Where in the World is Springfield?

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No one may ever know in which state the Simpsons actually live, and Matt Groening's here to keep it that way after people mistook an answer he gave Smithsonian magazine about the inspiration for Springfield, the world's most generic town. It's everywhere, people. And if consensus was ever reached as to where, exactly, Springfield was located, the show would lose one of its greatest conceits. Groening's denial to TV Guide shows he's worried that consensus is mistakenly building around Oregon.

Just because Groening said the town was inspired by Springfield, Oregon, doesn't mean that's where the Simpsons live, he stressed to TV Guide on Thursday. His Smithsonian answer about Springfield, Oregon, inspiring him to create Anytown, USA, seems pretty clear. But a lot of people took it to mean the Simpsons actually lived near Portland -- including us, sort of. So now he's getting all Citizen Kane on us: "I never said Springfield was in Oregon," Groening told TV Guide's Michael Schneider. "I said Springfield was the name of my sled." What he actually said makes his case quite clearly:

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.

Groening is just bent out of shape because he's afraid people might come to an agreement of where the town is and then stop wondering about it, costing The Simpsons one of its best elements of mystery. But he shouldn't worry. As any Simpsons fan could tell you, they've been said to live in Northern Kentucky (you know, with its rolling hills and coastline), "Oh, Hi-ya Maude" (not quite Ohio), and as executive producer Al Jean reminded TV Guide, "In the movie we say it borders on Ohio, Nevada, Maine and Kentucky." 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.