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The Simpsons (television series)

Last modified: 2017-11-03 by peter hans van den muijzenberg
Keywords: simpsons | northern kentucky | not just another state | star: 5 points (blue on stripes) | star: 5 yellow (blue on stripes) | confederate jack | sunrise | humans: 2 | to fraternal love | learn to fart | graffiti |
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Introduction

The Simpsons is an animated show set in the US in the city of Springfield.
Josh Fruhlinger, 24 October 1996


Unnamed state in the USA
The Stinky State

One of the show's running gags is that you never know precisely what state Springfield is in – often characters will be about to say the name when, say, a passing train obscures their words.
Josh Fruhlinger, 24 October 1996

There have also been indications in the show that make people believe they are out west, desert just outside of town, etc. They have driven in one day to both Chicago and New York City. So there is no way of knowing where they actually are supposed to be, and that is what the producers want.
Michael P. Smuda, 2 April 2003

Earlier Flag

[Faded blue star, only on the white stripe, flag ratio approximately 2:3, border around the drawing, text well within the stripe and in white]
approximation by Josh Fruhlinger,
24 October 1996
  [Saturated blue star sticking into the outer stripes, flag ratio 1:2, text flag wide and in black]
modified version,
1 April 2003

In one episode, evil nuclear power plant owner Monty Burns runs for governor. During a campaign commercial, Mr. Burns stands before a giant state flag. This is it.
1 April 2003 and Josh Fruhlinger, 24 October 1996,

Lettering

Except for the motto in the bottom stripe, I'd actually prefer this design to many seal-on-a-monocolored-background designs of actual US state flags.
Josh Fruhlinger, 24 October 1996

Even in spite of the lettering at the bottom, I find it much nicer vexillologically than most US state flags.
Santiago Dotor, 2 April 2003

Perhaps the legend was only added for Mr. Burns' campaign – I haven't seen the episode, but was that his slogan? And did the star overlap the stripes or not in the original?
Nathan Lamm, 2 April 2003

Similar flags

The flag of Springfield, MO could very well be a major inspiration for this flag.
Ole Andersen, 2 April 2004

This flag looks suspiciously derived from the old Yugoslav flag, with the colors changed.
Al Kirsch, 2 April 2003

Differing description

Several times in the past ten years, The Simpsons have shown the flag of the mythical state Springfield is located in. It's mostly white, with a red border on one side, and some design I can't quite make out, and has the state motto "Not Just Another State" written on the bottom.
23 June 2000

Recolored variant (?)

[horizontal white-red-white, with a yellow star in the central stripe]
image by Eugene Ipavec, 11 December 2007

In The Simpsons third-season episode Bart the Murderer, a flag appears on the other side of a judges' podium from the S&S – horizontal white-red-white, with a yellow star in the central stripe.

This could have been an early concept for a flag of Springfield, an unplanned improvisation, or possibly the storyboards called for a flag of the unnamed state the series is set in (the design is identical) but left out the specified colors, leaving the animation studio to pick them at random.

Either way, simple, one-off flags are quite commonly employed by the series in official settings.
Eugene Ipavec, 11 & 13 December 2007

For me as a foreigner, it does look like the logical place to show a state flag. If this was a mistake – some very good stories have come from accepting a mistake into a story line's universe and writing an explanation for it.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 13 December 2007

Well, the show could use some consistency in this department; every time a non-national flag is called for to stand in a corner in an official setting, a simple new ad-hoc design is thrown together. There must be half a dozen nominal flags of Springfield alone.
Eugene Ipavec, 13 December 2007

And no indication this is intended as a running gag? Well, maybe you could turn it into one, by offering the next few designs to be used? Suggest they have a flags design competition?

