Breakdown of the American Map in Mr. Show’s “Operation Hell on Earth”

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The sketch comedy duo of David Cross and Bob Odenkirk among many other actors produced a wonderful series during the late ’90s. The jokes were crude and often played on sensitive topics like religion and civil rights. It really was and still is a fresh breath of comedy among a sea of fairly tame TV shows.

In S02E05 Operation Hell on Earth we open to David Cross with a large map of America. He is working with a hate group to force mandatory relocation of everybody in the country, organized by their specific zones. This was off-the-wall hilarious when I first saw it and the map itself is just full of craziness. There is no “official” statement for what these graphics should mean and there was nothing discussed in the DVD commentary, either.

But why don’t we break it down? There are only a few sections and we can recognize a couple of them as they are spoken in the episode.

mr show david cross map of america east coast

New York City becomes Little Israel for all the Jewish folk. Over towards West Virginia and Kentucky we have New Africa which borders Homorabia – you know, for the homosexuals. You’ll notice that New America takes up a good portion of the northwest including the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

Next to this we have Indiana/Ohio with a farmer icon. Should be pretty obvious who would be living there. Moving over to the right even more looks like some type of hill, pretty obscure and I have no idea what to make of it. Same with the big red “B” taking up the majority of New England. If anyone has ideas on these two I am all ears because it is perplexing to say the least.

In Florida we can see a typical Asian man with a straw hat, that fits in pretty nicely. Next to Mississippi looks like a rotated smiley face? Possibly for the mentally challenged to be put into one place? This is another awkward symbol where it honestly might be anyone’s guess. But now let’s finish up by checking out the west coast.

operation hell on earth map west coast

So it looks like all of California, and Oregon are taken up for New New Dheli. I guess he feels the west coast is the perfect location for our Indian friends. What’s even funnier is the tiny sad face located in the tip of Washington state. It must be for those depressed folk, with all that rain it works out nicely.

Over to the right there are 3 other zones, the top includes Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. The symbol is a big red pine tree. Or maybe a feather for the Native Americans? Then underneath we have Nevada, Utah and Colorado which features a book icon. My assumption is to organize all the scientists and writers and creatives into this part of New America. Even lower and we have Arizona/New Mexico which sports a cactus. The desert could be left empty but who knows what group of people are expected to relocate there.

And then finally on the right we have Texas. The symbol is a bull skull possibly representing animal ranges and farmland down in the south. It also borders New America to the south, again dividing a northern and southern America. This could even be interpreted as an allegory for the southerners and the northerners relocating to live right within the center of the country.

This entire TV show is hilarious but Operation Hell on Earth is a creative episode with lots of laughs. If you have your own ideas on the map segments please do share in the comments area. This map could be a mystery that we never truly solve but it is fun looking back at the creative genius of Bob and David.

Tyler is a true culture fanatic with love for comic books, music, movies, video games, and all forms of pop culture.

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