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. The geography of the town and its surroundings are flexible, changing to address whatever an episode’s plot calls for. Springfield's location is impossible to determine; the show is deliberately evasive on the subject, providing contradictory clues and information about an actual geographic location.
Springfield is meant to represent "anytown, USA" and not be a specific real town, although the producers acknowledge basing the town on various 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 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. For example, in The Simpsons Movie, Ned Flanders tells Bart that Ohio, Nevada, Maine, and Kentucky all border Springfield's state, which is impossible.
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", Lisa Simpson states that "it's a bit of a mystery, yes. But if you look at the clues, you can figure it out." 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.