Netflix Hit Comedy Series Is Based In Fictional Michigan Town
Welcome to Iron Creek, which is kind of like Marquette, but not really, and is where the last Blockbuster Video Store is located, but not really.
'Blockbuster', The Comedy, Debuted November 3 On Netflix
The irony that Netflix created a situation comedy about the last standing Blockbuster Video Store is not lost on me. Netflix and its streaming platform, may have single handedly brought down the once mighty Blockbuster chain in the mid-2000s.
But Blockbuster's revenge on Netflix may be that the series is NOT getting the best reviews, so far.
There IS Still A Blockbuster Store Standing!
The actual last standing Blockbuster is in Bend, Oregon, and is still thriving, kind of, and is now an AirBandB (Yup, you can finally stay over night in a Blockbuster!!).
There was a documentary about that actual store that is airing on Netflix called 'The Last Blockbuster'.
The new, sit-com take on the last video store, now located in Michigan, was created by Vanessa Ramos of 'Brooklyn 9-9' and 'Superstore' fame. Ramos created the fictional comedy which stars Randall Park as 'Timmy', the manager of the last Blockbuster, who questions his life choices as he tries to rally his staff to keep the video store thriving in a suburban Michigan strip mall (owned by the always hilarious JB Smoove).
The Fictional Final Blockbuster Video Store Is In Michigan
Ramos set the series in the fictional Michigan town of 'Iron Creek', which may or may not be standing in for Iron River which is a real town in the Western Upper Peninsula.
However, when you view the series, the town seems a bit bigger than the smallish Iron River, it seems to be more suburban and more Marquette-like, with a diverse staff and a bigger town feel, and since Marquette is the biggest city in the UP, and thanks to the Air Force and Northern Michigan University, is a little more diverse, I'm going with that.
The Series Makes Many Michigan References, Including A Grand Rapids One
I haven't viewed the entire first season yet, but the quick paced show has made several Michigan references, including the one in the opening scene of episode four, which refers to the 'Grand Rapids Marching Band'.
I'm pretty sure they referencing a high school band, which there really isn't a Grand Rapids High School, so I'm sure the reference, like everything else they reference is fictional.
Much like another reference to the 'Menominee Community College' , which isn't a thing, but IS a real UP town.
Season 1 of 'Blockbuster' is available to stream now for Netflix subscribers. It has ten episodes in season one.
'The Last Blockbuster' documentary is also still streaming on Netflix, you check out the trailer below.
Ramos Has Never Said Why She Set The Show In Michigan, But Did Give A Clue
In interviews, the creator Ramos, a native of San Antonio, TX, has never said why she set the show in Michigan, but she did say she was greatly influenced by the Tim Robinson Comedy Central show, 'The Detroiters':
One of her favorite shows is “Detroiters,” co-created by and starring Sam Richardson and Tim Robinson. “They think of things that my brain wouldn’t have thought to put jokes there. The biggest example I think about out the gate is in the pilot, where they’re like, ‘Two beers.’ [The bartender is] like, ‘Hot or cold?’ … and they angle on the man blowing on his hot beer to cool it off. If I saw that script, I would not have thought, ‘Oh, that’s where the joke goes!’ I’m just continuously fascinated by the choices they make there and just the funny stuff they find.”
Throughout “Blockbuster,” there’s a similar joke density using visual gags for the viewer to spot. For example, there’s a running bit involving the TV in the employees’ break room, which is playing the local news. In different episodes, a different news anchor reports they are filling in for an anchor featured in a previous episode, who is on vacation.