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Author Topic: TV shows set in cities that get city features horribly wrong  (Read 40880 times)

roadman

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TV shows set in cities that get city features horribly wrong
« on: October 04, 2013, 09:38:04 AM »

My comment about a Cheers episode in the "You're too old if ..." thread reminded me of a gaffe in that same episode, when the closing scene in It's a Wonderful Life was interrupted by a breaking news alert that "Boston Airport" was closed (it's been called, and known as, Logan Airport for several decades now).

Can anybody recall similar gaffes on popular TV shows or movies?  Note that cases where private brands or properties were deliberately re-branded or mislabeled to avoid possible trademark permission or "free advertising" issues don't count.
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Big John

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Re: TV shows set in cities that get city features horribly wrong
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2013, 10:02:34 AM »

One episode of Picket Fences had this.  (Though not set in Green Bay, was set in a fictional town close to it.) Had a big issue with Green Bay bussing all their minority African-American students to their town.  If you look at Green Bay demographics, you see that native Americans and Hmong are the largest minority populations and blacks make up a very small minority, not enough students in the whole city to fill the school buses shown on that show.
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kkt

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Re: TV shows set in cities that get city features horribly wrong
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2013, 01:05:52 PM »

My comment about a Cheers episode in the "You're too old if ..." thread reminded me of a gaffe in that same episode, when the closing scene in It's a Wonderful Life was interrupted by a breaking news alert that "Boston Airport" was closed (it's been called, and known as, Logan Airport for several decades now).

That's probably just for familiarity to viewers who aren't from New England and haven't traveled through there.  If Cheers had been set in Atlanta, they would have referred to the Atlanta Airport, not Hartsfield-Jackson.
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spooky

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Re: TV shows set in cities that get city features horribly wrong
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2013, 01:20:04 PM »

Rizzoli and Isles is set in Boston and consistently refers to an institution of higher learning abbreviated BCU. At first I thought they were going for a combination of BC (Boston College) and BU (Boston University), which would result in a rather anachronistic "Boston College University", but it turns out their fake college is Boston Cambridge University.

Note that cases where private brands or properties were deliberately re-branded or mislabeled to avoid possible trademark permission or "free advertising" issues don't count.

Note that Rizzoli and Isles definitely falls under this heading, since they rebrand many things about Boston - the Marathon, the Red Sox, etc. Plus no one ever drinks Dunkin' Donuts coffee.
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PHLBOS

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Re: TV shows set in cities that get city features horribly wrong
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2013, 01:30:20 PM »

In the series Spin City which is supposed to take place in NYC; one outside shot was of US 30 Westbound (Admiral Wilson Blvd.) in Camden, NJ that showed a BGS for I-676 North (directing motorsits to the Ben Franklin Bridge & Philadelphia).  I nearly died when I saw that scene, since I used that road and passed by that BGS everyday when commuting from work in Pennsauken at the time.

Another Cheers error was in the episode that involved Sam, Norm & Cliff sky-diving; the opening scene has Sam & Rebecca going through some marketing suggestions for the bar. 

One suggestion Sam read off was for the bar to offer a Happy Hour; Rebecca replied back, "Not legal in the State of Massachusetts.".  Massachusetts is a Commonwealth.

Road-geek Cheers error: when Woody & Sam get into his (Sam's) Corvette (w/Woody behind the wheel) to head north, Woody reads off the I-93 signs not only using an older set of exit numbers (I forget whether the numbers he read were the original ones (25=128) or the ones from the early 1970s) but the first one he reads off (supposedly just after getting on I-93 North from the bar in Boston) off (for Concord Road IIRC) is near/at Wilmington. 

Note: the episode in question was made after 1987 (when I-93's exit numbers changed to its present numbers).

My comment about a Cheers episode in the "You're too old if ..." thread reminded me of a gaffe in that same episode, when the closing scene in It's a Wonderful Life was interrupted by a breaking news alert that "Boston Airport" was closed (it's been called, and known as, Logan Airport for several decades now).

That's probably just for familiarity to viewers who aren't from New England and haven't traveled through there.  If Cheers had been set in Atlanta, they would have referred to the Atlanta Airport, not Hartsfield-Jackson.
The Jackson part of ATL's official name didn't come about until the 2000s well after Cheers ended.  :)

As far your stated reasons for using a generic airport name rather than the actual name is concerned; while there might be some validity to that reason, it's rather shallow... especially since the show was well into its 6th season when this particular episode aired.  One would think the writers would know the proper names for most Boston area features & landmarks by then and use them for authenticity purposes.

