this concept is a "simulacrum".

Quite often, the writers producing the Theme Park Version have entirely misread the original, and are relying on other people's interpretations.

This isn't always a bad thing, however. A simplification of the rules, characters, and activities present in the media can be used to help streamline the experience as long as it's used carefully and deliberately. While dumbing down the material means that it isn't as complex or interesting, it also trims out a lot of exposition, making the media either more accessible or less restricted.

Compare with Adaptation Decay, Adaptation Distillation, Flanderization, Lost in Imitation, Small Reference Pools, Cowboy BeBop at His Computer, and Popcultural Osmosis; contrast with Pragmatic Adaptation. Theme parks themselves have their own Theme Park Version — Souvenir Land.

Mildly Military commonly results when this is applied to stories set in war or otherwise military environments. See also: Flynning, Fluffy Cloud Heaven, Fire and Brimstone Hell, Pac Man Fever, Plot Tumor and Hollywood Atlas.

If you're concerned about avoiding falling into this, give this page a read.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Almost all references and/or parodies of anime & manga in Western culture show the Theme Park version of the media, filled with big-breasted, short-skirted schoolgirls, Stock Shonen Heroes pulling off completely ridiculous moves and carrying huge swords that are clearly meant to Compensate for Something, Pokemon expies, tentacle monsters, Humongous Mecha, and Kaiju. Almost the only time a reference/parody of manga/anime in Western culture isn't this is when the creator himself is actually an anime/manga fan.
  • Within the country itself, there's some common theme park variations for different demographics:
    • Shōnen theme park versions read more like above, though they'll put more emphasis on the action than the fanservice.
    • Shoujo simalcrums are typically done in the 70's doe-eyed, sparkly style, roses and Bishie Sparkles are a common visual staple, and they're are almost always about melodramatic romance.

    Comic Books 


    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • As a whole, many films that dramatize the life of a real or historical figure are done this way. Such films show the life of the person with the central character's real name being used. They often tell the person's life story or just the more historical parts of their lives.
  • Frank Capra's Why We Fight series of U.S. "Informational" films during World War II, depicts Adolf Hitler as a real-life Snidely Whiplash with trimmed ends while the Allied peoples were all Always Lawful Good — even Joseph Stalin (never mind Stalin's own atrocities before the war). Notably, Capra saved a lot of time by just translating Nazi propaganda films into English to make them look scary. The series drew fire for being less than accurate — one reviewer, a Polish-American, denounced the series as "a conglomeration of patriotic exhortation, crackpot geopolitical theorizing, and historical mischief making," asserting as well that the series deliberately falsified the facts to justify the Allied cause. This reviewer was particularly incensed by the depiction in the series of the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939, that the Poles were seen as woeful failures while the Soviets that later invaded were seen not as fellow invaders but as guiltless saviors who only invaded Poland to stop the Nazi advance. note 
  • In the 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers movie, the pod people came out of pods, which eventually ended up being trucked all over the place to spread the invasion. When the movie was remade in 1978, the invaders first came as spores which grew into flowers. But pods are still being trucked all over the place, because that was in the original, even though carrying around the smaller and less suspicious-looking flowers would make far more sense from the aliens' standpoint.
  • In Jurassic Park, a movie about an actual themed dinosaur park with actual dinosaurs, not all the dinosaurs are from the Jurassic period; in fact most of them are from the Cretaceous period. (Cretaceous Park doesn't sound very cool, though, and the whole Jurassic-vs-Cretaceous thing is actually noted in the book: the guy bankrolling the operation says that they couldn't very well have a dinosaur theme park without a T. rex, Jurassic or not Jurassic.)
    • Lampshaded repeatedly when characters admit that their park is an exercise in idealism and does not accurately represent the period (or even the dinosaurs, for that matter).
    • One of the characters blatantly states that a lot of the dinos died in the Cretaceous period. The film averts this and seems pretty aware that Jurassic is just a cool name.
    • In Jurassic World, the head scientist explicitly calls out the fact that the creatures they're creating are not accurate to prehistoric dinosaurs, but are 'dinosaur-ish'. This is largely an in-universe explanation for the discrepancies with discoveries about dinosaur feathers and fluff that have been made since the first movie was filmed.
  • One needs only be aware of who directed The Patriot (2000) to know that it's an action flick in period clothes and not a historical documentary. That said, the film frequently falls into the old traps of and even indulges in pro-American hagiographical tropes like the British Army simultaneously being emotionless, threatening and bloodthirsty war criminals and incompetent automatons who run around like headless chickens the second their officers are killed, that line warfare was silly and outdated by the time of The American Revolution and consisted of two brightly-colored armies standing in an open field completely still waiting to shoot at each other, that the Colonists were plucky, brave rebels fighting for their freedom against an evil autocratic dictatorial empire and managed to defeat the British because they were too stupid and stuck in their old ways to employ Guerilla Warfare and instead marched in their bright red outfits through forests with drummers and floutists playing, etc. Not to mention that the Revolutionaries are almost universally shown to hold modern progressive values of democracy and equality, and in general basically every Historical Domain Character shown acts wildly contrary to their real-life counterpart.
  • The live action feature film version of the Japanese manga series Great Teacher Onizuka parodied this idea by showing the abandoned remains of a (fictional) failed theme park called "Canadaland." Flashbacks to the park's glory days were... embarrassing, to say the least.
  • Westworld contains what is literally the theme park version of The Wild West, The Middle Ages, and Ancient Grome, inhabited by realistic robots that are there primarily so park visitors can "kill" them or have sex with them. All three are Ye Goode Olde Days for the park visitors, but less pleasant for the androids...
  • Sex and the City 2 is set in a theme park version of Abu Dhabi, which was actually filmed in Morocco. This is the case for almost any Arab country in a live-action movie, because Morocco has a big enough desert to build sets in (far enough away from major cities), while being secular enough that nobody will come and arrest your actresses for not wearing the hijab.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean can be said to be this for pirates and piracy, if only because it was based off an amusement park ride. However the franchise has notably opened up a lot of the general public's Small Reference Pools concerning piracy (such as the East India Trading Company) even if it often takes artistic liberties with them.
  • The Show Within a Show in Pleasantville, supposedly an archetypal 1950s sitcom, actually represents The Theme Park Version of '50s sitcoms. In all fairness, not only does Pleasantville contain strong elements of satire, but the entire disbelief of the outside world in the Show Within a Show is only introduced by interaction with characters from the "real" world. Considering that many sitcoms never refer to the world outside the town in which they are set, it's not really much of a stretch.
  • North: Every place the title character visits is distilled to its most stereotypical essence. The Texans are obsessed with eating and are dressed like cowboys in a Wild West Show; the Hawaiians are obsessed with tourism and marketing; the African tribe lives in grass huts; the Eskimos sacrifice their elderly; the Amish are defined entirely by not using electricity; the Chinese are portrayed as bowing down before a dynasty and the French are shown smoking, drinking wine and watching nothing but Jerry Lewis on TV. It eventually turns out to be All Just a Dream, and North just has a limited and messed up world view.

