I lived squat in the middle of America’s Inflamed Penis for thirteen years so I know what I’m talking about. And I’m not even going to go into subtle or sophisticated things, mostly because those things don’t exist in Florida. All I’m talking about are barebones facts that you can Google in ten seconds and still I’ve seen so many movies and shows get them wrong. I mean, I get it, I don’t want to be thinking about Hurricane Alley anymore than I have to, either, but come on, this stuff isn’t hard.
All of this is once again bubbling up to the surface because I’ve watched The Sandman on Netflix which managed to hit, like, every single one of my pet peeves even though Neil Gaiman swears he likes Florida for whatever unhinged reason ANWAY I will be referencing the show but I will be keeping it very vague and as spoiler-free as possible because that’s not the point of this article. The point is I am entirely burnt out on Florida but if you fuck up the basics I will kill you with the complimentary shiv they gave me when I moved in.
There Are No Hills In Florida
It’s a motherfucking swamp, people. The highest elevation point in Florida is Britton Hill in Paxton. It is 345 feet above sea level and the lowest high point of any state in the country. Most of the time if you’re going up at all it means you’re going across an overpass or have somehow found yourself on top of one of Florida’s many landfills. Or you’re in the Magic Kingdom. Did you know the whole theme park sits something like twenty feet higher than the surrounding area, because Walt wanted to built ‘utilidors’ underneath for the employees? We’ll get to why he did that in our next segment.
If you can’t film in Florida or simply don’t want to – and again, I get it – you need to pick the absolute flattest area you can find. No elevation changes. No fucking hills. The only thing rolling in Florida are all the elderly New Yorkers who didn’t notice the stop sign because they were too busy actively dying.
There Are No Basements In Florida
Florida doesn’t have basements. You know what Florida does have?
A fucking water table.
I’ve seen this now in both The Sandman and Doctor Who, so maybe this is mostly an English misunderstanding. Oh, as long as I’m in the general area anyway, Brits who are planning to go to Disney World or Universal? Put on sunscreen. At least SPF 50. Reapply every couple hours. I know the sun in England is merely a suggestion but in Florida it actually does stuff, primarily make you sweat buckets and give you skin cancer. All of the most hideous sunburns I have ever seen in my life have been on once-white people speaking English in incomprehensible accents. I have to imagine that if any of you chose to visit Australia you’d simply burst into flames on touchdown.
Remember how the Magic Kingdom is higher than everything else? That’s because Walt wanted to build underground tunnels for employees to get from one side of the park to the other without breaking immersion because if a child was in Tomorrowland and saw a cowboy he’d simply go mad. He had to put the tunnels on ground level and then build the park on top because if he actually put the tunnels underground employees would be swimming to their thirty-five minute lunch break with their complimentary Florida shiv in their teeth to gank any gators that would definitely also be down there.
Don’t write basements into your script.
Florida Is Fucking Huge
Seeing how this one only popped up in The Sandman I’m going to chalk this up to your standard ‘Europeans Don’t Understand How Large The US Is.’
It’s Fucking Large.
Without getting into any real spoilers, in The Sandman characters have to drive from Cape Canaveral, Florida, to an area around Cordele, Georgia. One of the characters says they can make that drive in three hours.
Maybe if she was planning on going a hundred miles an hour up I-75 (she isn’t, by the way. She ends up giving the wheel to an old man who definitely was doing 55 mph and getting tailgated the whole time, which makes that particular detail the most correct yet). You can look on Google maps and see it takes five hours. And it’s tedious as fuck because, as previously stated, Florida is flat. All the highways are just flat, straight roads through trees and sound barriers and more trees and more sound barriers and the occasional lake and sometimes a town but mostly sound barriers. Sometimes a supercar or – far more likely – a suped up Honda flies past you going thirty over the speed limit and that livens things up for about six seconds and then you’re back to staring at the back of the pickup in front of you for another three hundred miles while praying you don’t fall asleep to your true crime podcast.
Florida Doesn’t Issue Front End Plates
Florida Doesn’t Issue Front End Plates.
Florida Doesn’t Issue Front End Plates.
Florida Doesn’t Issue Front End Fucking Plates.
This is the one. The stupid little detail that drives me into a completely irrational and inconsolable rage every single time I see it. Every time there’s a car featured in ‘Florida’ that front end license plate is always so prominently featured to the point where I think that everybody knows Florida doesn’t have them and is doing it to screw with me, specifically. We all have that thing, right? It’s not just me? We all have that stupid little thing that pops up in our lives occasionally and suddenly you’re going Super Saiyan on your unsuspecting and frankly exhausted friends who have heard this all before half a dozen times and don’t feel like dealing with your spittle and tears?
Bonus Fact: Gators? Just Don’t Go Over There
I used to live near a state park that had a natural lazy river. You rented a tube and got in the water and let the current drag you through a whole bunch of overgrown trees and banana spiders. You knew it was time to get out when you hit a bridge.
I went with a friend one time and after chilling down the river we hit the bridge. As we were crossing it, my friend suddenly cooed and pointed. Sitting in the river, maybe ten feet from where we had gotten out of the water, was a baby alligator sunning itself on a rock. I’m talking a foot and a half, maybe two feet long.
It. Was. Adorable. We stood there and gawked at it and took pictures for probably five minutes. Long enough for a couple of women who had been behind us to catch up. As they were climbing out of the water we waved them over to ‘come see the cute baaaaabeeee.’
See, my friend and I thought these women were fellow locals. The park was far enough away from the tourist attractions to avoid that kind of attention. So these women rushed up to us, probably expecting to see some baby deer or some shit, and it takes them a few seconds to figure out what we’re pointing at. It’s at that point that their looks of excitement turn to absolute gobsmacked horror. One of the women turns to us and asks in the most posh English accent I’ve ever heard:
“Is that an alligator?”
What is it with the English and Florida? Wait, England, do you like Florida? Like…like like it? Because you can have it, if you want. We’re not using it for anything important.
Anyway, we confirmed that yes, of course, it’s an alligator, and if there had been a roof over our heads these women would have gone through it. Apparently the fact that this was a NATURAL STATE PARK had slipped their attention and they thought…I don’t know, the lazy river was surrounded by alligator barriers, or something?
Point of fact, the launch pad at Cape Canaveral is surrounded by alligator barriers. They are twelve feet high and curved outward because alligators are actually good climbers. But I digress.
Gators are, for the most part, fat lazy sausage babies who don’t want to have to fight for their food. They hardly ever attack full grown humans because we’re too much hassle. All you have to do to stay safe around gators is leave them alone.
Oh, and as long as you’re avoiding stuff in Florida, don’t make eye contact with bachelorette parties.