Follow TV Tropes

Following

Where The Hell Is Springfield / Live-Action TV

Go To

  • Most American soap operas are set in Springfields:
    • General Hospital is set in a city called Port Charles, which appears to be somewhere in northwestern New York state along Lake Ontario.
    • Days of Our Lives is set in Salem, which is pretty explicitly in or near a heavily Catholic part of the greater Chicago area (but not in Chicago itself) – it does, though suffer from extreme Geographic Flexibility.
    • Both Llanview, in One Life to Live, and Pine Valley, in All My Children, are explicitly stated to be in Pennsylvania, but exactly where is unclear.
  • Advertisement:
  • It's implied that the The Brady Bunch is set in California, but where exactly is unknown. It’s heavily implied to be near Los Angeles, though, especially given the numerous references to local sports teams. The Deconstruction The Brady Bunch Movie also explicitly sets the characters in Los Angeles.
  • Malcolm in the Middle takes place in an undefined city and state. It is, however, near a beach, 2000 miles from Harvard, 5000 miles from Alaska, and 12 hours to Francis’ military school in Alabama. That plus the climate implies southern Texas, but some later episodes showed Oklahoma license plates.
  • Hill Street Blues took place in an undefined city and state. It employed second-unit footage of Chicago. The producers included Chicago-like police uniforms (sans the checkered cap pattern), cruiser livery, and a clear Expy for then-mayor Harold Washington. But there were also occasional references to the “East River”, which would imply New York.
    • Rumour has it that the show was originally going to be explicitly set in Chicago, but the CPD refused permission to use their emblem for some reason (possibly related to the department's less-than-flattering portrayal in The Blues Brothers in the recent past) and some quick rewrites had to be made.
  • Arrow and the spinoff The Flash have the following Springfields: Starling City, Central City, Coast City, Nanda Parbat and Lian Yu. So far there has been no real indication as to where these are located. All we know about the “cities” is that they are in the US, and Starling is the coldest and cloudier of the three (which might just be metaphorical anyway). Iron Heights Prison even seems to move from Starling City to Central City between seasons. Nanda Parbat is some crazy Arab-Asian mixture, and Lian Yu is an island in the South Pacific. All of these places are reminiscent of the original comic book versions.
      Advertisement:
    • Black Lightning takes place in Freeland and although there's no location given, they make no effort at hiding that it's filmed in Atlanta.
  • Oz takes place in an unnamed state, likely in the Northeast due to members of the Mafia comprising one of the show’s main gangs. The creators specifically state that it’s in New Jersey in the commentaries, but they also point out in the pilot that Alvarez is wearing L.A. gang colors.
  • The Bill is set within the fictional district of Canley in London. Its precise location in London is unclear, although the district’s central area is along the Thames. It was originally filmed – and explicitly set – in Tower Hamlets in East London, before filming moved to Merton in South London and the setting moved to a fictional location.
  • Casualty and London's Burning are equally vague about just where in Britain Holby and Blackwall are, as on-location filming takes place pretty much all over the city. The real fire station that doubled for Blackwall up until Series 13 is in Bermondsey, for what that's worth.
      Advertisement:
    • The hospital where Casualty takes place is situated in the fictional city of Holby, in the equally fictional county of Wyvern, in the South West of England, near the border with Wales. Geographically, this is an accurate description of the real city of Bristol, where the exteriors for Casualty, and its spin-offs, HolbyCity and the short-lived police show Holby Blue, were filmed. Confusingly, although both medical dramas are set in the same hospital, Casualty has been filmed entirely on a purpose-built set in Cardiff since 2011, while the interiors of Holby City are filmed at BBC Elstree in Hertfordshire.
  • The Mission: Impossible: series often sent the team to vague locations, like the “Western” or “Central” United States, “Africa”, “Western Europe” (vaguely referred to as a nation in itself), the nation of “San X” somewhere in the Caribbean or South America, and a vaguely-named People's Republic of Tyranny.
  • La Femme Nikita: the location of Section One's command center is only revealed to be in Paris, France when the center is destroyed to prevent the enemy from gaining control. The other command centers and Section One sub-centers are never revealed unless they are destroyed or are temporary installations. The locations of the missions, though, are usually shown explicitly or easy to guess.
