|Quotes • Headscratchers • Playing With • Useful Notes • Analysis • Image Links • Haiku • Laconic|
Whether because of lack of imagination, unwillingness to do proper research, writing what they know, or an assumption that the intended audience would be unreceptive to anything remotely foreign, the creators of works of fiction have an unfortunate tendency to tell stories where nothing of significance ever happens outside the home city/province/country of the creators, even in contexts where it seems extremely unlikely that it would be so.
Of course, this is often a case of global realism being sacrificed for local realism. It might seem unlikely for one place to be the focus of so much activity, but setting it in a place the author is familiar with can help to make the setting appear more full-bodied and believable. It can mean the difference between a realistic environment and The Theme Park Version.
Sometimes one country actually is more significant than most other countries in certain contexts, but provincial writers and viewers usually think their country has contributed more than any other in every way, because they have never been told otherwise. For example, believing that the Western Front was more important in World War II than the Eastern Front when even Western military experts agree that the opposite was the case.
The Throwaway Country trope is what happens when they absolutely have to mention another country.
Please note that Tropes Are Not Bad if the alternative is everything happening in New York City, Tokyo, or London. See also Cultural Posturing, Eagleland Osmosis, We All Live in America, and Hemisphere Bias. Compare and contrast Aliens in Cardiff.
See also Eiffel Tower Effect, where every other country is symbolized by a single building.
Anime and Manga
- In Sentai and Magical Girl anime, it is seldom explained why the heroes all live in such a small area that they will all encounter each other, and why supernatural villains that attack civilians only do so in areas where the heroes will learn about it. In the most extreme examples, people from the Tokyo area proper are not treated as having a Regional Accent unless the story intentionally takes place elsewhere in the country.
- This is partly because the greater Tokyo metro area, encompassing much of the Kanto plains and containing all the bedroom communities from where people may commute to work in Tokyo proper as well as Tokyo proper, has over one quarter of Japan's total population. The New York Metropolitan Area has an estimated population of about 18-21 million persons, which only represents about 6-7% of the US' total population. And these stories do leave Tokyo - though they generally don't leave Japan.
- Also, the Tokyo Dialect is used as a nation-wide standard for things like formal, "accentless" speaking and teaching. You could view it as the accents of people in other regions are being illustrated as diverging from the Tokyo Standard norm.
- Sailor Moon is especially guilty of this with the only time it was justified was in the second half of season 2 as the villains were from the future and were trying to alter Tokyo. It gets pretty ridiculous in later seasons when the villains are looking for a particular object inside of humans and somehow never decide to target people outside of Tokyo.
- In Bleach, the afterlife is just Feudal Japan with ghosts. Hollows only seem to be a problem in Japan, as we see no foreign Shinigami either. The only exception to the 'All Hollows attack Japan' rule is ironically in the Bount Filler Arc, where a disgraced Soul Reaper fought Hollows in a desert somewhere.
- There's an actual desert in Japan in Tottori. Though it's not very big.
- Particularly ethnocentric publishers will publish foreign-made works for profit but attempt to erase most if not all of the obviously alien elements. This has happened quite a bit with American adaptations of Anime.
- DC Comics are particularly guilty of this. Earth has, to date, had five well-known Green Lanterns - which is remarkable in itself, since Green Lanterns represent huge sectors of space, not individual planets - and all of them have been American males.
- Although this is justified at least initially with Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner- Abin Sur had crashed in America and told the ring to find the closest worthy person. He was in America, so Hal and Guy were the two closest.
- It continues to be justified, as at first other Green Lanterns were chosen by Hal, who by virtue of living in America would mostly meet other Americans. It's also incorrect that all of them were males... there was a female who wielded a Green Lantern ring, she simply preferred to use the name "Jade". Kyle Rayner was the first Green Lantern in a long while to be chosen without having any connection at all to a prior Lantern, but that's also justified because Ganthet, the Guardian who gave him his ring, was the same Guardian who had gone on a trip across America with Hal and Ollie, so naturally he picked a place on Earth he was familiar with to appear.
- Although this is justified at least initially with Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner- Abin Sur had crashed in America and told the ring to find the closest worthy person. He was in America, so Hal and Guy were the two closest.
- Every superpowered alien in the DC Universe- Superman, Martian Manhunter, Starfire, etc. - either chooses to live in the United States or ends up there by chance.
- Superman Red Son averts this: through a mere chance of fate, Kal-El lands not in rural Kansas but on a kolkhoz in Ukraine, and grows up to fight not for "truth, justice and the American Way", but "Stalin, socialism and the international expansion of the Warsaw Pact". While an interesting idea and attempt to explore and avert this trope, it also seems like it was simply an elaborate excuse to make a Stalin/"Man of Steel" pun.
- The Martian Manhunter has lately been written as a world traveler with multiple superhero identities in several countries, probably in recognition of this very problem. Almost all of this, of course, takes place off-camera, but that's probably an artifact of Character Focus on the Justice League of America.
- There are also superhero teams outside the U.S., but they don't normally get their own series. For instance, there's the Great Ten in China. Or Japan's Super Young Team and Big Science Action.
- The Silver Age had "Batmen of many nations", but all of them were inspired by the American Batman.
- Kilowog was an exception during his brief stay on Earth: he elected to move to the Soviet Union because his own civilization was closer to the communist way of thinking.
- The 2007 Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew miniseries seems to assume that all of Earth-C's superheroes were in the United Species of America (Earth-C's United States of America), and thus subject to the American government's anti-superhero initiative (which included removing the non-Zoo Crew heroes' powers), with the President noting at one point that thanks to the law, there are "no other superheroes on Earth!" Apparently Cornada, Verminy, and Loondon (Earth-C's Canada, Germany, and London respectively, all places mentioned or shown in the original Zoo Crew series) were superhero-less... or that the other heroes simply moving to any of those places (and thus avoiding the law) wasn't an option...
- Much worse in the Brightest Day event. Atrocitus uses his magic to divine the locations of the seven emotional entities. Two are captured by someone in Ysmault. The other five are in U.S. territory.
- Marvel Comics is also guilty, as many of their heroes are based in New York. This has been Lampshaded. Even Wolverine, who is from Canada and will kill you if you insult it, spends most of his time in America.
- One of their (once) most popular titles followed the national super-team of the UK. The X-Men lived in Australia for several years, too.
