Springfield (The Simpsons)


Springfield (The Simpsons)
Springfield
—  Town  —
A panoramic view of Springfield (as seen in The Simpsons Movie)
Motto: A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.
Meanest Town In America!
Springfield: Good[1]
Country  United States
State Unknown
County Springfield County[2]
Landmarks
Founded 1796
Founder Jebediah Springfield
Government
 – Mayor Joe Quimby (D)
Elevation[3] 482 m (1,582 ft)
Population [3]
 – Total 50,720
Town newspaper The Springfield Shopper

Springfield is the fictional town in which the American animated sitcom The Simpsons is set. A mid-sized town in an undetermined state of the United States, Springfield acts as a complete universe in which characters can explore the issues faced by modern society.[4] The geography of the town and its surroundings are flexible, changing to address whatever an episode’s plot calls for.[5] Springfield's location is impossible to determine; the show is deliberately evasive on the subject, providing contradictory clues and impossible information about an actual geographic location.

Contents

The town

Springfield was founded in 1796 by a group led by Jebediah Springfield (also known as Hans Sprungfeld) that, after misinterpreting a passage in the Bible, left Maryland trying to find "New Sodom."[6] After he refused to found a town where men were free to marry their cousins, half of the group left. The dissenters founded Shelbyville, after fellow pioneer Shelbyville Manhattan, and the two cities remain rivals.[7] 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.[8] The town's prosperity faded; a Time cover story on Springfield was entitled "America's Worst City",[9] and Newsweek called the town "America's Crud Bucket".[10]

Geography, climate, and environment

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!"),[11] the Springfield Badlands (also known as the Alkali Flats),[12] the gigantic Murderhorn Mountain, Springfield Glacier, Mt. Useful National Park, Springfield Mesa, and Springfield National Park. The Springfield Mystery Spot (seen in "Homer at the Bat"), apparently a portal to another dimension, is a popular tourist attraction.

The town's skies are usually blue and sunny. 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 had become.[13] Springfield is home to the state's largest self-sustaining tire fire, which has been burning continuously for decades.[14] Lake Springfield's pollution almost led to the town's destruction by an Environmental Protection Agency bomb,[15] and pollution from the nuclear power plant has mutated the fish in the river.[16] Its atmosphere proved to have such a thick and acidic pollution layer that it once reduced a comet to a tiny rock the size of a chihuahua's head.[17]

Politics, religion, and the media

In politics, the mayor of Springfield is Joe Quimby (D), while the town's representative in congress is Herschel Krustofsky (R) of the 24th congressional district. Mary Bailey (D) is the governor of Springfield's state.[16] Political corruption and police bribery is common enough to be virtually taken for granted.

Religious houses of worship include a local synagogue, the First Church of Springfield, First AME Church, the Cathedral of the Downtown, and a Buddhist vihara.

KBBL Broadcasting Inc. is the major media outlet, owning at least three radio stations and one television station. The Springfield Shopper is a town newspaper.

Neighborhoods and attractions

The town is divided into many neighborhoods, including Rats Nest, Bum Town, Chinatown, Crackton, East Springfield, Greek Town, Russian Town, Junkyville, Little Bangkok, Little Italy, Little Newark, Little Stockholm, Little Seattle, Ethnictown, the Jewish Lower East Side, Pressboard Estates, Recluse Ranch Estates, Skid Row, Springfield Harbor, Springfield Heights, Hyperion Drive, Springshire, Tibet Town, the wealthy Waverly Hills, the artistic borough of Sprooklyn,[18] the Lincoln Park Village Housing Project, the Flammable District, a gay district, a fast-food district, Little Ukraine[19], and a Nuclear Power Plant, known as Springfield Nuclear Power Plant.

