23 Things Americans Do That Non-Americans Thought Were Just Made Up For Movies

Posted on Mar 17, 2021

23 American Quirks That Some Non-Americans Assumed Were Actually Fake

To be fair, Black Friday does sound a little made up.

We asked the non-Americans of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us which American quirks they didn’t realize actually existed outside of TV and movies. Here are the wild responses:

Trevor Noah saying, "America is just weird"


Sororities and fraternities:

“When I was younger, I always thought that sororities and fraternities were just a concept made for movies. I liked it, but it didn’t seem like it could be real.”


Girls chest-bumping and yelling, "Kappa Nu!"


The Pledge of Allegiance:

“I thought it was TV shorthand to let audiences know they were in America, the way they use Big Ben to show people are in London. I didn’t think anyone actually did it.”


Two men putting their hands over their hearts like they're about to say the pledge


Ice cream trucks:

“I lived in the US for three years before finally seeing one.”


A man throwing ice cream cones into a crowd of children from an ice cream truck


Pep rallies:

“I thought they were made up for films as a plot device.”


Girls dancing at a pep rally in Euphoria


People caring about college sports:

“I thought films were exaggerating, but college football is literally a multi-billion-dollar industry.”


Hannah Brown from the Bachelorette yelling, "Roll Tide!"


American flag clothes:

“Especially people wearing them other than on July 4.”


A girl in an American flag sweatshirt making a "yikes" face


American Pie–type house parties:

“We go to clubs in Europe, but I experienced house parties when I moved during college.”


People playing beer pong at a house party



“When I was younger, I thought cheerleading was only a myth. I was pretty shocked when I found out the truth.”


Sue Sylvester from Glee looking amused and covering her mouth in front of a cheerleading squad


High schoolers driving to school:

“I live in the US now, but back home and basically anywhere else in the world, that’s unheard of.”


Cher and Dionne doing a special handshake in a Jeep


People wearing shoes in their house:

“I always thought it was something they just did in TV and movies because showing a character taking their shoes off and putting them on would be tedious, especially since they’re often dashing out of the house to do things. I found out it was true from a BuzzFeed comment section, and I was shocked.”


A man sitting on a couch and putting his feet up,  revealing the soles of his shoes, which say, "Game over!"


Yellow school buses:

“Honestly, I thought it was a trope from old high school films from the ’90s, but when I went to America for the first time, I saw them everywhere.”


A school bus weaving on the road with the kids inside screaming


Summer camps:

“It amazes me that a lot of young kids get sent away from their families for the summer!”


Hallie wearing sunglasses and surrounded by girls at summer camp in the Parent Trap


Going all out on holiday decorations:

“I couldn’t believe the love of decorating and Christmas competitions, like best street for lights or tree decorating competitions. It’s so serious!”


Michael from Elf saying, "How are we gonna get the star on top?" as Buddy jumps onto and knocks over the Christmas tree


Black Friday sales:

“It’s really like the Hunger Games.”


A woman saying, "I can't relax when there's deals going on, we need to devour those"


Sports scholarships:

“In movies and TV shows, it’s like a necessity to have one. Everyone’s life depends on it. I didn’t realize people actually needed them.”


Austin's dad in A Cinderella Story saying, "You're throwing away your dream"



“I genuinely thought that was a joke, and I was baffled when they turned out to be real.”


Kesha playing a televangelist and waving from inside a TV


Prescription drug commercials:

“I thought it was a running joke for the show I was watching. I went to America once, and when I played a YouTube video on my phone, guess what ad played? You guessed it, prescription drug commercial.”


Homer Simpson saying, "Can you say, 'Side effects may include'"


Baywatch-style lifeguard houses:

“Those things were huge and real!”


SpongeBob characters knocking over a lifeguard tower


The lack of school uniforms:

“In Turkey, if you come to school without wearing your uniform, they are probably gonna send you to principal.”


Olive from Easy A saying, "My hemline has never been higher than my fingertips"


Flags. Flags everywhere:

“I thought this was just something in movies, but Americans really are obsessed with flags.”


Leonardo DiCaprio raising a glass on a yacht with an American flag on it


Canned bread:

“I saw it in SpongeBob, but I didn’t realize it was actually a real thing.”


A screenshot from SpongeBob of canned bread

A screenshot from SpongeBob of canned bread


Giant portions:

“I never thought that was true. A medium fountain pop in the US is a large (or extra large, depending on where you are) here! We have decently large portions where I live, but in the US, food is colossal!”


Leslie Knope wearing a giant fast food cup on her head and face-palming


And finally, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch:

“Where I’m from, that would be just a mid-morning snack.”


A man in 18th century clothing cutting a peanut butter and jelly with a fork and knife

Are there any other American quirks you once thought were just Hollywood fiction? Leave them in the comments below!

Source: 23 Things Americans Do That Non-Americans Thought Were Just Made Up For Movies

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