There are some places, that despite not existing, are still very real to many. For instance, Hawkins, Indiana is not a real place, but it does mimic rural suburban towns. We all know that Westeros isn’t as west as it seems, because it isn’t real. And no matter how hard Ben Affleck tries to convince you that Boston is a place, it’s clear that it’s not a real city with real people. We all know this, right? Boston isn’t real. Even though it’s technically on the map and legally recognized as a city.
But if you’re not from America, it can be hard to understand all of the various towns that people throw out there on shows. Rye, New York, where Don Draper lived on Mad Men might sound like a fake place, but it is in fact a real town with a very real haunted amusement park. So when the characters on The Office mention living in Scranton, it’s hard to tell if that is a real place, or just an off-brand cleaning product. For most of the UK, they tend to believe it’s not real.
According to a new report from TonerGiant, every month, an average of 400 people in the United Kingdom Google the question “Is Scranton a real place?” That question becomes asked about 5k times a year, meaning that maybe geography should be taught more extensively over there.
While Scranton is a real place (and the birthplace of President Joe Biden) there isn’t a lot to do there, and there definitely isn’t a paper company. There is a Steamtown mall, though, and they like to lean into the whole Office thing.
The study also shows that, unsurprisingly, the UK version of the series is more popular across the pond, despite only having two seasons. The humor is a lot different, with David Brent (played by Ricky Gervais) being a less lovable and more tone-deaf boss than Michael Scott.
On the other hand, how do we know that people in America aren’t googling “is Berkshire, England a real place and not just a western Massachusetts village?” Who’s to say?