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Matt Groening Reveals Springfield Is In His Home State of Oregon 148

Posted by samzenpus
from the where's-Shelbyville? dept.
First time accepted submitter TheSeventh writes "Simpsons creator Matt Groening has revealed the location of the real Springfield: It's in Oregon. In an interview with Smithsonian magazine, Groening credits the name to the hit TV show Father Knows Best. The show 'took place in the town of Springfield, and I was thrilled because I imagined that it was the town next to Portland, my hometown,' he says. '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.'"
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Matt Groening Reveals Springfield Is In His Home State of Oregon

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  • ...um... yay? I guess?

    • It doesn't rain nearly enough on the show, and there's not enough bars (just Moe's).

      OTOH, I can see the characters based on the townfolk in general...

      (Disclosure: I live near PDX.)

  • Funny... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hartree (191324) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @02:54PM (#39647843)

    I always thought it was inside my television.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      People here in Springfield, IL are shocked. We have the Simpsons' Springfield rivals with the same name as a town right down the highway, we had a dead ringer for Mr Burns running the power company (retired last year), a dead ringer for Mayor Quimby (committed suicide last year), a dead ringer for the TV news announcer at local station WICS (retired 2 years ago).

      We have Ward 2 alderman Gail Simpson.

      And the town is full of cartoon characters, especially if you drink and take Paxil.

      • by Hartree (191324)

        "And the town is full of cartoon characters"

        Not all of it. Just the part near the state legislature and governors mansion. And a goodly portion of them are imported from that disneyland up north of I-80.

        (I watch from a safe distance over near Champaign-Urbana. :)

  • Wrong (Score:5, Informative)

    by readandburn (825014) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @02:54PM (#39647847)
    From Wikipedia... Due to the many contradictory statements regarding Springfield, it is impossible for the town to exist in any specific U.S. state. For example, in The Simpsons Movie, Ned Flanders tells Bart that Ohio, Nevada, Maine, and Kentucky all border Springfield's state. The city's unknown and unknowable geography is a recurring joke in the series; despite the "riddle wrapped in an enigma that is Springfield's location", Lisa Simpson states that "it's a bit of a mystery, yes. But if you look at the clues, you can figure it out." Episodes frequently make fun of the fact that Springfield's state is unidentifiable by adding further conflicting descriptions, obscuring onscreen map representations, and interrupting conversational references. The telephone area codes for Springfield are 636 (St. Charles County - Western St. Louis County, Missouri) and 939 (Puerto Rico). David Silverman has claimed that Springfield is in the fictional state of "North Takoma". This is substantiated by the state abbreviations NT and TA used within the show. However, this has never been officially confirmed in any canonical episode of The Simpsons or by other Simpsons producers.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by emurphy42 (631808)
      From TFA:

      Springfield was named after Springfield, Oregon. ...
      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."

      • by evilRhino (638506)
        "named after" != "is in"
      • Re:Wrong (Score:5, Funny)

        by gl4ss (559668) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @05:54PM (#39650135) Homepage Journal

        grasping at straws really, the interviewer and the guy who submitted the article.

        he says he got the idea to springfield name from the old show which had springfield in it and that he thought it was their springfield, so he decided to use the same trick. being named after something like that is a far fetch from actually _being_ that springfield, which the article headline says.

        simpsons isn't a documentary filmed in real time, Highlander is.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Ah, slashdot pedantry at its best, when people think they now better than the writer of an obviously fictional story.

      • When a fictional universes has been around for a long time, the opinion of the creator becomes less and less important and the stories themselves and the fictional facts therein become more important.

        It's the same with the Star Wars Expanded Universe, where many fans desperately wish that Lucas would stop meddling with their SW universe and leave it to the authors and writers who can capture the feel of the universe much better and have a lot more knowledge about what's happening in that world.

        • Re:Wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Penguinisto (415985) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @04:18PM (#39648949) Journal

          Not to be a jerk or anything, but what in the hell is a "fictional fact"?

          No, really, that's just wrong. Way wrong. Please don't do that again.

          ==

          I do agree with you that once a canon of sorts is established, especially in a long-running fictional/storybook 'universe', the details of it do fill out, and fans expect the author to try and stay within them, especially as the storylines get more complex. On the other hand, it all too often happens that a new and interesting story may well break the fabric of what you the fan may have come to expect, and something is going to have to explain that.

          Maybe Groening will come up with such an explanation in the future? After all, it wasn't unheard of for weird crap to occur in Start Trek:TNG (and others) to start popping out of the writers' collective arse to explain a particular story or situation (accidental time travel, getting sucked into alternate universes, the all-too-rambunctious dilithium crystals, etc.)