Then again, maybe some people in that universe are deliberately swapping the Springfield or State flag, to steal them in a way people won't notice as quickly – "as no-one ever looks at a state flag anyway". Of course, that must mean there's something stealworthy about the original flags. Maybe it's just the oldest flags, made at the time Springfield became a city – off we go into the treasure puzzle story line with meaningful variations in what appeared to be badly made flags. I expect they find out in the end that those really are badly made flags and that the rumour of the treasure was spread by the manufacturer to make people buy them anyway.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 15 December 2007

Thinner middle variant

(Lacking the putative star:)
[Variant state flag]
image by António Martins, 5 August 2010

A variant of the green-white-red "unnamed state" flag is shown in episode #15 of season #18, Rome-old and Juli-eh (see English Wikipedia article), hoisted limp on an indoors pole at the meeting room of Springfield D.M.V. in a scene when Selma is presenting lame proposals due to her troubles at home.

It is an inequal horizontal triband of red, green, and white, the green stripe noticeably more narrow, about half the other two. The hoisting position prevents discerning if the star is shown in the flag's center, but the motto seems to be absent.
António Martins, 5 August 2010

Later flag

[Flush drawn, sea takes up half the height, CSA Jack seems to skip over the waves]
approximation by Eugene Ipavec,
12 March 2005
  [Clear line style; sea takes up 2/5th of the height, CSA Jack seems to sink into the waves]
approximation by Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán,
13 September 2005

This flag appears in the episode of 17 November 2002 (it looked like a Second Confederate Naval Jack sinking into the ocean). It is part of a gag wherein the State Legislature is debating changing the flag, one deputy rising to point out that it is embarrasing "especially as we're a Northern State."
Nathan Lamm, 17 November 2002, and Eugene Ipavec, 13 March 2005

I found the way the Confederate jack was presented — a sunset-lit beauty shot, for (presumably) maximum objectionability — particularly amusing.
Eugene Ipavec, 13 March 2005

Fictional flags similar to the Confederate States of America's battle flag

The design looked like Arizona's flag with the Confederate Battle Flag in place of the star.
Al Kirsch, 17 November 2002


Current flag

Lisa's proposal

[Unnamed state flag, proposed]
image by Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, 13 September 2005

In the episode that shows the 'Confederate' state flag, the controversy encourages the governor to suggest the children of the visiting Springfield Elementary design a new flag. Lisa comes up with one, depicting people, and a rainbow (I think).
Andrew Cheatle, 1 July 2004

Unfortunately, Lisa's winning design had writing on it (a vexi-no- no), but that was necessary considering what Bart did to it.
Al Kirsch, 17 November 2002

As adopted

[Unnamed state flag, adopted]
image by Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, 13 September 2005

Bart messes up Lisa's proposal so that it shows a 'stink line' instead. Apparently it ends up being accepted as the new flag, for Homer remarks later that his state is 'the stinky state' as if that were the official state motto, much as California is 'the golden state'.
Andrew Cheatle, 1 July 2004


Springfield

[Springfield city flag]
image by Eugene Ipavec, 14 September 2006

After the preschoolers of Springfield embarrass the town by rioting at a concert, Kabul responds by ending its sister-city partnership with Springfield. In this scene, the representative of Kabul tears up the flag of Springfield.
It is a typical American city flag, blue with the coat of arms and the words "CITY OF SPRINGFIELD".
J. Patrick Fischer, 7 November 2004, and Eugene Ipavec, 14 September 2006

The flag is medium blue, with the words "CITY OF SPRINGFIELD" near its top and a shield quartered in red and light-blue taking up the bottom 2/3, the quarters containing:

  1. a single, large, fat, light-gray star
  2. a lemon
  3. a beaver
  4. a "radiation" symbol

There are also two golden boughs flanking the shield, and another smaller pair crossed above it.
Eugene Ipavec, 24 March & 14 September 2006

The lemon tree plays a part in the city's history, and the children of Springfield for generations have been taking the fruit from the lemon tree to make lemonade.
J. Patrick Fischer, 7 November 2004, and Nathan Lamm, 7 November 2004

