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If your story takes place in a specific, extant location, some local color is to be expected: the natives of the place should act like people who live there do; the ones who are visiting should react to the unfamiliarity. But all that is complicated, particularly if it's a place you're not familiar with. Just start off with "It was a dark and stormy night in New York" and just like that, your tale is set in New York. Although, for the most part, the location is added in later.
Note: this isn't necessarily when a work fails to depict a location properly, merely when it isn't relevant. Often it appears to be done to avoid either Everytown, America or Where the Hell Is Springfield?. Contrast the Eiffel Tower Effect and Hollywood Atlas.
- The Being Human Remake is set in Boston, despite being filmed in Toronto.
- Community is set in Denver. For legal reasons.
- Fringe is set in Boston, but doesn't make much use of that fact. Oddly, when the they go somewhere else, it doesn't really make a difference.
- Full House is set in San Francisco. You can tell from the opening theme, and nothing else.
- Quick, where's Three's Company set? Santa Monica.