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"Like, ohmygod, okay? That's totally the Valley!"

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The poor, beleaguered San Fernando Valley has been the brunt of jokes for decades. And where would television and films be without one of their favorite touchstones of mocking? Even these days on the soapy SoCal soaked O.C. the characters are obsessed with a nighttime drama all about and named for...you guessed it, The Valley. A generation back finds the painfully hip residents of a cetain Beverly Hills zip code horrified to discover one of their own actually lived way over yonder in a mysterious wildnerness known as Van Nuys. (That was poor, beleaguered Andrea Zuckerman, for those who've forsaken the memory for more worthy trivia.) And fellow Clueless BH teen queen Cher (Alicia Silverstone) attends an infamous "valley" party, only to get her purse-jacked at Circus Liquor, which is at the corner of Vineland and Burbank Blvd in North Hollywood. So many movie and television moments give us pause to laugh, and point: "Hey! That's the Valley!" This LAist (and begrudging Valley resident--can't we say NoHo is "Valley adjacent"?) thought we could mention a few of our favorites.

The idea for this actually was cemented for us last week when we found a bit of humor in the otherwise dark Crash; how could we not laugh knowingly when Officer Tommy Hanson (Ryan Phillippe) points out that it's unlikely someone would carjack a high-end SUV and take it for a spin in...Studio City. Ahh, poor Studio City. Of course one filmmaker has made a career out of exploiting the Valley in all its glory: Studio City's native son, Paul Thomas Anderson. Who can forget the porn stars, roller rinks, and coke whores of Boogie Nights, the ensemble angst of Magnolia (named for the street, although the big frogs falling from the sky scene was actually done outside of Sears on Laurel Canyon and Victory Boulevard), and the decidedly more bleak Punch Drunk Love. Naturally, no self-respecting piece on Valley-oriented films and shows would be complete without paying hommage to the ultimate Valley flick, Valley Girl, and the power of love united two people from different sides of the tracks. Er, hills, we mean. Totally tubular, right?

Of course, sometimes things are filmed in the Valley that don't take place there. We're not sure where Must Love Dogs was set, but they sure spent an awful lot of time driving through North Hollywood. The 40 Year Old Virgin worked at a Valley-located electronics store. And Erin Brockovich's car accident--you know the one that brings her to Ed Masry's office? Pure Valley filming. Lankershim and good old Magnolia, to be exact. One show, however, represents the ultimate in location irony, and that's one of our all-time faves, The Brady Bunch. The famous establishing exterior shot features a real-life, honest to goodness Valley family home, located at 11222 Dilling Street in North Hollywood, where Dilling dead ends between Fair and Klump. And while the house has changed over the years (check here for a groovy history of the house) that house remains frozen in 1969 thanks to the magic of DVD and cable reruns. The irony is, the Bunch never came right out and said where they lived, not even a mere dropping of the word "California." Instead they went down to the generic stadium, played in fictional parks, lived on the fictional Clinton Avenue, and crossed streets like Oak and Main. We find Greg at the beach with a date once--combined with the perpetual summer sunshine and we've clearly got somewhere in So Cal. But we know it's the Valley--anything that wonderfully ridiculous wouldn't happen anywhere but.

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Photo: Sitcomsonline.com