If Cheers was set in NYC, would New York Airport refer to LaGuardia or JFK?
« Last Edit: October 04, 2013, 01:43:15 PM by PHLBOS »
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Re: TV shows set in cities that get city features horribly wrong
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2013, 01:31:42 PM »

The first episode of Star Trek Enterprise depicts a Klingon ship crashing in Broken Bow, Oklahoma. Unfortunately, the Broken Bow in Star Trek looks nothing like the real thing; Broken Bow is in hilly, forested SE Oklahoma, while the TV version looked more like Iowa.
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NE2

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Re: TV shows set in cities that get city features horribly wrong
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2013, 01:40:10 PM »

holy crap 555 phone numbers
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Re: TV shows set in cities that get city features horribly wrong
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2013, 01:59:40 PM »

holy crap 555 phone numbers

That's not an error, it's a feature.  Otherwise, you have people calling the number a la 867-5309.
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PHLBOS

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Re: TV shows set in cities that get city features horribly wrong
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2013, 03:41:46 PM »

holy crap 555 phone numbers

That's not an error, it's a feature.  Otherwise, you have people calling the number a la 867-5309.
Or, going back a couple decades; Beechwood 4-5789... the original version done by the Marvelettes.
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Re: TV shows set in cities that get city features horribly wrong
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2013, 05:54:04 PM »

Rizzoli and Isles is set in Boston and consistently refers to an institution of higher learning abbreviated BCU. At first I thought they were going for a combination of BC (Boston College) and BU (Boston University), which would result in a rather anachronistic "Boston College University", but it turns out their fake college is Boston Cambridge University.

That/'s almost as bad as the REAL college UMUC. "University of Maryland University College" I mean come on couldnt they shorten that to just "Maryland Univ" or "U of MD" or something else.
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Re: TV shows set in cities that get city features horribly wrong
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2013, 10:28:22 PM »

Step by Step (from ABC's old TGIF lineup). Lake Michigan looked more like an ocean in the opening credits. There isn't an amusement park in Port Washington, Wisconsin, (don't think there ever has been...the county fair grounds are further south in Cedarburg), let alone one that looks like a Six Flags theme park. IIRC, they did correctly reference taking I-43 up to Green Bay to watch the Packers, and I think they did have the population fairly accurate on the sign in the opening credits.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2013, 10:31:15 PM by DaBigE »
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Re: TV shows set in cities that get city features horribly wrong
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2013, 03:32:02 AM »

That's almost as bad as the REAL college UMUC. "University of Maryland University College" I mean come on couldnt they shorten that to just "Maryland Univ" or "U of MD" or something else.

Technically UMUC is a part of the University System of Maryland that operates nontraditional (distance learning) degree programs. Just to be confusing there are several other "University of Maryland" universities, most famously the University of Maryland, College Park that is home to the "Maryland" D-I athletic teams. See  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_System_of_Maryland
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Re: TV shows set in cities that get city features horribly wrong
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2013, 04:05:30 AM »

Psych is set in Santa Barbara yet many outdoor scenes give away its British Columbia filming location.
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roadman65

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Re: TV shows set in cities that get city features horribly wrong
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2013, 09:59:21 AM »

I have seen on the 80's sitcom The Facts of Life where Natalie learns to drive on a street in California.  The thing is the show takes place in Peekskill, NY thousands of miles away.

In the filming you will see California mast arms and backplate signaling!  In NYS the official signals are span wires and the few mast arms they have have no backplates!

On an episode of the A Team where the team went to NYC, many street shots were filmed in California and are visibly noticable.

In Kojak, the show is about the Manhattan South precinct in NYC, yet you see Kojak walking around California scenes as well.

I Dream of Jeannie takes place in Cocoa Beach, FL yet you often see mountains in the backround when showing Downtown Cocoa Beach.  In reality Florida does not have any mountain ranges or even a foothill for this matter.

Into the movies, in Smokey and the Bandit (1977 when Coors Beer was illegal to have east of Texas) as the characters traveled through Arkansas you can catch a glimpse of a Georgia route shield in one scene.
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Sheryl Crowe

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Re: TV shows set in cities that get city features horribly wrong
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2013, 10:29:10 AM »

CBS once had the drama Judging Amy with Amy Brenneman. The show was set in and around Hartford (as Amy is a grad of Glastonbury High School, class of 1982). Except for an exterior building shot or two, I never saw anything filmed in and around this area.
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Re: TV shows set in cities that get city features horribly wrong
« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2013, 10:34:37 AM »

Well, you can just lump together any shows that are filmed in California but take place elsewhere. The Office—Scranton, PA anyone? Actually, I'm impressed at the amount of care that seems to have been put into making CA look like PA, even though it's not a terribly good approximation to those of us familiar with both locales. They avoid showing desert flora or large mountains, shoot scenes in older-looking neighborhoods, and you don't see too many shots of concrete freeway overpasses and so on.
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Re: TV shows set in cities that get city features horribly wrong
« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2013, 12:51:41 PM »

IIRC, in one of the later seasons of Stargate SG-1 there's a car chase that I think is supposed to be in Colorado, yet the BGS's resemble those in BC.
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Re: TV shows set in cities that get city features horribly wrong
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2013, 01:13:30 PM »

Many of the Alaska scenes in the movie The Proposal were actually shot in Rockport, MA with an mountainous backdrop added/photoshopped.
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Re: TV shows set in cities that get city features horribly wrong
« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2013, 03:04:37 PM »

