Los Angeles is home to the directors, cinematographers, producers, and key grips necessary to make it the beating heart of the American film and television industry, so sometimes, instead of paying to take the show on the road to shoot on location, scouts will turn up suitable stand-ins for faraway locales in L.A. or its suburbs. Here are five of the most famous faux locations, starting with Jerry Seinfeld's apartment building. Supposedly located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, The Shelly is in fact a rather seedy rental at 757 South New Hampshire Avenue in Los Angeles' Koreatown neighborhood. One former tenant—the photographer responsible for the photo above—describes the residents of the building, just a few years before Seinfeld first aired as, simply, "Rats, cockroaches, drug dealers, crazy old ladies."
Photo: I Am Not A Stalker
↑ The wildly-popular TV period drama Mad Men might be set in Manhattan and the surrounding suburbs, but many of the locations, from the restaurants to the character's homes, are located in L.A. So many, in fact, that Curbed LA published a map of 20 such locations. Leading that list was the idyllic home of the Draper family, allegedly located in Ossining, N.Y., which actually sits in the tony L.A. suburb of Pasadena.
↑ Paddy's Pub, the headquarters for all the gang's antics on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, is said to be located in an alley on that city's south side, but is, in fact, a warehouse in downtown Los Angeles, a revelation that goes a long way to explain why it's always sunny. The location in an industrial district not only matches the grungy backwater aspect of the bar itself, but also probably makes filming a whole lot less expensive. Not far from the LA River and the rail yards, the immediate neighborhood is quickly becoming a mecca for creative types looking for cheap rent, so get down to 544 Mateo Street quickly to see this brick set in all its decrepit glory.
Photo: Seeing Stars
↑ In the latest season of the Showtime friendly serial killer series Dexter, much of the action revolves around a Miami-area strip club operated by a bunch of Russian baddies, known as The Fox Hole. As Dexter is only set in Miami, and now shot primarily in Los Angeles, the real location of this fictitious gentleman's club is 1600 Argyle Avenue in Hollywood, fashioned out of the rear entrance of an actual nightclub called Tru.
Photo: Seeing Stars
↑ One of the most beloved teen dramas of the aughts, The O.C. was set in Newport Beach, Calif., a southern satellite of Los Angeles. It shouldn't have been difficult to find a suitable setting for the Cohen family in Newport Beach, where Mediterranean-style mansions are the norm, but the producers inexplicably decided on a house in Malibu instead. Stranger still, only the exterior shots were filmed here, while another house down the block was used for some interiors, and most of the interior action shot on sound stages. Plus, this particular mansion doesn't even have a pool house, the supposed home of the Cohens' adopted son, Ryan.
· The Shelly [Flickr]
· Don Draper's House from Mad Men [I Am Not A Stalker]
· A Guide to Mad Men Filming Locations in Los Angeles [Curbed LA]
· 16 Familiar Homes Ennobled For Eternity By Movies and TV [Curbed National]
· The Fox Hole [Seeing Stars]
· The Cohen House [Seeing Stars]