I’m a huge SUPERNATURAL fan. The two main characters, brothers Sammy and Dean…well, they’re fab actors and yummy to watch, just standing there looking forlorn. Or being funny. Or fretting about saving the world. I love the storylines, even the whacked out ones that sometimes don’t make a lot of sense. I suspend my disbelief and settle in for an hour of entertainment. I also get a huge kick out of the fact the license plate on Dean’s beloved car has an old South Dakota style license plate. I feel a little smug…like an insider, because Bobby’s house, a sort of home base for the boys, is also in South Dakota. And yeah, I know people who have that much crap surrounding them, used cars, dead farm equipment and just plain junk piled around their houses. When you live in a place with lots of wide open spaces, you tend to use that space. So I suspect one or more of the writers is–or was at one time–a fellow South Dakotan. Either that or they are making fun of us after a trip through my beloved state.
So imagine my excitement when I saw the previews for SUPERNATURAL last week and Sammy and Dean were Zombie hunting in South Dakota. Sioux Falls, South Dakota to be precise. (Quick geography lesson – Rapid City, where I live, is in western South Dakota, 60 miles from the Wyoming border, the population is around 80,000 and we’re the 2nd largest city in the state. Sioux Falls, is in eastern South Dakota, about 20 miles from the Minnesota border, population roughly 150,000 and it’s the largest city in the state). Opening scene: Sammy and Dean are sitting in a diner in Sioux Falls. I’m thinking, wow, this is cool, that really does look like the railcar diner that’s in downtown Sioux Falls. From the scant info from the paper they decide to investigate.
Next scene, they’re in the cemetery. And there’s no snow. There are green plants. Green grass. Green trees with LEAVES for godsake. Leaves? All the trees are completely bare right now.
And did I mention no snow? In Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in February? None on the streets, sidewalks, houses.
I began to get very suspicious and a little ticked off. Did these writers not do their research? How could they set a story in the winter, in South Dakota, and skirt the weather issue? And especially when dealing with graves, and Zombies climbing from them, when the ground is rock hard and completely frozen? What was up with the sheriff “rounding up the townspeople” to save them from the Zombie threat? Really? They were going to put 150,000 residents in the Minnehaha County jail? When the state pen is in Sioux Falls and even it can’t hold that many people?
Doesn’t anyone fact check these days? Why in the hell didn’t the writers do their research?
Ah. There it is. The old research question all writers have to deal with at some point. Never mind this is a fictional story. Never mind I can overlook the fact the plot is about ZOMBIES, when you’re on my turf, I expect you to get it right. Even down to the most minute detail, such as Bobby being called the “town drunk” – oh really? Everyone in a city the size of Sioux Falls “knows” Bobby Singer is the town drunk?
So, yes, maybe I was being a little ridiculous by the end of the program, by pick, pick, picking everything apart, down to the detail they weren’t wearing winter gloves. And again, I could overlook the fact they were hunting Zombies, but not the fact there was no snow in the graveyard.
Setting is crucial to my books. In fact, I’ve been told that the South Dakota setting is its own character in my mysteries and I strive very hard to get it right. Especially for people who haven’t been here. I want readers to experience the sensation of your breath freezing in your lungs when the wind chill is twenty-five degrees below zero day. Or the sting of dust in a windstorm on the prairie in the heat of summer. All things that make my state/setting come alive.
CSI technical mistakes aside, have you read a book, watched a movie, or a TV show that gets your part of the country completely wrong?
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