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Leela: Who would've thought that Hell would exist - and that it would be in New Jersey?

Fry: Well, actually...

There are a few places in this world that nobody ever wants to go to. Not that it's immediately lethal, like an active volcano. But its reputation is so bad that being sent there is a Cool and Unusual Punishment. The threat of sending someone there can function as a Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon threat. And willingly going there is an act of extreme bravery, insanity, and/or desperation. In a fantasy setting there is a good chance your character will go there, for whatever reason.

Of course, sometimes this is merely a throwaway gag. I mean, who would want to actually go there?

See also Room 101, Maximum Fun Chamber and Forbidden Zone. See also You Would Not Want to Live In Dex. Contrast Death World: A Place That IS Death.

Examples by location:

New Jersey

Comic Books

  Spider-Man: Jersey? What are we doing in Jersey? Except, of course, for breaking my rule of never setting foot in Jersey.

  • When Spider-Man goes on live television to say that he's switching sides during Civil War, he says that the prison that unregistered heroes are being sent to is in the Negative Zone, which is like New Jersey... but worse.
  • He gets in on this in Ultimate Spider-Man, too. After ending up in Brazil during a fight with Doc Ock (which involved Ock hijacking a plane), he hitches a ride on another plane, smuggles himself onto a third plane, and is finally woken up by baggage handlers. "Ugh! What's that smell? Oh, good, I made it to Jersey!"
  • An issue of The Mighty Hercules involves him telling a group of kids a story about him fighting Thor. He's going on about how easily he was winning until he realises that one of them is a Thor fan and the others are just hoping to pick on him. He quickly changes the story to Thor simply feigning weakness, and it ends with Herc getting punched across the sky. "I landed in the place the Gods forgot - New Jersey!"


 Bartleby: Where were we afraid he'd send us?

Loki: New Jersey.

 I thought you were dead.

Just in New Jersey


  • Dave Barry Slept Here jokes that Richard Nixon left politics to live in a state of utter disgrace: New Jersey. (He was not making that up; Nixon actually lived out his last years in Park Ridge, New Jersey.)
    • In one of his columns, he says scientists believe "at one time the earth was nothing but a bunch of slime and ooze, sort of like Bayonne, New Jersey."

Live-Action TV

  • Almost any time a show is set in New York City, New Jersey's mention elicits a highly negative reaction.
    • Or even featuring New Yorkers. Madagascar gives us Alex berating Marty, saying that Marty was on the Jersey side of the island.
  • On How I Met Your Mother, Ted insists that he has no problem moving to his fiancee's home in New Jersey. Cut to flashbacks showing Ted relentlessly bashing New Jersey, showing off his "I Hate New Jersey" T-shirt, and referring to the act of defecation as "taking a New Jersey".
  • All in The Family: Mike and Gloria are house hunting and Archie, wanting to get rid of Mike, keeps suggesting that he "Try Jersey":

 Mike: I hate Jersey!

Archie: Everybody hates Jersey! But someone has to live there!

  • On The Drew Carey Show Drew is amused to learn that Kate's boyfriend (who claims to be the devil) was born in Jersey, although this could also be a reference to urban legends of a monster called the Jersey Devil.
  • The 80's revival of The Twilight Zone had jokes in least two episodes which explicitly compared the city of Newark to Hell.
    • In an episode where the Devil shows up for a card game:

 "What's the devil doing here in New Jersey?"

"What do you mean? I think he lives here!"


Video Games

 Crow: Let's have one last fight. Winner take all.

D-Mob: And the loser?

Crow: Hell, I dunno. Loser goes to Jersey.

Web Comics

  • A recent issue of Ctrl-Alt-Del has Zeke heading some where 'devoid of humanity but where I can observe it'. Ethan questions: 'Jersey?'

Web Original

  • On the photoshop website Worth1000, the word "Hell" is censored guessed it!
  • On Atop the Fourth Wall, in the review of Action Comics #593 Linkara has to explain about the New Gods. When he describes Apokalips, this is what he says "... Apokalips,which is, basically, New Jersey." A text blurb appears on the screen apologizing for the joke.

