Well, I should say right up front that my brother, going to high school in suburban Detroit and growing up as a huge hockey fan, played lacrosse in high school. It's a lot cheaper than hockey, which is often a concern for high school kids, especially, say, the sons of single parents in blue/pink-collar jobs. So even if you put the show in Detroit or its suburbs they could, I will attest, still be playing lacrosse.
Then there's that "Detroit or its suburbs" question. I can further attest that, having done most of my growing up forty miles outside of Detroit, you can get plenty small-town without going too far. I definitely grew up with woods around me that could perfectly well have harbored weird reclusive families of werewolves, a werecoyote, whatever. So if you just want to set the show in the greater Metro Detroit area--close enough to commute to a high school where you play lacrosse but far enough out to have woods--then you can just swap the California license plates for Michigan ones and Beacon Hills is basically exactly the same place, just snowier in the winter. I mean, there's nothing that strikes me as especially Californian about the show so far; certainly not, say, its demographic makeup.
On the other hand if you put the show in Detroit, well a) a lot more of the characters better be black--Detroit is all of 12% white--and then b) well, now you've made a generic small town setting into a very specific urban setting, so hopefully you're engaging with that in some interesting ways. Derek's various squats over the seasons have a HUGE range of possibilities (omg werewolves in feral houses, yes) (and then sapphoisburning linked me to this bigfoot sighting; clearly the werewolves would have a turf war on their hands from the get-go). I wouldn't expect much better than ruins porn but, Jesus, at least all the abandoned spaces in Beacon Hills would make some sense if they were actually Detroit. WEREWOLF FIGHTS IN THE BOOK DEPOSITORY AND THE ZOO ON BELLE ISLE AND THE PACKARD PLANT. GO.
Anyway. So the show would be just as terrible as it is but in different ways and if it got me glimpses of Detroit I would watch the shit out of it and then write fanfic about Derek rehabbing a Boston-Edison mansion for the pack and making jam out of the gooseberries growing wild in vacant lots.
Shit I really want fic about Derek Hale being a gentrifying hipster on the urban prairie now. /o\
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