Springfield (The Simpsons)
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|The Simpsons location|
|First appearance||"Good Night" (1987)|
|Created by||Matt Groening|
|Ruler||Joe Quimby (Mayor)|
|Location||United States (US)|
|Locations||742 Evergreen Terrace|
Springfield is a fictional town in the American animated sitcom The Simpsons, which serves as its main setting. A mid-sized town in an undetermined state of the United States, its geography and surroundings are flexible, changing to whatever an episode's plot calls for.
Springfield's location is impossible to determine, and the show is deliberately evasive on the subject, providing contradictory information about its location.
Springfield is intended to represent "anytown, USA" and not be a specific real town, although the producers acknowledge basing the town on numerous locations including The Simpsons creator Matt Groening's hometown of Portland, Oregon, and Mike Scully's hometown, Springfield, Massachusetts. Groening named Springfield after Springfield, Oregon, and also took inspiration from Springfield being the fictitious setting of the series Father Knows Best. He said, "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". Groening did not intend to place the fictional Springfield in Oregon, contrary to a 2012 report in Smithsonian magazine. Al Jean said that the magazine "misinterpreted something I've heard him say for at least 10 or 20 years. He was inspired by growing up in Portland, but it's really an every town". Groening liked Second City Television's use of Melonville, a town with a large cast of recurring characters that serves as a mini-universe for the show, and partially based The Simpsons on it.
Because of the many contradictory statements regarding Springfield, it is impossible for the town to exist in a specific state. In The Simpsons Movie, Ned Flanders tells Bart that the state where Springfield is located is bordered by the states of Ohio, Nevada, Maine, and Kentucky – of which only Ohio and Kentucky are real neighboring states, Nevada and Maine being at opposite sides of the US. The city's unknown and unknowable geography is a recurring joke in the series; the Dayton Daily News called it the "riddle wrapped in an enigma that is Springfield's location". Episodes frequently make fun of the fact that Springfield's state is unidentifiable by adding further conflicting descriptions, obscuring onscreen map representations, and interrupting conversational references.
David Silverman, who directed the movie and various episodes of the series, joked that Springfield is located in the fictional state of "North Takoma". This is substantiated by the state abbreviations NT and TA used within the show. The telephone area codes for Springfield are 636 (St. Charles County and Western St. Louis County, Missouri) and 939 (Puerto Rico).
To promote The Simpsons Movie, various actual towns and cities across the U.S. called Springfield competed to hold the premiere. The town of Springfield, Vermont, was chosen. In 2016, a New York Times study of the 50 TV shows with the most Facebook Likes found that "of all the Springfields in America, [The Simpsons] is most popular in Springfields in Virginia, Minnesota and New Jersey, and least popular in Springfields in Louisiana, Arkansas and Georgia".
In a 2012 interview, Matt Groening stated that he had named the Simpsons' hometown Springfield because when he watched the 1950s sitcom Father Knows Best as a child, he believed the fictional Springfield in that show was Springfield, Oregon, near Groening's hometown of Portland. He adopted the same name for his show's setting in the hope that "everyone will think it's their Springfield".
Springfield was founded by a group led by Jebediah Springfield (a cover identity for notorious pirate Hans Sprungfeld) who, after misinterpreting a passage in the Bible, left Maryland trying to find "New Sodom." After he refused to found a town where men were free to marry their cousins, half of the group left. The dissenters founded the nearby town of Shelbyville, after fellow pioneer Shelbyville Manhattan, and the two cities remain rivals for centuries. Springfield reached its pinnacle in the mid-20th century, when it became the home of the world's first Aquacar factory; one half of the U.S. was said to wear Springfield galoshes and Springfield's streets were literally paved with gold. The town's prosperity faded; a Time cover story on Springfield was titled "America's Worst City", and Newsweek called the town "America's Crud Bucket".
Springfield's geography is varied, including forests, meadows, mountain ranges, a desert, a gorge, a glacier, beaches, badlands, canyons, swamps, a harbor, waterholes, and waterways. Major named geographical features include Springfield Gorge, Springfield National Forest, the volcanic Mt. Springfield, the West Springfield Desert ("three times the size of Texas!"), the Springfield Badlands (also known as the Alkali Flats), the gigantic Murderhorn Mountain, Springfield Glacier, Mt. Useful National Park, Springfield Mesa, Springfield Monument Park, and Springfield National Park.