Springfield boasts an opera house, an outdoor amphitheater, an arboretum, and a vibrant jazz scene, and was previously regarded as the entertainment capital of its state.[20]

The town has several universities, including Springfield University and sports archrival Springfield A&M, Springfield Heights Institute of Technology, and Springfield Community College. Museums include the Springfield Museum and its world's largest cubic zirconium, Springfield Knowledgeum, Springfield Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Swordfish, Springsonian Museum, and a stamp museum.

For transportation, Springfield has an international airport, is served by a railroad, and has both an abandoned subway system, a public transit system, and an unsuccessful monorail line.

The town is home to the Springfield Isotopes, an AA minor league baseball team which plays its home games at Duff Stadium;[21] the Springfield Atoms football team at Springfield Stadium;[22] the NBA's Springfield Excitement (formerly the Austin Celtics);[23] and the Springfield Ice-O-Topes hockey team at the Springfield Arena.

Creation

Springfield is meant to represent "anytown, USA" and not be a specific real town,[24] although the producers acknowledge basing the town on various locations[25] including The Simpsons creator Matt Groening's hometown of Portland, Oregon and Mike Scully's hometown, Springfield, Massachusetts.[26] 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.[27] He chose the name because Springfield is one of the most common place-names in the United States.[28]

Location

Due to the many contradictory statements regarding Springfield, it is impossible for the town to exist in any specific U.S. state. For example, in The Simpsons Movie, Ned Flanders tells Bart that Ohio, Nevada, Maine, and Kentucky all border Springfield's state.[29]

The city's unknown and unknowable geography is a recurring joke in the series; despite the "riddle wrapped in an enigma that is Springfield's location",[30] Lisa Simpson states that "it's a bit of a mystery, yes. But if you look at the clues, you can figure it out."[31] 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.

The telephone area codes for Springfield are 636 (St. Charles County - Western St. Louis County, Missouri) and 939 (Puerto Rico). David Silverman has claimed that Springfield is in the fictional state of "North Takoma".[32][33] This is substantiated by the state abbreviations NT and TA used within the show.[33][34] However, this has never been officially confirmed in any canonical episode of The Simpsons or by other Simpsons producers.

To promote The Simpsons Movie, various towns and cities across the United States called Springfield competed to hold the premiere.[35] The town of Springfield, Vermont, was chosen.[36][37]