  • Several Voyages to Remote Nations of the World by Lemuel Gulliver is a beautifully multi-layered satire on religion, politics, science and human nature while also being a delightfully hilarious parody of various contemporaries and the travelogue genre as a whole. It is vicious, often mean spirited, funny on oh so many levels, and brilliant beyond measure. For some indecipherable reason, however, it keeps getting made into books and movies for children.

    Most of these versions cut out the second two books altogether (and occasionally don't even get as far as Brobdignag), which are where it starts descending from political satire into a satire of progress and human nature. It's pretty easy, after all, to make a land of tiny people and a land of giants into kids' fare, much harder to turn a land of sapient horses and feral, evil, raping and squabbling humans into kid friendly material.
  • Don Quixote: Three centuries before Hollywood, the chivalry books writers of the Renaissance (1400–1600 AD) already had created the theme Park Version of the Middle Ages: A past that never was, full of marvelous elements, exotic (and a lot of times exclusively imaginary) lands that could extend any time between the fall of Rome (AD 475) to the Discovery of America (AD 1492). Don Quixote wants to revive this past that, at least for him, is troperrific. So, in chapter XLIX, part I, the Canon (who himself is a coveted fan of chivalry books) recriminates Don Quixote:
    “How can there be any human understanding that can persuade itself there ever was all that infinity of Amadises in the world, or all that multitude of famous knights, all those emperors of Trebizond, all those Felixmartes of Hircania, all those palfreys, and damsels-errant, and serpents, and monsters, and giants, and marvellous adventures, and enchantments of every kind, and battles, and prodigious encounters, splendid costumes, love-sick princesses, squires made counts, droll dwarfs, love letters, billings and cooings, Swashbuckler women, and, in a word, all that nonsense the books of chivalry contain?
  • J. R. R. Tolkien's works are a notable victim. In The Lord of the Rings, Mordor has a lot of fertile areas thanks to all that volcanic ash, the characters speak a wide variety of archaic accents and dialects, and victory is achieved through rejection of power. In the many books and films written "in the style of" Tolkien, their Mordor looks like Hell, characters speak Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe, and victory is achieved through force of arms.
  • If you think what happened to Tolkien's work is bad, what Frazetta and Ahnuld did to Robert E. Howard's Conan is worse. The original is an articulate if uneducated man fluent in every common language and a few that aren't so common, who dresses as one would expect a mercenary in a medieval milieu to — not a piece of Dumb Muscle in a furry loincloth. Never mind what the movie did to the deeply philosophical Kull.
  • Brave New World applies this trope to Refuge in Audacity, in which it calls that trope "Savage Reservations". You can visit these places like a theme park. Take a moment to analyze that.
  • The novel England, England focuses on the creation of a literal Theme Park Version of well, England, on the Isle of Wight.
  • Cosmic Horror stories are all about forbidden knowledge (usually acquired from blasphemous books) and sanity-blasting tentacled god-monsters that are just waiting to exterminate (and optionally eat) all of humanity once the stars are right. Never mind that the actual story canon of H. P. Lovecraft alone is a good bit more varied and nuanced than that...
  • Used in Jenna Black's Replica. The Basement is a part of what used to be the state of New York. Anyone who is born here tends to be poor, undereducated, and make most of their money via illegal activities. There are several popular night clubs that are the theme park version of the Basement itself; many wealthy and better off tourists frequent these clubs.
  • George R. R. Martin claimed of the Dothraki in A Song of Ice and Fire that he based their traits and culture off the real-life Mongolian steppe nomads and Plains Indian tribes, with traits of other nomadic groups added in and "a dash of pure fantasy." In reality, they're at best based on The Theme Park Version of those two groups and at worst completely made-up.
    • The Dothraki are portrayed as using horses as not just their primary beasts of burden, but also as their main source of food and other materials such as clothing (many characters are described as wearing horsehair garments, and even a royal wedding only has horsemeat being served). This is to the point where, in the aftermath of a raid, it's shown that they slaughter livestock like sheep and leave the corpses to rot. This would be a terrible idea in real life, since horses don't grow fast enough to be regularly slaughtered for meat, and their hair is very coarse and uncomfortable. The Plains Indians famously got most of their resources from hunted bison, while Mongols, far from slaughtering sheep, were proficient shepherds themselves, and usually had a flock traveling with them for wool and mutton.
    • The Dothraki have no evident musical tradition barring a mention of "crones chanting", with even celebrations being free of anything beyond wild hedonism and slaughter, and little in the way of an artistic tradition, with their goods rarely described and their styles being described as a mishmash of stolen looks. Real-life nomad societies, including the above two, tended to have well-developed musical traditions (being that it was a good way to keep spirits up on the move), and created fine-looking goods on a regular basis.
    • Dothraki garments are described as leather vests over bare chests and horsehair trousers. Aside from the above issue of horsehair, Eurasian steppe nomads preferred long, woven robes to protect from seasonal temperatures, and Plains Indians similarly tended to wear long-sleeved garments.
    • Dothraki kill each other a lot without any particular notice or regard, to the point that even parties tend to have a few casual casualties. This would be a similarly terrible idea for a nomadic culture, since they had small populations and lived on the edge of survival—and unsurprisingly, both the above cultures weren't fond of murder, with documented proof of high-ranking Mongol nobles suffering significant consequences or exile for it.
    • In combat, Dothraki are described as primarily wielding swords called arakhs, and disdaining armor as cowardly, favoring aggressive charges with swords in hand and overwhelming the opponent with sheer numbers and ferocity. This describes neither of the above groups: both relied mainly on ranged weapons (bows for the former, bows supplanted by guns for the latter), made little use of swords except as an occasional sidearm (favoring spears and axes, which could double as common tools or hunting aids), wore armor when it was possible and practical (Mongols wore mainly lamellar, Plains Indians were post-gunpowder and so went without), and rarely ever outnumbered their opponents, with their main tactics revolving around staying at range to avoid reprisal.
  • The Pieter Aspe detective novel De Midasmoorden the main villain of the story wants to buy all houses in Brugge and turn Brugge into a theme park version of itself, just as is the case in cities such as Venice. He even hires people to explode some monuments in the city.
  • Examined in the short story "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker. In it, the African-American narrator's daughter is a pretentious Black Panther wannabe who claims to have reconnected with her African heritage, but is clearly just parroting the Theme Park Version of African culture without actually understanding anything.
  • If fiction is to be believed, The Prince is an evil overlord's guidebook for being a tyrant and a puppy kicker, when in reality, the point that Machiavelli was trying to make with the book was that a ruler should in all situations strive to be an unfettered pragmatist, who maintains their power at all costs and Machiavelli outright discourages unnecessary cruelty as this would eventually lead into retribution from the populace.
  • Invoked in-universe in These Words Are True and Faithful:
    So this was the new Bear Cave. Sam thought that the people who had decorated the bar had tried too hard to duplicate the original in a new location with new materials, with the result that the new bar looked like a theme-park version of the old one.
  • Shtetl Days: In-Universe Wawolnice is a recreation of a pre-World War II shtetl replete with the stereotypes of Jewish life.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ten Years Younger: The American version essentially forgets what made the show different from other makeover-type shows. The British version made a point of stressing that the treatments that people get on the show were simple and relatively cheap, that ordinary people could normally afford. The cosmetic surgery was kept to a minimum with more focus on age flattering clothes, hairstyles and (for the women) makeup. The American version however has the guests go through extensive plastic surgery and play up the emotional affect of the age polls at the start to make it pretty much the same as Extreme Makeover.
  • Alien Worlds (2020): The alien worlds in question are used as tools to explain biological and ecological processes that occur on Earth (and would, theoretically, also occur for life across the universe), but broadly simplify the vast complexities that make up a real biosphere into something easily digestible and entertaining for general audiences, hence why each episode only focuses on two or three faunal species despite covering entire planets.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Fires of Pompeii": Donna briefly thinks the Doctor has literally taken her to an Ancient Rome theme park when she sees a sign written in English, not knowing about the TARDIS' psychic translation circuits.
      "Are you having me on? Are we in Epcot?"
    • "The Unicorn and the Wasp" is a homage to Agatha Christie. The writer deliberately went for the popular perception of what her novels are like rather than the actuality, resulting in a villain who acts like an over-the-top version of one of her villains because he's been accidentally brainwashed to act that way.
  • Game of Thrones, acclaimed as it is on its own, has been accused of being this towards its source material A Song of Ice and Fire. Certainly some trope-defying situations from the book series become victim of a far less complex interpretation in the series. For example, the books followed Catelyn Stark instead of Robb Stark (focusing on the mother of the traditional hero instead of the hero himself), but the series disregarded this and focused on Robb instead, relegating Catelyn to the sidelines.
  • Invoked in Rutherford Falls. Part of Terry's ambitious redevelopment includes a section of the town made up to look like Colonial Williamsburg — or, rather, the version of it that exists in people's minds. History buff Nathan complains about the historical inaccuracies of the costume and props (eg. the type of butter churn Terry procures was used in North Carolina, not New York); Terry dismisses his concerns since audiences don't care enough about the real details to withhold profits.
  • The college-themed show Undeclared attempted to avert being this. Unfortunately, heavy amounts of Executive Meddling prevented Judd Apatow from reaching this goal.
  • Wednesday: The town of Jericho has Pilgrim World, a recreation of the town’s origins in the 1600s. Wednesday herself describes it as a whitewashed version of colonialism. It even sells fudge, which did not exist in colonial times.