Western Animation

  • In addition to the page quote, an early episode of Futurama had Fry responding to an advert for a "Suspiciously Fantastic Apartment". After Fry admitted that he gave up and couldn't see the catch, the estate agent revealed that technically, they were in New Jersey. Cut to Fry back at the office complaining that not one place he checked was even remotely livable.
    • When Zapp Brannigan destroys the DOOP space station headquarters they relocate to their old condemned HQ in Weehawken, New Jersey. Why they located it there in the first place is anyone's guess, but returning added insult to injury.
    • Landfills were full! New Jersey was full!
  • In the movie version of James and the Giant Peach, the peach gets caught in a storm just as they are approaching New York, and the centipede yells out, "We'll wind up in Jersey!"
  • Megas XLR doesn't misses the chance of poking some jokes about the Megas being sent to New Jersey.
    • Also, Coop's absolute last choice to get a slushie is in Hoboken

 Jamie: "You know, Coop. We could always just go get a Mega-Slush at the store in Hoboken."

Coop: "Yeah, but that's Hoboken!"

  • In Galaxy Rangers one of the Rangers' semi-regular Rogues Gallery has bought all of New Jersey. Gooseman's tone of voice when Doc relates this fact to him is one of disbelief that anyone with that amount of cash would choose to live there, much less own it. Something of an in-joke, as the series was produced in New York.
  • In the U.S. Acres segments of Garfield and Friends, Orson the pig's overactive imagination is so powerful that when he reads a book, reality warps to look like whatever he's reading about. In one episode, he accidentally transports everyone to the surface of the Moon; one character, when asked where they are, responds, "Looks like New Jersey, except with more trees."
  • In episode 7 of Ugly Americans, Randall gets hit by a bus, tearing him in half, with his top half stuck to the bus. Because Randall's a zombie, this kind of traumatic injury isn't all that serious, and he seems moderately annoyed at the inconvenience of the situation... until he realizes the bus is heading to New Jersey, at which point he lets out a Big No.
  • Proving that this trope has been around for a while, in Felix the Cat: The Movie, there is a part where Felix comes over a hill and sees a barren shell of a town surrounded by a deadly swamp, to which Felix says "Where are we, New Jersey?"
  • A running gag in The Penguins of Madagascar is the horror of the Hoboken Zoo in North Jersey.
    • In the episode "All Tied Up With A Boa" there is a news report of a snake escaping from the Hoboken Zoo. When the anchor points out the panicked people running in the background, the reporter says, "This has nothing to do with the snake, It's just Hoboken."
    • One episode has the penguins actually arrive at the Hoboken Zoo, only to find that it's actually a pleasant place where everyone is nicer. Double Subverted when it turns out that the new zookeeper is a Stepford Smiler obsessed with cleaning who has replaced all the animals with robots.



Live-Action TV

  • When Sam and Dean Winchester need to meet with Lucifer in person in order to implement their ill-advised plan, they find the Devil and his entourage in Detroit.
  • Mad TV did a skit about words being removed from the dictionary and Detroit is one of those words.

Tabletop Games

Video Games

  • In the horror movie-themed levels of Gex, Gex will compare his surrounding to Detroit.

Web Original

  • The Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism videos (see Cleveland below) admit that, for all Cleveland's (many) downsides that make it a shithole, at least they're not Detroit.

Western Animation

  • Inverted in Transformers Animated, where it's the modern and shiny heart of the robot revolution. That is, the technological shift towards the greater use of robots, not a violent overthrow by robots.
    • Although Soundwave does try that at one point.
    • The Botcon script reading "Bee in the City" still had to get a dig in, however.

  Narrator: Our story begins one morning in Detroit. Police sirens fill the cool morning air. This has nothing to do with our story, but it's Detroit.

