THIS IS A SPOILER ALERT, if you consider flashing a bright shiny fact into a quarter-century of darkness a “spoiler.”
The famed setting of Fox’s animation landmark “The Simpsons” has forever been the generically named “Springfield” — a fictional, nuke-loving town that may or may not have been named for a factual Springfield anywhere on the American map.
Now, thanks to “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening, let there be geographic light.
“Springfield was named after Springfield, Oregon.,” says Groening, 58, who was born in Portland — so the reveal isn’t exactly out of left field.
“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,” Groening continues. “When I grew up, I realized it was just a fictitious name.
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“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.’
“ he says. “And they do.”
Some fans highly knowledgeable about both Oregon and “The Simpsons” have noted the show’s allusions to Portland over the years. Groening acknowledges: “I very early on named a lot of characters after streets in Portland. ... There’s Flanders, Kearney, Lovejoy. ... ”
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Asked why he’s never revealed the appellation inspiration of Springfield before, Groening replies:
“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.’ ”
Today, there is no joy in other Springfields — mighty Oregon has lucked out.
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