  • In The Prisoner (1967) we never learn the location of The Village. Filming took place in Portmeirion, Wales, but this was only ever credited in the final episode, but it actually works perfectly in the context. Various parodies, as well as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, seem to concur with this analysis. That final episode also implies that it can be reached by road tunnel from the south of England, but it was such a Mind Screw that such proclamations should be taken with a grain of salt. One episode placed near Spain. And a tie-in book (of uncertain canonicity) suggested that it was in Spain.
  • The eponymous town of Eureka is never explicitly pinned down, although the whole town is supposed to be a national secret. Various episodes have narrowed it down to somewhere in Oregon, though.
  • The Adventures of Pete & Pete was described as taking place “in the mythical city of Wellsville.” Their home state is nicknamed “The Sideburn State”, and you can run or ride a lawn mower to the Canadian border in under four hours. Some vague hints suggests it’s in the East (e.g. Little Pete’s journey to the Central Time Zone, the radio station with a “W” callsign), and a few episodes put it in Michigan. Then again, New Jersey license plates and NJ Transit Buses are everywhere.
  • This happens often in Power Rangers; only Silver Hills, Washington and Turtle Cove, Colorado have been confirmed by Word of God. Most of the other seasons seem to be in California, even though post-Wild Force seasons were shot in New Zealand.
    • Angel Grove, the setting of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, has every single sort of climate imaginable: mountains on one side, forest on another, desert on another, ocean on another. It’s never outright stated where it is, but between Kirk's Rock, a “Bank of California” sign, the similarity of the name to “Los Angeles”, and all of those climates being found in Southern California, it's generally accepted as being smack-dab on top of Los Angeles, which has the minor consequence of implying differences in history there, given that Angel Grove has been shown to have been a British colony in the 1700s. Different Time Travel escapades gave the town either an Old West look or an English colonial look (although neither was meant to be that accurate anyway). Of course, Rita's telescope makes it clear that it is actually located in Japan, in what is likely Tokyo.
    • Power Rangers RPM has contradictory hints as to the location of Corinth; latitude and longitude coordinates given place it either in the center of Greenland or the middle of the Indian Ocean, whereas overhead shots, maps, and other minor clues place it in Boston. It has a desert climate, but it’s heavily implied that it was a victim of nuclear bombardment, which handwaves quite a bit there.
    • Power Rangers Samurai is set in a city that has English signs and a rather diverse group of citizens, but at the same time has ancient temples and other distinctly Japanese locations. When we eventually see someone's driver's license, it says “Panorama City, PR 649815” – which implies Puerto Rico, an unlikely location, and also uses an invalid six-digit zip code.
  • Desperate Housewives is set in the fictional town of Fairview, which is located in the equally fictitious Eagle State, although the state is rarely mentioned. This check even has a six-digit zip code, and there are fictional license plates and driver’s licenses everywhere.
  • The setting of Scrubs is an amalgam of most of California. The writers call it “San Difrangeles.” The episode “My Malpractical Decision” does have a subplot involving Turk’s new cell phone number, which has a 916 area code – this implies Sacramento, but this probably wasn’t done deliberately.
  • The eponymous town in Jericho is in Kansas, but its real-world location has been deduced to be non-existent. Maps imply that a number of major highways intersect there, when they don’t cross that way in Kansas in Real Life. It was commonly thought to stand in for Oakley, Kansas, but since the characters could see when the bomb hit Denver, Jericho must be much closer to Colorado than Oakley.
  • The exact location of CTU Los Angeles is the best-kept secret about 24. One writer at Television Without Pity attempted to triangulate it by using the driving times mentioned in the show, but they couldn't possibly correlate with each other (and that’s before you even factor in Los Angeles’ notoriously congested traffic). And when it is shown in a long shot including the backdrop of Los Angeles, it shot even those calculations all to hell. The building itself is pretty easy to find, though; it’s in the district of Westlake, just across the 110 from downtown (and a block or so from Viridian Dynamics). By Season 8, CTU is moved to somewhere in New York City.
  • My Name Is Earl is set in “Camden County”, which seems like it’s supposed to be Southern but shows evidence of California Doubling. The show does have a lot of references to real locations in northern Maryland; Greg Garcia based it off Waldorf, MD, and the state being right on the border during The American Civil War befits Camden’s history. But Garcia also pointed out that there are too many palm trees for it to really be Maryland. The county is also treated like a town in itself, and there is a consolidated city-county called Camden, but it’s in North Carolina. Wherever it is, it certainly isn't New Jersey's Camden County.
  • Raising Hope, another Greg Garcia show, is set in Natesville, another unidentified location.
