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Welcome to the Big City

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Giselle: Nobody has been very nice to me.
Robert: Yeah, well, welcome to New York.
Giselle: (smiles) Thank you.

Our Country Mouse character is young, idealistic, innocent, naive, you name it—and it's their first time in the big city. How to show that? Why, by him or her being confronted with any combination of pickpocketing, prostitution and generally upsetting behaviour, of course.

And the sooner the better, often right as they step off the train/plane/coach/boat from whatever idyllic rural paradise they came from.

It doesn't always have to be criminal activity, mere nuisances and constant hustle will suffice as well. Expect that they'll have their sleep rudely disturbed by rowdy nightclubbers, obnoxious neighbors, construction work, subway trains (or all of the above) and to be overwhelmed by crowds and traffic every time they step outside.

New York City is a popular venue for this.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Akame ga Kill! has country boy Tatsumi conned out of his money by Leone on his first day in the imperial capital.
  • Your Name: Mitsuha is awestruck by her first view of Tokyo, and when doing Taki's shift at the restaurant later that day she gets him into trouble with a thuggish customer.

    Comic Books 
  • Happens to Brian Kinney when he first arrives in Astro City. Fortunately for him, the Crossbreed are there to gently persuade the pickpocket to return his wallet.
  • Many versions of Superman, both in the comics and in TV and movies, depict Clark Kent's arrival in Metropolis as being a little overwhelming (at least initially) for the small town Kansas-raised protagonist, who is often portrayed as being shocked by the city residents' apathy, which stands in stark contrast to the attitudes of his neighbors back in Smallville, Kansas. However, Clark inevitably gets over the shock pretty quickly. In Geoff Johns's Secret Origin, he bumps into a woman while looking at the skyscrapers. He tries to apologise, but the woman just snaps that people in Metropolis don't go around staring into the sky...

    Films — Animation 
  • A Bug's Life: Flik doesn't get mugged or attacked (he hardly had anything on him), but he does get mocked by a couple of street performers and pushed around by passerbys.
  • Hercules: The first people Hercules meets in Thebes are a crazy person ranting about the world ending, and a shady guy who opens his cape full of sundials. Thebes is kind of obviously a stand-in for New York in this movie.
  • Robots: Almost as soon as Rodney steps off the train, Robin Williams tries to con him and a shifty robot tries to sell him a watch.
  • Zootopia: Judy Hopps is all excited for her first day on the job with the Zootopia Police Department. Then she gets stuck with parking duty, and finds Chief Bogo doesn't think much of her as a "diversity hire". Then she has an encounter with Nick Wilde, who not only hustles her but reads her like a book and punches a big hole in her dreams and ambitions.
    Nick: Okay, tell me if this story sounds familiar. Naive little hick with good grades and big ideas decides "Hey look at me, I'm gonna move to Zootopia! Where predators and prey live in harmony and sing Kumbaya!" Only to find, whoopsie, we don't all get along. And that dream of becoming a big city cop? Double whoopsie. she's a meter maid. And whoopsie number three-sy, no one cares about her or her dreams. And soon enough those dreams die and our bunny sinks into emotional and literal squalor living in a box under a bridge until finally she has no choice but to go back home with that cute fuzzy-wuzzy little tail between her legs to become... You're from Bunnyburrow, is that what you said? So how about a carrot farmer. That sound about right?

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Across the Universe (2007): "Come Together" is used as a song about this when Jojo first arrives in New York. Nothing bad actually happens to him, but he's obviously traumatized.
  • The Batman Cold Open of Batman (1989) establishes Gotham City as a Wretched Hive by showing a hapless tourist family getting accosted by beggars, prostitutes, and finally, a pair of armed robbers.
  • Bill: As Bill walks through London for the first time, people are coughing and vomiting from plague, a brutal stabbing takes place in an alley just behind him and a thief swipes his luggage.
  • "Crocodile" Dundee: Our title character is mugged pretty soon after he gets to the big city, but the mugger's switchblade is no match for Dundee's bowie knife.
  • Dorian Gray has Dorian arrive at the London main station and confronted with children trying to steal from him and women offering their services to him right away.
  • Enchanted: Giselle is magically transported from her idyllic Fairytale world to the middle of New York City, still in her poofy white Princess Classic dress. Almost immediately a hobo steals her tiara. We then get an extended scene of Giselle being pushed around, yelled at and freaking out at the terror of NYC rush hour.
  • In Joe's Apartment, our hero is fresh off the bus from Iowa...
    Joe's Letter: "Dear mom, I made it to New York safe and sou—"
    Mugger: HEADS UP PIN-HEAD! [whack!]
    Joe: Dear mom, I made it to New Yor—
    Mugger #2: HEADS UP PIN-HEAD! [whack!]
    Joe: Dear mom—
    Mugger #3: HEADS UP PIN-HEAD!
    Joe: ...send money."
  • Last Night in Soho: Ellie is thrilled to move to London from her rural home to attend college, but it's established she's not used to dealing with big cities and is repeatedly told that London can be "a lot". Sure enough, as soon as she arrives, she gets confronted with a sleazy cab driver making creepy comments towards her, which makes her so uncomfortable that she ditches him.
  • Star Wars: A New Hope: Luke is established to be a somewhat naive farmhand with no "street smarts" yet. His first time in Mos Eisley's "Wretched Hive of scum and villainy" almost gets him killed by a pair of goons in the cantina who were looking for an easy mark to pick on. Too bad they didn't know Luke had a retired Jedi Knight along with him.
  • Tightrope: Clint Eastwood's character tells of how he fell in love with New Orleans from the moment he first arrived carrying all his belongings in a suitcase. His Love Interest asks if he ever reconsidered this. He says, "Yes, when I looked down and saw my suitcase was missing."