The town's climate is usually dry and sunny, with a bright blue sky. However, it has been subject to many natural disasters, including heat waves, blizzards, avalanches, earthquakes, acid rain, floods, hurricanes, lightning strikes, tornadoes, and volcanic eruptions.
Springfield's environment is unusually polluted. Overflowing garbage forced the whole town – both population and structures — to move five miles (8 km) away from the massive dump that the old town of Springfield had become. Springfield is also, unfortunately, home to the state's largest self-sustaining tire fire, which has been burning continuously for many decades. Lake Springfield's pollution almost led to the town's destruction by an Environmental Protection Agency bomb, and pollution from the nuclear power plant has mutated the fish in the river, with the Nuclear Power Plant's mascot being Blinky, an orange-colored fish with three eyes. Its atmosphere is so polluted that it reduced a comet to a tiny rock the size of a chihuahua's head.
Politics, religion, and media
The mayor of Springfield is Joe Quimby. In "Sideshow Bob Roberts", Sideshow Bob ran for Mayor of Springfield and defeated Mayor Quimby, but was later discovered to have committed electoral fraud. Previous representatives include Horace Wilcox, who died of a heart attack while in office, and Bob Arnold, who is forced to resign after Lisa exposes his corruption. Mary Bailey is the governor of Springfield's state.
The town is home to the Springfield Isotopes, a minor league baseball team which plays its home games at Duff Stadium; the Springfield Atoms football team at Springfield Stadium; the NBA's Springfield Excitement (formerly the Austin Celtics); and the Springfield Ice-O-Topes hockey team.
Springfield Nuclear Power Plant
The Springfield Nuclear Power Plant is a nuclear power plant in Springfield owned by Montgomery Burns. Among the plant's employees are Homer Simpson, Lenny Leonard, and Carl Carlson, and Burns' assistant Waylon Smithers. The plant is the key supplier of the city of Springfield's energy supply, and the carelessness of Mr. Burns and the plant's employees often endangers the residents and natural environment of Springfield. A running gag in earlier seasons was the poor security of the plant, with the outside security booth often going unmanned.
There is a crow or raven that lives near the Power Plant that caws whenever an establishing shot of the Power Plant is on screen. Mutated fish with more than two eyes have been seen in the lake behind the power plant, which has a large pipe pumping nuclear waste into it.
The design of Springfield Nuclear Power Plant is often rumored to be based on the troubled Trojan Nuclear Power Plant (closed in 1993 due to defects) near Matt Groening's home town of Portland, Oregon, or the Hanford Site in southeastern Washington. However, Antonia Coffman, Groening's publicist, has said that the Springfield plant's design is generic and that "the Springfield Nuclear Power plant was not based on the Trojan Plant or any other power plant in the country."
Kwik-E-Mart is a convenience store located in Springfield and run by Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. The Kwik-E-Mart first appeared in the first-season episode "The Telltale Head" (although mentioned in "Bart the General" as the "Quick-e-Mart"). In "Stark Raving Dad", a street sign reading "Highland" is seen outside one of the front windows, in the same blue color as is used for signs for Highland Avenue in Los Angeles. Likewise, three buildings are visible that are similar to some of those that might be seen on that street: two low buildings with bars over the windows, and a third, also with barred windows, which has a mission-style roof and a sign reading "Smog Center."
The episode "Homer and Apu" suggests that Apu is an employee of the Kwik-E-Mart and after losing his job there had to travel to India, where the Kwik-E-Mart head office is located, in the Himalayas. However, Apu mentions at a bachelor auction that he runs his own business in "The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons".
In addition to the sale of food, alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, and other items offered at a typical convenience store, gasoline pumps have been shown in front on two occasions. The Springfield Shopper also sells well there and it is where Principal Seymour Skinner purchases his tabloids. In the episode "Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song", Apu has just installed 16 new gas pumps to compete with rival convenience store, the Gas 'N Gulp. However, they, along with the Kwik-E-Mart, are destroyed due to Bart accidentally interrupting a live mortar exercise at Fort Springfield when visiting the re-enlisted Skinner, forcing the soldiers to redirect the mortar fire into the town, destroying the store and pumps off screen. The episode "Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield" also shows the pumps where Apu refuses to go out and serve a customer on the forecourt.
