It can be annoying when someone who has never lived in Florida decides to portray the state in a movie, TV show or book.
Us “real Floridians” can’t help feeling like they got it all wrong. Especially so for those newly minted snowbirds who are understandably passionate about their new townhome away from home.
“Claws,” which airs at 9 p.m. Sundays on TNT, is a drama streaked with dark humor sometimes described as “Florida noir.”
It’s set in a fictional nail salon in the city of Palmetto in Manatee County, but mostly filmed in New Orleans.
Some of the show’s playfulness is used to poke fun at Florida stereotypes.
Here are some of the things that “Claws” gets right — and wrong — about Florida.
What “Claws” gets right:
1. The bright colors
“Claws” is a show with a visual pop, much like the state of Florida. The vividly colored nails, outfits and buildings of “Claws” gleaming in the Florida sunlight ring true to real life. Floridians sure aren’t afraid to break out the neons and pastels when it comes to painting houses and businesses, picking out an outfit for a beach day or sticking an iconic flamingo on the front lawn.
2. The weird crime
Florida man (and Florida woman) are all over the news all of the time. From late-night gator drop-offs at gas stations to practicing karate on swans, crime in Florida is rarely cliché. It makes some of the outlandish misdeeds on “Claws” seem more believable.
3. Expect the unexpected
Expecting sunshine? Hello rain and deadly bolts from the blue. Planning on a relaxing lakeside walk at the park with the dog? Welcome to the alligator buffet, you’re on the menu! Florida is full of unexpected surprises. A nail salon that is actually a front for drug sales and money laundering probably wouldn’t raise too many eyebrows.
4. “Side hustle”
As Governor Rick Scott likes to tout so often, Florida has a lot of jobs. What those jobs are, and how many the average person has to hold down to survive, is a different story. Most people in retail will tell you they are also working two other jobs right now, but they plan on becoming a doctor, investment banker or screen writer — eventually.
The reality of the careers that Floridians actually land can be a bit different, and many people wind up finding extra work on the side to make ends meet. In “Claws,” many of the women working at the nail salon are there on the way out of a bad job or on the way to “something bigger.” A little bit of crime might be what helps them get there. No, Floridians don’t shy away from a little “side hustle.”
5. Strip malls
The strip mall is an unavoidable fact of life in Florida. The architectural canker sores scar every major street. However, they can house an interesting mix of businesses, and they often put groups of people that wouldn’t normally interact in close proximity. In “Claws,” other businesses in the fictional Palmetto Plaza include the Messianic Jewish Cafeteria and Internet Center and the pain clinic/pill mill that Desna Simms does business with.
What “Claws” gets wrong:
1. We’re not that crazy ...
Florida is the scene of a lot of weird action, but there are a lot of semi-normal people here, too. Part of the reason that we show up in the news so frequently is the state’s open record laws. If other states had the same laws, Florida wouldn’t stick out like a sore peninsula.
2. Florida crime is anything but organized
There may be some shadowy crime underworld in Florida that none of us know about, but for the most part our crime is very spontaneous. Someone take your parking spot? No problem, just pull out your sword and show ‘em who they’re messing with! Our criminals clearly don’t think that far ahead ...
3. It’s not always sunny
Where are the torrential downpours? The hurricanes? The lightning? “Claws” misses out on some opportunities for dramatic reinforcement via Florida’s wild weather patterns.
Palmetto is not the crime-infested drug dealer hideout complete with corrupt police department depicted in the show. In fact, “Claws” doesn’t have much of anything to do with the real city of Palmetto. It’s a nice, respectable, quiet town; you should check it out.
5. The accents
What’s going on with those accents? Every other character on “Claws” seems to have a thick and honeyed Southern accent. Floridians know that just isn’t the case for most regions of the state. To be fair, Florida’s accent is hard to pin down. It’s not exactly Southern or Northern. It’s just Florida.