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Springfield
—  City  —
A panoramic view of Springfield (as seen in The Simpsons Movie)
Motto: "A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man." - "Springfield: 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 (Democrat)
Elevation [3] 1,582 ft (482 m)
Population [3]
 - Total 30,720
ZIP code 49007
Area code(s) 636, 939
Town newspaper The Springfield Shopper

Springfield is the fictional city in which the American animated television series The Simpsons is set. A mid-sized city in an unknown state, Springfield acts as a complete universe in which characters can explore the issues faced by modern society.[4] The geography of the city 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 and impossible information.

Contents

The city

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History

Springfield was founded in 1796 by a band led by Jebediah Springfield (a.k.a. Hans Sprungfeld), that, after misinterpreting a passage in the Bible, left Maryland, trying to find "New Sodom."[6] After Jebediah Springfield refused to found a town where men were free to marry their cousins, half of the band broke away to do just that. They named their town Shelbyville, after fellow pioneer Shelbyville Manhattan, and the rivalry between the two cities persists to this day.[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 city's prosperity faded; a Time magazine cover story on Springfield was entitled "America's Worst City",[9] and Newsweek called the city "America's Crud Bucket".[10]

Geography, climate, and environment

Springfield's geography changes with the special needs of each episode. It has included forests, meadows, mountain ranges, a desert, a gorge, a glacier, beaches, badlands, canyons, swamps, waterholes, and waterways. Springfield is sometimes shown located on the coast of a large body of water, although other episodes show skyline shots of the city with no signs of a coastline. 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.

Springfield is evidently located in an area that receives plenty of rain, as well as heavy snow. Most of the time however, the skies are blue and usually sunny. Springfield has also been prone to severe heat waves and large snowstorms. It has been subject to many natural disasters over the years, including avalanches, earthquakes, acid rain, floods, hurricanes, lightning strikes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, and a comet impact.

Springfield's environment is unusually polluted. Overflowing garbage forced the whole city—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 since either 1966 or 1989.[14] Lake Springfield's pollution almost led to the city's destruction by an Environmental Protection Agency bomb,[15] and pollution from the nuclear power plant has mutated the fish in the river.[16]

Politics

In politics, the current mayor of Springfield is Joe Quimby (D), while the city's representative in congress is Krusty the Clown (R). Mary Bailey, a Democrat, is the Governor of Springfield's state.[16] Mayor Quimby is simultaneously incompetent and immoral as well as being a conspicuously corrupt and fraudulent politician. Quimby is a sleazy womanizer and has had multiple affairs on his wife. The citizens of Springfield are normally accepting of this conduct, except on certain issues, such as when the citizens blamed Quimby for a traffic jam caused by Bart Simpson, the largest in the history of the city.[17]

Neighborhoods and attractions

The city is divided into many neighborhoods, including Rats Nest, Bum Town, Chinatown, Crackton, East Springfield, Greek 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, Hypearian Drive, Springshire, Tibet Town, the wealthy Waverly Hills, the Lincoln Park Village housing project, the flammable district, a gay district, a fast-food district, and a Russian district.

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.[18]

Religious houses of worship include a local synagogue, the First Church of Springfield, First AME Church, and the Cathedral of the Downtown. 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. Media includes KBBL Broadcasting Inc. which serves as the major media outlet, owning at least three radio stations and one television station. The Springfield Shopper is a city newspaper.

For transportation, Springfield has an international airport, is served by a railroad, and has both an abandoned subway system[19] and an unsuccessful monorail line.[20]

The city is home to the Springfield Isotopes, an AA minor league baseball team which plays its home games at Duff Stadium.[21]. Springfield's basketball and hockey arena is home to the Springfield Ice-O-Topes hockey team.

Creation

Springfield is meant to represent "anytown, USA" and not be a specific real city,[22] although the producers acknowledge basing the city on various locations[23] including The Simpsons creator Matt Groening's hometown of Portland, Oregon.[24] 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.[25] He chose the name because Springfield is one of the most common place-names in the United States.[26]

Location

Due to the many contradictory statements regarding Springfield, it is impossible for the city to exist in any specific U.S. state. For example, Ned Flanders says that Ohio, Nevada, Maine, and Kentucky all border Springfield's state.[27]

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",[28] Lisa Simpson states that "it's a bit of a mystery, yes. But if you look at the clues, you can figure it out."[29] 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 has claimed that Springfield is in the fictional state of "North Takoma".[30][31] This is substantiated by the state abbreviations NT and TA used within the show.[31][32] However, this has never been officially confirmed in any canonical episode of The Simpsons or by other Simpsons producers. Homer's driver license displays the state as NT and the postal ZIP code as 49007,[33] which is Kalamazoo, Michigan,[34] although the telephone area codes for Springfield have also been stated as 636 (St. Charles County- Western St. Louis County Missouri) and 939 (Puerto Rico).

To promote The Simpsons Movie, various towns and cities across the United States called Springfield competed to hold the premiere of the movie in their city. Springfields from many different states entered the competition.[35] The town of Springfield, Vermont, was chosen to host the movie's premiere.[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 "Papa'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. 124, 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". 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. ^ "See Homer Run". Gillis, Stephanie; Kruse, Nancy. The Simpsons. Fox Broadcasting Company. 2005-11-20. No. 6, season 17.
  18. ^ "Krusty Gets Kancelled". Swartzwelder, John; Silverman, David. The Simpsons. Fox Broadcasting Company. 1993-05-13. No. 22, season 04.
  19. ^ "Postcards from the Wedge"
  20. ^ "Marge vs. the Monorail"
  21. ^ "Hungry, Hungry Homer"
  22. ^ Turner, Chris. Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Documented an Era and Defined a Generation. p. 30. ISBN 0-679-31318-4. 
  23. ^ 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. 
  24. ^ 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. 
  25. ^ Groening, Matt. (2006). The Simpsons The Complete Eighth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Homer vs. The Eighteenth Amendment". [DVD]. 20th Century Fox. 
  26. ^ Simpsons launch hits Springfield BBC News retrieved July 21, 2007
  27. ^ 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. 
  28. ^ 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. 
  29. ^ 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. 
  30. ^ 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. 
  31. ^ 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. 
  32. ^ "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington". Meyer, George; Archer, Wes. The Simpsons. Fox. 1991-09-26. No. 02, season 03.
  33. ^ "Duffless". Stern, David M.; Reardon, Jim. The Simpsons. Fox. 1993-02-18. No. 16, season 04.
  34. ^ Kalamazoo Zip Code
  35. ^ Associated Press (2007-06-08). "Springfield hopes to host 'Simpsons' premiere". Lansing State Journal. 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

External links


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