Confirming what many have long suspected and argued fervently for while getting their “Genius At Work” shirts in a bunch, Simpsons creator Matt Groening has revealed that the town of Springfield was indeed named for Springfield, Oregon, finally putting to rest a debate that has consumed fans that didn’t already sort of assume that years ago. Or, he sort of did. Groening dropped the tidbit about Springfield’s origins in an interview with Smithsonian Magazine, and it was enough to merit the headline “Matt Groening Reveals The Location Of The Real Springfield,” although he never comes right out and says that the Simpsons’ Springfield is meant to be this one actual Springfield. In fact, he pretty much says the opposite:
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… 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.”
And of course, this is probably not news to Simpsons fans who have long noted nods to Portland on the show, such as characters named after local street names, or the fact that Groening himself grew up on Evergreen Terrace. And also of course, it wouldn’t really matter if Groening said it was intended to be Springfield, Oregon, given that on the show, Springfield’s geography is completely imaginary, regularly shifting to accommodate gorges, volcanoes, mountain ranges, deserts, national parks, swamps, and beaches, which, are we to believe that this is some sort of—snort—magical ecosystem? But okay, sure, it’s really supposed to be Springfield, Oregon, and no one shall ever speak of it again, under penalty of torture.