Americans have been exporting their movies overseas since we realize films could be shipped. These films carry many glimpses of American culture, but since movies are often glamorous or exaggerated for dramatic effect, it’s not too surprising that people who have never been here watch them and assume a lot of stuff we think of as “normal” is actually made up. It shouldn’t be, anyway, and yet this thread started by u/maybebastos on r/AskReddit was still pretty amazing. They asked, “Non-Americans, what is a US thing that you always saw as ‘weird sh—t from American movies?'”
The commenters revealed all the stuff that Americans take for granted, like the color of a school bus or Prom Queens, that seemed so ludicrous people didn’t believe it was real until they saw it for themselves. Are we the weirdest country on earth? Based on our movies, it sure seems like it to the rest of the world. Read through for more examples of why facts are stranger than fiction.
I learned from another post people in Europe who came to the U.S. couldn’t believe the yellow school bus was a real thing when they came to The U.S. —[retracted]
Tumbleweed. I was convinced that was made up for Westerns. Lived here for 14 years before one blew across the road in front of me in Seligman AZ. I had to stop and take a photo because I couldn’t believe it was actually a thing.—chrisell
Pep rallies —Nj374
I always thought that steam gushing out of sewers / drains / manhole covers was just a cheesy movie thing for dramatic effect. I guess I thought the props team must enjoy a smoke machine, I don’t know. It wasn’t until I moved to the US a few years ago that I realized it actually happens! I grew up in the U.K. and hadn’t seen it in real life before. Probably lacking that hot + raining combination —wattglow
Fraternities, sororities, and hazing. —AwesomeMix20
So, I’m very American but have spent a reasonable amount of time abroad. So much so that I saw the original Tobey Maguire Spiderman in a movie theater in Spain. There’s a Thanksgiving scene. So, to me the turkey there was on the big side but not totally outrageous. The theater lost their shit at the turkey. Hooting, hollering, laughing, whistling. —ShamelesslyPlugged
A friend of mine that I used to talk to from Wales always told me she doesn’t understand why Americans use Red Solo Cups in every “high school party movie.”—ApathyPandav20
In a lot of movies some character would say “Get a room!” which I thought was such a lame joke. My surprise was when hearing some americans actually mentioning the joke. —Lensinner
Garbage disposals. Always found them unusual being British never seen one before until I started going over to the states. —macnerd93
The dating culture in America definitely seems to be a lot more direct than in Europe, if movies, tv shows etc are anything to go by. They are just a lot more up front about their intentions from the get-go and will actively try to set up romantic situations, whereas in Europe we seem to kind of prefer a slow burn where things develop in a subtle almost organic way with a friend of a friend or some such. There are pros and cons to both, I think.
The direct nature of Americans can be a little intimidating for me, but at least it’s straight forward and no one is wondering what this is about. I think the European way can be really nice though and exciting in its own way, though there are downsides to that way as well as it can be easy to miss the boat with someone because you didn’t make a move quickly enough. —itsmekathy
Walking in piss stained public bathrooms or trash riddled alleys then later wearing the same shoes indoors in the kitchen and bedroom inside their own home. Bonus: when guests find it incredulous that the host asks them to take off their shoes as if that’s what’s weird. —CoffeeBeanK9
My Irish friends who came over on an exchange program were absolutely flabbergasted when they saw real life Girl Scouts selling cookies outside of the supermarket by campus.
“We thought that was only like a fake thing for movies!!”
Of course these were the same friends that were blown away by the fact that Colonel Sanders was a real person, and not just a mascot like Ronald McDonald – I furthermore proved he was real by taking them to his grave, where we enjoyed a bucket of KFC….and yes we left the chicken bones in a weird configuration at the foot of his massive grave monument. —Whylizlovesyou
Slapping each others asses after an american football game —crack-ferret
That the American flag is everywhere. Literally everythere. In school class rooms, on clothes, hanging outside of houses, etc. —ZeroEchoBravoSeven
Classroom scenes where children stand up, hand over their hearts and recite the pledge. seems weird. Like a cult indoctrination. —loveandrubyshoes
That every year they seem to announce a prom king and queen, despite the fact that king and queen are hereditary titles following royal lineage and not a position you are elected to, further more once crowned these kings and queens seem to have neither official duties nor a kingdom over which to rule. The whole charade just seems to be a thorough waste of time. —be_my_plaything
College sports being important somehow —ShinigamiKunai
I don’t mean any disrespect by this but the way Christian religion is openly talked about and in shows like young Sheldon how a family say grace. I never been in a house where that’s happened in UK. I grew up in London if I told my school friends I loved Jesus they would have taken the micky out of me.
My parents never talked about religion I don’t remember my friends family talking about it either. Maybe it was just my upbringing but even in my work environment people that openly talk about religion are often seen as a bit of an outsider. Maybe its just my experience of living in London and UK I don’t know. —Horrorwriterme
Weddings always happen somewhere outside. For such religious nation you’d think more people would marry in a church. Sometimes there’s no priest either, just some random dude. Bit odd. —Pm-me-dick-picks
The cliquey nature of high schools. The nerds, the jocks, the cheerleaders, the stoners etc. and nobody from those groups mixing at all.
I thought it was just a trope for movies, but after talking to a few Americans, it’s apparently a real thing? —Weaseltime_420
Always eating pizza. Aren’t you guys bored of that? —whenthewindupbird