There are 13 cities named Springfield in America, but only one is the real inspiration for The Simpsons’ hometown. Creator Matt Groening finally spilled the beans on the show’s best kept secret in an interview with Smithsonian Magazine.
“Springfield was named after Springfield, Oregon […] 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 said. Springfield is two hours away from Portland, Oregon — where Groening grew up. (It totally makes sense why they’d hold Hullabalooza there, now.) But the town’s name isn’t the only thing the creator borrowed from his roots.
While waiting to pitch a cartoon idea for The Tracey Ulman Show, Groening says, “I very quickly drew the Simpsons family. I basically drew my own family. My father’s name is Homer. My mother’s name is Margaret. I have a sister Lisa and another sister Maggie, so I drew all of them. I was going to name the main character Matt, but I didn’t think it would go over well in a pitch meeting, so I changed the name to Bart.”
That family debuted on The Tracey Ulman Show in 1987 and has been on the air for 23 seasons. Entertainment Weekly reports that you’ll want to pay attention when Bart writes his lines on the chalkboard this week, because he’ll be writing a reference to Groening’s big reveal.
Now if only Groening would reveal the location of Cypress Creek and that villain Hank Scorpio…
Sources: Smithsonian Magazine, Entertainment Weekly