For twenty three years, longer than some of the readers of this site have been alive, one of the greatest mysteries on television has carried on with little to no hints as to the truth. Everyone knows who shot JR. Everyone found out the secret behind Twin Peaks.
The Cylons were revealed in Battlestar Galactica. We even all found out just where the survivors ended up in Lost. But no answer was harder to come by than which Springfield the Simpsons actually lived in.
For years, people tried to piece together the landmarks of Springfield and find out just where the Simpsons lived. Which city in the United States out of the 38 cities, towns and townships named Springfield had its own nuclear power plant, gorge, glacier and national forest that was also within driving distance to New York City? People quickly learned the answer is none, but that didn’t stop people from questioning where the Simpsons took place.
When talking to the Smithsonian Magazine, Groening was asked about the generic nature of the name Springfield. Groening replied that, “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.”
Though this doesn’t give people the actual answer they are hoping for about which Springfield the Simpsons actually live in, it is the first time the inspiration has been discussed during the show’s epic television tenure. Groening continued, “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 for now, people can continue to debate which is the real Springfield though it looks like Oregon has a leg up on the competition since they are considered the inspiration.