  • On South Park, when people already in Hell are killed, they simply revive unharmed somewhere else in Hell. After all, where are they going to go? Detroit?
  • Earthworm Jim found it on a list of the worst places in the universe when searching for an Artifact of Doom.

Real Life

  • Truth in Television. Sports venues and theaters create a radius of "nice Detroit" that goes as far as the middle of the street. Beyond that, it's exactly the way you imagine it.

New York City


 Jay: So the flying saucers were real and the World's Fair was just a coverup.

K: Why else would they hold it in Queens?

  • Special credit must be given to future Manhattan in Escape from New York, which has been literally walled off as a prison and turned over entirely to the dregs of society.


  • A Black47 song: "You got two choices mate: castration, or a one-way ticket to New York!"

Western Animation

  • Homer Simpson On New York City: "But Marge, New York is a hellhole! And you know how I feel about hellholes!"
    • Of course New York looks bad if all you remember are the pimps and the C.H.U.D.s.



  • W.C. Fields frequently referred to Philadelphia in seriously disparaging terms. The final punchline was his proposed epitaph: "On the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia."
    • Might or might not be related to WC Fields, but some game show had a set of prizes based on this joke. First Place got a week in Philadelphia. Second place got two weeks.


  • Eraserhead was partly inspired by David Lynch's stay in this city, which he claims that it left him with a sense of dread.


  • Philly also comes in for a snarking in Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in A Strange Land. Jubal is sending his handyman, Duke, out on an errand that includes dropping off a car in Philadelphia, and Duke wants to spend the night there rather than come straight home once he's done. Jubal is shocked that anyone would willingly spend the night in Philly:

 Jubal: What on earth is there to do at night in Philadelphia?

Duke: Plenty, if you know where to look.

Live-Action TV

  • Angela Martin from The Office hates Philadelphia.

 Angela: In the Martin family, we like to say, "Looks like someone took the slow train from Philly." That's code for "check out the slut."

 Dee: We're in a dark, scary alley in Philly, we might as well call it Rape Bar.


  • The early Rodgers and Hart song "Any Old Place With You" (possibly):

 I'd go to hell for ya

Or Philadelphia,

Any old place with you.

Tabletop Games

  • Steve Jackson games once asked its readers to write in their submissions for "useless random tables." The results were published in Murphy's Rules. One winning entry was for "dead character soul destination" (roll d4):
    1. Heaven
    2. Hell
    3. Purgatory
    4. Philadelphia


  • In the short play The Philadelphia, a character is said to be caught in "a Philadelphia" when literally everything goes the complete opposite of what you actually want, likened to actually being in Philadelphia.
    • The play does this to other cities too... another character is caught in a Baltimore, which is "like death, without the advantages".
    • On the other hand, the character in a Los Angeles is living large, taking the loss of his girlfriend and his job in stride - until the main character sucks him into his Philadelphia and he instantly becomes a nervous wreck.
  • In the musical 1776, John Adams laments:

  "At a time in their lives when most men prosper, I am reduced to living in Philadelphia!"

Western Animation

  • Megas XLR takes a shot at Philly, too, it being Coop's go-to place to dispose of the giant monsters he had accidentally unleashed.



  • Mario Puzo's books have mobsters talk of being "sent to Siberia", meaning upstate New York prisons in general and Dannemora State Prison near Malone by the Canadian border in particular.

Live-Action TV

  • In Hogan's Heroes the Russian Front and Siberia is frequently used as a running gag, often by Hogan.
    • Justified as it was the German Soldiers running the prison camp were often threatened with being sent to the Russian Front, and the Germans were not doing very well on that front.

Real Life

  • Truth in Television - Soviet Russia did send political prisoners there for a reason.
    • Yogi Bear was afraid of this place for a reason.
    • By and large Siberia isn't all that bad, and large part of is is actually very pleasant place, if you are Russian and thus don't mind the winters -- Southern Siberia is, in fact, one of the main Russian grain-producing regions, just like Canada's Prairie Provinces. It's main problem comes from being so unbelievably huge, and sparsely populated, which leads to the large tracts of land where there's nothing. If you end there with just the clothes on your back in the dead of the winter, then, yep, it might end not all that well. Otherwise -- not so much.