  • Steely Dan's:
    • "Aja" is a parody of this approach to Asian culture.
    • "Deacon Blues", from the same album, is a parody of this approach to jazz music and culture.
  • The entire "Exotica" genre, popularized in the 1950s by Les Baxter, is basically the Theme Park Version of a stew of various ethnic musics (largely but not limited to Polynesian and African music).
  • During the '80s, Hair Metal became The Theme Park Version of Heavy Metal music (at least in the United States).
    • During the '90s, it was Nu Metal.
    • These days, metalcore has become The Theme Park Version of Heavy Metal.
  • Arena Rock is the theme park version of Progressive Rock, keeping the bombast but losing the weirdness and favoring slick radio-friendly melodies instead of weird time signatures.
  • Post-Grunge is the theme park version of Grunge, keeping the downturned guitars, Yarling vocal style and angsty (albeit watered down) lyrics with absolutely no hint of the original genre's underground roots.
    • In fact, it and the aforementioned Nu Metal could be seen as turning American Alternative Rock in general into the theme park version of itself.
  • After its mainstream breakthrough (especially during the early 2000s), Pop Punk wound up becoming the theme park version of Punk Rock, having the stereotypical fashion sense and snotty attitude without the artistic free-spiritedness and with, at best, only a superficial amount of rebelliousness.
  • After the debut of MTV, New Wave Music devolved into the theme park version of itself, having the familiar pretty-boys with spiky hair without the more adventurous spirit of its early years.
  • The revived '90s version of The Misfits is generally seen as this to the original band. The new version sings almost exclusively about horror films, leaving behind the violence, rape and other generally disturbing themes that were also part of the Glenn Danzig era.
  • After breaking into the mainstream consciousness, Emo Music wound up spawning the theme park version of itself, trading the often dramatic yet tasteful introspection of the earlier days for cheesy breakup songs & immature self-pitying and favoring glossy radio-ready hooks over playing with melody & dynamics.

    Myths and Legends 
  • In Middle Eastern legend, genies are powerful and independent spirit beings; stories of genies serving humans are rare, and gain part of their sense of wonder from the implication that at some point there was a human magician powerful enough to force a genie into servitude. Servant genie stories — "Aladdin" in particular — have circulated in the West without the relevant context, leading to a perception that serving humans is a usual thing for genies; in at least one well-known film version of the Aladdin story, the plot resolution explicitly relies on the idea that all genies are by definition required to live in lamps and grant wishes unless their human masters wish them free.


  • Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton has been criticized in more than a few quarters for trafficking in "Founders Chic", repackaging familiar stereotypes about the founders (George Washington the Humble Heronote , Thomas Jefferson the Hypocritenote , Aaron Burr, an usurping and ambitious man without loyaltynote ) that was criticized by historians Nancy Isenberg, and Sean Willentz among others. Most notably, the show cultivates sympathy for its protagonist, Alexander Hamilton, by arguing that he was an abolitionist based on highly selective interpretation of loose facts, and prominently ignoring parts of history that belie that claim.
    Lyra Monteiro: This is a way that writers of popular history (and some academic historians) represent the founders as relate-able, cool guys. Founders Chic tends to really downplay the involvement of the Founding Fathers in slavery, and this play does that 100 percent...So the 12th line of the play where it’s mentioned, “he struggled and kept his guard up” is the line right after talking about slaves being slaughtered and carted away. But we have no idea what Alexander Hamilton’s attitude toward slavery was when he was a boy growing up in the Caribbean. He worked on a slave ship. I mean, chances are probably pretty high that he was in favor of it; that was his livelihood. So few white people were opposed to slavery, especially white people in the Caribbean. It’s kind of bonkers to suggest that he was somehow suffering and feeling like slavery was an injustice at that time.
  • Buffalo Bill's Wild West shows were highly successful at the end of the 19th century and the start of the 20th. They claimed to be historically accurate representations of the era and spared no costs to give the audience what they wanted with Native Americans, cowboys, stagecoaches, dramatized gun fights and horse riding. In reality all of it was a romanticized version that nevertheless caught on in the general consciousness, especially in Europe where the cowboys and Indians era has always remained popular. (He did have actual Native American actors and dancers.note )
  • The Mikado presents a version of Japanese culture that, by its own cheerful admission in the Opening Chorus, is about as accurate as what can be seen “On many a vase and jar / On many a screen and fan.”