- This was lampshaded during the Decimation event when Henry Peter Gyrich remarked how now that there're no mutants around any more America wins the superpower race by default, since statistically, "happy accidents" (Like the Fantastic Four or the Hulk) and scientific progress (like Captain America) that leads to meta-humans being created happens more in America than anywhere else in the world.
- Another exception: Alpha Flight
- Both Marvel and DC actually do assume that there are superhumans living all over the globe - in fact, both have had crossovers or miniseries that existed simply to intoduce a lot of global heroes who were treated as characters that had always been there, you just never saw them before - it's just brought up infrequently, so every now and then a completely unnecessary lampshade gets hung on it by a writer who doesn't realize that there are lots of characters they've never heard of and lots of writers before them who had the same idea.
- Wolverine and the rest of the characters introduced in Giant Size X-Men #1 were intentionally designed to be a new group of mutants from around the world... they all just got recruited to go live in Westchester.
- Banshee is even a member of "Mutants Without Borders", a charity organization that helps mutants in the third world.
- The Squadron Supreme limited series takes place on an Earth suffering from near-total collapse, yet the entire story takes place in the United States. This is especially jarring given that much of the story focuses on how the Squadron's efforts are impacting the rights of individuals, yet the laws and traditions of different countries are never addressed.
- Prominent  aversion in the case of Edward Gorey. Most of his illustrated novels were set in an ersatz Edwardian England or an ersatz Europe of that era. Gorey himself never visited England, and rarely traveled outside his home state of Massachusetts.
- Averted HARD in the Argentinian comic strip (and animated movie) Boogie El Aceitoso: Despise the author being Argentinian, the titular character, Boogie, is a racist, white American hitman who hate (and kills) black people and Hispanics for fun, and most of his stories take place in the United States, or in few cases, in Central America during the many wars that happened there in the 80s, but never in Argentina. Even the author himself lampshaded the fact many times in many interviews about the topic.
- Played straight and averted by Mortadelo Y Filemon: There are plenty of stories set in other countries or as world trips (Not that they're accurate or anything), but quite a few have evil criminals, aliens or whatever that just happen to hide/go to Spain for no real reason. Best example? Expediente J. The evil aliens send a few havoc-causing Phlebotinum rocks to Spain (And accurately, around the area the main characters live at that) and when their leader appears at the end, he assumes that has caused ALL of humanity to be a mess. What?
- Although Italian Disney artists occasionaly point out that Duckburg is supposed to in North America, they tend to make the Disney characters take a particular interest in Italian history, Italian culture and Italian geography. Sometimes it's justified - You don't have to know much about tourism to realize that a restaurant with a view to the Leaning Tower of Pisa is a good investment (although you have to wonder how a busy financial tycoon like Scrooge McDuck can find the time to run the place himself) - but it seems weird that Scrooge and Rockerduck would drop everything to see who can be the first to build a bridge over strait of Messina, Sicily.
- Of course one of the major antagonists, Magica De Spell is an Italian. (though her creator is American)
- The Beano is created by DC Thomson who are based in Dundee, Scotland and their scottish origins are often clear most notably in strips based around Scotland such as the Mc Tickles, Wee Ben Nevis and Red Rory of the Eagles.
- Mexican comics tends to playing up with this trope a lot of times, since we can see some stories who take place in Mexico and others titles in other countries or outside Earth. Some notable examples:
- Most of the stories in Fantomas (the Mexican version, not the French one) take place overseas and a few times in Mexico too. The fact the titular character's nationality is unknown does help.
- Kaliman, another Mexican comic, also take place worldwide along with Mexico sometimes. And the titular character, Kaliman, hails from India and his young sidekick, Solin, is from Egypt.
- The black-and-white comic, Samurai: John Barry averts the trope really hard, since the whole series takes place in the Sengoku-era Japan (and sometimes in Europe) and all the characters are Japanese and Europeans, but we don't see a single Mexican character here.
- The highly-controversial comic, (in the U.S., at least) Memin Pinguin take place most of the time in Mexico, but some of the latter story arcs took place abroad, like in the United States and Africa.
- Soul Keepers, another Mexican comic, also avoids this trope: While some stories of the comic take place in Mexico, the titular characters, the Soul Keepers, are not Mexicans.
- Among its other alterations to canon, Light and Dark The Adventures of Dark Yagami immediately establishes the story as being in America rather than in Japan when Light notices that a car cannot be American because it does not have the wheel on the same side.
- This fic looks at the reasons for this trope's use in the recent Transformers films, by asking why there are differences at all. "White American male" is seen as the dominant subculture, but in this case it's still a conscious choice—and, sadly, probably the right one, because it's the one that most people are subconsciously more likely to accept.
- Most Neighbours fanfics are set in the fictional suburb of Melbourne that the show itself is set in. Jack Rudd's fic When Winter Shows Her Hand is set in the mostly obscure English town of Yeovil. Guess which town Jack Rudd grew up in.
- My Immortal does this constantly. For starters, Hot Topic doesn't even have a branch in the UK, or at the very least never calls that branch "Hot Topic". Every band mentioned is very American, and it is considered notable that Harry/Vampire has an English accent (not even bothering to tell us what kind of English accent). The entire "prep" subculture is American, the closest UK equivalent to "preps" being "sloanes", more or less. Of course, there's also the fact that the timescale is messed up too.
- "NO, NOT ALL OF DALLAS!" Which swas target of where they were and it was nice place and my friend lives there.
- There was either a heinous example of this or (hopefully) a brilliant parody in Evolution: "Within three months the United States officially belongs to them. And we are extinct." She could have meant "we", Americans, are extinct, but perhaps that's grasping at straws. Alternately, it may not be related to this trope at all. It could just mean "Within three months the United States officially belongs to them, and once they have THAT big of a foothold on Earth, we (humans) are screwed."
- Not sure if it truly fits here, but Independence Day wears its Americanism on its sleeve, big style, especially when we see the entire rest of the world apparently standing around waiting for the Americans to come up with a plan to defeat the alien invaders.
Thomson: It's from the Americans. They want to organize a counter offensive.
- 90% of all Godzilla (and Godzilla-related) movies takes place in Japan, (sole exceptions being Godzilla: Final Wars and Destroy All Monsters, and of course that 1998 remake) making giant monsters look less like a "World Problem" and more of a "Japanese Problem". We never have any idea if giant monsters are a problem elsewhere in the world, nor do we EVER get an "in-universe" reason why Japan is so plagued by Giant Monsters.
