“Springfield was named after Springfield, Oregon,” Groening tells the upcoming issue of Smithsonian magazine in an in-depth Q&A. “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.”
The interviewer, Claudia De La Roca, who’s worked on The Simpsons and Groening’s Futurama, then notes Groening has never revealed the town’s location before (though he has hinted at it). The writer-producer replies, “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.'”
Homer, Bart, Lisa and Maggie made their debut on The Tracey Ullman Show in 1987. Fox has aired The Simpsons for a record 23 seasons, with the writers playfully teasing the town’s secret location throughout its run. The show has been renewed for two more seasons.
What do you think? Are you glad to have the mystery solved or did you prefer not knowing?
UPDATE: EW.com has learned The Simpsons will reference the revelation about Springfield’s origins. Expect Sunday night’s opening chalkboard gag to have some fun with this news. (On Twitter, Homer Simpson already is.) — Dan Snierson contributed to this report
UPDATE 2: Groening has released the following statement about Springfield’s location: “I have no idea where the hell it is. Like all Americans I flunked geography.”