I just came across this idiotic website proposing that Fresno change its name in order to, somehow, suddenly have a better image. To somehow be less of a punchline. The Fresnan has a great rundown of why this is probably the lamest revitalization idea ever, so I refer you there for background info and details. But I feel I need to contribute to the dialogue the way I know best: with mockery.
Here are some sample conversations that would occur after the name change.
EXT. After the UC Irvine graduation ceremonies, two graduates converse.
NATHAN: What are you plans now?
BETH: I’ve got a job lined up in Great Valley.1
NATHAN: Fresno? I saw the story on CNN about them changing their name. Yeah, ‘Great Valley’ makes the smog smell like tulips. Losers. Anyway, good luck.
INT. San Francisco cocktail party overlooking the Bay Bridge. SUSAN and ANNIE chat over cosmos.
SUSAN: …So that’s why I moved out here from Chicago. Where are you from originally?
ANNIE: I grew up in Central California.
SUSAN: Really? What part?
ANNIE: Um, Rancho Sierra.
SUSAN: Hm. Is that near Sacramento?
ANNIE: Well, it’s more south. It’s actually bigger than Sacramento.
SUSAN: Oh, I can’t believe I haven’t heard of it. Are you sure?
ANNIE: Yeah. Well, it used to be called Fresno.
SUSAN: Ohhh. That’s odd.
INT. Car driving up 99 towards Yosimite.
WIFE: I’m hungry. Let’s get something to eat in Fresno.
HUSBAND: You know they changed the name, right?
WIFE: Name of what?
HUSBAND: Fresno. It’s called Muir now.
HUSBAND: They thought it would give them a better image or something. It’s ironic; the city went into massive debt just to change all the government letterhead and repaint police cars, not to mention the university and the businesses.
WIFE: Why would it give them a better image?
HUSBAND: I guess because people think of ‘Fresno’ as uncool.
WIFE: They think a new name will fix that?
HUSBAND: I guess.
WIFE: That’s the most retarded thing I’ve ever heard. Look, Kingsburg. Let’s eat here.
INT. High school gymnasium in Phoenix, Arizona. A college fair. Booths are set up and students mill around.
MALE STUDENT (approaching booth): CSUBT? Where’s that?
RECRUITER: In beautiful Blossom Trail, California. Most of the time we call it Blossom Trail State. Let me show you some–
MALE STUDENT: I’m a football player. I’m sure as shit not going to play for ‘Blossom Trail State’. See you in hell.
(Student walks off, another walks up.)
RECRUITER: Hello, there. Thinking about college in California?
FEMALE STUDENT: Blossom Trail? Isn’t that the city that changed its name because it sucked so much?
RECRUITER: Well, not exactly. But we’ve changed more than our name. Since then the city of Blossom Trail has reduced crime by almost 40%. And we’ve got a thriving downtown entertainment district where, by the way, our fantastic new BTSU satellite campus is located.
FEMALE STUDENT: What was it called before?
RECRUITER: The city? It was named Fresno, but let me tell you about the job opportunities that have been created for our graduates. Nearly 80 percent of–
FEMALE STUDENT: Frez-no. Why’d you change it?
RECRUITER: Um, well, it wasn’t really up to us. I just represent the university. Did you know our business program, in conjunction with the Blossom Trail City government, provides opportunities to–
FEMALE STUDENT: That seems… dumb.
RECRUITER: Yes, but–
FEMALE STUDENT: Don’t you guys have pride in your history?
RECRUITER: Funny you should say that, because–
FEMALE STUDENT: It’s kind of disgusting, if you think about it. If a student writes a shitty essay at your college, can they improve their grade by just changing the title?
RECRUITER: Of course n–
FEMALE STUDENT: Yuck.
(She walks away.)
CLOSEUP of TV screen. Opening titles of late night show play.
ANNOUNCER: It’s the Conan O’Brien Show! Only on Fox! And now, here’s Conan O’Brien!
CONAN: Thank you, thank you. We’ve got a great show for you tonight. But first, did you hear about Dakota Fanning? Seems this time she’s really screwed up. Meth, orgies, dead puppies. Yikes. Hollywood insiders are saying this might be the end of her career; her reputation is ruined. Although… she could always try…. changing her name to Vineyard, California!
(Audience erupts with laughter)
- Actual possible proposed names. [↩]