Place. Setting. Location, location, location.
No matter what synonym one uses, the importance of, um, locale cannot be overstated, especially when it comes to interesting television shows. Not only is a defined happening-outside-of-these-three-or-four-walls place crucial, but it's accurate portrayal within the events of the show is as well.
No phoning it in, show runners. Because we're watching. And we care. So get it right — even if it's freaking Pyongyang.
1. Cheers; Boston
Personally, I've never been to Boston. I don't know what bars and people are like there. But I do know what bars are like, and I do know what people from Boston are like. And I do know what people from Boston are like in bars that are not located in Boston. Generally, they are not like Woody or Norm or Frasier. They are more like a perpetual Ben Affleck Oscars speech (maybe with a few "wickeds" thrown in): oddly hyper, nonsensical, and bizarrely emotional.
2. Parks and Recreation; Pawnee
Most of the action in Pawnee, Indiana happens at the city hall building, where Leslie Knope and company are really busy being awesome and fun. Unfortunately, the outside of the building is of the city hall building located in a city that is the exact opposite of the fictional Pawnee: the very real Pasadena, California. If Pawnee was an actual place, its city hall would be a small, dull cube that is half governmental and half half-Taco Bell/half-Pizza Hut.
3. Mork & Mindy; Boulder
Granted, the theme-song video for Mork & Mindy is pure Boulder, Colorado. So much so that I feel like it's trying too hard to be Boulder-y. There's the driving in the canyon, trespassing on Folsom Field trespassing, and zooming on 1619 Pine Street. But the rest of the show is a little too normal, which is really saying something because Mork is an alien from outer space living amongst humans in the late 1970s. Yeah, Boulder is peculiar.
4. The Mindy Project; New York
I had to dig pretty deep into the Google Mine to find out what city the The Mindy Project was set in. Turns, it's New York City. I don't really know what to say. I'm just baffled.
5. Community; Greendale
While I'm on the subject of the Centennial State, Community takes place in a fictitious town called Greendale, Colo. As a devout Community-phile and 2012 Colorado absentee voter, I can certifiably declare that the show offers nothing even remotely reminiscent of America's greatest landlocked state. Mountain-y things? Nah. Suburban Denver scapes? Nope. Stereotypically inaccurate cowboy culture? Nada.
6. 30 Rock; New York
7. The Americans; DC
Still a relatively new show, The Americans allegedly exists in Washington, D.C. — and suburbs — in the 1980s. Unfortunately, I've yet to see the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, The exterior of the White House, Ford's Theatre, the Capitol Building, or Arlington National Cemetery. Is there even anything else in the city? What's Bethesda? And where is Newt Gingrich's house?
8. Lost; Hays
I've been to Hays, Kansas. Twice. And honestly, it is nothing like what's depicted in Lost, you guys.