In July 2007, convenience store chain 7-Eleven converted 11 of its stores in the United States and one in Canada into Kwik-E-Marts to promote the release of The Simpsons Movie. The locations of the renovated Kwik-E-Marts were: Bladensburg, Maryland/Washington, D.C.; Burbank, California; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Henderson/Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Mountain View/San Francisco; New York City; Orlando/Lake Buena Vista, Florida; Seattle; and Vancouver/Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada. These 12 locations, as well as the majority of other North American 7-Elevens, sold products found in The Simpsons, such as "Buzz Cola", "Krusty-O's", "Squishees", pink frosted "Sprinklicious doughnuts", and other Simpsons-themed merchandise. The Squishees were Slurpees that are sold in special collector cups and the Krusty-O's were made by Malt-O-Meal. The promotion resulted in a 30% increase in profits for the changed 7-Eleven stores. This can be seen during the opening of The Simpsons Movie.
The Android's Dungeon & Baseball Card Shop
The Android's Dungeon is a comic book store owned by Comic Book Guy. The comic book store and its owner first appeared in the episode "Three Men and a Comic Book", when Bart sees a copy of the first issue of the Radioactive Man comic on sale for $100.
In the episode titled "Worst Episode Ever", Bart and Milhouse are given the job of running the comic book store after Comic Book Guy suffers from a stress-induced heart attack and is instructed to try and gain a social life. During their brief tenure at the store, Bart and Milhouse discover a secret room filled with bootleg videotapes of various extremely rare or illegal subjects. These tapes are later confiscated during a police raid on the store.
In the episode "And Maggie Makes Three", Homer tells the family the story of Maggie's birth. In this story, Homer explains how he quit his job at Springfield Nuclear Power Plant to work at the Bowl-A-Rama, which was Homer's dream job.
The Leftorium was a store in the Springfield Mall that specialized in products for left-handed people. The store was owned by Ned Flanders, who first started the Leftorium in the episode "When Flanders Failed". At first, business at the store was going very poorly. Irritated with Flanders, Homer wished that the store would go out of business after Homer received the larger half of a wishbone. Homer got his wish and the Flanders family were forced to sell many of their possessions, much of which Homer purchased at a meager price of $75. The bank repossessed the Flanders' home and the Leftorium was to be the next asset repossessed. Homer then regretted making this wish and the fact that he never told any of his friends who were in need of left-handed items about the Leftorium. As a result, he managed to get everyone he knew in town to shop at Ned's store, saving it from closure.
The Leftorium continued to thrive over the following years. However, Flanders mentioned in several episodes that the store does not do that well, such as in the season 10 episode "Thirty Minutes over Tokyo", where Ned mentions that he purchased most of his possessions cheaply, and that the business moved way downhill since "Leftopolis" moved in next door to it. In the episode "Home Away from Homer", Ned mentions that a recently opened, left-hand megastore, called "Left-Mart" (a parody of Wal-Mart) is threatening his business. The season 25 episode "White Christmas Blues" reveals that competition from the Southpaw Superstore forced Flanders to downsize the business to a mall cart, the "Leftorium Express", which he splits with a cosmetic saleswoman. In the season 29 episode "Left Behind", the Leftorium closes for good, leaving Flanders unemployed until he finds a new job as Bart Simpson's new teacher.
The writers had wanted to have Flanders own a failing business and the idea for the store was suggested by George Meyer. He got the idea from a friend whose family had owned a left-handed specialty store which had failed.
The Springfield Mall is a shopping mall in Springfield. It features stores such as Happy Market, Cost-Mo, and smaller stores such as Girdles N' Such, Eye Caramba, The Ear Piercery, Happy Sailor Tattoo Parlor, Love Your Computer, Gum4Less, Popular Books, the Leftorium, Nick's Bowling Shop, Stoner's Pot Palace, Bookacchino's, Moe's Express (a mini version of Moe's Tavern), a Mapple Store (a parody of the Apple Store), numerous Starbucks coffee shops, several Krusty Burgers, and many others.
Bars and restaurants
Moe's Tavern is a local bar in Springfield frequented by Homer Simpson, Carl Carlson, Lenny Leonard and Barney Gumble. The tavern is named after and run by Moe Szyslak. Moe's Tavern first appeared in the episode "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire". In the first season of The Simpsons, the entrance appeared to be a saloon door. The bar sells mostly Duff Beer although other beverages are served. A recurring gag is the dirty and dilapidated state of the bar. In "Mommie Beerest", it is revealed that Moe was long able to avoid several enormous health code violations due to being friends with the health inspector. Another episode reveals that the bar's liquor license is expired, is only valid in Rhode Island and is just signed by Moe himself.
