Saturday, April 14, 2012

Simpsons "Springfield" location revealed - now I can sleep at night

By Richard K. Barry

It's Saturday. There's a bunch of stuff going on in the news, much of it important, much just the usual nonsense. I'm a little too tired today to sort out the essential from the non-essential - so I'll just make a beeline for the trivial.

In my house, we watch way too many Simpsons reruns. It's T.V. comfort food. When there is nothing else on, which is most of the time, we invariably stop the remote at an episode of Bart and family that we have likely seen already a half dozen times.

The family joke in my house is that I always claim not to have seen the episode coming on. The reason may be that I have seen few programs from start to finish, catching them only accidentally with remote in hand and therefore don't recognize the first few minutes of each one. But after a short while, it seems familiar and all is right with the world. I don't think we actually mouth the dialogue, but I suspect we could.

The big news this week for Simpsons watchers is that its creator, Matt Groening, has revealed that the animated town in the show is based on Springfield, Oregon, near his hometown of Portland. He also says that he was inspired to use the town's name after it was featured in the 1950's television show "Father Knows Best."

I don't know how you could possibly not know this, but, according to a Reuters story:

The tales of donut-loving father Homer J. Simpson and his dysfunctional family, wife Marge and kids Bart, Lisa and Maggie, have become a staple of American culture, winning 27 Emmy awards, earning a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, and even coining a new word as Homer's expression "D'Oh" entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 2011.
"The Simpsons" was created by Groening for Fox television and first aired in 1989. It is the longest-running American sitcom in history, broadcast in more than 100 countries and 50 languages, and it still attracts an average 7.7 million U.S. viewers weekly. 

One of the running gags over the years has been that the exact location of Springfield was never made clear, so this bit of information by Groening was big news for some.

Okay, I'll admit it. It's not really big news. There are many more important things going on in the world. But when I saw the headline for the story, I had to take a few minutes to read it, all of which is to say that some pretty silly stuff captures our imagination over a lifetime. What can I say. It's true for all of us.

Here's a random clip, which tells me all I need to know about why I have always loved the Simpsons.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)


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