8 Things Movies and TV Always Get Wrong About Philly
While Hollywood has created a Murderers' Row (or should we say Gang Green, 'cause screw the Yankees?) of memorable characters from Philly, unfortunately, they just can’t seem to get the actual City of Brotherly Love right. From bad accents to South Philly looking like the streets of Pittsburgh (of all places), we’ve broken down the things that TV and movies always seem to get wrong about Philly.
We have New York accents
Sure, some of us still say "wooder ice," but mostly people from Philly sound like everyone else nowadays, so it's curious that movies/TV shows set in Philadelphia try to use an accent at all, especially when they are so invariably bad at it. Seriously, it's hard to believe South Philly bartender Vince Papale is trying out for the Eagles in Invincible when every single character who's supposed to be from the City of Brotherly Love sounds like they're from Noo Yawk City, or that Babe Heffron from Band of Brothers isn't from the South instead of South Philly. And the worst of them all? Our greatest fictional character ever, Rocky, who either just mumbles or mixes a New York accent with some wise-guy Italian.
Center City looks like... Pittsburgh?
Listen, we understand that movies take some “liberties” when it comes to locations when filming. Still, we’d hope for a little more continuity when it comes to portraying downtown Philly. Like not shooting in Glasgow (World War Z). Or Boston (American Hustle). Or Pittsburgh (!*@!). Actually, on that last one, Pittsburgh can keep the god awful 10th & Wolf for itself.
And Center City's landmarks are next to each other
And for the movies that actually were filmed in Philadelphia, let’s get some geography straight. Yes, City Hall, Reading Terminal, and Independence Hall are all off Market St, but they aren't that close to each other (cough, cough, National Treasure). But the most egregious example of Hollywood's lack of respect for geography has to be Rocky’s trumpet blaring run(s) around Philly. Doing his best impression of a Google Maps car, the Italian Stallion darts around the city for what ends up being something like a 30.61-mile jog.
Our cabs aren’t always yellow
Maybe a little nit-picky, but how often have you actually caught a yellow taxi -- or any cab thanks to Uber -- in Center City? Movies would have you believe that taxis are always yellow, but in Philly you can catch 'em in all colors. Purple and blue, white and green, white and grey, white and... well you get the point. Maybe it doesn’t grind your gears that much, but if you’re trying to show accurate Philly, get the cabs, cop cars, and busses right.
Our food sucks
While cities like New York and LA tend to get a lot of props for their culinary scenes, Philly’s food portrayal in movies and TV is usually limited to cheesesteaks, pretzels, and more cheesesteaks. Even the Fresh Prince -- a Philly man himself -- has to make it seem like all we eat are greasy steaks. Just ask the master, steaks aren’t that greasy to begin with.
Philly sports fans aren't THAT crazy
Sure, we booed Santa Claus (but that was, like, 40 years ago!), and yeah, there are diehard Eagles, Flyers, Phillies, and Sixers fans out there, but recently being a Philly sports fan has literally become a proxy for mental instability, from 30 Rock's lovably off-kilter Liz Lemon throwing a snowball at Jack and then shouting "Philly rules! Cheesesteaks, Bobby Clarke, Will Smith! Your town SUCKS!" at him, to pretty much every moment of Silver Lining Playbook. Oh, and if someone needs proof Philly sports fans aren't totally out of their minds, we were totally kidding about there being die-hard Sixers fans.
We're not all from South Philly
With a few notable exceptions (the aforementioned Fresh Prince), almost every single movie/TV character that come from Philly is a tough street-wise guy (probably) straight outta rough and tumble South Philly. See the aforementioned Rocky, the "Gang" from It's Always Sunny, and countless other examples for proof. Someday maybe Hollywood will get wind of the fact that some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the country are just a few miles from downtown, but don't hold your breath for Real Housewives of the Mainline to premiere anytime soon.
Our athletes aren't always underdogs
From Tony Danza's The Garbage Picking Field Goal Kicking Philadelphia Phenomenon, to the aforementioned Vince Papale, to even unlikely swim coach Terrence Howard in Pride, it seems like every single Philly sports movie since Rocky is determined to remind us that we're always the underdogs, --this despite the fact that Caleb Sturgis is decidedly not garbage after he booted four field goals home against the Saints.
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