        • by doston (2372830)

          When a fictional universes has been around for a long time, the opinion of the creator becomes less and less important and the stories themselves and the fictional facts therein become more important.

          It's the same with the Star Wars Expanded Universe, where many fans desperately wish that Lucas would stop meddling with their SW universe and leave it to the authors and writers who can capture the feel of the universe much better and have a lot more knowledge about what's happening in that world.

          Meh, I disagree. Groening was probably only very hands on for the first few seasons. And probably wasn't as heavily involved much past Schwartzwelder (sp?). I would think the creator's original notion is more important than the nameless rabble of writers who've contributed to that show over the years, for a fact like where Springfield is located. Plus, it's important to take people at their word. He says it's in Oregon, so it's in Oregon. It probably turned into more an amalgam of places over time.

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        Ah, slashdot pedantry at its best, when people think they now better than the writer of an obviously fictional story.

        slashdot at it's best, where ac's make claims based on the submission that get modded up that could be seen as silly if you read the article part and understood being named after is not the same as being. that only works if you get appointed as the lama. (he only thought that he read it better than the article submitter, possibly better than the fucking article writer who was trying to pin a hook on his story).

    • by Quirkz (1206400)
      He's also said somewhere, I think on the DVD commentary tracks but perhaps somewhere else, that the town itself is in many ways modeled after Portland, so again this is no real surprise. (With convenient additions of whatever geography is needed whenever needed; hey, it's fiction.)
      • by Gilmoure (18428)

        Uh, Springfield has both mountains and a sea shore. I dont know what this "Portland" is but does it have such a cool geography? I think eat up Martha!

        • by geekoid (135745)

          yes..i mean, no. Stay away. It's all flat and hippies. Everything sucks.

          haha.

          Portland, Oregon - Visitors welcome. Please take a hippie when you return home.

      • The fact that The Simpsons is still on the air probably proves this out...because where else can the dream of the 90s be alive?

    • by Squiddie (1942230)
      What I believe he really meant is that the real Springfield, for him, it's in Oregon, but it's also in your state too because you're supposed to do that.
    • by operagost (62405)
      The funny thing is that there was a "documentary" episode, hosted by Troy McClure, where the Simpsons were referred to as a "suburban Kentucky family".
    • by quetwo (1203948)

      Additionally, in earlier episodes, there are often short clips of mail that were shown on screen. Mr. Burn's address in 03F06 (I believe -- it was on a few days ago) was shown to be in "Springfield, IL." Other episodes showed mail to go to "Springfield, NT", but that was not until much later in the series (the first use of it I believe was in the 10th season).

  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @02:54PM (#39647853)

    "Matt Groening Reveals that 'Springfield' Name Came From 'Father Knows Best'"

    The Springfield of the show is, of course, fiction. It can't exist. It's everywhere in the U.S. all at once. It's in the desert, near the ocean, it was founded by colonial settlers, it's close to both Mexico and Canada, it's home to every type of U.S. wildlife (except for bears, of course--the Bear Patrol keeps those out).

    About the only things you won't find there these days are decent writing or a sense of pride.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @03:10PM (#39648039)

      About the only things you won't find there these days are decent writing or a sense of pride.

      Yeah, for that you need to go to Shelbyville.

    • by Dahamma (304068)

      it's home to every type of U.S. wildlife (except for bears, of course--the Bear Patrol keeps those out).

      And sharks. All of that jumping exhausted the local shark population years ago.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Sounds like you described Oregon just fine.

      Although I'm not sure why you think it's close to mexico. There is no time line given on the trip.

      I'm sorry the huumor progressed from Choking a child to actually needing to think about it. It must be..so Dull in your head.

    • by Tumbleweed (3706) *

      About the only things you won't find there these days are decent writing or a sense of pride.

      I thought this season was substantially better than the last several. You might want to give it a try if you haven't for a while.

    • by Nidi62 (1525137)

      About the only things you won't find there these days are decent writing or a sense of pride.

      They never did get their monorail.

  • No he doesn't (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @02:56PM (#39647875)

    From TFA: "Springfield was named after Springfield, Oregon"

    That doesn't mean it IS Springfield, Oregon.

  • aw man... (Score:5, Funny)

    by BattleApple (956701) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @02:56PM (#39647877)

    I thought, 'This will be cool; everyone will think it's their Springfield.' And they do.'

    Well, not anymore.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I thought, 'This will be cool; everyone will think it's their Springfield.' And they do.'

