Orlando is everyone’s favorite punchline. And I love it.
I think I’ve mentioned that I love Orlando? And even though there’s a zillion cool reasons to love this town we’re always sort of a joke in the cultural zeitgeist. And I don’t mean just because we’re in Florida. I started noticing how often we’re the punchline in my favorite shows and movies. I could be offended but really I love a good ol’ shoutout to my city. So here are my top favorite pop culture Orlando references.
I watch Pretty Woman every time I see it on TV. Every. Single. Time. But as with most movies I catch on on cable, I never actually watch it start to finish. A couple years back I met up with a few girlfriends at the Enzian for their Cult Classics night when they were playing Pretty Woman. And would you believe that right in the intro there’s an Orlando shout out? As the movie opens cops are on scene at the homicide of a dead hooker. Two tacky tourists look on to take pictures. Can you guess where they’re from? Orlando! (You’ll hear it at 5:50 in) The audience roared with laughter and applause.
The Book of Mormon
I really hadn’t researched much into The Book of Mormon before we went to Bob Carr to see it. It was one of those shows I thought we had to go see because there was so much hype. Also I have very fond memories of watching Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s Baseketball when I was a kid (South Park too lest I be outcasted!)
In The Book of Mormon, LDS missionaries prepare to be sent on their missions across the globe. I am so glad I had no idea what was coming because the full effect of the punchline for Elder Price revealing he hopes he’s placed in Orlando with an epic Orlando banner unfurling on stage was everything. I couldn’t find video of it, but here’s the song!
The Minions Movie
This is a mommy blog after all so I had to include my favorite yellow blobs, the minions. I didn’t get their appeal before I saw this movie but after close to one hundred viewings, I’m sold. In The Minions Movie, Bob, Stewart, and Kevin in search of a supervillian leader head to Villiancon, the largest gathering of criminals anywhere. And where else would it be but Orlando? It’s set before Disney so they arrive to a one-road swamp town. And don’t worry they do find a supervillain to follow, Scarlett Overkill (Sandra Bullock). The lady-power supervillian with a sidekick husband (John Hamm, yes please!) really set my love into overdrive.
Hotwives of Orlando
A general rule my friends know when conversing with me is that 9 out of 10 times I will relate everything back to the Real Housewives. Imagine my delight when a parody premiered called The Hotwives of Orlando! The show happens to hit on every amazing Housewives cliche and reminds you that telling people to ‘calm down’ can lead to a full-scale catfight that lasts a whole season.
Fresh off the Boat
Based off Eddie Huang’s memoir, Fresh off the Boat is a family comedy on ABC that documents his Taiwanese family’s move from Chinatown in D.C. to Orlando. It’s set in the mid-90’s and such a great show about family and culture-clash. As I went down the Wikipedia rabbit-hole reading up on Huang for this blog post I became obsessed. I’m now sure I need to read his books, follow him on twitter, and set up a google alert with his name so I can keep tabs on his many controversies.
Orange is the New Black
I fully jumped on the OITNB bandwagon the second it premiered. My book club read the novel. And back in the pre-kiddo days I’m sure we even binge watched the season in a day. On the show the guards often play just as integral parts of the stories as the inmates. One guard, CO Bennett gets very involved with an inmate and we learn that he has a fake leg. Flashbacks show us that CO Bennett is an army vet, so it’s easy to connect the dots that he lost his leg in Afghanistan in combat. Not so, good friends. It’s later revealed that he lost it because of an infection that he got in a hot tub. In Orlando.
Melissa McCarthy steals Jason Bateman’s identity and he goes to find her and get it back. The movie turns into a road trip buddy comedy after he finds her, in Winter Park. It’s painfully obvious the movie wasn’t filmed in Winter Park. But did they even google it? There’s a scene with a salon that is borderline offensive because the Florida cliche tacky salon is incredibly anti-Winter Park. #howdareyou
I thought Amy Poehler and Tina Fey’s Sisters movie was adorable and funny. The two polar opposite sisters head back to Orlando to help sell their family home. They decide to have one epic party before it sells. Just like every other Orlando moment on this list, I do not think one second of this was filmed in Central Florida. They do hit up a Big Lots at one point and that made it easy to pretend they were here. Once again, my research for this list led me fully down an internet rabbit hole. This movie is based on real Orlandoan sisters Paula Pell and Patty DeLaCruz. Pell is a writer for SNL and wrote the screenplay. So cool right?
I know there are so many more Orlando moments in pop culture that I’m missing. What should I add to the next round-up for this list?