"The food portions are bigger than depicted.
We say 'goodbye' or 'talk to you later', when we hang up the phone, we don't just turn it off.
The average person living in New York City or San Francisco doesn't live in huge, open-concept lofts.
The upper middle class and rich people don't tend to all live in immaculate Victorian style houses.
Your chances of being assaulted by bigots, gang members, robbers, or addicts are much lower than depicted.
Our police special investigative teams do not travel the world or even the country carrying out special forces style missions.
We have more guns than you think, even if you think we have a lot of guns. You won't ever see one unless you talk to us about guns a lot and eventually get invited over to see the collection or do some target shooting though.
We as a people like college football more than you can imagine."
"I've rarely seen a realistic portrayal of a library in a TV show. The worst offender for this is Girl Meets World, in which they have to go to the New York Public Library to do research on an assignment for which they cannot use any digital tools. If you've never seen this library, look up some pictures. It's beautiful. What they showed looks like my hometown's tiny, no-budget library.
Plus, do you realize how much libraries embrace digital tools? Ask any reference librarian who's been in the field over 20 years about their physical reference collection. No doubt, it's dwindled over the years thanks to databases that carry way more information than a library could logically house without a computer.
I hate all the 'shushing' in those shows, too. Maybe some librarians are crazy about nobody talking in the library, but it's been my experience that while some areas are designated quiet zones, much of the library is open for regular or soft communication (with the exception of an academic library, in which this might be reversed). We want you to feel comfortable in the library, not stressed out any time you have to take a breath.
The impression I usually get is that the writers never actually visited a library, and see writing based on stereotypes and movies that are over 40 years old."
"I'd say most of our homes aren't as big or fancy looking especially ones that are set before the year 2000. With the exception of shows that are purposely showing lower income homes and families. A lot of the middle income ones that are depicted are more like upper middle class. The Middle is a good representation for lower middle class.
Shameless is a good representation of lower class (though the family is smarter and more resourceful than they would be if they actually lived in that house). But the things they deal with are pretty accurate.
Modern Family is a representation of upper middle class.
The earlier seasons of Roseanne are more accurate as to how it was before 2000. Full House, The Cosby Show and Family Matters and all of the other things that we watched back then were a pipe dream."
"No one gets up before grade school and has a hearty sit down buffet type breakfast like they do on some sitcoms. Your parents would have to get up at 4 or 5 am to do that.
Also no one has enough time between class periods to have long conversations and amble around. Most of the time, you have like five minutes between classes."
"A lot of our TV shows and movies utterly fail to capture the climate and topography. This is because many are not filmed in the cities in which they are set and it makes things kind of weird. The three examples which come to mind are all shows that are set in places where I have lived.:
Freaks and Geeks was set in a suburb of Detroit but the show rarely had rainy/cloudy days and never had snow.
NCIS is set in DC but the landscape is clearly California.
In The Walking Dead, Alexandria, Virginia looks like a quiet southern town (because it shoots in Georgia). The real Alexandria is across the Potomac from DC and is a densely populated city.
That said, I like what Stranger Things has done with landscape. It's shot in Georgia but set in Indiana. Both seasons have been set in Autumn and it mostly works since Georgia in the dead of winter looks not unlike Indiana in Autumn.
Obvious exceptions are things set in Los Angeles or shows like 30 Rock which are filmed and set in New York."
"I spent loads of time in New York City when my husband was working there and met lots of incredibly friendly folk, so the stereotypical brash New Yorker doesn't reflect my experience.
One thing I never saw but I'd love to know, does every American mom always wanders in from the shops carrying a single brown paper shopping bag and there's always green leafy stuff and a loaf of bread and a carton of juice poking out of the top. I want to know if that's usual or if you're all hefting in multiple plastic bags for life like the rest of us."
"The most exaggerated aspect would be the cost of living for these locations. For instance, the New Girl's converted loft would be extremely expensive on rent and maintenance.
Realistically, most of our homes are a mix up of different furniture types and would normally be a bit dirty or damaged."
"It kind of blew my mind that a ton of people didn't believe we really use red solo cups at parties. I had assumed that was a universal product. They are totally a thing. Movies tend to exaggerate just how wild teen parties actually get, but the props are real.
I freaked out when I found out that solo cups are called 'American Party Cups' and are sold as novelty items in other countries.
It's such a simple and elegant design that solves so many problems I just assumed everyone had them."
"In high school, the cliques are far less defined than they make them out to be. At my high school, lots of the jocks were also in honors classes and got along fine with the less popular people.
I would say the goth kids did kind of always do their own thing though."
"The portrayal of southerners as being all dumb is pretty false. The stereotype of the dumb, lazy, glassy eye southerner has been linked to the hook worm. The southern population up until early 1900's was so riddled with parasites due to not wearing shoes and the popular use of night soil as fertilizer, that it deprived their body of so much nutrients that their brain wouldn't develop.
A doctor from the North came down and was the first to realize that there is something seriously wrong and began a campaign to end night soil use and shoe children. Also treat current infestations. The north didn't have a hook worm issue because the parasite can't survive in that climate."
"Many American university students have to work very hard, both academically and in the work force. It's non-stop party for everyone.
Similarly, some high schoolers have the sort of crazy parties they portray on TV and movies, but many don't do anything like that."
"How bad Walmart shoppers are is exaggerated. Sure, you get the absolute worst in there sometimes, but 99% of the time I've gone to Walmart it's just been normal people.
We do love our guns a whole lot though. Might be slightly exaggerated, but fairly close to the truth."
"The diversity of regional accents is rapidly dying due to the internet and near constant communication between people from across the country. The young people, especially those from major metropolitan areas such as New York, Los Angeles, Boston, and Nashville, all sound essentially the same. One of the most interesting parts about going to college on the opposite coast is that the people here, who mostly come from nearby but also from around the country, all have almost identical accents. We have only found a couple words that we say slightly differently."
"I would say that, except for chasing ghosts and all the paranormal stuff, Stranger Things is doing a great job at capturing what it was like to grow up in the 1980's in a small Midwest town.
The beauty of the sets in Stranger Things is that they have 70's leftovers in poorer households. Everything is still orange and brown in Joyce's house because she hasn't' redecorated in at least 10 years. The sets are very well designed, down to the useless clutter and bad lighting."
"Nobody, and I mean nobody invites their boss over for dinner to meet their family and ask for a raise. Why is this such a popular trope?
Boss: 'Diane, that was a wonderful meal! I can see why Mark is so happy at work.' (Canned laughter)
Diane: 'Thank you Mr Boss. I hope you saved room for chocolate cake. I used this new chocolate that Mark bought. It supposably softens the batter.'
Mark (offscreen): 'Diane, have you seen my chocolate laxatives? I left them on the counter earlier.' (Audience gasps)
Hilarious chaos ensues. Mark keeps his job. Status quo restored."
"My experience from living in Europe taught me that people abroad think that America is way less safe than it really is. I grew up in the suburbs and never saw a gun or knew anyone who had one, and not only did we usually leave the doors unlocked when we left for the day, we would even often leave the car unlocked in the driveway with the keys inside. And these were common things to do in my area, never heard of any crime in the 18 years I lived there.
The other thing that reminded me of the differences is that people from abroad never seem to quite believe me when I say Halloween costumes don't have to be scary- I don't think I've ever worn a scary one, and if I said a third of the kids had scary costumes who came trick or treating on Tuesday that would be generous. It's more like a carnival where people just like to dress up."
Points have been edited for clarity.
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