From Springfield, Ohio, to the city's namesakes in West Virginia, Vermont and Illinois, resounds the exclamation: "Doh!" The creator of The Simpsons has broken his silence and revealed that the real-life inspiration for the animated series is the Springfield in Oregon.
After 23 years on air, one of the best-kept secrets in television was finally spilled by Matt Groening when he disclosed that the model for his fictional city of corrupt politicians, idiot cops and lovably dysfunctional families was the real Springfield in the Pacific Northwest state of Oregon.
The location of the longest-running sitcom in the US has been a recurring joke on the show. In one episode, Lisa Simpson points to Springfield on a map but the camera view is blocked by Bart's head. False clues inserted by Groening prompted several of the nation's 38 Springfields to claim to be the "real" home of Homer Simpson. Now Groening has revealed that he always had in mind the Springfield that is just 100 miles south of his home town of Portland, Oregon.
"Springfield was named after Springfield, Oregon," Groening, 58, told The Smithsonian. "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."
The cartoonist knew that Springfield was a common city name in the United States.
"In anticipation of the success of the show, I thought, 'this will be cool; everyone will think it's their Springfield'," he said. "And they do."