  • Yakov Smirnoff: "In every country, there is a city everyone makes fun of. In United States, it is Cleveland. In Soviet Union, it is Cleveland."


  • In the plot of the John Candy movie Delirious he plays a soap opera writer transported into his own show and can literally write out other people's words and actions. When one character (played by Robert Wagner, who Candy's character calls Robert Wagner in a No Fourth Wall moment) becomes a nuisance he writes for them a hasty exit.

 Robert Wagner: I have to go to... Cleveland. Jesus, I hate Cleveland!

And then later:

John Candy: What are you doing here? I sent you to Cleveland!

Robert Wagner: I should kill you for that alone.

Live-Action TV

  • The pilot of Hot in Cleveland refers to the city very negatively for the most part. The only reason the characters change their mind is because they're seen as attractive there, unlike in Los Angeles.
  • It's mentioned a few times in Buffy the Vampire Slayer that there's a Hellmouth in Cleveland.
  • The Disney Channel movie The Luck Of The Irish ends with the bad guy being banished to the shores of Lake Erie, right by Cleveland.

Video Games

  • In the Infocom interactive fiction game Leather Goddesses of Phobos, there is a scene in Cleveland. They make fun of it even in the InvisiClues. ('How do I get out of Cleveland?' 'Millions of people ask this question every day!')

Web Original

  • The Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism videos admit that Cleveland is a shithole; at the end of the second, they admit that "at least we're not Detroit!"

Real Life

  • Forbes magazine rates it as the most miserable city in the USA
  • Ask a Steelers fan what the biggest shithole on Earth is. Most will say Cleveland.
  • In the 1980s, Cleveland's image suffered due to their declining economy and a river so polluted that it actually caught fire. In an effort to promote tourism, West Palm Beach took out national advertisements that showed the two cities' skylines side by side, and asked businesses where they'd rather hold a convention. This outraged Cleveland leaders, and West Palm had to name Cleveland a sister city as apology.
  • Isn't Cleveland one of those Inherently Funny Words?
  • Cleveland has the semi-official nickname of The Mistake by the Lake.



  • Apollo 13, when asked why the networks aren't the showing the astronauts' broadcast:

  "The networks said we made putting a man on the moon seem about as exciting as a trip to Pittsburgh"

Live-Action TV

  "I know God hates the Steelers because he turned their hometown into Pittsburgh."

 KAOS Agent: We don't want Pittsburgh.

Max: That's funny, neither does Pennsylvania.

    • Another one involves a retired bank robber who was deported... to Pittsburgh. "They really threw the book at him."
  • And then, when you thought Western PA didn't have anything more to throw you in the face, it gets worse... Pittsburgh, bad? Picture Punxsutawney. In winter. In a very, very silly festival. And then, every time you awake is February 2nd.

Newspaper Comics

 Calvin: I wonder where we go when we die.

Hobbes: Pittsburgh?

Calvin: You mean if we're good or if we're bad?

Western Animation

  • In Fairly Oddparents, Jorgen Von Strangle lamented how Cosmo ended up stripping him from being a 4-star Fairy General down to 1 star because of his miraculous blunders. First, with the reasoning that he was making it cleaner, he sunk Atlantis.... NINE TIMES, erupted Mt. Vesuvius and destroyed the prosperous civilization of Pompeii (To make it warmer), and improved upon the "gleaming utopia known as Xanadu".

 Cosmo: "I call it Pittsburg!"

Video Games

  • In the Fallout 3 DLC 'The Pitt', the city has become radioactive and highly toxic center for slavery.


Comic Books

  • The Great Lakes Avengers are based out of Milwaukee, and treated as something of a joke by other heroing teams (and Marvel's writers); the Crazy Awesome Squirrel Girl notwithstanding. The location is treated with the same reverence as the team.