Moe's Tavern undergoes several makeovers in various episodes of The Simpsons, but it always reverts to its original dark, squalid state before the show's end. In the episode "Homer's Barbershop Quartet" Moe's Tavern is named Moe's Cavern as a reference to the world-famous Cavern Club in Liverpool, where The Beatles played. Other notable makeovers are in the episode "Bart Sells His Soul" where Moe turns his tavern into a family restaurant called Uncle Moe's Family Feed Bag and in "Homer the Moe" where Moe turns his tavern into a yuppie bar called "m". In addition, it is turned into an English pub named Nag and Weasel in the episode "Mommie Beerest". In "Flaming Moe", he enlists the help of Waylon Smithers to transform the bar into a gay bar called Mo's, although he changes it back again at the end of the episode.
Moe and his tavern had been the victim of Bart's ongoing prank calls in the earlier seasons when Bart would call looking for nonexistent people with names that would get Moe laughed at by his customers.
Universal Studios Florida, includes a Moe's Tavern in the Springfield section of the park.
Krusty Burger is a fast food restaurant chain owned by Krusty the Clown as one of his many branded products and services. Krusty Burger is seen as a parody of a typical fast food chain, like McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy’s.
Krusty Burger is located across the entire United States; in the episode "Boy-Scoutz 'n the Hood", Homer uses a map of the entire United States with locations of Krusty Burger restaurants. In the episode "The Mook, the Chef, the Wife and Her Homer", Krusty Burger is one of the only burger places open in Springfield because Krusty has been paying mobster Fat Tony to keep McDonald's and Burger King from establishing local locations.
A common gag, especially in the later seasons of the show, is the extremely low quality of the food served at the restaurants, a parody of common beliefs and urban legends surrounding American fast food. Documentary filmmaker Decland Desmond has made several exposes on the chain, revealing practices such as stapling together half-eaten burgers and serving them to new customers, and substituting all manner of cheap filler as meat. Krusty also reveals that the Ribwich was made of an unspecified animal with more than four legs, presumably some sort of insect or spider, that was driven into extinction by its production.
Universal Studios Florida includes a Krusty Burger in the Springfield section of the park.
Lard Lad Donuts
Lard Lad Donuts is a donut store in Springfield. Its mascot is an (estimated) 8-metre (26 ft) tall statue of a rather chubby boy proudly holding a donut over his head. The name and the statue of the eponymous boy are likely references to Big Boy Restaurants.
In "Treehouse of Horror VI", the Lard Lad statue is brought to life by a mysterious atmospheric disturbance, enraged by Homer Simpson having stolen his giant donut.
Universal Studios Florida includes a Lard Lad Donuts in the Springfield section of the park.
Luigi's is a Springfield Italian restaurant owned by Luigi Risotto, who is a parody of the "Italian pasta/pizza chef" stereotype but seems to be aware of his status as a stock character. Luigi is polite to his customers and treats them with respect when they order and then loudly insults and belittles them to his cook Salvatore, fully aware that they can hear him from the kitchen. The restaurant also employs an old Italian saucier, who in Take My Life, Please, claims they can tell what someone's life could have been like by stirring tomato sauce in a certain way. By using his magical tomato sauce, the saucier helps Homer see what his life would have been like if he had won his high-school election. Fat Tony and his mob frequently use the restaurant for their meetings.
Luigi takes customer service very seriously.
Universal Studios Florida, includes a Luigi's in the Springfield section of the park.
The Frying Dutchman
The Frying Dutchman is a maritime-themed restaurant operated by Sea Captain Horatio MacAllister. Its cuisine specializes in seafood (to which Marge is allergic), and even the bread has fish in it. Homer sued for their refusal to honor the 'all you can eat' promise in the episode "New Kid on the Block" and was given a job as a freak attraction "more stomach than man" (to Marge's great embarrassment).
Universal Studios Florida, includes a Frying Dutchman in the Springfield section of the park.
The Singing Sirloin
The Singing Sirloin is a restaurant where all the waiters sing everything they say. It is first featured in the Season 1 episode "Life on the Fast Lane"; Marge celebrates her birthday there. Bart also celebrated here after getting an A, however after Homer was unable to pay them for the food, they had to sing on stage to pay for the bill (in the episode "Homer vs. Dignity").
The Happy Sumo
The Happy Sumo is a Japanese restaurant. Among the restaurant's menu offerings are all kinds of sushi, including fugu, which can be fatally poisonous if not properly prepared. The Master Sushi Chef is the only person at the restaurant qualified to prepare fugu. The restaurant also offers karaoke. Akira works as a waiter and translates on occasion for the Simpson family.
