I often wonder, however, how the city is viewed by outsiders who have no experience with the city. They can get a glimpse of what it is like to live here by watching a variety of television shows or movies - or by reading - Anne Rule loves to set her stories in Seattle or the surrounding area. The city is a popular setting for numerous reasons but one thing usually stands out - the gray weather and rain - which can set a certain mood for romance or horror films.
How would the city be perceived by someone watching television, which for argument's sake, we will say is the easiest and likely only way we can be seen by the masses. We will take a small sample of shows to use as examples: Frasier, Grey's Anatomy, iCarly, any Kyle XY. If one were to watch all of these shows a few things about Seattle would become apparent - the people are smart, most are pretty well-off, the city loves coffee, and technology plays a big role in our lives - likely more than in the lives of others. Is this an accurate portrayal of Seattle? I think it is in a sense - but for reasons that are pretty shallow.
There is so much more to Seattle than the Space Needle and Pike Place Market and so many different colors and types of people who are often neglected to be shown. These shows also fail to show a side of Seattle that the real citizens deal with everyday - homeless residents - of which there are many. I love traveling to cities and have been to many - and there is no other place that I can think of (even SF) that has so many people without a place to live. I think in order for these shows (if still on the air) and future ones to be more realistic there should A) be a lot more walking - we like to walk here, B) after a character gets his skinny soy latte from a small locally owned cafe he should step over an unfortunate homeless person who might be dead to get to where he is going - it doesn't get any more real than that, and C) there should be more diversity - especially involving members of the gay community - liberal, left leaning, Seattle loves the gays.
TV executives: you can show all the gray you want - but if the characters are not walking (or biking) everywhere, supporting local business and social initiatives, and have a diverse group of friends - it should not be called Seattle. If you get to speak with wardrobe - please feel free to request someone wearing socks and Birkenstocks, pants rolled up into capri, or a North Face jacket - it will really help set the scene.