  • Dogma: Metatron tells Bethany that God punished Bartleby and Loki for their crimes until the Rapture occured.

 Bethany: Were they sent to hell?

Metatron: Worse. Wisconsin.

Live-Action TV

 Beth: Hello Dave.

Bill: Hello employee! You look miserable and oppressed!

Beth: Oh I am! I can no longer take cab rides home from the office!

Bill: Excellent! That's good news to me. You see I'm from Wiscoooooonsin, where taxi cabs are feared and hunted for the delicious meat under their hoods!

Beth: Comedy?

Bill: Or Tragedy?

Both: You be the judge!

  • Naturally being made in Minnesota, Mystery Science Theater 3000 is chock-full of Wisconsin bashing. For example, during the host segment for The Deadly Bees, Brain Guy manages to trump two Observers who had come to take him home. After taking their brains, thus making them idiots, he decides that the absolute worst punishment he could give is to make them live in Wisconsin where they will work for a small dairy co-op, and be rabid Packers fans.
  • An episode of Night Court had Bull asking Yakov Smirnoff why it was so bad living in the Soviet Union. Yakov tells him to close his eyes and imagine he is "standing in the middle of Milwaukee. No matter where you go, you will still be in the middle of Milwaukee. You could get in a car and drive a hundred miles, you will still be in the middle of Milwaukee. You could..." At which point Bull screams for Yakov to stop.


  • The song/spoken word poetry "Deteriorata" reflects that "And whatever misfortune may be your lot, it can only be worse in Milwaukee."

Real Life

  • Near the end of his career, original Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach John "Dial-a-Quote" McKay incensed Packers fans by saying, among other things, "If a contest had 97 prizes, the 98th would be a trip to Green Bay".

Western Animation


Anime and Manga

  • Cowboy Bebop: "Nothing good comes from the Earth anymore."


  • British comedians of a certain age often speak this way about the Glasgow Empire, a venue notorious for giving acts very short shrift. Des O'Connor fainted on stage and Morecambe and Wise were booed off.
    • Glasgow in general often gets this too.
  • The late comedian Robin Harris often made jokes that calling Hell from Compton, CA was a Local call (as opposed to Long-Distance).
  • Hoosier comedian Jim Gaffigan, after listing somewhat cliched boasts for residents of other states, said of his home state, "We're from Indiana and we're gonna move!"
  • During one of his shows, Jeff Dunham got into an argument with Peanut over whether or not they were currently in Santa Ana, California, or in Hell.

Comic Books

  • The Sandman spin-off comic, The Dreaming had one very lost character lament:

 Hell...I'm in hell...

Mad Hettie: Nah, 's London. 's like Hell, but less crowded.


 English Bob: I thought that you were dead <snip>.

Little Bill Dagget: I heard that one myself, Bob. Hell, I even thought I was dead. Till I found out I was just in Nebraska.

 Polly Pry: You made it to Wyoming, right?

Packer: Yeah, but I would've been better off just letting those people catch me and kill me.

Polly Pry: Why?

Packer: You ever been to Wyoming? [cut to Packer in a lonely, barren wasteland] Heh-hello??

 Marty: It's like we're in Hell or something.

Doc: No, this is Hill Valley, though I can't imagine Hell being much worse

  • In Wayne's World, Wayne and Garth use a backscreen that's flashing exotic locales to which the two make make fun of the stereotypes associated with those places. Then the backscreen flashes Delaware, and the two can't think of anything associated with Delaware.
  • In Easy A, Olive's narration commenting on a character's punishment for contracting a veneral disease:

 "Due to his 'condition,' Micah was sent on an extended visit to his grandparents in Palatka, Florida. And if there's one thing worse than chlamydia, it's Florida."

  • In Labyrinth, Hoggle is terrified of being banished to the Bog of Eternal Stench. Unlike many of the other places on this list, the audience actually does get to see it. Perhaps fortunately, however, we don't get to smell it.