- There are some versions of Godzilla where this is at least justified, where Godzilla is said to be less of a literal mutant monster and more an embodiment of Japan's sins made manifest, and thus he exists to punish them for their own misdeeds. (Presumably, if other countries were to suffer similar attacks, their own kaiju would take on different forms.)
- Played straight and lampshaded in District 9. One of the talking-heads in the Mockumentary section specifically says when aliens landed on Earth, they 'did not land in New York' as they do in most Hollywood blockbusters. Instead they land in South Africa, the country of origin for most of the cast and crew.
- In Hustle And Flow, the phrase "Fuck with me" is used not to mean "Mess around" or "be a jerk to, but a colloquial "hear out my business proposition", which is only interpreted as such in Memphis, according to director Craig Brewer.
- Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is set "in the faraway land of...Toronto, Canada."
- Every movie by John Waters is set in Baltimore.
- Along the same lines, the trend broke recently but there were very strong ties between M. Night Shyamalan and Pennsylvania.
- Actor Vince Vaughn tends to use his weight as a box office draw to get his films set in his hometown of Chicago. There have been a few exceptions, but he usually gets his way.
- The Man Who Saves the World: "Two Turkish pilots and some other people went off to battle."
- Masked Luchador films (e.g., El Santo's Santo Contra La Invasion De Los Marcianos) generally treat Mexico as the most important city in the world. Whenever aliens invade the Earth, they invariably land near Mexico City.
- Todd Solondz's movies are almost always in New Jersey, but he doesn't seem to LIKE New Jersey, judging from the movies.
- All of the TV shows and films in Kevin Smith's View Askewniverse (Clerks I and II, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back) are set in his hometown of Monmouth County, New Jersey.
- One of the oldest ones in the book - H. G. Wells's The War of the Worlds. With a whole planet to invade, the Martians pick north London - and then don't bother following the refugees overseas. The story also follows the actions of a single person and what happens to him, leaving out anything and anyone he doesn't meet except for a few vague references.
- This was completely intentional of course; the aliens were merely a metaphor for how Britain's imperial subjects viewed it.
- Brian Jacques, the author of the Redwall series, is a born-and-bred Liverpooler. His multitude of jobs have led him through a multitude of Western English countrysides, and he (self-admittedly) shows off these anglicisms throughout the setting of his books and their characters (complete with Highlanders, Somerset natives and West-coast seafarers). In all but name, actually.
- The Anita Blake books may seem to be this at first, but after a few books it becomes clear that major supernatural events are happening all over the country (and sometimes world), and Anita more and more often goes/is sent abroad on her Vamp Slaying/Marshal duties.
- Urban Fantasy in general is a pretty big offender.
- Actually, with the passage of time, the Anita Blake Creator Provincialism gets WORSE. Suddenly St. Louis is the center of the world (think London, Paris, Tokyo and New York sandwiched together), with vampires and weres from all over desperately currying favor with Anita's little court as if they were the only ones who mattered. No important events happen outside St. Louis UNLESS Anita is there.
- Stephen King sets the majority of his stories in his native Maine (see Lovecraft Country). And when he started spending part of the year in Florida, he started setting some of his stories there. Several books were set in or around Boulder, Colorado, when he lived in Colorado for a while. And all of them are set in the U.S. (except the ones set in fantasy worlds) and his entire body of work has only two notable non-American characters, the English Nick Hopewell in The Langoliers and the German Kurt Dussander in Apt Pupil (the latter is because a Nazi concentration camp commander can't be American).
- It, however, does have several scenes in England; King has also written some short stories set in London.
- A memorable quote from The Butcher Boy: "It'd be a sad day for this town if the world ended."
- Narnia proper has a lot of English culture (possibly due to the first King and Queen of Narnia being a London cabbie and his wife), even among the Talking Animals, and English food - even animals that should be vegetarian will cook and eat fish or bacon. CS Lewis also depicts Middle Eastern food in Calormen. He makes it clear that the homesick Narnians think it's distasteful foreign muck - or at least gives the impression of being nothing but dessert courses - but points out that "You might not have liked it, but Shasta did." Shasta grew up in Calormen. The books were written before Middle Eastern food became popular in the UK.
- The Dragaera books, the Eastern Kingdoms are heavily based on Hungary. Author Steven Brust has Hungarian ancestry.
- In Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, Voldemort conquers all of wizarding Britain, which is essentially treated as though it were the same thing as conquering the whole world. Not to mention the fact that throughout the series Voldemort fights a war to Take Over the World in which practically everyone on both sides is British (a few foreign wizards on Voldemort's side notwithstanding). We can conclude from this that Britain is the wizarding world's superpower, which with the author being British falls squarely into this trope. Australia is assumed to be safe, since Hermione sent her parents there.
- In other words, Voldemort conquering Britain is like if someone succeeded in conquering the United States.
- The previous contender for Dark Lord, Grindelwald, was famously defeated by Dumbledore. Yet at the wedding party in Deathly Hallows the only person to recognise his symbol was Viktor Krum, who was familiar with it since he came from Durmstrang country. Perhaps Evil Overlords in the Potterverse are themselves provincialist.
- The vast majority of creatures in Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them are native to the British Isles, and some are specifically described as unique to a particular county, isle, or forest. Meanwhile, beasts native to other continents are seldom given a more specific home range than "China", "Peru", or even "Africa". Possibly an in-character example, if Rowling deliberately imposed this trope on Newt Scamander.
- Most headscratchingly, Quidditch Through the Ages notes that there are dozens of teams from other places such as the US and South America and these wizards are never referenced in the books ever. Apparently during the whole series they decided it wasn't really that important to butt in. And not to mention Goblet of Fire introduces two other wizarding schools in France and Germany with equal prestige to Hogwarts and they only receive minor references in the rest of the series.
- Used in-universe in the Ciaphas Cain novels. The editor of Cain's memoirs has to insert text from other works to give the readers the big picture, often lamenting on how Cain always focuses only on events affecting himself.
- A disproportionate amount of gay-themed romances take place in California or New England. But perhaps more will be set in the Midwest now.
- Robert A. Heinlein was so terrified of doing this that he only set his novels in places that he had personally visited, or were completely made up. He did write a bit about Mars, but his depictions thereof probably fall into the last category.