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Inner Sphere in BattleTech, especially the Chinese themed Capellan Confederation and Japanese themed Draconis Combine. While the ruling families are actually of Chinese and Japanese ethnicity (though early books mentioned strange details like Romanio Liao's red hair, such details were eventually dropped to depict them as being authentically Asian), most of the worlds' citizens aren't and simply act in a manner that shows how "Chinese" or "Japanese" they are. In the Draconis Combine, people wear kimonos, eat sushi, talk about honor, and fight with katanas. In the Warrior Trilogy, when the wedding of Hanse Davion and Melissa Steiner was held on Earth, there was a throw-away line about members of the Draconis Combine visiting Japan and how annoying the actual Japanese people found them to be.
    • In fact, with regards to the Draconis Combine, this is almost to the level of Invoked Trope, as early Kurita leaders fostered the Bushido-themed culture explicitly to use as a unifying factor for their realm, and it has been mentioned (as in the above reference from the Warrior Trilogy) both in universe and out that it is ancient Japan seen through almost an Otaku point of view.
  • Invoked literally in Starfinder with Golarion World, a planetary Theme Park based on Pathfinder's core setting of the Inner Sea region.

    Video Games 
  • The final world of Anarcute is called Anarland, a literal theme park designed by The Man Behind the Man to cash in on the protagonists protests. The final battle even has the Big Bad fighting you in a weaponized T-shirt making machine.
  • Assassin's Creed while praised for being (at least in earlier games) revisionist and subversive of tropes and Hollywood History still more or less presents simplified versions of actual historical periods, nations and cultures.
    • Assassin's Creed and the other games more or less dials down the role of religion in the actual medieval era, insisting that such religious sects as The Hashshashin and The Knights Templar were Hiding Behind Religion and really secular humanists. While this compromise makes commercial sense and fits with the overall meta-narrative, it ends up giving a distorted view of the period and history.
    • The later games rarely tackle the importance of class and social background. The blending mechanic allows a Native American like Connor to hide in a group of Colonial Bostonians, a cockney thug like Jacob Frye to talk on even terms with the British Prime Minister and for the Florentine exile and outsider Ezio Auditore to easily interact with a range of class groups in a time where costume, rank, title and appearance were crucial social signifiers.
    • The games also codified Le Parkour in games as a climbing and traversal mechanic which simplifies both the human body and the surfaces and architecture of various cities to facilitate said gameplay. Other mechanics such as the naval gameplay of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is more or less a simplified and condensed simulation of naval combat with ships easily navigated the wind and the waves.
  • The original Baldur's Gate series by Bioware was often considered this by old pen & paper Dungeons & Dragons veterans, particularly because of the lack of different reactions, dialogues, and plot resolutions depending on the character stats, race, gender (there are some occasional instances but nothing major). Other complaints are the simplified combat whose calculations are run by the computer behind the screen, the recurrent use of railroading for many dialogues and quests, the power creep of gear and special abilities, and how the developers themselves encouraged to make use of a Dump Stat. It should be noted that it is harder to implement such tabletop complexities in a single player computer campaign without a dungeon master overseeing and deciding how to develop a game session according to the behavior of players, and that Baldur's Gate neverthless presented many interesting choices and quest branching that really set it aside from previous videogames. However, other contemporary games based upon the same engine, such as Icewind Dale or Planescape: Torment, made more use of these attributes and the latter allowed even Talking the Monster to Death rather than almost always having to fight.
    • Within the franchise, Baldur's Gate II was considered this compared to the first Baldur's Gate by some fans due to the removal of the wilderness exploration and free roaming elements in favor of direct, limited areas each with a specific flavor or theme (e.g. the besieged keep, the druid grove, the haunted temple, the dragon's lair etc.), that simply opened up in the world map when you spoke with the right characters.
  • The Civilization games are The Theme Park Version of... Civilization. No one disagrees it's an Acceptable Break from Reality, though.
    • And Civilization Revolution is itself the simplified Theme Park Version of the Civilization games, intended for kids as in introduction to the series.
  • In general, Paradox Interactive's grand strategy games are significantly more detailed than Civilization in simulating governments and nations, but they still fall under this trope due to the sheer complexity of the subject matter.
  • Speaking again of Bioware, Dragon Age is often considered to have progressively turned into this with respect to the CRPG genre and particularly previous games such as Baldur's Gate itself, by giving more focus to world building, console-ificated mechanics, spectacular combat coreography ("if you press a button, something awesome has to happen"), and overprevalent romances, rather than actual tactical gameplay and character build. You might even respec your characters and purchase dlcs that grant overpowered gear so that you don't "waste" time planning which skills develop and which items are better to use - anything goes and can be changed whenever you want, so that you can resume the rest of the game.
  • In Fatal Fury 2 and its expansion Special, Andy Bogard's stage is set in Italy for some reason (he is an American McNinja, after all). The fight takes place on a boat that seems to be running through the channels of Venice, passing by the Coliseum and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The famed Venetian canals also serve as the backdrop for the Fatal Fury Team's stage in The King of Fighters '94 (as Terry, Andy, and Joe officially were "Team Italy" that year), though the venue is only limited to that area of Italy.
  • In-universe in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn. The Psynergy Training Grounds are literally a theme park based on the story of the first two games, apparently made by Isaac fans who a) don't get the significance of the Fire Clan, b) don't get the significance of the Doom Dragon, and c) don't get that Felix was a good guy all along. Among other things.
  • The Grand Theft Auto games codified the Wide-Open Sandbox genre and established most of its conventions, forming more or less theme park versions of American cities, theme park versions of American crime movies and TV shows, and theme park versions of popular culture. All its cities (Liberty City, Los Santos, Vice City) are Fantasy Counterpart Culture of New York, Los Angeles and Miami respectively but much, much smaller than the real thing, far easier to navigate but with just enough of the general feel and look of the real-world counterparts to give players a facsimile of the real thing.
    • The general gameplay more or less only works with a satirical distorted view to which Rockstar submit its portrayal, since the cities are portrayed to be as corrupt as a Banana Republic with suspects of multiple felonies buying their way out of murders with a slap on the wrist, an income system that doesn't punish you for losing your health (when American health care is incredibly expensive) and allowing a single individual to somehow learn how to drive multiple vehicles on land, sea and air which in real-life only few individuals ever accumulate the required knowledge to do so, leave alone the proficiency which allows for vehicle stunts as the games invites you to do.
    • The games are based on many popular American crime movies and tropes but often the distorted the popular-culture vision rather than the Unbuilt Trope of the original. Brian de Palma's Scarface starring Al Pacino is an anti-drug story and a tragedy, the Spiritual Adaptation Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is a sociopath's gleeful and successful Roaring Rampage of Revenge with none of the qualms and drawbacks of dealing drugs addressed once in the game.
    • The later games have a mechanic by which gamers can buy and invest in property and businesses which unlock missions that involve improving and building said works. Actual propety acquisition and businesses is a complex process that involves mortgage, electricity and maintenance which is usually handwaved with a one-time cash payment with no additional expenses incurred on the part of the owner.
    • Red Dead Redemption is likewise a theme park version of The Wild West and The Western, greatly misrepresenting and distorting both to facilitate gameplay. The actual West was not as violent as the game makes it out to be, and while it was praised for deconstructing western tropes, said deconstruction has been old hat since Stagecoach (which deconstructed earlier forgotten westerns) and The Searchers. Likewise the game pays no attention to environment, heat and other factors that real settlers had to face and while its mechanic does avert Automaton Horses to some extent it is still a simplified take on actual cowboy activities.
  • Metal Wolf Chaos appears to be set in America as imagined by Japanese games developers who have only ever seen it in action movies.
  • MMORPGs that are very linear and/or lack many of the player-driven gameplay elements are referred to as 'themeparks' since they lack the freedom of the Wide-Open Sandbox, and usually lack options for creativity in character build and play stylenote . There is typically on emphasis on killing non-player characters compared to non-combat related activities, such as dancing, crafter-based economies, decorating, or socializing. However, even games considered 'sandboxes' tend to feature themepark elements, such as missions/quests and dropped-based loot.
    • World of Warcraft is a much smaller version of Azeroth and Outland than is generally depicted in the lore and in the previous games. While generally all the important details are there and in (mostly) the right places, all the continents are scaled down so as to not affect gameplay — creating the Theme Park Version of Warcraft. Funnily enough, it causes Sequel Displacement for the rest of the series.
      • There are other things wrong. Places are missing, as is one of Azeroth's moons (despite models of it appearing in Northrend Dungeons), Teldrassil looks like a humongous stump with a forest growing from its remains rather then the thriving tree it is in lore... The list goes on.
      • As expansions have come out, some missing places have been restored. The second (blue) moon has been restored, and it is now possible to visit some places that were missing originally. Some still remain unaccounted for, however.
      • Espen Aarseth actually points out that the game's Azeroth is similar to Florida's Disney World in size (before expansions) and layout in addition to purpose. "Both contain different thematic zones connected by paths, roads, and rail-based transportation, which cater to differing tastes, age groups, or levels."
  • Need for Speed II has tracks taking place in exotic locales such as The Outback (depicted as a rocky desert cutting through Sydney), The Himalayas (snowy mountains and a small village), and Northern Europe (which contains the Autobahn, a Germanic village, and castles within the same driving distance.
  • Spore does likewise for the cycle of life. And civilization... and, umm, Dune.
  • Bullfrog's Theme Park games are the theme park version of... running a theme park.
  • Nintendo Land is a literal example. The minigames that comprise it are based on various Nintendo games and simplified, with the premise that they're attractions at a Nintendo-themed amusement park. Rule of Fun is very much at play.
  • Most characters in Punch-Out!! are over-the-top national stereotypes (even the Japanese ones), with the Wii version showing them coming from The Theme Park Version of their respective countries.
  • Ace Attorney pares down lawyering to the bare essentials: evidence, witness testimony, cross examination, and yelling really loudly when you spot an inconsistency. No one's complaining.
  • Like Nintendo Land, the Super Smash Bros. series is centered around the long history of Nintendo's video game library and its various characters.
  • Making Mario Kart clones is one of the most common ways to make the compact versions out of serious motorsport events. EA made NASCAR Kart Racing and Codemasters made F1 Race Stars, for examples.
  • Team Fortress 2 - the (playable) cast features 8 men from the Theme Park Versions of America, Australia, France, Germany, Scotland and the Soviet Union. The ninth, the Pyro, is a Featureless Protagonist.
  • Ryse: Son of Rome does this to Ancient Rome, by taking wild liberties with History such as having Nero's Rome sacked by barbarians - the city also having hydraulic technology for lifts way ahead of its time -, as well as Romans fluent in Queens Latin, Exploding Barrels and shell shock, a gladiator duel between the Hero and some guy named Commodus, along with borrowing indiscriminately from Greek and Roman mythology, which end up playing as plot convenience

