We’ve all asked the same question at one point in our lives: where the hell does THE SIMPSONS take place? Yes, I know it’s in Springfield but there are so many Springfields in America that it could be practically anywhere. That’s the joke, you’re not supposed to know where it is.
Someone should tell series creator Matt Groening, who has finally revealed the inspiration for the SIMPSONS Springfield. Not surprisingly, it’s close to home for him.
Speaking with the Smithsonian, Groening was asked about the location of the show. Here’s the interaction:
OK, why do the Simpsons live in a town called Springfield? Isn’t that a little generic?
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.
You’ve never said it was named after Springfield, Oregon, before, have you?
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.”
So there you have it, Springfield, Oregon is the basis for Bart’s hometown. It makes sense given that Groening is a Portland native and proud of his Oregonian roots. In fact, there are many Oregon references throughout the series, from the river that runs through Springfield to the numerous characters named after Portland streets.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. As he said, Springfield can be wherever the viewer chooses. Ohio, Massachusetts, Iowa, whatever. Now if Groening would finally answer another age-old SIMPSONS query: what the hell is wrong with Hans Moleman?