Friday, February 18, 2011

California 101

Can you stand a second post of TV commentary?


I love the Mentalist. I love Simon Baker even more. And I love the idea that the show is set in California--Sacramento, in fact. At least that's where the CBI (California Bureau of Investigation, a completely fictitious law enforcement agency) is headquartered. And I live in Sacramento, right? Kind of cool!

Here's the thing, though. Most episodes take place in outlying parts of California. Tonight's show, for instance, involved gold mining and mineral claims. The quaint downtown area they showed looked like Truckee, a town not far from Lake Tahoe's north shore (think Donner Lake--where the Donner party spent their winter vaa-kay one year). Truckee is about a two hour drive from Sacramento. Even if we were talking Coloma where gold was discovered--about an hour from Sacramento. So how can the CBI team rush out of headquarters to catch a bad guy and arrive at the gold mining site so quickly?

In past episodes, they've made it sound like Oakland and San Francisco were just a hop, skip, and a jump away when in fact, they're about a two hour drive. Same thing with several other episodes set up north toward Redding.

Okay, I KNOW these TV shows are fiction. And I know they're written and filmed for entertainment rather than education. But gosh darn it! I'd really like to believe in this stuff a little more. Or maybe it's just that I'd like to believe Simon Baker may turn up in my neighborhood one of these days.

In any event, if you're planning a trip to California, don't believe everything you see on TV. We're a big state. Look at a map. And yes, our coastline is right on the Pacific Ocean, but there are a LOT of Californians who don't surf and rarely hang out at the beach. Really.

17 comments:

Sunnybec said...

We watch the Mentalist too! Friday nights just wouldn't be the same with out it.

Appalachian Quilts said...

I love Simon Baker and the Mentalist. He probably just drives fast in that little sports car, where he doesn't pay tickets, and that's why it seems like a hop and a skip!

Vicky said...

Every time someone asks me if I can meet them for dinner in San Francisco or somewhere up north, I have to remind them that California is a BIG state! I often chuckle while watching movies set in CA. But until I moved here, I didn't realize how unrealistic a lot of it is.

Judy in Michigan said...

Here I thought you and Simon were on a first name basis!! It's funny but everytime I watch that show, I think of you.

Brandie said...

I second that! I also want to add that we have mountains and lots of trees. And that actors don't walk on sidewalks on every street!

Barbara said...

I love the mentalist too...especially Simon Baker!!!

Scrappy Raven said...

I was wondering the same thing about the distances. I've never been to California though but it did seem a little improbable. Love the show and Simon Baker.

JoAnne said...

It's funny, I feel the same way about Hawaii 5-0 as I live in Honolulu. I've decided that the show not only ignores the accuracy of the place, but they make the "mistakes" on purpose--almost making a joke of it. For instance, this week's show featured a bunch of bad guys in black ski masks. Where in Hawaii could you buy them, at least without raising a warning flag? And they, too, can instantly cross the island w/o it taking any time, but then, I see enough of traffic, if I had to watch it on tv, I'd probably change the channel. And yes, not everyone surfs here either!

Anonymous said...

Add the east coast to logistical not possibles, NCIS goes back and forth to places like Little Creek and Norfolk, recently 2 times in one day! I live near Norfolk and on a good day with NO, NONE, traffic or accidents or weather it takes no less than 3 hours for me to make it to the outskirts of DC.
Maybe there are not enough interesting stories in a area that is realistic?
Bo in Suffolk.va

carol fun said...

LOVE Simon Baker and totally understand the "California" mindset of the rest of the US. When I lived in Modesto I had a hard time explaining to my Ohio friends that a day at the beach was far far away -

Laura said...

I love this post! I grew up in southern Orange County. Yes the OC! I hate these shows that make people think that everyone that lives in Orange County is rich and beautiful. One only needs to drive around the housing tracts near Disneyland to know that that is a work of fiction! I now live in the high desert and hate going to the OC because of all the snobby people who try to live up to the image. Thank you for pointing out not to believe everything you see on tv.

pam said...

This is a long standing tradition -- don't you remember when the boys from Bonanza used to go down to Virginia City for the evening? I used to live in Reno and the notion of getting down from the Ponderosa and up to Virginia City over those grades by horse---no way. Mentalist is a great show with another great Aussie!

Judy said...

I know what you mean. We are from Houston TX. When ever they show a program that is supposed to be Houston or Galveston, a lot of times,they show all these mountains! Mountains?? The only thing around here that might resemble a hill or mountain would be a freeway overpass or fly over!!
By the way I agree about that nut job Phillip! He needs to go! But then he would be lots of fun to hate!

Sinta Renee said...

Thanks for the info... I just watch... well, whatever HE watches... but I would like to check this one out!

Carol said...

Great comments!I'm a Los Angeles native,and now live about 50 miles north. My big pet peeve right now? I was raised in Venice...NOT VENICE BEACH! The city is NOT named "Venice Beach" and never was, there is no such thing! Yes, there's a beach IN Venice, so I suppose if you're actually laying ON the beach in Venice, you could say you're at "Venice Beach", but now I'm actually seeing people calling it "Venice Beach, California". No, no, no! haha! Thank you for letting me vent! I grew up just a mere 7 miles from Beverly Hills, near Santa Monica. I think people outside of CA think EVERYONE is like the people in Bev.Hills (snobby,rich,famous)..nope! Its an area surrounded by ordinary tract homes in ordinary neighborhoods.I lived in a "Leave it to Beaver" area. OH my there are such stereotypes..never thought that much about it before! And Bonanza? Alot of it was filmed right over the hill and down the road from me, in Thousand Oaks, just 50 miles from L.A. Same with Little House on the Prairie,Gunsmoke,etc.
Carol

sunny said...

I live on the east coast, and I have to agree with Annonymous. NCIS scenes are certainly not filmed in the Virginia/DC area! I don't care where The Mentalist is filmed, I'm just glad it is!!

Gayle said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one who notices how quickly the charactors get from one town to another - not realistic at all! Don't think the gold mine episode was filmed in Truckee - just didn't look right to me. Remember the show Everwood with Treat Williams? It was filmed here in Utah - and it was so fun to try and identify the locations they used for each scene - got to be quite a local pastime! (BTW - Treat Williams is married to a gal who I was best friends with when we were both growing up in Truckee!)