    Web Videos 
  • City Nerd mocks Lifestyle Centers, especially those that don't include any housing, as near dystopian artificial imitations of the longed for main streets the same type of car centric development helped to destroy in much of North America.

    Western Animation 
  • When The Simpsons go to Japan, they dine in a Theme Park Version restaurant of the United States called Americatown, complete with sarcastic waiters dressed as cowboys that state that they don't know anything as a result of America's educational system and also work in producing poor quality cars and inferior electronics.
    Homer: (genuinely amused) Oh, they got our number!
    • In almost any episode where the Simpsons leave Springfield, their destination is the Theme Park Version. Notable examples include France, Australia, and New York City, but the standout is Capital City, the state capital of The Simpsons' unnamed state that functions as a combined Theme Park Version of New York and Los Angeles, meant to invoke classic Big City tropes.
  • Parodied in Futurama, when Fry visits a Disneyland-esque theme park on The Moon. In the future, most people have forgotten the first manned mission to the moon, and an animatronic display offers a version of history in which the moon was "discovered" by space whalers, which all visitors accept as the truth. When Fry tries to tell everyone the real story, Leela insists the theme-park version is just harmless fun and that no one really cares how the moon was first explored.
  • Parodied in South Park where the kids ask Jimbo, who fought in Vietnam, about some info for a school report. Jimbo literally gives a theme park version and the kids get an F.
  • In the "Old Days" festival in Harvey Beaks, apparently only four things happened in the 1970's: hippies, flower power, Afros, and disco.
  • One criticism of the Big World! Big Adventures! episodes of Thomas & Friends is that they boil the countries down a lot. China only has dragons and pandas, India only has Bollywood, elephants, and monkeys, Australia only has kangaroos, Italy only has the Leaning Tower of Pisa and opera, and Brazil only has rainforests and soccer.
  • In the King of the Hill episode "Harlottown", the new city manager, upon learning about Arlen's origins as Harlottown, wants to use the town's dark history as a way to make tourist dollars. To that end, he does things like planning to convert the old soldiers-and-sailors home into a museum of prostitution (complete with an erotic bakery and a gentleman's reading room) and have Arlen be the home of the Texas Adult Video Awards. It becomes clear to Hank and Peggy that instead of learning from its history like Peggy wanted, the town is becoming a Disneyland for pornography. They, along with a former adult film star, appeal to the people and ask if this is what they want kids to learn.
  • In the Star Trek: Lower Decks episode “Grounded”, the main four visit Bozeman, Montana, the site of the First Contact between Humans and Vulcans, which has a theme park centered around it. One of the attractions is a recreation of the Phoenix, mankind’s first warp-capable ship… which the crew hijack to get to the docked Cerritos.
    • This also applies to the entire planet of Hysperia, which was colonized by Ren Fair nerds (primarily due to being home to actual dragons) and accordingly, they act like a 24/7 ren fair, even renaming advanced technology to sounds like magic. As it turns out, the Cerritos' chief engineer, Lt. Commander Andy Billups is actually Crown Prince Andarithio, but he opted to Abdicate the Throne and work in Starfleet. When his mother Queen Paolana shows up needing his engineering acumen to fix her starship, he's shown being visibly irritated by all the quasi-medieval stuff.

