UPDATED: May 2 at 3:00 PM
It’s always a fun moment when one of your favorite TV shows gives your hometown a shout-out.
It may be a little more rare to hear Jacksonville references on television than other “big cities”, but we still certainly get more shout-outs than the average city.
We decided to put together a list of the times our staff has noticed Jacksonville popping up in TV shows. One huge disclaimer: we definitely missed some!
We haven’t quite seen every show on television, as much as we may try. If you see a Jax shout-out that we missed, shoot us an email at email@example.com and let us know about it. We’ll get it added, and we’ll give you a shout-out for helping us out!
Without further ado, here’s what we’ve got so far (in alphabetical order).
As we’ve mentioned in a previous article, 2000s NBC sitcom 30 Rock gave Jacksonville a shout-out in its 100th episode.
Jack (Alec Baldwin) suffers a hallucination brought on by a gas leak, during which he imagines a conversation with his future self. Future Jack warns Regular Jack that if he cuts Liz (Tina Fey) out of his life, she’ll end up moving to Jacksonville to open an alligator farm with her boyfriend Dennis (Dean Winters).
Regular Jack responds with concern, indicating that Liz’s hair could not handle the humidity in Jax.
Ash vs. Evil Dead
Thanks to reader Jill Cruz for sending in this one!
Starz series Ash vs. Evil Dead references Jacksonville multiple times in its first season. It’s first mentioned as a dream destination for main character Ash (Bruce Campbell). In a dream sequence in the episode “Brujo”, shots of the Jacksonville skyline are actually featured prominently.
At the end of the season, Ash chooses to move to Jacksonville to live a simpler life – but this move will presumably be a temporary one.
Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich in America
As you can imagine, Best Sandwich in America was a show aimed at finding the best sandwich in America. It ran for one season on the Travel Channel.
Its championship finale episode featured a sandwich from Olio, a popular downtown eatery at 301 E. Bay St. The sandwich in question was its duck confit grilled cheese; it unfortunately ended up losing in round one.
Shout-out to reader Nick De Nisco for pointing this one out.
Long-running CBS drama Criminal Minds has actually heavily referenced Jacksonville in two different episodes. In the season two episode “The Perfect Storm”, the team investigates a student’s death in Jacksonville. (A bit of trivia via the episode’s IMDB page: characters refer to the “Jacksonville PD”, which technically doesn’t exist. They meant to say JSO.) In season six’s “Big Sea”, the team returns to Jacksonville after discovering bodies buried offshore.
Neither episode was filmed in Jax.
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
This is another one we’ve featured previously. Back before Jon Stewart retired from The Daily Show, he took aim at Duval County Clerk of Courts Ronnie Fussell.
Stewart – and many others – objected to Fussell’s insistence that no marriages would be performed at his office, because his staff was apparently uncomfortable about having to participate in recently-legalized gay marriage ceremonies.
Unfortunately, Jon’s segment didn’t make much of an impact. Despite his continued insistence on barring courthouse marriages in Duval County, Fussell somehow won re-election in 2016.
Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives
Jacksonville restaurants have been featured four times by host Guy Fieri on the popular Food Network series Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
All of the Jax restaurants were featured in 2010. In order from first to last, the restaurants featured were Singleton’s Seafood Shack, 13 Gypsies, Culhane’s Irish Pub, and Metro Diner.
J.J. Abrams’ FOX sci-fi drama Fringe ran for five seasons and developed a cult following. The show featured a complex mythology, in which Jacksonville played a minor role.
In the Fringe world, Jax was the site of a trial for an experimental drug aimed at unleashing the brain’s full potential called “cortexiphan”. The trial took place at a childcare center, and Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) gained special abilities as a result of the experimentation.
Olivia is taken back to the center where the experiments took place in a second season episode that is appropriately titled “Jacksonville”.
The Good Place
NBC sitcom The Good Place loves to pick on Jacksonville.
One of its characters, Jason Mendoza (Manny Jacinto), is from Jax, and often indicates his affection for the hometown Jaguars.
Jax is (playfully) depicted as a bit of a wasteland in The Good Place. At one point, the city is referred to one of the top ten swamp cities in Northeast Florida.
Personally, we prefer to think Jax is the number one swamp city in NEFL.
Guilty Pleasures is a Food Network show featuring the network’s chefs and personalities highlighting their own favorite dishes at restaurants around the country.
In a 2016 episode of the show, chef and Chopped judge Amanda Freitag chose the Squawking Goat sandwich at Maple Street Biscuit Company as her favorite dish.
Invention Hunters was a short-lived Food Network series aiming to find the newest, most innovative food inventions.
During their first and only season, the show went to Bold Bean to feature Steve Toney, the inventor of a travel espresso maker called the Travesso. His invention was competing against two other inventions, and his won the episode.
Food Network’s Restaurant: Impossible is a reality series that visits failing restaurants and tries to turn them around and restore them to profitability.
In 2011, during its very first season, the show visited Secret Garden Cafe in Jacksonville. They renovated the restaurant and revamped the menu. It’s since not only won back customers, but also opened a second location at the beach.
Pointman was a short-lived series from the ’90s on the (also short-lived) Prime Time Entertainment Network. Really, the only thing the show is notable for at this point is that it was set entirely in Jacksonville.
If you watch the show carefully – there’s a few episodes floating around the internet – you can identify several different Jax locations. The Bolles School campus, the Wells Fargo Center, the Jewish Community Alliance, and others were among the featured shooting locations. The city’s bridges and skyline were also heavily featured.
Space Ghost Coast to Coast
Cartoon Network’s surrealist talk-show parody Space Ghost Coast to Coast ran for 10 seasons and 14 years. With that kind of longevity, and the show’s particular brand of chaotic randomness, it was inevitable that Jacksonville would be mentioned at some point.
In a season three episode appropriately titled “Jacksonville”, Moltar (C. Martin Croker) flees on a train to Jacksonville, forcing Space Ghost (George Lowe) to find a fill-in director for the show. Ultimately, Moltar returns when confronted by Space Ghost.
In HBO sitcom Veep‘s second season episode “Midterms”, the president’s chief of staff Ben (Kevin Dunn) suggests that Florida should be broken off at Jacksonville and cast away toward Cuba.
No word on if that means Jacksonville gets to stay, or becomes part of the discarded corpse of Florida.