For nearly a quarter of a century, fans of The Simpsons have been questioning where the wonderfully chaotic city of Springfield is located. And for a short bit of time, the world believed the answer had finally been revealed. Unfortunately, it’ hasn’t.
But here’s what happened.
Speaking with Smithsonian for their May 2012 issue, Groening spoke about the origins of the name Springfield and why he decided to use it for The Simpsons. And then the quote that set The Simpsons fan world on fire was uttered by Groening: “Springfield was named after Springfield, Oregon”
Believing that was a confirmation, the Internet exploded with the news that the Simpsons live in Springfield, Oregon. Unfortunately, Groening actually didn’t reveal anything at all – and made sure that everyone knows.
Speaking to E! Online, Groening plainly states his knowledge of Springfield’s location:
“I have no idea where the hell it is. Like all Americans, I flunked geography.”
So where did the confusion come from?
The city of Springfield on The Simpsons is, in fact, named after Springfield, Oregon – but that’s not where it’s located. Looking back through Groening’s Smithsonian interview, the answer is revealed.
In the interview, Groening cited the fact that he lived in Portland, Oregon growing up and describes watching Father Knows Best when he was younger – a series also based in a city called Springfield.
With Springfield, Oregon located near Groening’s hometown, he appropriately assumed that Father Knows Best took place there. After a few years, he realized that it was just a fictional city to represent “Anytown, USA.”
Upon creating The Simpsons, Groening wanted everyone to have the same feeling that he had as a child – believing that these characters live near you, so he decided to name it after Springfield, the most popular name for a city in the country.
Providing even more evidence for Groening’s “Anytown, USA” plans with The Simpsons, Groening had this to say about times when people come up to him and ask the location of Springfield:
I don’t want to ruin it for people, you know? Whenever people say it’s Springfield, Ohio, or Springfield, Massachusetts, or Springfield, wherever, I always go, “Yup, that’s right.”
There you have it: for one brief moment, the location of Springfield was revealed. And then it wasn’t. But hey, at least you know why it was named Springfield – that’s something, right?
And for the fans continuing to search for the location of The Simpsons illusive city, producer Al Jean provided a clue:
“In the movie we say it borders on Ohio, Nevada, Maine and Kentucky, so good luck finding that state. When you do, you’re a true Simpsons fan.”
Good luck with that.
The Simpsons airs Sunday @8pm on Fox
Follow Anthony on Twitter @anthonyocasio
Source: E! Online; Smithsonian