- In the illustrated children's books Barbapapa, when the titular character returns from a space travel looking for a partner, we are shown Europe with only one point of reference: the Eiffel Tower. Three guesses where the author lived...
Harry: All my stuff is there.
- In The Dark Is Rising everything important in the grand struggle for world dominion between good and evil apparently occurs in Great Britain (Ireland doesn't even come into it), specifically in three tiny villages in Cornwall, Buckinhamshire and Wales; even Scotland is only mentioned in two sentences over a five book series. The U.S. is totally irrelevant except that (1) one of the main characters has an uncle who emigrated there and (2) the U.S. sends backs its share of magically clueless tourists to the U.K. (represented by the aforementioned uncle's American wife). Lastly, while there are Old Ones (the race of magical servants of the Light/good wizards) all over the world, the ones in countries other than the U.K. don't DO anything except show up as part of a crowd in visions that our British Old One hero occasionally has, and one Jamaican Old One posts a magical MacGuffin back to our hero in England. Rome is mentioned, but only in relation to the Roman invasion of Britain, and India is only relevant because there's one scene in the last novel where one of the heroes defends a British Indian child (the son of immigrant parents) from some bullies.
- The most commonly used flume on the Earth territories in The Pendragon Adventure is in The Bronx, a quick drive away from the main character's hometown of Stony Brook, New York. The other was created during the series, and it is in Stony Brook, itself. The author, D.J. MacHale, was born there. This is later justified in the tenth book. Saint Dane created the flumes, and the Travelers were created in order to combat him. It made sense to put them in places were they had easy access to a flume.
- The works of Robert Rankin see myriad supernatural disasters threaten the world, most of which are centred on the London borough of Brentford, also notable as the area in which one Robert Rankin spent his childhood.
- Night Watch is a lot like the Harry Potter series. While magical persons are not restricted to the author's homeland (in this case Russia), everything important happens there, and while Geser and Zabulon are literally only the heads of the Light and Dark Others of Moscow, in practice, they function as the leaders of Light and Darkness in general. Finally, there is a certain amount of focus on Central Asia, which is the author's birthplace.
- ...in a completely different part of Central Asia. As in, in another country (Central Asia being a rather big place). While first book might be reasonably accused of this trope, sequels are much more cosmopolitan, happening all over the place and even outside the Earth at one time.
- According to Jodi Picoult, New England is full of sick or neglected children, Knight Templar Parents and various lonely lawyers with dysfunctional backgrounds. Picoult was born in Long Island, NY and now lives in New Hampshire.
- Percy Jackson and The Olympians, despite revolving around Greek gods, is set in modern America. Justified in the first book, where Percy is told that the Greek gods relocate to whoever happens to be the current Western powerhouse at the moment. And the new series, The Heroes of Olympus, will take the characters back to Greece and Rome.
- The Dresden Files may seem to suffer from this; for the first six books of the series or so, it seems like Chicago is the site of all the supernatural threats and disasters in the country, and every major supernatural power in the world has a vacation home or bunker there. Then the seventh book reveals that Harry and the reader was almost completely oblivious to a major Secret War (that started in Chicago, but anyways...) and some very important action has been happening on other continents. Additionally, the strongest of factions are noted for having a presence everywhere, Chicago simply being the place that Harry Dresden has "jurisdiction" over, and Harry ends up leaving the area for important, climactic battles at least a couple times in later books.
- Also, it's explicitly noted in the books that Chicago (and the Lake Michigan area generally) are supernaturally unusual, the area is thick with ley-lines and strange things that were present from time immeorial, and furthermore, the role of Chicago as a global 'cross-roads' as amplified the effect.
- A subversion occurs in that writer Jim Butcher had never visited Chicago until after he started writing the books. He's actually from Independence, Missouri (a suburb of Kansas City).
- A subtle example: The Marid Audran novels by George Alec Effinger are cyberpunk books with an unusual Arabic setting; most of the action takes place in the Levant. However, the books' main metropolis, the Budayeen, and its inhabitants, are patterned after the French Quarter of New Orleans, where Effinger lived. It's particularly clear in the characters' dialect, which will be familiar to New Orleanians or fans of A Confederacy of Dunces.
- Skulduggery Pleasant takes place in Ireland. Mostly around Dublin. It is apparently the "birthplace" of magic, and impliedly has more magical artifacts, happenings, and general weird stuff happening than any place else on Earth. Many nations would like to gain control of it, with America usually mentioned.
- By contrast, while Artemis Fowl's Ireland is a favorite of the Faries, the books themselves take place all over the world. Both series have Irish authors.
- The Nuala Anne Mc Grail novels start in Ireland (Nuala is a somewhat psychic woman from there, by ancestry) and move to Chicago. They were written by an Irish-American priest who lives in Chicago.
- Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games lives in a region located in the former Appalachians - which include Connecticut, where author Suzanne Collins lives.
Live Action TV
- A whole lot of NBC television programs are set or made in New York City.
- In Doctor Who, Britain and parts thereof are generally the centre of the universe—particularly London and the Midlands. In the classic series, there were just six stories set in North America or Asia. An Egyptian themed 4th Doctor story *still* took place in the UK.
- Even the Doctor's noticing it. "Voyage of the Damned" features him wincing when he discovers where the ship may end up crashing: Buckingham Palace. And as the climax of "Journey's End" has, his reaction to Earth being the last planet sent--and the one that didn't get sent back with the other easier alien planet-theft device--was 'Guess which one it is?'.
- Space travel is overwhelmingly British in Doctor Who. One of the few exceptions is "The Waters of Mars": the base is a realistic mix of nationalities, with the majority being American, but also including a Pakistani, a German, and a Australian...and, naturally, one of the few British residents is the commander.
- The resident Badass Crew UNIT is, despite supposedly being an international coalition, seemingly 95% British.
- Then there's the Temporal Creator Provincialism: a decent percentage of RTD era stories take place not just in Britain, but modern day Britain; generally understood as about a year ahead of the current year. Notable for a show about Time Travel.
- Lampshaded in Stargate SG-1. When the US finally decides to let the wider world in on what's been going on, many of the other world leaders are incredulous at America's arrogance in taking unilateral action that affects the entire world. And when the Air Force suggests that a multi-national Stargate effort should be headed by America, most of them balk outright.