    Real Life - History 
  • These days, many museums and tourist guides inevitably promote real nations, monuments and cultures in this way, often to the exclusion of sub-cultures and counter-cultures.
    • The French critic Roland Barthes noted in his book Mythologies that during the era of General Francisco Franco, Spanish tourist brochures never discussed Moorish Spain and the Arab influence on Spanish culture and language. He pointed out that in the age of travel, countries generally tend to promote a one-sided and one-dimensional vision of culture to choose as representative of the complex whole, where thanks to the Eiffel Tower Effect nations are reduced to a single slew of overexposed monuments (Eiffel Tower - Paris, Taj Mahal - India, Colosseum - Italy) over other more diverse parts of the nation and that tourists are more or less herded to visit and view only parts of a more complex whole.
    • There's also the fact that a lot of the major museums in Europe (Louvre, British Museum and others) got their artifacts from colonialism and imperialist looting. This has the double effect. Citizens of former colonies are unable to truly appreciate much of their past since a lot of their cultural heritage is in some far off land too expensive for them to travel and see in person, while citizens in ex-imperial countries have an image of a more complex inter-related world without all the gray stuff removed.
    • A reverse trend is that in some parts of Asian countries to make theme park versions of Europe. There's Huis Ten Bosch: a Japanese theme park that recreates The Netherlands and Madurodam, the Dutch theme park version of The Netherlands (in miniature). There's also The Window of the World in Shenzhen, China contains scale models and reconstructions of the world's most famous landmarks and tourist attractions. This makes it the Theme Park Version of global tourism and the Chinese film The World by Jia Zhangke is set in that park dealing with the poignancy that many of its visitors will only have this facsimile of world history as their reference, since they are too poor to go and see the real thing.
  • Nothing quite embodies theme park more than the most commonly known and widely produced World Map. The Mercator Projection was originally devised for the purposes of navigation and as such it reduced the surface of the earth to a flat rectangle and compressed landmasses to reflect shape rather than size so as to make coast lines easier to identify and place in relation to each other. The problem is that the Age of Discovery, Exploration and Colonization instituted the map as a symbol reflective of a distorted Eurocentric worldview, and many on seeing the map, both from Western and non-Western countries, come away thinking that Greenland is truly the size of Africa when Africa is huge (It's big enough to hold China, USA and India and still have some space between) and Greenland while big is much smaller (slightly smaller than India). It makes Western Europe bigger than it really is, while making India into a tiny triangle when it is in fact bigger than England, France, Germany and Italy combined. New maps and projections have tried to correct it but the Mercator projection still remains thanks to inertia and practicality note , which means that Pop-Cultural Osmosis has become the "image of the world" for many people. Websites like the true size use the Mercator Map to better inform viewers on the gulf between the apparent size of the Mercator Map and the actual size of the particular landmass.
  • Some argue that nationalism as an ideology more or less reduces places, events, and persons to theme park-like simplistic reductions and a tendency to present an official version of national history.
    • For example, classes in US history can resemble advertisements for the local political orthodoxy. Events like The American Revolution and the "Founding Fathers" are often invoked in America discourse with very little attention paid to context and background and often reduced and caricatured in popular culture (as in The Patriot (2000)). Some elementary and high school history classes focus on the Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan administrationsnote  while almost little or no attention is paid to 19th Century America except for Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, and The American Civil War much to critic Gore Vidal's distaste (he wrote several novels to rectify this). Important events in American history like the War of 1812, the Trail of Tears, the Mexican-American War (which you would think would be taught with more attention, considering that at the end of it, the present day contiguous United States was formed) are glossed over, forgotten or simply ignored.
    • Even the study of "world history" is still governed by a eurocentric bias. Any highschool-back history book you read will passingly mention the Middle East, India, Africa, and Asia while focusing on Europe and its struggles. You don't read 1200–1800-era Chinese, Arabian, or African authors too often, nor do you discuss non-European empires from those eras. Also, North America didn't exist until 1492. Hence why it's the "New World", regardless of how old it actually is. Can you think of any major events in Native American history before Europeans came over that doesn't have to do with doomsday calendars? Or of major scientific inventions and philosophical innovations outside of Europe that don't have to do with algebra, limestone batteries, or gunpowder? Let's just say that if you respond "There are none," you've successfully proved this trope correct.
  • Wars are often taught in a very simplistic fashion. It would take the whole school year to get a non-Theme Park version of one war, especially complex events such as the Thirty Years' War, with proper attention paid to geopolitical tensions and other environmental and sociological changes and military technology and tactics. They are also fought and experienced by many characters and feature many Hero of Another Story. In movies, popular consciousness, and even in history classes, they usually devolve into a theme park version of a fight between the forces of Good, with some individual, great leaders, generals and soldiers elevated into heroic roles out of proportion to the level of agency they actually possessed during the conflict. Military history is a separate discipline in and of itself and thanks to the Pop-Cultural Osmosis paid to tropes like Decisive Battle history tends to highlight the exciting parts over the boring parts and the importance or lack thereof of battles and war are not given due accord.
    • In English history, Agincourt and Crecy are taught when mentioning The Hundred Years War while ignoring that the English ultimately lost that war. The former two were striking victories important for England at the time and propagandized by English monarchs and dramatists such as William Shakespeare and comics artists such as Warren Ellis to emphasize ideas of nationalism and class consciousness, greatly distorting and exaggerating the events out of its actual historical context.
    • Either one of the World Wars could easily eat up all the time allotted to history secondary education. Each nation participating in said conflict tend to focus or emphasize their part in the conflict over a broadly global perspective, mostly for nationalistic reasons. American students as well as international students on account of Eagleland Osmosis and America Wins the War, think that both these conflicts were singularly won by America to the detriment of the involvement of other, non-English speaking, nations. Thanks to the Cold War, this has led to the virtual removal from public consciousness of the contribution of the Soviet Union, when they mounted the largest offensive, fought harder, endured greater casualties and the worst war crimes, than the other sides combined and were the ones who liberated the major extermination camps. It was only since the 80s and 90s, that The Holocaust was mentioned or depicted widely. The depictions of the war are still largely shaped by the Western Front, with its images of the Americans and British liberating their future NATO allies to the detriment of the East and the Pacific. In the case of the Pacific, the experiences of the Chinese, the Burmese, the Indians during the War get little say compared to the naval war of the US on the Pacific.
    • Allied propaganda from World War II on all three sides loved to demonize Adolf Hitler and Imperial Japan. The former was made into Laughably Evil while the latter were shown with crude racist stereotypes. Propaganda is never meant to educate, but to influence and to stir up emotions, still it has to be mentioned that the British were a colonial empire during the war, the French Resistance used their colonies as a base and, technically, no more than a liberal military junta rather than legitimate government (most of which had become Les Collaborateurs). American society and its armed forces were segregated, and as for the Soviets, well they were led by "Uncle Joe" Stalin (so-called during the war), who had a few years back conducted mass purges and incompetent collectivization schemes that led to the deaths of three million and who also invaded Poland and Finland alongside Hitler as part of that "Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact" that got swept under the rug. Still, Hitler was a great deal worse than all of them.
  • In American film and literature, many Native Americans suffer from this trope. Pick any nation you like, and if you bother to do the research, you will find a complex society with all the trimmings: a working economy, clearly defined values and morals, a deep religion, a highly developed language, and a well-developed system of government. Yet some authors portray Native Americans as backward, childlike people who all talk like Tonto,note  others characterize them as noble savage hunter-gatherers long on practical knowledge but short on scholarship who shun new technology in favor of what they already have, and still others depict them all as nature-bonded proto-hippie Magical Native American stereotypes in Braids, Beads and Buckskins who are mercilessly slaughtered by the brutish white man. It's difficult at times to ascertain which of these is the most offensive (though some would argue none are as bad as The Savage Indian, which by now is largely dead).

