Fences Play a Role in Pop Culture
Here at Northland Fence, we like to think we are experts on the subject of fencing. As experts, we certainly take notice when fences are portrayed in popular media, and it happens more than you may think. No, we’re not talking about fencing in the Zorro, sword-fighting sense. We’re talking about barrier or functional fences as a major plot point in popular media.
Fences can play many different roles around a residence. They can be both ornamental and protective, serving to accent or complement your home while adding safety and security. A well-used fence as a plot device can also work to accent a script and add much-needed tension to make for some truly compelling entertainment.
So without further ado, Northland Fence would like to present to you (in no particular order) the top five fences in popular media.
5. “Jurassic Park”: The Electrified Anti-Tyrannosaurus Rex Fence
Steven Spielberg’s landmark 1993 blockbuster “Jurassic Park” deserves a spot on this list for the famous tension-building moment involving a 50-foot-high electric fence.
Dr. John Hammond brings superstar paleontology couple Dr. Alan Grant and Dr. Ellie Sattler to his new wonder-park full of real-life dinosaurs brought back from extinction using DNA frozen in time. Various fences are seen throughout the park, keeping predatory dinosaurs safely in captivity. Some fences are made of ornamental bamboo, while others are gigantic steel barriers.
The most famous fence moment occurs about two-thirds of the way into the film. The paleontology couple has been separated after power has been turned off, leaving the giant fences un-electrified and vulnerable to dinosaur escape. Dr. Grant is looking after park owner Dr. Hammond’s grandchildren, Tim and Lex. The trio is desperately trying to climb over a roughly 50-foot-tall fence made of interwoven steel cables while the power is off.
Across the park, Dr. Ellie Sattler is desperately trying to reconnect the power, re-establishing electricity in the fence and keeping the dinosaurs inside. While Dr. Grant and Lex are able to safely climb over the fence, the power is switched on at the last second, sending poor little Tim flying into Grant’s arms.
Luckily, Tim is quickly revived, suffering only minor burns to the hands. The pair of kids are able to get back to the resort and get a quick meal in before their final showdown with the dreaded velociraptors.
4) “The Walking Dead”: Prison Fence
Like any good piece of media of the zombie variety, “The Walking Dead” has a fence that plays an important role in separating the survivors from the walkers. The TV show focuses on the human survivors of a zombie apocalypse living in a fictional part of Georgia.
Anyone familiar with the show, which started running in 2010 and is set to finish its final season in 2022, is certainly familiar with the nearly 15-foot-tall chain-link fence topped with barbed wire that is used to keep the walkers — and other outsiders — out of the survivors’ sanctuary, which is a former prison. Throughout the show, portions of the fence are often re-fortified using walkers that are tethered to the fence.
This chain-link fence allows the survivors to be protected from the walkers and anyone else who may want to do them harm while also allowing them to see what is going on in the outside world and easily communicate with anyone who approaches the border of their property without giving them access to the prison, which is often done throughout the show.
In season four, episode five, titled “Internment,” the fence gives way to a horde of walkers who then enter the compound, despite attempts to reinforce the barrier. This leads to an epic shoot-out where two of the main characters, Rick and Carl, mow into the horde with automatic weaponry, defending their home.
In season four, episode eight, titled “Too Far Gone,” the fence is destroyed a final time when a major villain of the show known as The Governor attacks the compound, forcing its occupants to regroup elsewhere.
3) “Home Improvement”: Wilson W. Wilson Jr., Ph.D
Anyone who was around in the ’90s is familiar with the lovable Taylor family from “Home Improvement.” Whatever shenanigans or issues the family was experiencing might have seemed impossible to deal with, but Tim Taylor, the family patriarch, could always solve the issue by having a fence-side chat with their all-knowing next-door neighbor, Wilson W. Wilson Jr., Ph.D.
Wilson W. Wilson, a former spy, Celtic mythology professor, and the ultimate advice giver, was an almost god-like character in the show. He always knew how to solve whatever problem the household was having, often giving advice in the form of neatly delivered quotes, which Tim would then butcher when delivering them to his family.
Despite Wilson’s constant appearances on the show, the audience never got a very good look at him. He always spoke from the opposite side of his tall backyard fence, which obscured his body from the nose down, and wore a large fishing hat.
2) Insurmountable Waist-High Fence: From The Sims to Legend of Zelda
The Insurmountable Waist-High Fence may not be a single, identifiable fence, but anyone who plays video games is familiar with this frustrating trope. The Insurmountable Waist-High Fence is typically a fence or another type of barrier that would normally be an easy jump or climb for a video game character but instead is used to mark the end of the playable in-game world.
This trope is seen throughout all kinds of video games. Here are a few examples:
- The Sims video game series is particularly well known for the Insurmountable Waist-High Fence. In fact, Sims cannot climb just about anything at all. It is popular for game players to get rid of Sims they no longer want by blocking them in by fences or other obstacles and keeping them there until they die.
- Gran Turismo is a popular car racing game series with practically indestructible waist-high plastic fencing that prevents cars from getting off track, even though any car could logically drive through a fence of its size and quality.
- The World War II-based first-person shooter Brothers in Arms features fences that players cannot climb to escape an attack, but in scripted attacks, enemy players are known to escape by jumping over the same fences.
- Several Legend of Zelda games feature a variation of the insurmountable fence trope. For example, in Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword, the main character, Link, can jump over most fences, but as soon as he does, he plummets to his death.
1) “Fences”: A Play by August Wilson
“Fences” is the title of a 1985 play by August Wilson, as well as the subsequent 2016 movie adaptation starring Denzel Washington. The play won both the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play in 1987. Believe it or not, fences do play a relatively major role in the story.
Fences is about Troy Maxson, the patriarch of a working-class black family living in Pittsburgh in the 1950s. The play explores the family’s dynamic as Troy is forced to live with the frustration of missed opportunities and experiences. Throughout the course of the play, the main character, Troy, and his son Corey build a picket fence on their property. However, more than just being an activity to advance scenes and conflict in the narrative, the fence is used as a metaphor (symbol) for the barriers that Troy puts up in his life — barriers between himself and his family, himself and his fear of death, and in particular between himself and his son.
While we can’t promise all fences are this metaphorical, when you’re ready to build a fence, you don’t have to do it on your own — we can help you out!
Building a Fence with Northland Fence
We can’t promise you that our fences will keep in a tyrannosaurus rex, keep out zombies, or come with an all-knowing, wise old neighbor. But we can offer you a quality product with a lifetime guarantee.
Northland Fence has been around for 17 years and has provided fantastic customer service, great work, and an overall great customer experience ever since. According to the Better Business Bureau, Northland Fence has a near-perfect rating and zero customer complaints. When you hire Northland Fence, we will help you ensure that your fence is 100% up to code.
Northland Fence can help you pick out the perfect chain link, vinyl, or ornamental wrought iron fence with a 10-year labor warranty and a 15-year to a lifetime warranty on materials, depending on the material.
Are you ready to build your dream fence? Call (763) 316-4881 and get started today!