  • Franz Kafka's Amerika. This is the basic premise.
  • Vonda N. McIntyre's Thieves' World short story "Looking for Satan". 4 naive Northerners encounter the rough and crude denizens of the city of Sanctuary. One local tries to hire a female party member as a prostitute, and another woman is almost raped and murdered when she goes out alone.
  • Discworld:
    • In Soul Music, Imp Y Celyn moves from Llamedos to Ankh-Morpork, and tries some busking. As buskers do, he puts a few coins in his bowl as "seed money". The next time he looks down, they've gone.
    • Carrot's arrival in Ankh in Guards! Guards!; he doesn't get robbed himself, but he doesn't cope well with the idea that theft is legal (and that the Watch are probably closer to criminals than the Thieves' Guild are). Although he's so naive he doesn't notice the prostitution, even when he's staying at Mrs. Palm's.
    • In Thief of Time, Lu Tze says the first thing that happened to him in Ankh-Morpork was he learned "a valuable lesson in the ridiculousness of material things" when some people took it upon themselves to "welcome" him to the city in this way.
  • In Aesop's Fables, after the City Mouse scorned his home as simple, Country Mouse visits him in the city. The cat makes him realize that home is Arcadia.
  • Beatrix Potter inverts the trope. The Country Mouse goes to the city first and is frightened off. But the City Mouse visits him after, and is terrified by the weather and the prospect of being stepped on by a cow. Country is terrifying.
  • When Tailchaser from Tailchaser's Song visits Firsthome, the cat equivalent of a large city and the ancestral home of cats, he come across a lot of pushy felines.
  • The Night's Dawn Trilogy. When Louise Kavanagh and her sister first arrive on Earth a criminal is shown incredulous at the offworlders' lack of attention to their surroundings. He deftly steals their luggage without them noticing only to be murdered by the agents who are secretly protecting her. As several more criminals are discretely disposed of when they try robbing the couple, the agents' superiors can't help exchanging snarky comments over the high crime rate (despite the fact that they secretly rule Earth).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel. Inverted when rogue vampire slayer Faith first arrives in Los Angeles. A sleazy-looking guy (implied to be a pimp) offers the attractive, unhappy-looking teenage girl who just got off the bus a place to stay. She responds by beating him up and robbing him.
  • Benton Fraser in the pilot movie of Due South, except that — as befits the general theme of the show—some of it ends up coming out right in the end (e.g., the panhandler he "loans" $100 to returns it at the end of the episode).
  • On Cheers, Woody mentions how earlier that day, something was stolen from him when he took his eyes off it for only a moment.
    Cliff: Welcome to the big city.
    Woody: Gee, thanks, Mr. Clavin!
  • Inverted in The Big Bang Theory. After a break-in in their apartment, Sheldon decides that Pasadena is too dangerous, so he moves to Bozeman, Montana, which he determines it's the safest city in America. (It's also where aliens first make contact, according to Star Trek: First Contact.) The moment he arrives, his bags are stolen. He immediately buys a ticket back to Pasadena.
  • CSI: NY: This is essentially what happens when Lindsay arrives from Bozeman, Montana in "Zoo York," in the sense of her plunging right into a gritty, dirty case involving a man found dead and mostly devoured in a tiger exhibit. Her assignment? Sifting thru dung for pieces of the body.
  • The first thing the title character in Merlin (who starts off as a teenager in this version) saw when he arrived at Camelot is the execution of a magic user, and he was born having magic.
  • Referenced in How I Met Your Mother. Marshall and Lily settled on having an outdoor ceremony for their upcoming wedding, but they had to change their plans as Marshal's dad was certain they would get mugged if they stayed outdoor in New York. Marshal's family comes from a small town in Minnesota.

  • The spoken word portion of Stevie Wonder's "Living in the City" is about a man who, within minutes of arriving in New York, is approached by a drug dealer, arrested for possession, and sent to jail for ten years.
  • This is the whole theme of Guns N' Roses' song and vid, "Welcome to the Jungle". Axl Rose literally gets off the bus with a hayseed piece of straw in his mouth, and walks right into the parking lot of corruption.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • John Mulaney has a bit where, shortly after he moved to NYC, a well-dressed Eastern European guy came up to his car late at night, asked if he was Polish, and then told John to drive him a few blocks up the street. After refusing, he worried that perhaps this was one of those "street smart" thingies where he'd come back in the morning and find his car sawed in half:
    Neighbor: "Hey, what happened to your car?"
    John: "I dunno, some guy came up and asked for a ride last night, and I—"
    Neighbor: "Woah, woah, woah! Did he ask if you were Polish?"
    John: "Yeah..."
    Neighbor: "Ya gotta give those guys a ride, kid. Welcome to Brooklyn!"