- America isn't the only country mentioned, international cooperation is a concern and characters object to Stargate Command's America Saves The World mentality... but on the show, America is still in charge. Canada is a nearly silent partner just because they're in NORAD and the SGC shares its base with NORAD, but they're never shown in any leadership role. Russia involved itself in interstellar travel and usually is as effective as a Red Shirt Army Army. Both the civilian and military leaders of the international expedition to Atlantis are Americans.
- In Star Trek, the warp drive, the semi-sentient computer, and the transporter were all invented by Americans. This is rarely mentioned directly in the series; racist and nationalist attitudes are artifacts of the past—and often ridiculed—by the time of the original series, let alone The Next Generation and beyond. But in Star Trek Enterprise, which takes place a good hundred years before the original series (and was made more recently, in a less idealistic time), Reed, who is British, laments that if some of those discoveries had been made by Brits, Earth probably wouldn't be held in check by the Vulcans as much as they are. Trip, the nice Southern engineer, claims that Americans have done most of the heavy lifting regarding technology, a common, if inaccurate, American conceit.
- It should be noted that at least one Enterprise executive was influenced by a series of essays by Sal Lagonia that suggested the Federation was likely formed from the victorious powers from WW 3 - I.E. The Americans and English, and therefore the Anglo-Amercancentrism may have been intentional.
- Star Trek Enterprise's title sequence is biased towards American space and aviation achievements. The Russians (or even the German V2 rocket and the British jet engine for that matter) seem to have been ignored. One interviewer took the question to the show's story editor, which explains everything about why this happened:
Trek Brasilis: Talking about NASA, don't you think some scenes like Yuri Gagarin, Mir Space Station or Sputnik are missing from the opening sequence?
- In the Enterprise episode "Zero Hour", the villains (a group of alien Nazis) are revealed to have invaded the majority of America, and are currently making a final push across the country. A map in their headquarters shows that their "invasion" inexplicably stops at the borders of both Canada and Mexico, and that the invasion is solely focused on conquering America.
- Also consider the fact that in five series, an overwhelming number of the characters, particularly if they are in command, are American. Minus Picard, all the captains are American. We rarely hear of captains with Asian names, Indian names, African names, or even European names. It also applies to the ships too; here's a comprehensive list of all Star Trek starships. Though there are several non-Anglo names, they make up a rather small percentage...
- And only twelve out of several hundred are immediately recognisable as names carried by Royal Navy ships - the rest are mainly American...
- On a larger scale, consider that the Federation is supposed to be an equal partnership of dozens of alien races, each with their own unique history and culture... yet there's not a single Federation starship that isn't named after some person, place, or event that is only significant to the humans of Earth. (Though some non-canon novels do have some; for example, the Oraidhe in Diane Duane's Intellivore is named after a mountain on Trill, as befits its Trill captain.) You mean aside from ships such as the U.S.S. Sarek, the U.S.S. T'Kumbra
- Quantum Leap made a rod for its own back by establishing that Sam Beckett could speak several foreign languages. He should have been fine with leaping outside the USA, but he hardly ever did—not even to Canada. The last season did have some episodes set in more exotic locales, but there was usually an American connection. (In one show, Sam is adrift in the Aegean Sea—with Brooke Shields. Lucky man.)
- In every season of Power Rangers, all alien attacks take place in one town. In the first five seasons, it was the same town every year—Angel Grove. Since season seven, Lost Galaxy, it has at least been a new town each year. Most of these cities (including Angel Grove) are located in California - as near as we can tell, anyway. Fanon and/or Word of God does place some of them outside of CA, but still in the Western US (in states such as Washington, Colorado, and Oregon). Power Rangers RPMs city of Corinth has some Easter Eggs pointing to Boston, the hometown of that season's first Executive Producer. Only Lost Galaxys city of Terra Venture definitively escapes this, being a space colony.
- The opening of Rhoda (the The Mary Tyler Moore Show Spin-Off) has Rhoda tells us "I was born in the Bronx, New York in December, 1941. I've always felt responsible for World War II." It was meant as a joke about how Rhoda wasn't that smart.
- The documentary series America: The Story of Us, is devoted not simply to the European presence in what is now the United States, but specifically to the presence of English-speaking Europeans. It begins with the 1607 landing at Jamestown, as if Cortés or Ponce de Leon or the city of St. Augustine, Florida (founded 1565) had simply never happened. Justified as it's specifically a documentary about how the United States arose and developed, not a documentary European colonization of the Americas altogether. Florida didn't become U.S. territory until 1819, so Florida's history under Spanish rule doesn't become relevant for the program's purpose until the First Seminole War. It'd be like starting off a history of the Roman Empire with the construction of the pyramids in Egypt.
- Every episode of the latter two seasons of French Canadian sci-fi comedy series Dans Une Galaxie Pres De Chez Vous opens with a Star Trek-like speech which includes the line:
"The planetary federation turned to the first world power... Canada. It's Canadian know-how that allows the launch, on October 28th 2034, of the spaceship Romano-Fafard which left Earth towards the confines of the universe."
- The reason this line only appears in the latter two seasons is that the Canadian government refused to renew the show's grant due to a lack of "Canadian content". The show itself has plenty of Creator Provincialism, but it's not usually that blatant and usually Played for Laughs as a parody of Star Trek and its Aliens Speaking English.
- Russian television can only have scenes: a) Moscow, St. Petersburg, suburbs thereof, b) an unnamed and imaginary rural community utterly lacking geographical coordinates of any sort, c) Abroad, with a capital A, characterized by either rampant espionage, crime, international terrorism, and other miscellaneous Wackiness Ensues, and/or insanely exaggerated national color (hijabs and/or pickups&shotguns for everyone, no exceptions whatsoever).
- Highlander the Series is a joint French and American production. The series constantly switches between two main settings: an unnamed North American city and Paris. (The former is actually based on two cities, Vancouver, British Columbia and Seattle, Washington. Thus the nickname "Seacouver".) While Immortals and their Watchers are supposedly active around the world, there is little mention of any events outside these two locations. A handful of episodes take place in Scotland or feature brief scenes in the Ukraine, Iraq, etc., but that is it for present day content. Flashbacks were better at having characters and events placed around the world. Even if the main character can just wait around for other Immortals to come to him as There Can Be Only One, the lack of movement still qualifies as playing this trope straight.
