Why Do I Like This Genre of Movie/TV So Much?

Have you watched the TV show Schitts Creek? A number of episodes are available on Netflix, so I watched through them a month or so ago. I really enjoyed it.

The premise of the show is that a very rich family gets scammed out of their money and is forced to move to a small town they didn’t even remember they owned. The entire show takes place in that town.

I realized while watching it that I am incredibly comforted by movies and TV shows about city folks getting stuck in small towns. There’s just something very pleasant about them, and I’m not sure why.

Some other examples of this are the movie Doc Hollywood, Groundhog Day, and Brockmire (season 1, at least). Can you think of some other examples? I enjoy those movies so much that I’ve watched them multiple times, and just writing about them now makes me want to watch them again.

I’m trying to figure out why I enjoy this premise so much. My hunch is that it’s something about watching a person realize what’s really important to them when their life becomes simplified. My other theory is that I like the folksy atmosphere of the way small towns are depicted in fictional media is.

I’ve visited some small towns, and I can’t say that Hollywood gets them completely wrong. But at the same time, I know there’s also a lot more depth to them (good and bad). If you’ve ever lived in a small town, what’s accurate and what’s not about their depiction in media?

Do you like this genre? Why or why not?


10 Responses to “Why Do I Like This Genre of Movie/TV So Much?”

  1. I can’t say they I am particularly attracted to this genre, but I’ll be danged if Footloose isn’t one of my favorite movies of all time.

  2. Joseph E. Pilkus III says:

    There’s a great show from more than 20 years ago, Northern Exposure about a city-doc who, to pay off his incredible debt from medical school, has to serve in a small community…this one just happens to be in Alaska.

    • Adrian Brown says:

      This. All day. Not only are there numerous character actors involved in the show, but the ongoing ‘Moonlighting’ element of the lead and the pilot helps keep the show alive. Admittedly, it IS weird to see the FBi hardass from Numbers play the awkward small town doctor.

  3. Charles Dionne says:

    Would you consider My Cousin Vinny part of that genre? Definitely one of those movies I’ll watch every time it’s on. 🙂

  4. Mirkwood says:

    Ozark technically matches the pattern, but there’s nothing comforting about it haha. Great show nonetheless.

  5. Jamey Stegmaier says:

    Footloose, Northern Exposure, My Cousin Vinny, and Ozark…these are awesome examples! Thank you!

  6. Baker Mitchell says:

    I agree…There is something about seeing the transformation of the main character (a city-slicker) moving to a small town, and eventually seeing sometimes “a simpler life and less stuff” can be better. Or perhaps, the main character, is no longer distracted/focused on all of the extra stuff in their life. What do you think about the slight variant of this movie, where a main character who has lived all his life in the country, moves to an urban area, and has to adjust. But usually, ultimately, the city doesn’t change the rural character, they stay “wholesome” etc. I know I have seen movies like this, but can’t think of any…..

    We recently moved from San Antonio (population 1.5 million) to Seaside Florida (this is where The Truman Show was filmed) and the whole area has a population of about 12,000. BIG change. But, now we are outside more, we are not rushing off to the mall or Chuck E. Cheese (for the kids, really it was for the kids). All of those things are certainly available, but we just fill our time with other activities. We can walk or bike to the grocery store. We can walk or bike to the beach/state parks or even the town square where often there are community events.

    But, back to the idea of the City Folks moving to the Country. This is an interesting theme, and usually in the background is a message that is very supportive of the “small town” values etc. I wonder if this theme is uniquely American? Or can it be found in any culture/country with both large urban/industrialized cities as a well as rural/agrarian communities. In ancient Greece, were there tales of a wealthy Roman, who gets stuck in the farmland? Are there some places where there is not such a big psychological divide between the two (whether that divide is real or perceived)?

    Last thought: I read a book a while ago “An Irish Country Doctor.” A young physician, who just finished his training and thinks he knows it all, get a job in the country. A wonderful read.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Baker: That reminds me of the “All Creatures Great and Small” books I read as a kid. I really enjoyed them, so I’ll check out the book you recommended.

      As for the reverse movie you mentioned, Elf kind of fits in that category. And those are great questions about whether or not this is a uniquely American thing.

  7. Adrian Brown says:

    For me, the greatest comfort/early life show was Magnum PI. Incredibly, about 60-70%of the episodes hold up today (ignoring technology).
    But for small towns in Hollywood, the best versions in film and television almost always deal with some kind of bigoted strife. I assume because no one is going to watch a show where everybody just gets along.
    That said, Doc Hollywood is THE BOMB. And surprisingly, Arachrophobia is also an excellent small town tale that came out a year earlier.
    If’ we lean into the ‘small town’ element real hard, Beetlejuice becomes a top notch example.

  8. […] Also read my post about movies featuring city folks getting stuck in small towns. […]

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