  • Used in Ruthless! The Musical in the teacher's song, "Teaching Third Grade":
    "Sure, I went to New York to be an overnight sensation
    More than a face, I was a winning combination
    Of talent and grace, shoulda packed mace
    'Cause I was tripped, raped, and robbed before I left Penn Station!"
  • Used at the beginning of the stage version of Thoroughly Modern Millie
    They took your shoe?
  • In My Sister Eileen and its musical version Wonderful Town, Ruth and Eileen are just handing over their first month's rent to Mr. Appopolous when a tremendous explosion is heard from underneath—it's blasting for a new subway. Appopolous tries to tell them that they'll get used to it, but the sisters say they want their money back. He tells them: "Listen—in New York you either live, A, over a subway, or, B, where they're building a subway, or C, you don't live in New York!" After he makes a bargain with them and leaves, Eileen tells Ruth that maybe they should have tried Cleveland first. They try to get some sleep on their all too stiff beds, but are repeatedly roused by impolite forms of city life, as well as further booms from below. It doesn't help that Ruth's bed is directly under the street lamp, with no window shade to block the light.

    Video Games 
  • Final Fantasy VIII: Squall's first impression of Esthar.
  • Merrill's initial disappointed reaction to the Kirkall Alienage in Dragon Age II.
  • In Laura Bow II: The Dagger of Amon Ra, Laura is immediately mugged after stepping off the train into New York City, forcing her to navigate the first arc of the game without money or identification. The mugger takes advantage of her naivete by initially posing as someone in need of a handout.
  • Mega Man Battle Network:
    • In one of the games, Lan travels from Electopia (read: Japan) to Netopia (which is pretty obviously a stand-in for America), and gets robbed the moment he steps off the plane. Then he gets robbed again. Then he has to go to the ghetto and fight a Scary Black Man (using only the crappy chips he has left) to track down his stuff.
    • In the fourth game's visit to Netopia, Lan gets chloroformed and locked in a hotel room by some thugs who intend to ransom him off, and has to escape. It winds up invoked, the guy's a tournament official and the staff was in on it, they were testing his ingenuity and capabilities in a real world crisis, and it's implied they did this to the other contestants if they could get away with it.

    Web Comics 
  • In Something*Positive, Helen (of Penny and Aggie) moves to the city and is helped by a kindly old lady, only to later discover said sweet old lady had relieved her of her wallet.
  • Hilariously referred to in Clan of the Cats:
    Chelsea: I've lived in New York City for three years and you wait 'til now to mug me?
  • Precocious:
  • Whale Star: The Gyeongseong Mermaid: Upon arriving in bustling Gyeongseong (Seoul) for the first time, country handmaiden Su-a is immediately pickpocketed. It's only thanks to the kindness of a stranger, Geon, that she is able to make her way to Whale Star at all.

    Western Animation 
  • The Legend of Korra's première episode is aptly named, "Welcome to Republic City". In it, Korra, who has spent her life sheltered in a compound in in the South Pole, goes to the bustling Republic City, only to learn that it's not all it's cracked up to be. She is literally "fresh off the boat". (Though true to form, it's not her that gets traumatized; instead she ends up in a police station getting the concept of vigilantism-as-crime explained to her).
  • Tom and Jerry. Mouse In Manhattan. Jerry gets bored with country life, comes to New York, things are great at first. Then things take a dark turn. Jerry kisses Tom and encourages him to chase him after experiencing the big city.
  • The Simpsons:
    • When Homer first came to New York. He's robbed several times (once by a police officer), has a bird eat his hot dog, has garbage dumped on him by Woody Allen and is chased around by an angry pimp.
      Homer: And then the CHUDs came at me.
    • In "Dancin' Homer", the first thing Homer sees when coming to Capital City is an old lady being robbed on the sidewalk. He slows the car down so the whole family can gawk at it like a landmark.
      Homer: Kids, look! Street crime!
  • Wait Till Your Father Gets Home - Harry goes on a business trip to New York and gets robbed of everything but his underwear the moment he steps out of his hotel.
  • Alice's sister on The Critic gets a similar treatment when she arrives in New York from Knoxville. She doesn't even make it off the bus before someone shoves her down. It gets worse when she later steps out of Alice's apartment for all of five seconds and returns covered in graffiti, among other things.
  • When Max and PJ go downtown unsupervised on Goof Troop, they end up losing all their money, and then finding some and losing it twice, they are unable to eat despite PJ spending his money on food (lousy pigeons), Max almost gets run over, they get rained on and are unable to find shelter they're allowed to be in, and they miss the last bus home. Pete and Goofy also had some bad luck with a con artist cab driver when chasing after them.