- The Earth Alliance, The Twelve Colonies, the Federation, the future Earth (and probably many other examples) all have the same political system that the USA has. A presidential regime with a president and a vice-president elected for 4 years, a line of succession in case of death of the president and members of government called "secretaries". While this kind of system is not the most common among democracies. Futurama's Earth has even the same flag! This led to the sub-trope: United Space of America.
- Especially painful in the case of Babylon 5, since the show specifically states that the Earth Alliance is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. Yet it's government is based on the American system.
- Supernatural is made of this trope, especially seasons 4 and 5. While the other seasons can kind of be excused as none of the events that are happening are particularly notable in-universe and could be happening elsewhere as well. ALL of the events related to the Apocalypse and the final battle between good and evil take place in the US. Even with a limited TV budget, you'd think they could've at least spent a day in Canada or something. Considering Supernatural is mainly filmed in Canada...
- In Sliders, California is the nexus of The Multiverse. Every single point of historical divergence emanates from the west coast.
- Except for Firefly, every Joss Whedon show has been set in southern California. This does avoid California Doubling.
- The Mexican soap opera El Pecado de Oyuki (Oyuki's Sin) was one of the first Mexican TV series that doesn't take place in Mexico, since almost all the characters are Japanese. There's a few foreigners, but all of them are Europeans (mostly British) but we don't see any single Mexican character in the TV series (Besides the fact that the forests of Cuernavaca were used to simulate the Edo-era Japan.)
- Also regarding telenovelas, most Brazilian soap operas take place in Rio de Janeiro (HQ of the biggest TV station, Globo) or São Paulo (where the other major stations are located).
- Kamen Rider, like its sister franchise Super Sentai, has everything important happen in Japan. Some series have excuses: [[Kamen Rider Hibiki Hibiki focuses on Oni and various Japanese spirits, Kabuto's monsters are aliens who came to Earth on a meteor that landed in the Shibuya district of Tokyo, and Fourze focuses on a single school because the Big Bad is its owner, the teahers are his minions, and they hand out Monster of the Week trinkets to students. Some series aren't quite so justified, though; mostly the Showa series, where the supposedly international terrorist organizations would only attack Japan instead of going after a country that didn't have a costumed superhero protecting it.
- In the manga Kamen Rider Spirits, the evil space empire Badan attacks the whole world, with the Kamen Riders and their allies splitting up to take them on wherever they appear. The attack is still mostly concentrated on Tokyo, though this is because it was the seat of Badan's power in the past and they see it as "reclaiming what's ours". Even earlier, the first chapter is set in New York City, where Rider ally Kazuya Taki has been telling local kids about the Kamen Riders, causing at least one to muse about how much it sucks that America doesn't have one.
- Some tech or web companies from California's Bay Area or Silicon Valley usually show their publicity in their home region.
- Guess what is Yelp's default city.
- In Warhammer 40000, in the older background, it was hinted that the Golden Throne was not only in Britain but also in Nottingham, where Games Workshops' headquarters are situated. Newer material makes it more likely to be somewhere in Eastern Europe, where the Emperor is supposed to have arisen. At least, if the Throne is anywhere near the center of his palace, which covers much of Eurasia.
- BattleTech located the original court of the Star League, the court from which all of human-inhabited space was briefly ruled, in Seattle, where FASA just incidentally had some of their offices.
- Also, up untill the source books published post-FASA's Demise, most of the Successor States didn't really adhere to their alleged adopted cultures to any great degree beyond a few token words and all tended to be written as Ersatz Americas.
- Speaking of FASA, another major universe of their's, Shadowrun, has its default setting being future-Seattle. Other locations are given some description in suppliments, but not as much detail as Seattle and its surrounding area recieves.
- The original GURPS Time Travel postulated one alternate world called "Campbell", where the science fiction editor John W. Campbell died, therefore not encouraging science fiction writers, which in turn meant that students were not inspired to go into the sciences and science hasn't developed since the end of World War II. The version in the revamped GURPS Infinite Worlds lampshaded the provincialism in this concept by pointing out that since science stopped all over the world, not just in the United States, some suspect a different cause.
- The majority of the action in Rifts takes place in the (post-apocalyptic) central United States and southern Canada—not coincidentally, areas near the location of its publishing company.
- However, there are sourcebooks for almost every other part of the world (South America, Africa, Germany, Russia, etc.) including other regions of the U.S. (New England, the Southwest, etc.).
- In the Dresden Files RPG, it is assumed that you know a large city to base your game on. this can be hard if you live in a country that doesn't have enough inhabitants to have that kind of large city's with lots of neighborhoods.
- Or live in the suburbs and don't go into the main parts of the city that much. Or just don't get out much. Or haven't heard of many strange rumors in your city. Or have a bad sense of direction. Or... well, there are a lot of issues with the book's near-insistence that you base your campaign setting on your home city as closely as possible. It essentially takes the gamemaster's and players' embodiment of this trope, IE that they'll know everything about the area where they live and consider it a wonderfully fascinating and interesting place for adventures, for granted.
- The Grand Theft Auto series of games is, in theory, set in America, but is made by Scottish developer DMA Design/Rockstar North; Americans who play it can tell this is neither real America nor quite Hollywood America. A lot of place-names in San Andreas are thinly-disguised ones from Scottish cities. There's also an exact replica of the Forth Rail Bridge. Rockstar are based in Edinburgh and Dundee, and evidently like their in-jokes.
- The bridge next to it is modelled after the Forth Road Bridge, which in real life is also next to the rail bridge.
- After production of Sonic the Hedgehog shifted over Stateside, the story primarily centred on the apparently world-dominating United Federation, complete with a president and a San Francisco analogue. Shadow the Hedgehog expands on it: while other cities are said to be under attack, only the UF is shown, and the Big Bad seems to think the UF President controls the entire planet.
- Naturally, BioWare have decided the one Earth location in Mass Effect 3 should be Vancouver (which is merged with Seattle into a single city)...
- Averted in Halo 2 and 3. When the Covenant come to attack Earth, the goal of of their efforts was located in Africa, specifically around south-eastern Kenya. Bungie (founded in Chicago and moved to Seattle before the release of Halo) said in a panel discussion that this aversion was deliberate.
- Sim City can allow a player to build any kind of city or those that resemble one from the world, but unfortunately, all cities wind up suffering from looking like a place from Southern California.