An episode of Seinfeld featured a section of freeway allegedly in Ohio, but is very obviously from California, with Bott's dots and Caltrans-spec signage in all. I think that this is a section of I-105, but I'm not sure.
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Re: TV shows set in cities that get city features horribly wrong
« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2013, 03:06:42 PM »

Step by Step (from ABC's old TGIF lineup). Lake Michigan looked more like an ocean in the opening credits. There isn't an amusement park in Port Washington, Wisconsin, (don't think there ever has been...the county fair grounds are further south in Cedarburg), let alone one that looks like a Six Flags theme park. IIRC, they did correctly reference taking I-43 up to Green Bay to watch the Packers, and I think they did have the population fairly accurate on the sign in the opening credits.

That is because it was filmed at Six Flags Magic Mountain in California.
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roadman65

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Re: TV shows set in cities that get city features horribly wrong
« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2013, 03:40:28 PM »

Both In The Heat of The Night and Dukes of Hazzard were filmed in Covington, GA.  One took place in a fictional town in Mississippi and the other took place in the right state (although you do not hear where Hazzard County is located  and its state's capital city is called "Capital City") as we all could figure out its in Georgia.  Many producers like to film in other places hundreds or thousands of miles away if a town could just about pass.  In the south many towns look a like, so whether MS, AL, or GA you would have the same type of business district or courthouse.

Back to Smokey And The Bandit where the setting was to be Texarkana, Texas.  The primary premise of the movie was that both Bandit Darvill (Burt Reynolds) and Cledus Snow (Jerry Reed) had to drive to Texarkana to pick up Coors Beer as it was illegal east of Texas in the 70's.   In reality the Texas county that Texarkana is located is a Dry County and does not sell alcohol!  That is why the Arkansas side of US 71 is located with many liquor stores to get business from the Texas side of the city.

Many producers can do what they want and will do.  Heck some writers do not know what was written in previous episodes and contradict it in their later writing hence The Odd Couple had two season 3 episodes about Oscar's mom paying a visit with the first one about his mom not realizing that he (Oscar) was divorced and then the second time she visited she was said to be present at the courthouse the day of his divorce.  Then the forgotten son on My Three Sons and the forgotten older brother on Happy Days. Need I say more?
« Last Edit: October 05, 2013, 03:45:48 PM by roadman65 »
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Re: TV shows set in cities that get city features horribly wrong
« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2013, 04:41:54 PM »

Well, you can just lump together any shows that are filmed in California but take place elsewhere.
Parenthood - set in Berkeley and the Bay Area, shot in southern CA - while I don't know the Bay Area that well, there often creeps in things that scream southern CA.

Parks and Rec seems to be good at making Pasadena, CA look like it could be southern Indiana. Mostly by lots of indoor shots in generic buildings (other than the town hall exterior). It's a hard feat to make SoCal look like anything other than SoCal!

The UK office didn't quite get Slough right. They got the soul-crushing nature of the town (come friendly bombs and all that), but there was something not-quite-right. They did it deliberately, probably - it can then serve as a generic - other than the titles and some references to Slough, it could have been Swindon, Staines or any similar place.

Despite higher budgets, any film that doesn't actually use London for London, looks wrong. And quite often the tube is a mess (OK, there's the issue of only having Aldwych and Charing Cross Jubilee platforms to film cheaply - and the Harry Potter 5 solution of closing Westminster station for a day for 10 seconds of footage is just not on). Harry Potter 1 used the facade of next door St Pancras' to play at being Kings Cross, as Kings Cross was ugly then (and the 60s ugliness will be fixed by the end of the year!). They did actually use platforms 9 and 10, even if the photo opportunity (now moved to be behind a pay thing) was not near the platforms at all.
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Re: TV shows set in cities that get city features horribly wrong
« Reply #22 on: October 05, 2013, 06:06:19 PM »

Then the forgotten son on My Three Sons and the forgotten older brother on Happy Days. Need I say more?

The forgotten older brother on Happy Days, it gived us the "Chuck Cunningham syndrome" ;)
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ChuckCunninghamSyndrome
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Re: TV shows set in cities that get city features horribly wrong
« Reply #23 on: October 05, 2013, 07:17:11 PM »

This is a long-running joke in the DC area, since so many movies and shows are set here and so few get it right.  As one egregious example, Remember the Titans was filmed mostly in Georgia because real Alexandria and Hollywood Alexandria are so different.
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Re: TV shows set in cities that get city features horribly wrong
« Reply #24 on: October 05, 2013, 07:27:31 PM »

Despite higher budgets, any film that doesn't actually use London for London, looks wrong.

Likewise in the US for Chicago more than most other cities.  Chicago tends to have very specifically different streetlights and traffic signals to anywhere else in North America.  It's easy to pick out when a producer uses Toronto (as used in Blues Brothers 2000) as a stand in for Chicago (as used in the original Blues Brothers movie).
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