Back in 2011, the Economist published a map of the US matching each state with a national economy of similar size. It threw up some eyeopening similarities – Mississippi with Bangladesh, Texas with Russia, California with Italy – with the overall result of making the States seem like a much more familiar and approachable place. But if you were travelling to the US for the first time, as a travel guide this approach has its limitations. Thinking that Nevada is just like Peru, or that Minnesota celebrates the same cultural traditions as Thailand is only going to lead to confusion (and possibly a jail sentence). But substitute dry financial information with the rich sociological material of TV shows and the result is way more helpful.
And from this you can easily derive this handy list of Top Travel Tips:
1) The Following are everywhere
2) If you want to buy drugs, Maryland and New Mexico should be on your itinerary. If you want a beer, head for Massachussets.
3) Florida is best avoided.
4) So is Georgia.
5) And Louisiana.
6) Timothy Olyphant once kept the peace in North Dakota, but now fights crime in Kentucky. His Dad lives in Nevada and his Grandad in Wyoming.
7) And his Great-grandad lives in Arizona.
8) Anywhere north of Illinois is a dramatic dead zone.
9) Mystical creatures prefer temperate wooded environments, as do surreal murder mysteries.
10) Taylor Swift’s mother lives in Tennessee.
11) California has much more in common with Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania than you would think.
12) As do Illinois and New Jersey.
13) Basketball is the main export of North Carolina.
14) Utah and Colorado are weird.
15) Watch out for low flying objects in Kentucky.
16) Elementary is the best show based in New York.
17) No one shot JR. He moved to Washington DC and took up politics.
KEY TO STATES AND SHOWS
Arizona – The High Chapparal
California – Community
Colorado – South Park
Florida – Dexter
Georgia – The Walking Dead
Illinois – Boss
Indiana – Parks and Recreation
Kansas – Smallville
Kentucky – Justified
Louisiana – True Blood
Maine – Once Upon A Time
Maryland – The Wire
Massachussets – Cheers
Nevada – Vegas
New Jersey – The Sopranos
New Mexico – Breaking Bad
New York – Elementary
North Carolina – One Tree Hill
Ohio – Glee
Oregon – Grimm
Pennsylvania – The Office
South Dakota – Deadwood
Tennessee – Nashville
Texas – Dallas
Utah – Big Love
Virginia – House of Cards (OK I know Washington DC isn’t strictly part of any US state, but catch me a break here)
Washington – Twin Peaks
Wyoming – Longmire
As for the rest – The Following. The Following is everywhere…