Florida Man characters in film and TV: All the best versions
Ah, Florida: home to Disney World, alligators, and some of the craziest arrest stories ever. The string of seemingly higher arrests involving explosives, trained squirrels, and alligators in mad-libs style headlines are mainly due to Florida’s crime reporting laws. Still, out of these true crime stories, a legendary figure emerged: Florida Man.
While Florida Man is stranger than fiction, there are fictional characters that fit the description. Hailing from the Sunshine State, these colorful characters could appear on our news feeds and it wouldn’t surprise us.
It’s not enough if the character is from Florida. They have to be outlandish or do things that are so out-there or dangerous to fit the title. If we can’t imagine their mugshot under a “Florida Man” headline on our news feed, they don’t make the cut. Here are the best fictional Florida Man characters.
Ace Ventura, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
A quintessential character to add to the Florida Man lineup, Ace Ventura (Jim Carrey) is a Hawaiian-shirt wearing goofball who employs pets to help him solve crimes. Like the Florida woman who trained an army of squirrels to kill her ex-husband, Ace Ventura can direct his animals to gather evidence and stop bad guys.
Ace Ventura can also use his own eccentric sleuthing skills to solve cases. The infamous mental institution scene would make a great Florida Man headline. Florida Man sneaks into a psychiatric ward wearing a tutu to acquire secret information would be a story we’d want to read!
Jason Mendoza, The Good Place
Jason Mendoza (Manny Jacinto) is the closest thing we’ve seen to an actual Florida Man in fiction. Hailing from Jacksonville, this Blake Bortles superfan did some crazy things on The Good Place. He drove a jet ski into a manatee, threw spray paint cans at flamingos, and botched heists, including suffocating in a safe!
Jason Mendoza would probably have his own Florida Man segment and following if he were a real person. While he’s the heart of The Good Place quartet, his Florida Man status is often a running gag on the show to highlight his stupidity.
The bar owner (Chuck Mitchell) in the screwball coming-of-age film Porky’s is definitely a Florida Man. Inspired by a real bar owner in Florida who kept lions and allegedly stole diamonds and furs, the 1982 film’s Porky is a shrewd businessman who cons underage boys out of their money when they try to solicit a prostitute at his bar.
Granted, the hijinks in Porky’s would make for excellent Florida Man headlines. From the locker room police lineup to the posse chase at the end, Porky’s hijinks could be read in any Florida Man headline today.
Pee-Wee Herman, Pee Wee’s Playhouse, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure
Do you know Pee Wee Herman (Paul Reubens) was raised in Florida? Is it surprising? Known for wild antics and a childish take on life, each Pee Wee episode is one wild adventure after another. Plus, in a special, it was revealed this quirky kids’ show host comes from Florida.
Pee Wee’s actor, Paul Reubens, was also a real-life Florida Man. In 1991, Reubans was arrested and charged with exposing himself in an adult movie theater in Sarasota, Florida.
We need more of Florida Man in our movies and TV shows. They make for engaging characters and no one knows what they’ll do next!