    Real Life - Other 
  • Actual theme parks are themselves frequently theme park distortions of some real place or experience:
    • Disney Theme Parks: In 2004, Walt Disney World opened "Disney's Saratoga Springs", a resort inspired by another tourist hot spot, Saratoga Springs, NY (best known for mineral springs, horse racing, proximity to the Adirondack Mountains, and being the tourist destination for rich Victorians from New York City). The resemblance is...extremely superficial. To demonstrate, compare "High Rock Spring", the Disney version (waterfalls and a pool)...and the real one (a rock with a spigot covered by a building).note  Similar to the aforementioned Window of the World, there is Epcot's World Showcase, which features eleven pavilions, each representing the culture of one different country. And then there's Disney's California-themed California. It was not well received.
    • EPCOT Center itself, is the literal Theme Park Version of Walt's Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow.
    • A Shaped Like Itself version: Six Flags St. Louis has an area called "1904 World's Fair" (the real thing was in St. Louis, after all), made up like an old-time carnival and no doubt lacking the safety or health issues that the original may have had.
    • The whole point of Europa-Park in Germany, really. Each nation of Europe featured in the park is represented through recognizable clichés, cultural traits and landmarks, such as Renaissance and Venetian-looking buildings, mandolin music and pizzeria in the Italian district; chocolate shops, an alpine-looking village and yodel music for Switzerland; Santorini Island-styled houses, a temple of Poseidon and the Trojan horse for Greece; fish restaurants and a stave Church for Scandinavia (Norway); Delftware and windmills for The Netherlands, a statue of Joan of Arc (and now French Cancan in Eurosat) for France; winter-related fairy tales and The Space Race for Russia and so on and so forth.
    • Bobbejaanland is a Belgian theme park, founded by a Belgian country western singer, which proudly presents his idea of the American Wild West (with a few Viking- and Aztec-themed rides thrown in). Visiting it as an actual American is a marvelously surreal experience. From the same country comes to you the thing known as Mini Europa. Anything of it could easily be the image of the wiki.
  • Since The '80s, when Las Vegas decided to target families rather than seasoned gambler, several of its megaresort hotels offer theme park versions of other popular places and/or eras. Where else can you visit New York City (New York-New York), Paris, ancient Egypt (Luxor), ancient Rome (Caesars Palace), Monte Carlo, and Venice (The Venetian) in walking distance of each other?
  • Averted by the mermaid show at Weeki Wachee Springs since, well, there aren't real mermaids, therefore the park cannot be accused of misrepresenting them.
  • World's fairs live on this trope since their foundation in the mid-1800s, especially for national pavilions. There are the commendable, and there the infamous, especially the Anthropology Days of the 1904 St. Louis Exposition, where actual ethnic minorities were shown living their lives as though they were at their homeland.
  • Most holidays become this over time.
    • In an interesting inversion, the word "Xmas" for Christmas is often wrongfully accused of being this trope. The assumption is that the X is used to remove any implications of Jesus from the holiday. In fact, it comes from the fact that X — or rather, the Greek letter Chi, which merely looks like a Roman X — is the first letter in Jesus' title (Χριστός or Christos) in Greek. (Perhaps medieval monks started this — they had to write "Christ" so much in their copying work that they started writing X as shorthand.) This is also why Catholic churches have a big XP on things — it's "CHR", the first letters in "Christ". (And, if you really want to be pedantic, Christmas is thought to have originated as a Christian alternative to Saturnalia and has absorbed other pagan winter solstice holidays like Yule, since syncretism made conversion easier.) The expression "Xian" for Christian was originally not a pejorative, but came from online religion discussion groups where like those medieval monks you had to type "Christian" so much that Xian became the shorthand.
    • Valentine's Day. It went from being a tribute to a Christian martyr, to being an occasion for romantic lovers to profess themselves to each other, to being a kitschy affair in which schoolkids in completely platonic relationships give each other goofy cards with Superman or SpongeBob SquarePants on them.
    • Then there's Saint Patrick's Day. Just about everyone's forgotten that it's a Catholic holiday, not just an Irish one. Same with Mardi Gras. Purely Catholic, but most of the people enthused with it nowadays are probably from other religions, if they even are religious at all. Some now refer to Mardi Gras as Fat Tuesday. (To be fair, that's just translating the French. Elsewhere, the holiday is very straightforwardly called "Carnival" — or "farewell to meat," named because Lent was formerly required to be meatless.)
    • For that matter, while Carnival the holiday itself is a big deal in the Catholic parts of the world, the term "carnival" itself is now associated with any sort of celebration with special attractions and competitions rather than the specific occasion of indulgent celebration of one last hurrah before the austerity of Lent sets in.
  • Many large cities are frequently accused of attempting to become the theme park version of themselves. This is often associated with gentrification, which sociologists and historians lament often comes at the expense of more colourful and interesting communities.
    • A good example is Paris since the 1960s, where French Presidents tried to install new buildings. The Centre Georges Pompidou, an art gallery, was built on top of the famous covered market of Les Halles, a historical working class district. The construction of the Olympics for London in 2012, led to the destruction of Hackney, another historical working class area. In the case of New York City, which in its The Big Rotten Apple phase was both lamented for its high crime and urban decay and celebrated for its art, culture and city life (because the high crime made rents cheap), gentrification has made the rents go up and has made the city a billionaire's paradise. There's also a darker angle, as Spike Lee notes that property prices of areas increase when white residents move into formerly poor but respected ghettoes (often because they are attracted to the Melting Pot reputation a locale accumulates over time) and what Spike Lee derisively labels the Christopher Columbus Syndrome which inevitably transforms a region into a shadow of what it once was for the benefit of new settlers.
    • A particularly strong example: New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The wealthier, touristy, photogenic parts of the city bounced back much faster than the poor parts of town. This effect was not totally intentional, but some accusations of sinister intent flew. The chief exhibit would be many people who openly pondered whether the storm wasn't a good excuse to tear down most (or all) public housing. The opposing argument being, of course, that these touristy, photogenic parts of the city were where a huge number of the people who lived in the city worked, and the faster they got back on their feet, the sooner money could start coming into the city again.