      Well, not anymore.

      In all seriousness, nailing down any fictional creation to a real-world equivalent kind of defeats the purpose of fiction.

      It's especially lame if you do it after the fact. If you come out at the beginning and say, "Once upon a time in Springfield, Oregon..." you're establishing a setting, and that can be useful. Doing it after twenty-something seasons is like saying, "Oh, yeah, and Bob was really Jesus. The End."

    • I'm pretty sure the Springfield Tire Fire and Mt Trashmore are in *our* Springfield, MA
  • Where's Shelbyville?
  • by haystor (102186)

    Springfield is in Oregon.
    We know who that song was about.

    Now if we could only figure out why Billy Joe jumped off that bridge.

  • by Cazekiel (1417893)

    All along, we've thought it to be in OUR nearby Springfield. Life sucks suddenly.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      How many kids did George Carlin have?
      Where did he get his PhD in Child development?

  • by danwesnor (896499) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @03:02PM (#39647971)
    The characters aren't weird enough.
    • by khr (708262)

      The characters aren't weird enough.

      Oregonians aren't weird... As an Oregonian (now living in New York City) I can say that Oregon is one of the most normal places in the U.S. It's the rest of the country that's just plain weird.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        No, Oregon is weird. I mean, if they start to be normal, they quickly create a protest group against it.

    • by Jeng (926980)

      Yea, that also disqualifies Texas.

      R.I.P. Leslie

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leslie_Cochran [wikipedia.org]

      • by Chris Burke (6130)

        Leslie died?! D=

        Man I can't believe I missed the news. Such a bummer. Austin is now officially less weird. :(

    • by zullnero (833754)
      Heh, keep on believing that. Oregon likes it when you perpetuate that stereotype because it's been fantastic marketing. Almost all of the state is pretty granola...just so much flyover country between Seattle and San Fran. The media has done wonders to trick people into stopping over here and spending dollars. And mostly, the weirdness is confined to Portland. Eugene is just a college town that, for whatever reason, the rest of the country still believes is a big hippie commune. Oh, yeah, and it's TOT
  • I used to work at a nuclear fuel processing plant here called Springfields:

    http://www.nuclearsites.co.uk/site.php?LocationID=2 [nuclearsites.co.uk]

  • If they can only answer that, my life's purpose will still be unknown.

    P.S. Yes, I'm aware that it's almost certainly modeled on Fairplay, CO. I've been there, and to South Park, about 20mi away.

    • by Quirkz (1206400)
      I drive through there a few times a year. One of my favorite stretches of highway in the country. Can't bring myself to get excited that the name has anything to do with the cartoon, though.
  • Let's be honest. Between the shows, such a town cannot exist. It cannot be a huge city, lacking the necessary skyscrapers to house a multi million people population, but it has all the amenities of large towns, from well stocked and funded museums to casinos and other enterprises that need a large customer base to be profitable, plus it is visited by foreign dignitaries and is considered as the host of Olympic games. Still we only get to see a fairly small amount of people altogether, let alone be introduce

    • Why do you need to pinpoint it on a map? It is simply not necessary for anything.

      Because it's ratings are fading, or because it's mostly continuing on inertia, or because it hasn't been on the cutting edge of cultural relevance in twenty years... Or whatever other reason. They just needed the column inches.

    • Why do you need to pinpoint it on a map? It is simply not necessary for anything.

      Only because it's been a running joke, and that in actuality it couldn't be in any real state. All references to it in the show were vague, contradictory, or hidden from view (maps, satellite images, mail, driver's licenses, etc.).

      In one episode Lisa mentioned that there were enough clues to figure it out, but because there are so many contradictory clues, she meant that it wasn't a real city. This is just the final word (hopefully), that it is actually based on Springfield Oregon, just a highly fictio

      • Why do you need to pinpoint it on a map? It is simply not necessary for anything.

        Only because it's been a running joke, and that in actuality it couldn't be in any real state. All references to it in the show were vague, contradictory, or hidden from view (maps, satellite images, mail, driver's licenses, etc.).

        In one episode Lisa mentioned that there were enough clues to figure it out, but because there are so many contradictory clues, she meant that it wasn't a real city. This is just the final word (hopefully), that it is actually based on Springfield Oregon, just a highly fictionalized version of it and all the surrounding geography (continent-wide).

        Springfield is obviously in the state that Riverdale also exists in.

    • Then there's the geography. You have a beach right in front of it, yet huge mountains like the murderhorn and a skiing resort right behind it. And somewhere near is also a desert and what seems to be some kind of swamp/jungle and a seriously huge forest. It's equally close to Mexico and Canada.