  • Corner Gas is set in Dog River, Saskatchewan, whose exact location is never revealed; it’s described only as “40 kilometers from nowhere.” Characters do refer to or drive to “the city”, which could be either Saskatoon or Regina (Word of God says it’s Regina). And some of the locations in the show are actual businesses in Rouleau, Saskatchewan, which is almost exactly 40km from Regina – but the gas station itself is not.
  • Pushing Daisies is set in a large-ish city in the fictional Papen County, near the fictional small town of Coeur des Coeurs (which is either a short drive or 120 miles away). Information on them is inconsistent; the pilot hints that Papen County might be in Michigan, but a later episode shows that Coeur des Coeurs has a Massachusetts zip code.
  • None of Jonathan M. Shiff's productions explicitly state a location, although they're all set somewhere in Queensland, Australia. This works for Ocean Girl, which is set 20 Minutes into the Future on the Great Barrier Reef, but H2O: Just Add Water and Cybergirl both feature locations easily recognisable to locals (the River City Museum is actually the Brisbane Powerhouse, H2O's water park is Sea World), even though they go to great pains to avoid referencing specific areas.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard never said which state Hazzard County was in. There are a number of hints that it’s in northwest Georgia; early episodes were shot in various cities there, particularly Covington, the General Lee has Georgia plates, Daisy was once said to have “the best legs in all of Georgia,” it’s near several state borders, and there’s a reference to “the tornado of ‘74” (which might refer to the 1974 “Super Outbreak” in the area). But they do take day trips to Macon but day-long drives to Atlanta, suggesting southeast Georgia, and Hazzard, Kentucky claims credit as well. As a MAD magazine satire of the show observed:
    If we suggested that any state in the nation allowed these kinds of goings-on, they’d sue our britches off!
  • Highlander: The Series took place in an unnamed city. It was filmed in Vancouver, but all the cars had Washington State license plates, giving rise to the fanon name for the city, “Seacouver” (a portmanteau of Vancouver and Seattle).
  • Nick @ Nite's almost entirely forgettable Hi Honey Im Home has an ordinary suburban family whose neighbors stepped right out of a 1950s sitcom. The sitcom family comes from a town called “Springfield”.
    Which one?
    ...Springfield.
  • All That had Ishboo, a Funny Foreigner whose Running Gag was to avoid the subject every time someone asked him which country he was from.
  • The Sentinel takes place in the fictional city of Cascade, WA, the exact location of which is never disclosed. Jim Ellison also has the non-existent ZIP code 98765. If you follow the clues, Cascade is easy to locate – it’s Vancouver.
  • A major recurring theme in Lost is nobody knows where the island is, to the point that even those who have been there before can’t get back easily. It’s a particularly unique example, considering that it physically changes location every so often.
  • Where LazyTown is barely known. Several times it's been shown that it’s surrounded by a wasteland filled with nothing but farmland and periodic telephone poles. In addition, Wild Mass Guessing has put it everywhere from Iceland (where the show was made) to Scotland to the mountainous U.S. states.
  • The 1966 Batman series was obviously filmed in Southern California, but Gotham City’s exact location is all over the place.
    • For the most part, it’s a send-up of Big Applesauce, with different names for famous New York landmarks (like “Chimes Square”) and personalities (like “Mayor Linseed”, an analogue for then-mayor John Lindsay). Establishing shots of Gotham were usually stock footage of New York. The Batcave clocks show Gotham in the Eastern time zone, and in Batman: The Movie, Gordon has a large map of New York City in his office.
    • Then again, parts of the series seemed to embrace its California filming location. “Surf’s Up! Joker’s Under!” had a surfing sequence at “Gotham Point”, and a Mook in an earlier episode suggests that the Big Bad dispose of Batman and Robin by locking them in a room full of “California smog” (which could be evidence either way, really). Gotham’s TV and radio stations also have “K” callsigns, implying that they’re west of the Mississippi.
    • And many of the references were deliberately random or contradictory. The Joker comments on how Gotham is experiencing a power failure “just like New York!”, implying that they’re separate cities (and referencing New York’s famous 1965 blackout). The city has a “West River” that separated Gotham from “New Guernsey”. And Batman’s “Giant Lighted Lucite Map of Gotham City” has been determined, thanks to eagle-eyed viewers, to be a reverse-image map of the greater St. Louis area.
