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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

Never Mind

Actually, The Simpsons Does Not Take Place in Oregon

Hey, remember that time earlier this week when Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons, said that the town of Springfield, where the show takes place, is located in Oregon? It was an announcement that dispelled over two decades of speculation as to where this generic-sounding town was in these United States. Well, you can forget about it — Groening says he’s been misquoted, and The Simpsons does not take place in Springfield, Oregon. But I hope Portlandia does a sketch about this anyway.

On Tuesday, Groening did an interview with Smithsonian Magazine in which he mentions that his inspiration for the fictional town of Springfield came from a town of the same name next to his hometown of Portland, Oregon. He went on to add that whenever someone would ask him which Springfield the Simpsons were from — there are Springfields in most of the 50 states, including Massachusetts, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Michigan — he’d just say “Yes!”:

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.”

However, the quote that everyone ran with was this one:

Springfield was named after Springfield, Oregon. The only reason is that when I was a kid, the TV show “Father Knows Best” took place in the town of Springfield, and I was thrilled because I imagined that it was the town next to Portland, my hometown. When I grew up, I realized it was just a fictitious name. I also figured out that Springfield was one of the most common names for a city in the U.S. In anticipation of the success of the show, I thought, “This will be cool; everyone will think it’s their Springfield.” And they do.

And then, everyone was all “The Springfield in The Simpsons is in Oregon! Therefore, The Simpsons takes place in Oregon!” Even I was fooled, offering it up as a bonus question at trivia night on Tuesday. But alas, as Geekosystem pointed out, just because the town was named after Springfield, Oregon doesn’t mean that the show takes place there. In fact, in an exclusive interview with TV Guide, Groening said Springfield might now mean something else altogether:

“I never said Springfield was in Oregon,” Groening says. “I said Springfield was the name of my sled.”

Executive producer Al Jean says that Groening has told that very same Springfield, Oregon story for years, and that the location of The Simpsons is “an every town.” Unless you choose to believe this is all a publicity stunt:

“[T]here is no specific state that Springfield is in, and we will never reveal that secret… except this coming Sunday at 8,” he quips.

So, we’re just going to have to keep speculating. The real location of Springfield, as Groening hinted, will be the Rosebud of the long-running animated series. The world may never know…

(via TV Guide)

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  • Alaina Granter

    Hang on: there is a Springfield. A few years back, for the release of the Simpsons movie, a large number of Springfields were invited to participate in a ‘real Springfield’ contest, and the winner would be the official home. The winner was Springfield, Vermont, a town that wasn’t invited to participate originally and managed to get more votes than their population because of their awesome video.

  • Chady Hosin

     Yeah, I remember that vaguely. Quite a few people in central Illinois, where I’m from, were bummed that our Springfield didn’t win that contest. I think the biggest selling point was that there’s a Shelbyville in fairly close proximity, although neither town is anything like what’s portrayed in the show (confesses a person who, sadly, spent way too much time hanging with friends in Shelbyville and Springfield).

  • Virginia Wilkerson

    The Citizen Kane reference is priceless. 

  • Anonymous

    Quite a few people in central Illinois, where I’m from, were bummed that our Springfield didn’t win that contest.

  • Anonymous

    Not to question Matt Groening’s Oregon cred, but I didn’t realize that “right next to Portland” meant “two hours away from Portland by car.” Although I suppose since Portland is probably the only city in Oregon non-Oregonians can name, it was said for simplicity’s sake