Springfield Elementary School
Springfield Elementary School is a local school on The Simpsons, attended by Bart Simpson, Lisa Simpson, and other Springfield children. It consists of children attending the grades of kindergarten through the sixth grade. Springfield Elementary is a grossly underfunded school and suffers from the incompetence and apathy of its administration, teachers, staff and students. It is portrayed within the show as a satire of publicly funded schools and education in the United States, an illustrative example of, and parody of the lengths undertaken by some schools to attempt to overcome underfunding.
Edna Krabappel was Bart Simpson's 4th grade teacher, and from season 23 onwards also neighbor due to marrying to Ned Flanders until Krabappel's death in season 25. In "Left Behind", the Leftorium closes, leaving Flanders unemployed, and he returns to Springfield Elementary School, where he finds a new job as Bart Simpson's new teacher, substituting the void left by his deceased second wife Edna Krabappel.
In 1994, the naming of a new, real-life elementary school in Greenwood, South Carolina, was left up to the students, and the name Springfield Elementary was chosen. The school board was unaware of the connection to The Simpsons until a protest by one group of parents, who argued that the character of Bart Simpson was a poor role model. The name stood, and the school opened in August 1994.
Springfield University is a large college which Homer attended in "Homer Goes to College". It teaches several different courses, including nuclear physics, arts management, and the meaning of cartoons, and has a fierce rivalry with Springfield A&M University. In the episode "Faith Off", the nickname of the Springfield University football team is revealed to be the Nittany Tide—a reference to the Penn State Nittany Lions and Alabama Crimson Tide.
Springfield Agricultural and Mechanical (A&M) University is a rival institution of Springfield University Carl Carlson is an A&M alumnus. Springfield A&M's mascot is a pig named Sir Oinks-A-Lot, who was kidnapped by Homer and his three student tutors as a prank in "Homer Goes to College".
Springfield Heights Institute of Technology focuses on the engineering sciences. Professor Frink is a college professor at the university, and it is from where Apu Nahasapeemapetilon earned his doctorate.
This section needs additional citations for verification. (February 2020)
Springfield Retirement Castle
The Springfield Retirement Castle is Springfield's retirement home for the elderly. Some noted residents of the Castle include Abraham "Grampa" J. Simpson and his neighbors, Jasper Beardley, and the Crazy Old Man.
For Grampa Simpson, the Retirement Castle is a lonely place to be. He often gets mad when his family does not come and visit him. The door features a sign reading 'Thank you for not discussing the outside world'. The most interesting way to pass time at the home is to "stake yourself out a good spot at the staring window", which overlooks nothing but a barren tree, and bingo (the prize being a banana). The staff of the home have little to no respect for the residents, doing things like vacuuming their hair during "nap time", or switching their IV bags with their catheter bags when the former is empty and the latter is full. In the episode "Old Money," Grandpa inherits $106,000 from his girlfriend Beatrice "Bea" Simmons. He uses both this money and his winnings from a gambling junket to refurbish and redecorate the home and has the dining hall renamed in Bea's honor.
The Springfield City Hall
The City Hall of Springfield serves as the workplace of Mayor Quimby and the City Government. Often it is the site of town meetings regarding an issue facing the city, where the citizens vote to approve a proposal that generally causes havoc (most of the time proposed by Homer) and causes more problems. The building is based on the Chelmsford, Massachusetts public library due to longtime The Simpsons background designer Lance Wilder, being a former Chelmsford resident.
Five Corners is "the only geographic location in the US where five states meet". A boundary marker indicates the exact spot. While on their road trip to Itchy & Scratchy Land the Simpsons visit Five Corners, where they each "stand in five different states while holding hands". The location is visited again in "The Bob Next Door", where Sideshow Bob plots to kill Bart at the marker where the location's unique property would result in a lack of extraterritorial jurisdiction, explaining it as: "I can stand in one state, fire a gun in a second state, the bullet will travel through the third, hitting you in the fourth, so you fall dead in the fifth. No single act is against any law, but their sum total is the greatest murder..." In reality, no such place exists in the US; the location is a spoof of Four Corners.
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I can stand in one state, fire a gun in a second state, the bullet will travel through the third, hitting you in the fourth, so you fall dead in the fifth. No single act is against any law, but their sum total is the greatest murder...
- Where Is The Simpsons' Springfield? from the fan-maintained "The Simpsons Archive"