  • True Blood is set in the fictional Bon Temps, Louisiana, but its exact location was inconsistently presented until later seasons settled on making it a suburb of Shreveport, a real city in northern Lousiana. However, scenes actually shot in Louisiana are filmed in Baton Rouge and its nearby wetlands, showcasing bayous and cypress trees, which are virtually non-existent in the northern part of the state.
  • While The Wonder Years certainly looks to be set somewhere in Southern California (and a couple of episodes feature clues hinting that this is indeed the case), the exact setting is never specified.
  • Community's Greendale is placed rather ambiguously. It seems to be in Southern California from various small details in episodes, but All There in the Manual suggests it’s really in Colorado (and it was stated in-show after five seasons). It is, however, filmed at Los Angeles Community College, Dan Harmon did go to community college in California, and one episode suggests it was discovered by a Portuguese sailor (named “English Memorial”, looking for a fountain that would cure syphilis).
  • Green Acres never indicates its location. It is said to be a four-hour drive from the state capital, Springfield (which would imply Illinois). But then, the state was apparently named after former U.S. president “Rutherford B. Skrugg”, and the state animal is the kangaroo.
  • Sanctuary is set in the fictional Old City. Although they don’t advertise the country, it’s clearly set in Canada. The money is all Canadian, and the geography puts it near Vancouver. Then again, the architecture of the mostly computer-generated city looks incongruously ancient, and the Powers That Be have stated that its location is purposely ambiguous.
  • Sledge Hammer! examples:
    • In one episode, Sledge and Doreau have to bodyguard a Soviet dissident on a train, which is crossing the USA to its destination, Springfield.
    • Sledge's own city is left unidentified, but he holds the rank of Inspector — an uncommon police rank in American jurisdictions, but used in the city where the pilot episode was partially filmed, San Francisco. Which is also the home city of one of Sledge's inspirations, Dirty Harry.
  • The setting of Keeping Up Appearances is never revealed, since it is implied that the characters could exist anywhere in England, although the family are indicated as coming originally from Merseyside. In reality, the series was filmed in and around the city of Coventry and the West Midlands in general.
  • Mr. Lucky's yacht is anchored in international waters off the coast of a large city in America, but just which city — and even which part of America — is left intentionally vague.
  • Father Ted is set in Craggy Island, which is in an undetermined location off the Irish coast. The general rule is if you're heading away from it, you're going in the right direction.
    Ted: Oh no, it wouldn't be on any maps. We're not exactly New York! No, the best way to find it is to head out from Galway and go slightly north until you see the English boats with the nuclear symbol. They go very close to the island when dumping the old “glow-in-the-dark”.
  • Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street? Word of God says it's based on a neighborhood of New York, and several references in-show (such as Gordon being a Knicks fan) support this. It’s generally accepted to be in Spanish Harlem somewhere. A sketch by Obscurus Lupa and Phelous spoofs its inexact location. Muppet Wiki has all the recorded evidence.
    • A working title for the show was 123 Avenue B, the real-life address of the Saint Brigid-Saint Emeric Church in Alphabet City.
  • Most episodes of Criminal Minds take place in real cities in the U.S., mostly sizable cities such as Pittsburgh or Buffalo. However, they are known to occasionally make up places, with their locations in their state being vague. Two notable examples are North Mammon (from the eponymous episode) somewhere in Pennsylvania and West Bune from “Elephant's Memory”, located somewhere in Texas along the Mexican border.
  • Teen Wolf is set in the town of Beacon Hills, which is located somewhere in California, but pinpointing the exact location is complicated by mutually exclusive clues:
    • The local flora and geography would put it somewhere north of Sacramento and with its 95921 zip code, Beacon Hills would occupy the same location as Inskip, California.
    • Its 925 area code would place it in either Alameda or Contra Costa counties near San Francisco, 200 miles away.
    • In the episode “I.E.D.”, the sheriff says the town has a population of 30,000 people and is located in the equally fictitious Beacon County, which itself has a population of over 500,000 people. These numbers don’t match any real world demographics in California.
  • Crown Court, a 1970s British courtroom drama series which used non-actors as the jury, was set in the fictitious city of Fulchester. The programme was made by Granada TV, so the location could be assumed to be somewhere in the North West of England (though there was never any outside filming). Many of the characters of Viz comic live in a city of the same name, which is explicitly stated to be in the North East of England.