- Sim City 4 is probably the worst offender of this, as everything, from the Empire State building having palm trees to the BART-style transportation systems to the drab adobe/earthtone colors of the standard buildings and even the terrain all drive the fact that the creators based everything on their California home.
- Both Command and Conquer settings play with this a bit: every game in the series bar the original has had at least one or two missions set in the United States. Done hilariously in Red Alert 3 where the Empire of the Rising Sun invades the US at Los Angeles, where EA's offices are. The Empire, controlled by the player, can then target and demolish said offices...
- Averted in X-COM where you establish a truly international force, encounter aliens all over the world, and have countries cut their contribution to your funding if you ignore them.
- The reboot changes the setting to an Agency in Cold War America, with all the Deliberate Values Dissonance that implies. While it makes sense that America would focus on protecting their own backyard before the rest of the world, especially since they seem to have several people the Aliens want, fans were not amused.
- Mostly averted in the Resistance series; developer Insomniac is based in the USA, but the first game was set entirely in
EnglandGreat Britain (despite having an American lead character who saves the day) and the sequel, while mostly taking place in America, also features Iceland and Mexico, and it's made very clear that the alien invasion has decimated the whole world. Only the third game is solely set in America. PSP game Retribution also shows western Europe.
- A common fan complaint is that Florida-based Tiburon, developers of the NCAA Football series, overrate players from Florida schools and the SEC and correspondingly underrate players from other parts of the country.
- Resident Evil 3 Nemesis 's Raccoon City is a supposed to be a modern, Midwestern, American city, but the size of the streets and presence of extensive back-alleys and shopping arcades are clear evidence that Raccoon was based on a contemporary Japanese city. For reference, many of the streets are blocked by a single, longitudinal car across the road. When's the last time you [Americans] saw a road that narrow, especially in a city of over 100,000 residents? Further games in the series that revisit Raccoon, however, seem to retcon them to the proper width.
- The first two Fallout games took place on the west coast, particularly in California, home of Interplay Entertainment. When Maryland-based Bethesda Softworks acquired the franchise, they set Fallout 3 in Washington DC. You can even visit the company's ruined headquarters in the game. Though this may have been done deliberately to avoid having to follow the previous games' canon.
- Hits simulation racing games pretty hard. Gran Turismo 5 , developed in Japan, has a car list of over 1000, and about 150 of those are Nissans. Most of the cars in the game hail from Japan.
- The Forza Motorsport series, developed in the United States, has a fairly even distribution between modern cars across the continents, but in classic cars, it's almost entirely classic muscle and high end supercars from the 60s-80s.
- Parodied in the first strip of Wonderella
- All of the Kids in Homestuck are American, and the fate of the rest of the world gets shown all of once when Becsprite blows Jade's meteor up and is briefly shown eradicating a nameless city in either Australia or Southest Asia and basically vaporizing the entire Pacific Ocean. Justified perhaps in that the game they're playing is a limited release beta made by an American developer.
- At times, This Very Wiki. Uses of phrases like "our part of the world" and so on, especially when used to contrast with other cultures and nations, reveal the assumptions of the troper responsible.
- Note how much of this page is essentially complaining about Americans setting things in America, with only a smattering of noting that other nationalities do the same. This trope would obviously be near-universal across the world, but because a lot of tropers focus on Americans and what they do "wrong" (or "right"), the examples are mostly about American provincialism.
- Any film that underperforms in the United States is considered a failure, even when the international gross is high (as shown in this article, where The Prestige - which grossed over $100 million internationally - and Terminator Salvation - which grossed almost $400 million worldwide - are counted as flops).
- Though this might be due to the studios themselves considering it that way. American studios seem to base the decision on whether a movie gets a sequel or not purely off of the American gross, and if that's low then they don't put much effort into the franchise thereafter, which doubtlessly enhances this perception among the public.
- Much of Homestar Runner's Atlanta origins appear on the website. One example is a Teen Girl Squad episode where Strong Bad appears and asks Cheerleader to go to Rally's with him (or Checker's or Sonic or whatever is in the show's universe). Rally's, Checker's and Sonic are restaurant chains best known in the South.
- An episode of the animated series Freakazoid had Freakazoid traveling back in time to prevent World War II by preventing the Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor in 1941. In Real Life, World War II started in 1939 or earlier - America simply didn't fight in it until 1941. Freakazoid quietly assumed that World War II did not exist until the United States was attacked, completely ignoring earlier events that did not directly involve the United States such as Japan's invasion of China in 1937 and Germany's invasion of Poland in 1939. This has Unfortunate Implications, as such an action would have significantly lengthened the war and made a Japanese victory possible.
- To be fair, this is Freakazoid we're talking about, a man who made his own hand his sidekick and then married it to his other hand. We should consider ourselves lucky that he even got as much right as he did.
- In Transformers Animated, a number of the Transformers seem to have accents which, by Earth standards, would come from different countries (Blitzwing is German, Jetfire and Jetstorm are Russian, Master Yokestron appears to be some form of Japanese, and so on). But there's rarely more than one of any non-American accented Transformer, and the majority of accents are American.
- Averted in Transformers Cybertron, where everyone's accents are all over the freaking map for no particular reason.
- The ghosts of Danny Phantom can turn invisible and fly incredibly long distances... yet, even after the presence of the half-ghost superhero in Amity Park who beats them time and again becomes well-known, they never try making their debut somewhere else and coming for Amity Park when they're a bit more established. The rest of the world is also suspiciously inactive about the whole "ghosts exist!" thing when it gets out; the only sign that it even exists is the occasional Guys in White attack or Danny having to pursue a ghost he wasn't able to stop in Amity Park for some reason.
- The French series Once Upon a Time… Man (French: Il était une fois… l'homme) has its own problems on occassion. In 26 episodes, aired between 1979 and 1981, the show covers world history from the birth of planet Earth and the evolution of life up to the 1970s. While fairly accurate and attempting to be objective, the show covers important events and eras as seen from a Western perspective. Most of the action takes place in Europe, Western Asia and North Africa. Figures like Pericles, Julius Caesar, Muhammad, Charlemagne and Peter I of Russia get entire episodes devoted to them. But the cultures of the rest of Asia, Africa and pre-Colombian America are hardly represented. For example, out of the entire history of China, only Kublai Khan gets the spotlight treatment and then only through his interactions with Marco Polo.