      Sounds like Oregon. Ocean going into forest (and probably some swamps) into mountains with ski resorts and then desert on the other side of the mountains, also about equidistant from Canada and Mexico (along I5).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Nowhere does he say that the Simpson's Springfield is in Oregon. He says it's named after a fictitious Springfield that resided in Oregon from another TV show. Naming it after another town doesn't make it that town any more than naming my child after me makes him me. There is no "real" Springfield and that was the creators intent; to make Springfield everywhere. He states that very clearly. people need to learn how to read.

  • I thought, 'This will be cool; everyone will think it's their Springfield.' And they do.

    Mine is Springfield, Massachusetts.. I knew it had nothing to do with the one on the show. The TV "Springfield" is way to nice to be the one in Massachusetts.. Not nearly enough stabbings or hobo's on the TV show to be my Springfield. :-/

    • by cstacy (534252)

      I thought, 'This will be cool; everyone will think it's their Springfield.' And they do.

      Mine is Springfield, Massachusetts.. I knew it had nothing to do with the one on the show./

      I remember reading an article more than 15 years ago where they interviewed some of the Simpsons staff writers. A couple of them were from New England, and said that certain elements of the town were copied from their home state, and that they included various (visual and other) references to Springfield, MA in the show.

      It's clearly in North Takoma.

    • by sunking2 (521698)
      Mike Scully is from West Springfield, I believe his daughter teaches in Springfield. He calls into the radio 102 morning show quite often when he's in the area.

      There are actually quite a few things similar that can easily be seen as familiar to Springfield MA. For example, the bridge is remarkably similar to the Memorial bridge. Several episodes mention the Springfield Armory, which Springfield MA is famous for and a national historic site. Mayor Quimby is obviously modeled after certain MA politicians,
  • by NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @04:26PM (#39649105)
    Mat, ". . . I imagined that it was the town next to Portland, my hometown."

    He does have quite the imagination.
    • I thought it was odd that he'd consider Springfield OR "next to" Portland, too. They're about 110 miles apart, as near as SF and Sacramento, or LA and Tijuana, not exactly next door. Maybe his Dad tooled the family around in a private plane.

      He's probably bored out of his skull after 20+ years of handling this stupid question. Who wouldn't be?

  • Steve sister is probably the inspiration [wikipedia.org] for the Homer's mother "Mona Simpson". And her ex-husband possible the the surname for the family itself.
  • Oregon has so much hydroelectric power available that Mr. Burns' shoddy Nuclear plant would never have been built... let alone survive.
  • by hellop2 (1271166) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @08:39PM (#39652105)
    Those who lived in Springfield/Eugene Oregon always knew.

    1. Matt Groening was from Oregon.
    2. They have a statute of the founder of the town(Jebediah Springfield), and Eugene has a statue of its founder Eugene Skinner.
    3. Principal's name is Skinner.
    4. There's a Nuclear plant nearby.

    There's probably more. Actually, I always heard Matt was from Springfield.
    • Also, Krusty the Clown was based loosely on Portland TV clown, Rusty Nails:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rusty_Nails [wikipedia.org]

    • Those who lived in Springfield/Eugene Oregon always knew. 1. Matt Groening was from Oregon. 2. They have a statute of the founder of the town(Jebediah Springfield), and Eugene has a statue of its founder Eugene Skinner. 3. Principal's name is Skinner. 4. There's a Nuclear plant nearby. There's probably more. Actually, I always heard Matt was from Springfield.

      Terwilliger, Flanders, and Lovejoy are all streets in Portland.
      Krusty the Klown was named after a TV clown from Portland named Rusty Nails.
      Comic Book Guy--though a stereotype--was based on a real person, who ran a comic shop in Portland.
      And who can forget the Lewis and Clark spoof, when the sky turns grey and it starts raining and Carl says "we'll call this place Eugene, Oregon."
      I'm sure there are many, many others, but to me the connection between the Simpsons and Oregon was as apparent as the one bet

  • In one of the episodes, which featured a biography of the family, they are described explicitly as a north Kentucky family. As evidence you'll see Shelbyville, KY http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Shelbyville,+KY [google.com] just north of Springfield http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Springfield,+KY [google.com] and there's even a place called Simpsonville http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Simpsonville,+KY [google.com]
  • Bogus story (Score:4, Informative)

    by 1u3hr (530656) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @09:24PM (#39652555)
    In the interview, Groening says "Springfield was named after Springfield, Oregon". He doesn't say that the Simpsons' Springfield is in Oregon.

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