Notes

  1. ^ "Papa Don't Leech". Harrison, Reid; Clements, Chris. The Simpsons. Fox Broadcasting Company. 2008-04-13. No. 16, season 19.
  2. ^ "Dog of Death". Reardon, Jim; Swartzwelder, John. The Simpsons. Fox Broadcasting Company. 1992-03-12. No. 19, season 3.
  3. ^ a b "Poppa's Got a Brand New Badge". Gould, Dana; Michels, Pete. The Simpsons. Fox Broadcasting Company. 2002-05-22. No. 22, season 13.
  4. ^ Turner, p. 55
  5. ^ Turner, p. 30
  6. ^ "Lisa the Iconoclast". Collier, Jonathan; Anderson, Mike B.. The Simpsons. Fox Broadcasting Company. 1996-02-18. No. 16, season 7.
  7. ^ "Lemon of Troy". Forrester, Brent; Reardon, Jim. The Simpsons. Fox Broadcasting Company. 1995-05-14. No. 12, season 6.
  8. ^ "$pringfield". Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein; Wes Archer. The Simpsons. Fox Broadcasting Company. 1993-12-16. No. 10, season 5.
  9. ^ "New Kid on the Block as a good place daniel hart". Archer, Wes; O'Brien, Conan. The Simpsons. Fox Broadcasting Company. 1992-11-12. No. 8, season 4.
  10. ^ "Summer of 4 Ft. 2". Greaney, Dan; Kirkland, Mark. The Simpsons. Fox Broadcasting Company. 1996-05-19. No. 25, season 7.
  11. ^ "Half-Decent Proposal". The Simpsons. Fox Broadcasting Company. February 10, 2002. No. 279, season 13.
  12. ^ "Sideshow Bob's Last Gleaming". Feresten, Spike; Polcino, Dominic. The Simpsons. Fox Broadcasting Company. 1995-11-26.
  13. ^ "Trash of the Titans". Maxtone-Graham, Ian; Reardon, Jim. The Simpsons. Fox Broadcasting Company. 1998-05-26. No. 22, season 9.
  14. ^ "Homer's Paternity Coot". Anderson, Mike. B; Cohen, Joel H.. The Simpsons. Fox Broadcasting Company. 2006-01-08. No. 10, season 17.
  15. ^ The Simpsons Movie
  16. ^ a b "Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish"
  17. ^ Bart's Comet
  18. ^ "Elementary School Musical"
  19. ^ "The Falcon and the D'ohman". The Simpsons. Fox Broadcasting Company. 2011-11-25. No. 01, season 23.
  20. ^ "Krusty Gets Kancelled". Swartzwelder, John; Silverman, David. The Simpsons. Fox Broadcasting Company. 1993-05-13. No. 22, season 04.
  21. ^ "Hungry, Hungry Homer"
  22. ^ "Love Is a Many Strangled Thing"
  23. ^ "The Burns and the Bees"
  24. ^ Turner, Chris. Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Documented an Era and Defined a Generation. p. 30. ISBN 0-679-31318-4. 
  25. ^ Kalkstein, Meghan (2007-07-27). "Groening: Springfield is the real deal!". KVAL-TV. CBS. http://www.kval.com/news/8775202.html. Retrieved 2007-11-19. 
  26. ^ Hamilton, Don (2002-07-19). "Matt Groening’s Portland". Portland Tribune. http://www.portlandtribune.com/news/story.php?story_id=12392. Retrieved 2007-08-04. 
  27. ^ Groening, Matt (2006). The Simpsons The Complete Eighth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Homer vs. The Eighteenth Amendment" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  28. ^ Simpsons launch hits Springfield BBC News. Retrieved July 21, 2007.
  29. ^ Richmond, Ray (2007-05-11). "Springfield of dreams". The Hollywood Reporter. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/film/features/e3i8b30e2fc7d99d5a4e04b1f219f212c3e. Retrieved 2007-06-13. 
  30. ^ Stewart, D.L. (2007-06-12). "Maybe this Springfield is just a state of mind". Dayton Daily News. http://www.daytondailynews.com/o/content/oh/story/opinions/columns/2007/06/11/ddn061207lifedl.html. Retrieved 2008-04-28. 
  31. ^ McCann, Jesse L.; Matt Groening (2005). The Simpsons One Step Beyond Forever!: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family ...Continued Yet Again. HarperCollins. pp. 42–43. ISBN 0-06-081754-2. 
  32. ^ Laura Lee Davies (1996-09-25). "Bill Oakley & David Silverman". Time Out. http://www.snpp.com/other/interviews/oakley.silverman.html. Retrieved 2008-04-28. 
  33. ^ a b Silverman, David (2003). The Simpsons The Complete Third Season DVD commentary for the episode "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  34. ^ "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington". Meyer, George; Archer, Wes. The Simpsons. Fox. 1991-09-26. No. 02, season 03.
  35. ^ "Springfield hopes to host 'Simpsons' premiere". Associated Press. Lansing State Journal. 2007-06-08. http://www.lsj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070608/NEWS01/706080333/1001/NEWS. Retrieved 2007-06-13. 
  36. ^ Cindy, Clark (2007-07-10). "'The Simpsons Movie' Hometown Premiere Contest". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/life/movies/simpsons-contest.htm. Retrieved 2007-07-10. 
  37. ^ McGourty, Carry; Jared Weiner (2007-07-10). "Peace, Granola and Now 'The Simpsons'". ABC News. http://abcnews.go.com/WN/story?id=3359421&page=1. Retrieved 2007-07-10. 

References

  • Turner, Chris (2004). Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Defined a Generation. Canada: Random House. p. 167. ISBN 0-306-81341-6. 

External links


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