  • SCTV is set in a town called Melonville. All we know about its location is that it’s somewhere in the United States, despite SCTV being a Canadian production. A number of clues suggest that it’s a suburb of Los Angeles, but another episode makes it clear that it’s north of San Francisco, and other references suggest it’s right over the border from Canada (or at least somewhere cold). Matt Groening calls Melonville an inspiration for the Trope Namer, if only because it was its own self-contained universe where everything could happen.
  • Schitt's Creek does this deliberately. The exact location of the eponymous town is kept in the shadows by the writers so they can focus more on the residents therein and their interactions with the Rose family. While a few passing details suggest that it's located in Canada, the show deliberately avoids confirming it. It's filmed in rural Ontario.
  • On The Electric Company (1971), this is Deconstructed in an animated Western Parody that takes place in Or, Utah...
    Or, was it Montana?
  • In Are You Afraid of the Dark?, the town where the Framing Device (the kids at the campfire) takes place is never identified. This is also true of the overwhelming majority of the spooky stories the kids tell (one specifically took place in Sleepy Hollow, New York). They all seem to have a vaguely Canadian feel, though.
  • Scream Queens (2015): The location of Wallace University is never stated, with license plates left deliberately vague. The preppy environment of the campus is reminiscent of many small, private liberal arts colleges on the Eastern Seaboard, but the clues get contradictory from there. Gigi’s reference to the region having once been glaciated implies that it's in the Northeast, but Chanel referring to The American Civil War as the “War of Northern Aggression” suggests the South (though that could be more a joke about her reactionary Alpha Bitch nature, especially given that her accent is generic American).Additionally, the first season was filmed in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide: It's never explicitly stated where Polk Middle School is, but it's known to be somewhere in California as evidenced by the state flag near the school's entrance (the exterior shots of Polk are taken in Santa Clarita, which is right north of L.A.). The finale features a stand-in for Huntington Gardens, which likely confirms it.
  • Big Wolf on Campus takes place in a town called Pleasantville, whose precise location is never explained. The show was created in Canada, so it's possible it takes place there, though the fact that Tommy Dawkins idolizes Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway implies that Pleasantville is in Colorado.
  • Crime drama Line of Duty is set in an anonymous British city policed by an unnamed constabulary, which allows the writers to be flexible in how they portray police procedure and to reference events and incidents that happened in different parts of the UK. The first series was shot in Birmingham, series two and three in Belfast.
  • Riverdale continues the tradition of the original Archie Comics stories of placing its titular town somewhere in the northeastern United States. It is referred to as being close to the Canadian border and the cities of New York and Montreal, and the maple syrup industry is a major part of the local economy, placing it in either northern New England or the North Country of upstate New York. They don't really try to hide the fact that the show is filmed in British Columbia, though.
  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: While Greendale was specified as being in Massachusetts in the comic, in the show it's left ambiguous, except that it's somewhere in New England that's not Connecticut or New Hampshire (where the Church of Shadows, Madam Satan's former coven, is based). If the neighboring town of Riverdale is the same one as in the eponymous show mentioned above (both are based on Archie Comics properties), then it's likely in either Vermont or Maine.
  • Swellview from Henry Danger has never had its state revealed. It has a Hollywood sign stand-in, but has Illinois aerial shots and a zip code that aligns to Wisconsin.
  • Forest Hills from Kirby Buckets has never had its location revealed, but it is probably near the Great Lakes as it is prone to being hit by “freshwater hurricanes”.
  • On 100 Things to Do Before High School, Pootatuck Middle School’s location is never revealed, but it is most likely located in Connecticut, as every known place with “Pootatuck” in its name is in that state.
  • A Touch of Frost is set in Denton, which appears to be somewhere in the South East of England. There are multiple Dentons in England, though none of them are large enough to resemble the one in the series.
  • Darlington University from Sweet/Vicious is located in the fictional town of Westport, and while the show never pins down Westport's location in the United States, it's hinted that it's somewhere in New England, specifically a fictionalized version of the real-life college town of Burlington, Vermont. The green-and-white license plates resemble Vermont's and show that Westport is in the "Rolling Hills State", not unlike Vermont's official nickname of the Green Mountain State, and Jules and Ophelia cover up Carter's death by making it look as though he'd run off to nearby Quebec to go snowboarding. While Vermont is landlocked, and the name "Westport" would seem to imply that the town is on the coast, Lake Champlain (which Burlington is located on — and which makes up part of the state's western border, natch) is an important inland waterway.

Top

Example of:

/
/

Feedback