Matt Groening Denies Saying 'The Simpsons' Set In Springfield, OR
When word broke recently that Groening conceded that the FOX prime time animated sitcom's locale is based upon Springfield, OR, and fans were left stunned. A mystery 23 seasons and nigh on 500 episodes old had just died a sudden death: just what state do the Simpsons call home, anyway?
"The only reasons 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," Groening told Smithsonian Magazine.
What came next as what became "The Simpsons" took shape was a combination of the imaginative and the ubiquitous.
"When I grew up, I realized it was just a fictitious name," Groening said. "I also figured out that Springfield was one of the most common names 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."
The quote then took on a life of its own, and now Groening has a little explaining to do.
"I never said Springfield was in Oregon," Groening joked. "I said Springfield was the name of my sled."
Executive producer Al Jean is laughing off that fans have taken far, far out of context what's simply understood by Groening's nearest and dearest as one long-running gag.
"They misinterpreted something I've heard him say for at least 10 or 20 years," Jean said. "He was inspired by growing up in Portland, but it's really an every-town. It's really funny. Matt grew up in Oregon and parts of 'The Simpons' were definitely inspired by his childhood. But there is no specific state that Springfield is in, and we will never reveal that secret . . . except this coming Sunday at 8."
Jean adds that it's been oddly for the best. He said Groening's "flattered they still care. And in conclusion, there is an answer if you just put all the clues together. 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."