    • Developments based on new urbanism and neo-traditionalism have been called theme-park versions of cities and small towns, respectively. In particular, they have been ridiculed for offering centrally planned theme-park versions of places that derive their charm from not having been centrally planned.
  • Almost everything taught in school textbooks especially below college level is a theme park version of that subject, geared towards accessibility and simple concepts with very little attention given to how practice of said works happens in the modern day:
    • Science and mathematics in particular suffer from this. Entry level science and maths is still classical in formulation, teaching children Euclidean geometry, and Newtonian physics, and basic evolutionary theory (except for some parts of America that is where even that is not taught) in the hope that those who are a little more curious will read deeper and sign on for the real thing in advanced courses and college graduate level, where more or less they have to unlearn their elementary science's broad assumptions. Stephen Hawking's famous book A Brief History of Time was written for a lay audience precisely to update them about how their basic ideas about science has changed drastically from Newton to Einstein, and even Hawking's book is a theme park (avoiding any scientific equations other than E=MC squared) reduction of more complex phenomenon.
    • Psychology is usually not taught at a school level and barely touched on in high school but unfortunately, it has to compete with Popular Psychology and misrepresentations on shows like Criminal Minds, Bones and other media works. The idea of psychology most people derive from such works is extremely simplified, misapplied, out of date, or outright wrong. Of course complicating the problem is that there are many contending theories and ideas about psychology and each group tends to insult and denounce the other, making it harder for people to grapple with the truth. The most common and pervasive idea is Freudian Psychology and even that is highly misunderstood and distorted. It's also been largely abandoned by actual psychologists (as has Jungianism), but lots of media hasn't caught up, in part as pseudo versions of these ideas seeped deeply into popular consciousness so viewers recognize it more easily than more updated theories.
  • Your standard wall calendar will do this to the months of the year, often taking a major holiday or something similar of each month and making a photo about it. Often involves lots of Seasonal Baggage. Common examples in the US:
    • January: A baby in a top hat blowing a horn (symbolizing the "New Year"). Either that or lots of snowy stuff.
    • February: Valentine's Day, red and pink and heart-shaped everything.
    • March: Either people flying kites in the wind, or shamrocks and a leprechaun with a pot o' gold (for Saint Patrick's Day). Easter themes may show up if Easter is celebrated this month.
    • April: "April Showers," raincoats and boots and umbrellas, or Easter stuff if it comes this month.
    • May: "May Flowers", a lush garden scene. Possibly also stuff about Mother's Day.
    • June: Kids getting out of school, or maybe things related to dads, since Father's Day is in this month.
    • July: Independence Day (aka 4th of July), stars and stripes, Uncle Sam and Fireworks.
    • August: Summer heat or lounging in the sun, since there are few recognized holidays during August in the United States, and some of the hottest days of the year in the US fall in this month.
    • September: Anything having to do with kids going back to school (pencils, apples, rulers, blackboards, etc.). Or leaves changing color and possibly falling.
    • October: Halloween, costumes (Hot Witch is a favorite), jack-o-lanterns, and ghosts. Maybe more autumn leaves and other autumn stuff.
    • November: Thanksgiving, turkeys, pilgrims, Indians, and lots of food. Last depiction of autumn anything.
    • December: Christmas, trees, ornaments, Nativity scenes, poinsettias and Santa Claus. Maybe some sparkly blue decor and Stars of David for Chanukah if you're lucky. And snow.
  • Sweden Hills is a Swedish-style village in Tōbetsu, Hokkaidō in Japan. The houses are wooden and painted falu red. The idea of a Swedish-styled village came when a Swedish ambassador visited the nearby town center of Tobetsu and thought that the climate was quite similar to the Swedish climate.
  • The First Australians (or Indigenous Australians) are not the same as Aboriginal Australians. The indigenous population consists of two main groups. About 90% are Aboriginals, which pretty much everyone knows about. The rest are Torres Strait Islanders, relatively unknown outside of Australia and often forgotten within the country. This division oversimplifies the diversity of languages (hundreds within the Aboriginal population alone) and cultures in the indigenous community.
  • The Mesozoic Era gets hit with this trope. Many forms of fictional Dinosaur Media will feature the standard ugly, bloodthirsty carnivores (like Tyrannosaurus rex) and docile, good-natured herbivores (like Brontosaurus), horrifying Sea Monsters that make the shark from Jaws look like a guppy (marine reptiles like Plesiosaurus) and airborne terrors that descend upon helpless creatures on the ground (pterosaurs like Pteranodon). The landscape will almost always be depicted as alien and unfamiliar, with even the flora being impossible to recognize, and the whole thing would be completely covered in volcanoes and molten lakes, with everyday life being a constant fight for survival. Of course, nearly all of these are exaggerated and some, like the volcanoes, are almost totally fabricated. The flora of the Mesozoic wasn't all that different from the flora we have nownote  and the animals were, for all intents and purposes, still normal animals. A living T. rex would be no more vicious or terrifying than a modern lion or grizzly bear (aside from being 20-30 times more massive, three and a half times as tall, six times as long and capable of eating an average lion or grizzly in one bite), and on the flipside, a plant eating dinosaur would not necessarily be friendly (modern plant eaters certainly aren't). The sea reptiles and pterosaurs would likely be the same way. What is more, there tends to be an overstatement of the largest and most spectacular creatures in any given area. Dinosaurs came in all shapes and sizes and occupied just about every ecological niche you could think of, and a large apex predator like the T-rex could really only exist in an environment already teeming with life.
  • In Flanders there is a teaching subject in primary school called World Orientation meant in theory to give a broader view of the world. In practice, it is a string of facts taken entirely out of context and often condensed into 2 pages of information that people are supposed learn by heart.
  • Many large (and usually nerdy) fandoms can be reduced to this by people outside of them.
  • In Western culture, the term "tantra" has come to be associated with sex. There's a lot more to it than that, however.

Alternative Title(s): Theme Park Version