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How The States Got Their Shapes

How The States Got Their Shapes

Why don't people from New England pronounce their 'R's? How come some Pennsylvania Amish use cell phones? How did Northern Californians get so liberal? The clues are right on the map. In every episode of HOW THE STATES GOT THEIR SHAPES, former Daily Show correspondent Brian Unger hits the road, makes irreverent observations about how we think, speak and act, and discovers their surprising connections to geography. With its crooked lines and odd breaks, the outline of America is a puzzle to be solved. Brian will show that the same forces that once shaped the map still influence us today - whether by way of taxes, transportation, religion or real estate.

The United Shapes Of America
Take a different look at how the states in US got their shapes, hear about the unique American values that have made this country what it is today, and travel from coast to coast and everywhere in between.
Red State vs. Blue State
It's a rivalry that tears the United States apart every four years, but how did the nation divide into red states vs. blue states, and what happens to the states caught in the middle?
White Collar vs. Blue Collar
Deep in the Rust Belt the white collar and blue collar divide has shaped the cities and the states. How did this rivalry change the way we all bring home the bacon?
Hatfields vs.McCoys
America's most iconic rivalry was more than just a feud between families. The fight between the Hatfields and McCoys nearly launched a war between two states.
Hillbilly vs. Redneck
Two underdogs of American culture go head to head to prove how hillbillies and rednecks have shaped the states.
Hillbilly vs. Redneck
Two underdogs of American culture go head to head to prove how hillbillies and rednecks have shaped the states.
Bigfoot vs. Aliens
America is a nation under siege by unexplained phenomena. Whether you're afraid of Bigfoot or alien invasion might depend on what state you call home.
Bigfoot vs. Aliens
America is a nation under siege by unexplained phenomena. Whether you're afraid of Bigfoot or alien invasion might depend on what state you call home.
Battle Of The Bible Belt
With 85% of Americans affiliated with an organized religion, they're a nation of believers, but have they always practiced what they preached?
Battle Of The Bible Belt
With 85% of Americans affiliated with an organized religion, they're a nation of believers, but have they always practiced what they preached?
North vs. South
It's America's original rivalry, a divide that was so wide it took a war to close the gap. But have they really reunited, or are they still fighting a culture war?
North vs. South
It's America's original rivalry, a divide that was so wide it took a war to close the gap. But have they really reunited, or are they still fighting a culture war?
Great Lakes, Big Stakes
Battles over access to lakefront property have made the Great Lakes region the most contested land on the entire map, and even pushed the states to a border war.
Great Lakes, Big Stakes
Battles over access to lakefront property have made the Great Lakes region the most contested land on the entire map, and even pushed the states to a border war.
City vs. Country
In the battle between city and country, it looks like the city is coming out ahead in population, but is there something about the country that all the city slickers are missing?
City vs. Country
In the battle between city and country, it looks like the city is coming out ahead in population, but is there something about the country that all the city slickers are missing?
Midwest vs. The Rest
It's the glue that holds the map together and feeds America, but the Midwest is more than just state fairs and flyover country.
Midwest vs. The Rest
It's the glue that holds the map together and feeds America, but the Midwest is more than just state fairs and flyover country.
Vice vs. Virtue
Americans have a lot of vices and they don't just stay in Vegas. From drugs to gambling, the state you live in may shape how bad you can be.
Is West Best?
Americans have been racing to tame the West since they first set foot on the continent, but now that the West has been won, what's next? Is the West still the best?
East vs. West
The squabble between east coast and west coast is a rivalry that has made its way into the American popular culture, but is there any common ground in this continental tug of war?
Rebels & Outlaws
The United States may be a law-abiding nation but the clash between rebels and the rules has shaped the states. Which states like to make their own rules, and which do the heat have on lockdown?
Mess With Texas
Everything is bigger in Texas. It's the only state that acts like a country, but has it grown too big for its britches? We'll mess with Texas to settle this ten-gallon rivalry.
State vs. State
Nearly every state in the United States has pulled a power play that gamed the system and changed the map. How much can you get away with when it's state vs. state?
Rich vs. Poor
Money makes the world go round and in America, the pursuit of riches has shaped the states. In the race to grab all resources, which states came out on top?
Big vs. Small
Does size matter when you're a state? While the giants like to throw their weight around, there are some scrappy underdogs that have made their mark on the map.
Big vs. Small
Does size matter when you're a state? While the giants like to throw their weight around, there are some scrappy underdogs that have made their mark on the map.
A River Runs Through It
There's surprising history hidden in the blue, squiggly lines on the map. Did the founding fathers make a mistake along the Georgia Tennessee border? Can that boundary actually change because of water?
The Great Plains, Trains, & Automobiles
The history of transportation is hidden in the lines of the map. From canals to trains and cars, how did getting around help draw the American map?
Force Of Nature
Long before the Founding Fathers drew the map, mother nature shaped some states. How did an asteroid create the border for three states and how did natural disasters continue to alter the map?
State Of Rebellion
How did the most rebellious states took shape? How did they earn their outsized features and outspoken reputations? All these answers can be found in the unique shapes of these states.
Living On The Edge
What secrets are hiding in the map of United States? What's behind the 'blank spots' like Area 51? What possessed the citizens of Key West to throw down their margaritas and secede from Florida?
Use It Or Lose It
Who stole a corner of Washington, DC? Is Ohio actually a state? And why isn't St. Louis our nation's capital? One thing's for sure -- the map of the United States could look very different.
Church And States
Could Utah have been bigger than Texas? How did religion shatter New England into such odd little shapes? And did the Civil War actually begin... in Kansas?
A Boom With A View
Through boom and through bust, the sweet smell of profit has drawn and redrawn the states in USA. How did Green Bay help carve their border with Canada? Is North Carolina the real 'Golden State'?
Culture Clash
Cultures compete against each other all over the map. In extreme cases, they can divide states in two. Will part of Maine break off and become Northern Massachusetts?
Mouthing Off
We all live in the same country, so why do we sound do different? Why do we have so many different words for the same things? It's a matter of where you are on the map.