  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Arthur Dent says, "When I was little I used to have this nightmare about dying - all my school friends went to Heaven or Hell and I was sent to Southend!"
  • Much sport of the city of Milton Keynes is made in Good Omens.
    • Much sport is made of Milton Keynes by Britain in general. Also from Good Omens, Crowley is particularly proud of his work with Manchester.
  • The ultimate example may be Gehenna, an area near Jerusalem so unpleasant that it actually became the Hebrew word for Hell. Any time The Bible refers to "Hell", it's probably been translated from "Gehenna".
    • It's only referenced as such in the Bible because it used to be a place where refuse was burned, suggesting that sinners may as well wind up in the trash dump at death. It's not actually a bad place for any other reason, in modern Jerusalem it's actually a very pleasant little valley.
  • "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46)
  • The mock-atlas "Our Dumb World" by The Onion (which was created in Madison, Wisconsin) has a part entitled "Minnesota: Land of 10,000 Retards"
  • There is a story by Isaac Asimov avout a man being exiled, with his attorney insisting that the punishment is way too harsh. In the end, it is revealed that he is sent from the perfectly controlled and conditioned underground cities of the Moon, to the eternally unstable surface of Earth.

Live-Action TV

  • Many World War II based series will have Those Wacky Nazis threatening to send a subordinate to "ze Eastern Front!"
    • The threat was a running joke in Hogan's Heroes.
      • This has actual basis in real life, of course. The Soviets treated captured prisoners much, much worse than the western powers, and the Eastern front was much more brutal in general. (This was in part because the Nazis were much worse to captured Russians, as well, since their doctrine of racial superiority put them on a lower tier.)
    • In Allo Allo, many of the Nazi characters had a particular horror of being sent on covert missions to Bognor. And on that note, Bugger Bognor!
  • One episode of the American Whose Line Is It Anyway? had as a Scene From A Hat "Versions of Hell without fire or brimstone". Greg presented it as driving eternally in Mississippi.
    • They've also made jokes about Fresno and Seattle.
  • "What's death like?" "Ever been to Swindon?"
  • John Betjeman wrote the poem "Slough" to trash its transformation into a dreary factory town, inviting bombs to obliterate it in the first stanza. This was one of the reasons the town was chosen as the setting for the original The Office. The DVD packaging includes the poem.
  • From Angel:

 Spike: Am I in Hell?

Lorne: No, you're in Los Angeles, though a lot of people make that mistake.

  • In Being Human, Nina asks Annie if she wants to talk about her experience of Purgatory:

 Nina: Annie. You were in purgatory.

Annie: Yeah, I know. But I've been to the Isle of Wight so it's not really that much of a culture shock.

    • Also, after rescuing her from Purgatory, Mitchell tells Annie that they've moved to a home in Wales. Annie jokingly replies that she'd rather go back to Purgatory.


Newspaper Comics

  • A common Running Gag in the Garfield comics is the titular cat's constant attempts to send his nephew Nermal to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.


  • Mel Brooks's original opening for the musical version of The Producers was Max Bialystock's horrible spoof of Oklahoma, titled "Hey Nebraska". The entire song was essentially this. Lyrics include "Oh, what a terrible morning/Oh what a terrible night,/Things in the state of Nebraska/Never will ever go right" and "Hey, Nebraska- You suck!"

Video Games

Web Comics

 "Wherever he doesn't want to be... that's always where he'll go."

Web Original

 BOFH: "Well, coverage in the third world is always a bit dodgy..."

PFY: "Really? Where did you go, Luton?"

BOFH: "Luton, Hull and Glasgow. A package hole-iday"

PFY: "You didn't drink the water, did you?"

BOFH: "Hell no, my interpreter warned me about that!"

  Corruption's as high as an elephant's eye... and the meters cost 74.25...

Western Animation

  • In the Invader Zim episode "A Room with a Moose," Zim threatens to send the entire class into the titular room with a moose, a dimension that simply consists of a white plane with a giant moose graphically munching on walnuts, which apparently is worse than both a dimension of pure doogie and one of pure itching.
  • In Futurama, Fry wakes up from a second cryo-stasis and finds himself in a blasted wasteland. It's really Los Angeles in his own time period.