- Unlike a number of examples on this page, this can at least be justified as budget constraints. You can only condense so much global history into 26 episodes at 25 minutes each without becoming too general; as such, it makes sense for an educational children's TV series to show the history of places that are the most immediately important for them—which is, for a French kid, Europe and surroundings.
- The creators tried to make up for this by making a sequel entitled Once Upon A Time...In America, which focused on the history of the Americas, including pre-Colombian times.
- Unlike a number of examples on this page, this can at least be justified as budget constraints. You can only condense so much global history into 26 episodes at 25 minutes each without becoming too general; as such, it makes sense for an educational children's TV series to show the history of places that are the most immediately important for them—which is, for a French kid, Europe and surroundings.
- Of course, American kid shows with a world history theme tend to be guilty of the same thing: Histeria! did two episodes each on the American revolution and the American civil war (in addition to dealing with these events in other episodes as well), while in Time Squad, every other location and period the squad visited was in the U.S. after 1776.
- An inordinate large number of GI Joes are from the small state of Rhode Island for a reason: Hasbro's headquarters are located there.
- The Battletoads cartoon pilot. Of all the places on the Insignificant Little Blue Planet where T. Bird could find three dudes to turn into Battletoads, he had to pick Oxnard, California.
- "Losing My Religion" by REM. The title is a common expression for loss of temper in Georgia (where the band hails from) and other Southern states, but elsewhere ... not so much. The band didn't realise that the majority of the English-speaking world would be having to guess what they were on about (and therefore make the wrong assumptions).
- Elton John's "Social Disease," a country-western tribute in which the tequila-swilling cowboy "gets bombed for breakfast... dinnertime and tea," and his landlady lives "in a caravan" (trailer).
- Genesis The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway is a Concept Album about a Puerto Rican street punk living in the streets of New York City, yet Britisher Peter Gabriel's lyrics refer to "notes and coins" (dollars and cents) and "progressive hypocrites" (liberal hypocrites).
- Ludacris' song "Move Bitch" says that he is 'doing 100 on the highway, so if you do the speed limit, get the fuck outta my way...' which is funny when heard by people in countries using the metric system, considering 100 km/h (62 mph) is usually lower than most highway speed limits in those places.
- Not to mention that in Germany, the highways don't have speed limits.
- Google Translate used to translate 华裔女孩 as "Chinese-American girl", when it simply means a girl of Chinese descent who is not a Chinese citizen, without any reference to America. Really guys, the whole world is not the United States. It has now been changed, however.
- It should be noted that Google Translate uses automated algorithms that compare different translations of websites instead of the translations being defined by hand, which can result in errors like this.
- Google Translate also appears to sporadically convert things like placenames, names of bands or artists and other terms that are rarely used outside of the language from their area from the original text into ones local to the language it's translating to, rather than maintaining the one that makes more sense in the original context. Phrases like "Raggende manne komt naar de Efteling" are translated to "Sabaton is coming to the Big Ben." (Although sometimes the words remain untranslated when used in a slightly different sentence.)
- Similarly the tendency to refer to black people as African American regardless of whether or not they're actually American. Jay Leno's wife, while being interviewed about a do-gooder's trip she took to Africa, said she was very happy to have helped so many "African-American Africans". Insert eye-roll here.
- On the other hand, there are many black people who don't refer to themselves as African. While their heritage might stretch back to Africa, many Afro-Caribbean people refer to themselves by their Caribbean heritage, and will say they're Bahamian, Jamaican, etc., instead of African. For example, at least one article has referred to Lenora Crichlow as African-American, despite her being neither (She's British, and her father is from Trinidad.)
- The tendency to refer to black people as African American regardless of the number of generations they have lived in USA and haven't step a foot in Africa can be considered as an inversion of this trope.
- The term African American seemed to begin as an example of Political Correctness Gone Mad, since some groups began to consider the term "black" offensive. It seems that in recent years, people have relaxed a little and "black" is become more acceptable again, likely because of this.
- This also causes some confusion transatlantically where "Black" has been seen as a more socially acceptable term in the UK than the US. There has been at least one case American interviewer referring to a black British athlete as "African American" and getting a response that basically ammounted to "No, I'm Black British..."
- This gets a lampshade in (of all things) The Venture Bros, where one character is a Blackula Hunter and specifically remarks that he doesn't know the politically correct term for a black vampire, since he doesn't just fight African-American vampires.
- Additionally, Hank and Dean Venture have had a hard time finding African America on a map or globe.
- A London newspaper made a ranking of "most appropriate cities to be the world's capital" (without explaining why). Guess which was number one.
- Unintentionally invoked by the insistence of a few US writers and pundits on referring to certain British newspapers as 'The Times of London' or 'The Manchester Guardian' several decades after they ditched their location-specific names. (The Times has never been called The London Times, or any variation thereof, in its two-and-a-bit centuries of printing, and was the first newspaper to ever use the term "Times", making it a cross between this trope and Did Not Do the Research.) Any British newspaper that still has a location-specific name is devoted to reporting news which affects that local area and that area alone. (The story about the one that reported the sinking of the Titanic with the headline "Local Man Lost At Sea" is probably apocryphal, but not wholly unrepresentative.) Bill Bryson discussed this with typical wit and insight in Notes From A Small Island.
- There's also the apocryphal headline "Fog over Channel - Continent Isolated".
- Probably a justified trope in the case of the Times - Americans might get confused with the equally famous New York Times.
- The alleged issue of "East Coast bias" in North American sports, which claims that, since most sportswriters are based in New York City, they give undue focus to teams in the eastern half of the country (and particularly franchises in the Northeast) and short shrift to teams out west. Whether it exists or not, to what extent it exists, and other questions are probably best left to another article.
- Wondering why so many Chinese restaurants claim to cook Hunan-style? When Richard Nixon went to China, he was greeted with a lavish banquet. Whenever he'd find a dish he particularly enjoyed, he'd ask Chairman Mao where it came from; and Mao, having grown up in the Hunan province, would always say it was from the Hunan area. Nixon came back singing the praises of Hunan-style cuisine.
- Aversion: the 1996 Olympic Games did not happen in Atlanta because it's the headquarters of IOC sponsor Coca-Cola. Greece, where the games originated and were expecting to host again (it was the Modern Olympics centennial), still took out their anger on Coke bottles.
- (it sticks out like a sore thumb)