"The Simpsons" setting of Springfield has been the source of great mystery -- and the butt of several jokes -- throughout its decades-long run. Specifically, fans have been left wondering, "Where exactly is Springfield located, anyway?"
The show's writers have teased the topic many times, making almost-reveals in humorous, if frustrating ways. But now the crackerjack journalists at Smithsonian magazine have unearthed the truth, in an interview with "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening.
Under intense grilling -- OK, they basically just asked him -- Groening cracked and revealed where Homer, Marge and the brood spend their yellow-skinned days.
According to Groening, he named his animated series' location after Springfield, Ore., close to his own hometown of Portland.
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"Springfield was named after Springfield, Oregon," Groening at long last revealed. "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."
There are, in fact, dozens of cities named Springfield throughout the United States, ranging from New York to California and many points between.
As to why he kept the fact close to his vest for so long, Groening told Smithsonian, "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.'"
Groening declined to elaborate whether this means that Shelbyville is actually Eugene, Ore., or if Capital City is, in fact, a stand-in for Salem.
In reaction to the reveal, "Simpsons" patriarch Homer J. Simpson offered a number of observations on his official Twitter account, including, "Now that Bart knows we live in the Beaver State, all he says is dam dam dam!" and "Crap, we live in Oregon? I mean, Go Ducks!" (For non-Oregonians, that last comment is a reference to the University of Oregon's sports program.)
In the meantime, EW.com reports that this Sunday's chalkboard sequence on "The Simpsons" will have its own fun with Groening's revelation.