 Fry: I'm impressed. In my time we had no idea Mars had a university.

Professor Farnsworth: That's because then Mars was a uninhabitable wasteland, much like Utah. But unlike Utah, Mars was eventually made livable when the university was founded in 2636.

  • Animaniacs: Are we dead, or is this Ohio?
  • A Looney Tunes short "Satan's Waitin'" from The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie involved Yosemite Sam going to Hell.

 Sam: It's powerful hot here. Is this Dallas?

Satan: No, but you're close.

  • South Park: When Cartman and the boys go to visit his grandmother they pass a sign that says "Now leaving Colorful Colorado," on a mountain background with rainbow. The scenery changes abruptly to a gray sky and fields of wheat and a new sign reads "You are now in NEBRASKA. ...Sorry."
    • There's also an episode where Kenny gets hit by a bus, but doesn't die, instead ending up carried under the bus all the way to Mexico. In the next episode, Kenny manages to call his friends, and when he describes the place he wound up (i.e. drinking the water gives you bloody diarrhea), they're convinced Kenny is in Hell.
      • And in the same episode, Jesus decides to punish Cartman by sending him to a place "worse" than Hell. Guess where?
    • And:

 Mr. Garrison: And where are you from, Damien?

Damien: The seventh layer of hell!

Mr. Garrison: Ooooh, that's exciting, my mother was from Alabama.

  • In one of the episodes of the short-lived Dilbert TV show, two teams of engineers are competing, and the losing team will be transferred to Albany, NY -- which is shown as being incredibly cold on the first day of summer. When the episode's Big Bad -- no, not the boss but the rival team's leader -- is decapitated, her head comments "Well, better this than Albany."
  • In an episode of The Simpsons, Homer travels to Winnipeg, Canada, and the road sign on approaching the city proclaims "We were born here. What's your excuse?"
  • At the end of An American Tail, the villains are all chased off a harbor and are last seen aboard a ship headed for Hong Kong, China.
  • At the end of The Aristocats, the evil butler Edgar actually attempts to send Duchess and her kittens to Timbuktu, Mali. Unfortunately, his plan backfires and as a result he actually ends up getting sent there instead!
  • According to the film Monsters, Inc., the main form of punishment for a monster is permanent banishment to the human world.
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle had Mooslevania, a place so bad that people would vacation there because afterwards any other place seemed like a vacation.
    • Mooslevania almost became a real place thanks to a nationwide campaign. However, it was cut short due to the visit to Washington D.C. coinciding with the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Real Life

