Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Cities vie to be home of Simpsons.

Here's a story from the Associated Press, by way of today's Boston Globe:

With a bowling alley, a pub, a prison, and a nuclear power plant just down the road, Springfield, Vt.] likes to think itself a real-life alter ego to the home of "The Simpsons."

Now, the city is out to prove it, joining Springfield, Mass., and 12 other Springfields from across the nation in a contest, with the winner hosting the big-screen premiere of "The Simpsons Movie" July 26. The public will choose the winner in a USA Today online poll. Voting ends July 9, with the winner announced the next day. The movie hits theaters July 27.

The competition is stiff.

Springfield, Ill., has its own nuclear power plant, run by a man who looks a lot like Mr. Burns, head of the nuclear power plant on the show, said Tim Farley, executive director of the city's convention and visitors' bureau. The high school is nearly identical and the city is not far from Shelbyville, the town next to the fictional Springfield, he said.

"We feel like Springfield has a lot of curious similarities," Farley said.

But folks in Springfield, Ore., the home of Simpsons creator Matt Groening, always thought it was their Springfield on the Fox TV show. "It was a shock that we had to prove it," said Niel Laudati, community relations coordinator.
My first reaction to this elaborate exercise in pre-release movie hype is that none of the cities vying to be "the" Springfield should be selected. Since the Simpsons' Springfield is a mythical place, it's probably best for it not to be tied to any particular real-life Springfield. If the animated Springfield is too closely identified with a "real" place, it will inevitably lose some of its universality. On the other hand, if there must be a "real" Springfield, my Bay State loyalty demands that I support the bid made by Springfield, Massachusetts. The whole affair is quite inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, but it's entertaining nonetheless. AMDG.


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