"Any high school show. The 'cliques' are far less defined than they make them out to be. Like in my high school, lots of the 'jocks' were also in honors classes and got along fine with the 'nerds'. The 'band geeks' were also fine.
I would say the goth and emo kids did kind of always do their own thing though."
"Has anyone ever seen a pitcher of milk or orange juice on the table (not to mention all the rest of it) at 6 am, while the dad sits and reads the paper and the mom runs around handing people eggs, all in this brightly lit kitchen? It's all insane, but the pitcher gets me. 'I'm going to pour this milk from the carton, not into a glass, but into a pitcher, then into a glass, at 5 am.'
"The portrayal of southerners as being all dumb hicks is pretty false. We have our share of stupid rednecks up north too."
"Those intimate scenes in movies where the couple rips each other's clothes off, knock everything off the table, and finish doing the deed all within 3 seconds, are in fact accurate. Happens to us multiple times daily."
"I feel like something that is never touched on in movies is just how freaking far we have to drive to get anywhere. 50% of every show should just be the character sitting in traffic, complaining about traffic, or dealing with leftover traffic rage."
"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/been in the NYPL, look up some pictures. It's beautiful. What they showed looks like my hometown's dinky, no-budget library.
Plus, do you realize how much libraries embrace digital tools? Ask any reference librarian who's been in the field 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 40+ years old."
"I spent loads of time in NYC when my husband was working there (I'm British) 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: In every US film you watch (usually set in the suburbs), the 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. Never seen it before like that in NYC."
"No one gets up before high school/middle school/elementary school and has a hearty sitdown buffet type breakfast like they do on some shows. You (or your mom or dad) 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. I'm pretty sure I had 5 minutes between classes."
"That houses on the west coast look nothing like the houses on the east coast."
"When driving in a big city (which is rare in and of itself), you never find a parking spot directly outside of the building you're going to."
"Most of our homes aren't as big or fancy looking, especially ones that are set before 2000. With the exception of shows that are purposely showing lower income homes and families. And 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 (and I know it's a remake of the British series)
Modern Family is a representation of upper-middle class.
We're in the second Gilded Age right now.
The earlier seasons of Roseanne are more accurate as to how it was before 2000."
"Everything is California or New York.
There's a whoooooole 3000 miles in between. And when they do have something in the middle, it's stereotyped bullcrap like Walker, Texas Ranger."
"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."
"Nobody, and I mean nobody invites their boss over for dinner to meet their family and ask for a raise."
"Yellow school buses are real. A French intern at my job took so many pictures of a school bus outside her hotel. She thought that was just something we had in movies."
"With the exception of college, I've never had friends who drop by at all hours of the day.
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. And 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 LA or shows like 30 Rock which are filmed and set in New York. And some shows, notably IASIP, which sometimes shoot in the city in which they are set."
"American high schools, at least mine, don't have an intense social hierarchy. For example, they show the classic scene of the lunchroom explaining where each clique sits. There will be some jocks ignoring some nerds or some goths when in reality most people have friends in many cliques. They are big on stereotypes in high schools."
"Many American university students have to work very hard, both academically and in the workforce. It's not a booze-filled, non-stop party for everyone. Similarly, some high schoolers have the sort of crazy parties they portray on TV/movies, but many don't do anything like that."
"Most young Americans I've met in Europe were generally university students/graduates with 10000s of dollars of debt, taking a year out before their student loans kick in and then having to go back and live with their parents to manage paying off the debt ASAP. I contrast this with shows, where deadly handsome 21-year-olds have their own apartments, cars, eat and drink out basically all the time, never seem to need to devote any time to their job once they're home (and where we rarely see them go). So yeah, US TV shows, barring a few notable exceptions, present everyone as upper-middle class without a care in the world."
"In Texas, hardly anyone has a horse or wears a cowboy hat, although many wear cowboy boots...just not as many as you'd think."
"The real frontier American west was way more diverse than almost any media representation would lead you to believe. There were many all-Black and all-Chinese communities, Black cowboys, Jewish mountain-men, French and Dutch prospectors, 80% Hmong towns with white sheriffs, Christianized tribes and Native-American Mormon converts, Catholic holdouts who identified more with Mexico or Spain than the US, trappers and fur-traders from Siberia...all kinds of crazy nuance.
Some places were more politically and culturally diverse pre-1900 than they are now. But you wouldn't get that impression at all from watching the average Western movie, and depending on which ones you're sampling, you might think that almost everyone in the "Old West" was a 30 to 50-year-old white dude. Which couldn't be more wrong."
"New Mexican here. An inaccuracy that bugged me about "Breaking Bad" is that none of the white actors had Hispanic accents. I think they were worried about coming off as racist or that the rest of the country wouldn't understand that that's just how we talk, regardless of ethnic background."
"The idea that friends and neighbors can just walk in through the front door without knocking or having the front door unlocked 24/7 is exaggerated.
To the people who just leave their front door unlocked - for God's sake, why?!"
"In movies or TV shows where students freak out about the whole school finding out some deep dark secret, yes, it's embarrassing, but half of the school won't even know something happened and the other half likely won't care."
"It's not called a "doggy bag"...apparently, it's called a to-go-bag.
It used to be called that years ago (I guess it still might be by some people, but its use is on the decline).
There was a point in time (roughly the '80s and before) where it was seen as somewhat tacky to take home your leftovers from a nicer restaurant, thus some places only had paper bags available to put your food in (there was an assumption that you were only saving the food for your pet at home, thus the term).
Nowadays, taking leftovers home is so commonplace that most places give you actual plastic or styrofoam boxes in which to package your food. This is just as well, because many US restaurants also serve huge portions, too big to reasonably eat in one sitting."
"We have more firearms than you think, even if you think we have a lot already. You won't ever see one unless you talk to us about them a lot and eventually get invited over to see the collection or do some target shooting though."
"Every dad is pretty dumb, every mom is an underappreciated stay-at-home doctor or scientist, and the kids fall under: is the smartest person to ever exist, dumb valley girl who Brad just broke up with, idiot brother, the older sibling whose shadow you live in, or the self-aware one who's the main character.
Bonus points for exotic pet(s) that cause the plot to occur 1/3 of the time or obnoxious elderly neighbors."
"Young people don't get great apartments in a downtown area just out of college - if you do, you've got 5 roommates, or you are living in a crappy area.
Sometimes, you have 5 roommates AND live in a crappy area."
(Points have been edited for clarity)