  • Truth in Television:
    • There is actually a Hell in Norway, though it just means "Cave." "Helvete" is Norwegian for "Hell".
    • There is also a Hell, Michigan. According to the story, after the first few names were rejected, their postmaster declared, "You can name it Hell if you want to!" They took him up on it.
      • Both regularly freeze over.
    • Also, there's a Hell on the island of Grand Cayman. Considering that the island is in the Caribbean (and has the typical climate/terrain you'd expect) it's a fitting name for a large expanse of warped, pitted, ugly, sharp-edged black limestone formations.
    • The Netherlands also has both a Hellmouth (Helmond) and a Sunnydale.
  • Truth In Television: One of J. Edgar Hoover's ... idiosyncrasies ... was sending FBI agents who displeased him to New Orleans, a city he hated. Seeing as he was a well known racist, you can probably imagine why he'd think that.
  • Particular scorn was heaped upon it by H.L. Mencken: "All other mammals would succumb quickly to what man endures without damage. Consider, for example, the life of a soldier in the front line--or the life of anyone in Mississippi."
    • The phrase "sold down the river" refers to slaves in northern slave states being sold to Mississippi farms, a terrible fate due to the much harsher conditions down there. Today the phrase is still used to mean "betrayed."
  • Twain said about Cincinnati, "When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Cincinnati because it's always twenty years behind the times."
  • In Argentina, during the first half of the XX century, capital punishment was imprisonment in the infamous Ushuaia prison, in Tierra del Fuego, a frozen hell in the middle of nowhere in the most southern point of America. There were even not many guards, as it was understood that anyone so crazy as to escape would survive a couple of days, at best. A lot of them tried, anyway, with unsurprising results. Considering the kind of inmates you would share your cell with, I'd have ventured into the frozen woods without second thoughts too.
  • In California the cities of Salinas, Bakersfield and Fresno have this reputation, mostly spread by residents themselves.
    • In the northern half of the Golden State, Yuba City, though less well known, also has image problems - partly because of its place as the hometown of the 1970s serial ax murderer Juan Corona, and also because the "Rand McNally Places Rated" quality-of-life ranking in 1985 placed the city 330th and last among U.S. cities.
  • In Mesa County in Colorado, Clifton is this, and it is routinely mocked. And sometimes Fruita.
  • The dirty secret among Rhode Island expats: They know the state's population is made up of horrible, contemptuous people, especially as you get close to I-95. Problem is, most people don't even know Rhode Island exists, which makes Jersey comparisons difficult to swing.
  • Uryupinsk, Volgograd Oblast has a reputation of a memetically boring hicksville in Russia.
    • It is mostly in the name. It has a uniquely undignified sound to it. Now, Kolyma and Magadan, on the other hand, are geniunly notorious for being the central hubs of prison camps in USSR.
  • In Greater Vancouver, Surrey has this reputation; when people get more specific they usually paint it as being populated by hicks and/or trailer trash and petty criminals. (It is the car-theft capital of British Columbia, according to some fuzzy half-remembered statistics I can't recall the source of.) Being the largest suburb by a good margin, it's sort of like the local equivalent of New Jersey. There's also the Downtown Eastside, which has a reputation more along the lines of "if you go here you will die (or at least get mugged)" than mere lack of class.
  • Minnesotans think of the northernmost part of Minneapolis as a gang-ridden, violent hellhole. The light rail ends at Target Field, and to most natives, that's where the city ends. That this is more or less the truth doesn't make this any less the trope.
    • To a lesser extent (largely due to size), people unfamiliar with the city consider it dangerous to go on Lake Street after dark. This is mostly due to xenophobia (it's a very Mexican part of town).
  • Marylanders are weird about this in regards to Baltimore. It is, after all, a city that is nearly as corrupt as Gotham but with no Rich Idiot With No Day Job to help against that. There is only a few "safe" parts of town and even then gang violence is a regular occurrence. But Marylanders do generally love their city and it's charm (it's even nicknamed Charm City). Yes, Baltimore is a horrible city, but it's our horrible city.
    • Baltimorons, represent. Hoo-ah. (Although I usually call it 'Harm City')
    • It's gotten a bit better. At one point, we were both the murder capitol AND the STD capitol of the United States. Now, we have a football team.
    • Where else would John Waters and his movies come from?
      • Baltimore is a city that is very much block by bloc. If you want a real sense of it, read The Other Wes Moore.
  • Among Wisconsinites, Waukesha, if not the entirety of Waukesha County, is quickly gaining a reputation as 'Wisconsin's Alabama', which manages to actually slam two places at once.
  • The town of Corby in Northamptonshire has achieved memetic status as this locally, partly because it combines the worst aspects of Milton Keynes[1] and just about any large town Oop North[2], but also because a lot of its residential property is built on land contaminated with toxic waste.
  • Michigan and Ohio have hated one-another literally for centuries, so it should come as little surprise that, if you ask a person from either state, each ones' citizens view the other state as a hellhole, a warzone, or a toxic waste dump. Of course, in some cases they're not always wrong.


  1. hideous 1960s architecture that wouldn't look out of place in a live-action version of The Jetsons
  2. largest industry and sole raison d'etre for the entire city has gone to the wall so it's work in McDonald's, draw the dole until you're 65 or become a gangbanger
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