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Playing With / Canada Does Not Exist

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Basic Trope: It's hard to tell what country a work is set in.

  • Straight: A show called Life in Greenville revolves around Alice and Bob and all the people they know, living in a city called Greenville. Greenville is probably somewhere in North America as everyone (save Charlie, who's an English-born immigrant) has a North American-sounding accent, Christmas takes place in the winter, and they use dollars and cents. However, because no flags, presidents, prime ministers, nor any other national signifiers are mentioned, it's ambiguous whether they live in The United States or Canada.
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  • Exaggerated: Every character has a different accent, no currency is mentioned, and It's Always Spring while the month isn't mentioned, so the show could be set pretty much anywhere that is populated enough.
  • Downplayed: Greenville is stated to be a town near the US/Canada border, so the show features cars with American and Canadian license plates and both American and Canadian brands of consumer goods ... but which side of the border the town is on is never shown nor said.
  • Justified: According to Word of God, the work is set in the "North American Union" of an Alternate Universe, comprising what would be both countries (if not the entire continent) in Real Life.
  • Inverted: The show is all about living in America or all aboot living in Canada.
  • Subverted: Then Alice mentions a president.
  • Double Subverted: ...who is later revealed to be a fictional president of the unnamed country they live in, simply sharing a name with a real-life one.
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  • Parodied: The characters themselves don't know what country they live in and when Alice tries to find it on a map, she says, "Ugh, there're several Greenvilles each in America and Canada and I just can't tell which one is ours!"
  • Zig-Zagged: The show has Negative Continuity and sometimes is explicitly set in America, sometimes Canada, and sometimes nowhere in particular.
  • Averted: The show is explicitly located in Canada.
  • Enforced: The show is filmed in Canada and the writers wanted to set it in America but unfortunately, one of the TV producers they work with is a bit xenophobic, so they compromised by keeping it ambiguous.
  • Lampshaded: "Wait ... what country do we live in?"
  • Invoked: Greenville was built very close to the international border (possibly even straddling it) and the residents on both sides decided to deemphasize their respective nationalities for the sake of working more easily with communities on the other side.
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  • Exploited: The citizens of Greenville don't need to worry about people attacking them from other countries as nobody would know what country to attack.
  • Defied:
  • Discussed:
    Alice: Which country do we live in?
    Bob: I don't know, probably America or Canada.
    Alice: Which one?
    Bob: I don't know.
    Alice: Well, do we have a president or a prime minister?
    Bob: I don't know; I don't vote and I don't watch the news, either.
    Alice: Hey, Charlie, we're trying to figure out which country this is. When you immigrated here, which country did you become a citizen of?
    Charlie: I don't remember.
    Alice: And our city name doesn't help either. I mean, we'd know where we were if we lived in "Milwaukee" or "Toronto", but "Greenville" could be anywhere!
    Bob: At least, it could be anywhere with a large English-speaking population.
  • Conversed: "Do these characters live in America or Canada?"
  • Implied: No maps that show Greenville have political boundaries, but it seems to be along the Canada-US border.
  • Deconstructed: Because nobody knows what country claims the territory of Greenville, it can't interact with any other communities or get necessary services from a larger government or firm.
  • Reconstructed: Greenville is large and prosperous enough on its own that this isn't an issue.
  • Played for Laughs: There's an episode focused on this question called "Where in the World Are Alice and Bob?" that doesn't answer it, simply because Status Quo Is God.
  • Played for Drama: Greenville is the central location for a Spy Drama or Paranormal Investigation series, and the blatant obfuscation of its geographic placement is hinted/revealed to be very much deliberate.

Back to Canada Does Not Exist.

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