By Carey Phillips
Cullowhee received national attention Sunday as it was a major part of the storyline in an episode of the Fox animated sitcom “Bless the Harts.”
The program focuses on the Harts, a working class family residing in the fictional town of Green Point, North Carolina. The name is a combination of Greensboro and High Point.
The show’s creator, Emily Spivey, was born in Statesville and raised in High Point. She attended college at UNC-Greensboro.
In “Bless the Harts” Jenny Hart, a waitress, lives with her teenage daughter, Violet, her mother, Betty, and her long-time boyfriend, Wayne Edwards.
In Sunday’s episode, Betty sees online that there is an original road sign for U.S. 66 for sale at a flea market and decides she must have it. The flea market is in Cullowhee, and she tries to convince Wayne to take her.
At first Wayne is reluctant to drive Betty “up the mountain.” He changes his mind when he begins to think that taking her on the trip might make her more appreciative of him.
On the trip they pass a sign indicating that the Cullowhee exit is 35 miles away. When they arrive, there is a large sign for the Cullowhee Flea Market.
As fate would have it, just before they can purchase the U.S. 66 sign, someone else buys it for his mother-in-law.
Wayne and Betty inadvertently get trapped overnight in a garage at the Cullowhee home of a police officer.
“Since Cullowhee is such a small town, you don’t hear much about it,” said Logan Iwanek, a Western Carolina University senior. “To hear that they traveled here on the show is kind of unique. To have our college town featured in a sitcom is very neat.”
“I wasn’t able to catch the show, but it sounds like a fun, fictional version of something that could have happened in Cullowhee,” said Julie Donaldson, director of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce. “We appreciate the mention.”
“Bless the Harts” airs locally at 7:30 p.m. Sundays on WHNS-TV (channel 21).