The Simpsons is older than both of my kids combined. The Simpsons has been on since I was in high school. The Simpsons is not going anywhere anytime soon. And yet, despite 30 years on the air, there remain a lot of mysteries about the show, first and foremost being where Springfield actually is.
It’s presumably based on creator Matt Groening’s hometown, but the show has delighted in confounding viewers with contradictory and nonsensical hints about what state everyone’s favorite yellow family lives in. But thanks to an obituary of Matt Groening’s mother, who passed away in 2013, we may have a clue. And even if he didn’t grow up in a town called Springfield, the obit contains nuggets of inspiration for other aspects of the show.
Eric Alper, a music publicist, shared the obituary on Twitter, and it received a fresh look from the internet, who quickly noticed a few things.
This explains a lot for The Simpsons. pic.twitter.com/fEdIJHxlzU
— Eric Alper 🎧 (@ThatEricAlper) April 2, 2021
For one thing, his mother’s first name was Margaret (aka Marge), and her maiden name was Wiggum, which is the last name of Springfield’s police chief (and adorable doofus, Ralph). For another, she has an older sister named Patty and she married a man named Homer Groening, Matt’s dad.. Why did she marry him? He made her “laugh the most.”
What’s more, Homer and Margaret Groening had four kids, Matt, Mark, and, wait for it… Lisa and Maggie.
Is it a surprise that the creator of a family sitcom would mine his own family and childhood for material? Of course not. But it is fun to learn exactly how closely some of the details of The Simpsons mirror those of young Matt Groening’s. I wonder if he ever told his parents to eat his shorts?