Springfield Elementary Youth Court

In the episode "Dark Knight Court" from 24th season of the Simpsons, the flag of Springfield Elementary Youth Court can be seen. (See screenshot.)
Aleksandar Nemet, 2 January 2014


Palm Corners

[Patched multicoloured field]
image by Eugene Ipavec, 5 September 2006

The flag of the fictional Florida town of Palm Corners appears in season 11 (episode Kill The Alligator And Run). The town was meant to be a parody of Fort Lauderdale during Spring Break (something many might consider a redundancy). (Screenshot of flag)
Eugene Ipavec, 5 September 2006

That being said, the joke in the episode was that Palm Corners' flag was designed by (or sewn by, I forget which) the town's mascot, "Cactus Jack" (the titular alligator). Hence the look like it was put together by an alligator.
David Kendall, 5 September 2006


Kamp Krusty

[Kamp Krusty flag]
image by Eugene Ipavec, 1 May 2006

In episode 1, season 4, Kamp Krusty, Bart and Lisa are sent to a summer camp licensed by their hero, Krusty the Clown. The camp turns out to be a run-down hellhole where the campers are forced to subsist on gruel and stitch wallets for export. (Screenshot of flag)
Eugene Ipavec, 1 May 2006

Camp Bart

[Camp Bart flag]
image by Eugene Ipavec, 1 May 2006

Eventually Bart leads a sucessful revolt, expels the counselors and renames the camp after himself. There is a scene of the old camp flag being lowered, and a new one being raised. (Screenshot of flag)
Eugene Ipavec, 1 May 2006


Australia

[Fictional flag of Australia]
image 2 April 2003

The episode in which this flag was seen involved Bart being sent to Australia to apologise for a long distance phone bill — or he'll be given the boot! (The episode was a parody of the Michael Fay incident, in which an American was caned for a crime in Singapore.)

It contains a Union Jack in the canton, a constellation, and a boot kicking a bare bottom. In the episode, it flew over the Australian Parliament.
2 April 2003


England

[Fictional English flag]
image by Vincent Morley and Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 15 September 2005

In one episode, Marge Simpson tells her children the story of Henry VIII of England. Henry VIII looks very much like Homer Simpson in this joke version of history, and the flags flying over his castle look like the English flag but with other colours – they are blue with a white cross.
Elias Granqvist, 2 November 2004


The origin of the U.S. flag

[Like the Betsy Ross US flag but with white stars, red hearts, yellow moons and green clovers in a circle.]
image by Edward Mooney, Jr. and Eugene Ipavec, 29 June 2009

Lisa the Iconoclast is the 16th episode of the 7th season, originally airing on February 18, 1996: As Springfield's bicentennial approaches, Lisa finds a secret confession written by town founder Jebediah Springfield, revealing that he had actually been a murderous pirate in hiding. Relevant quote (from a flashback to 1796):

Betsy Ross: (enters room, plaintively) I got the white stars you wanted, but I couldn't find any red hearts, yellow moons, or green clovers.
George Washington: (annoyed) …I'll take it. But I'm not paying for it!

The reference is to the long-running jingle for the "Lucky Charms" brand of leprechaun-themed children's cereal, describing the differently-shaped marshmallows it contains.
Eugene Ipavec, 27 May 2006 & 29 June 2009


Unknown flags

Sierra Leone?

[Green-white-blue tricolor]
image by Željko Heimer, 15 January 2003

In an episode a few seasons ago, the flag of Sierra Leone was inexplicably present in the offices of the Teacher Of The Year Commitee.
Eugene Ipavec, 11 December 2007

Red-white-blue tricolor

[Red-white-blue tricolor, with gold dividing lines]
image by Eugene Ipavec, 27 May 2006

Yet another state or city flag appears, alongside a US flag, behind mayor Quimby in the episode Lisa the Iconoclast. It is a red-white-blue tricolor, with thin gold stripes in between.
Eugene Ipavec, 27 May 2006

Flag graffiti

In the episode Exit Through the Kwik-E-Mart, after Homer gets mad at Bart and locks him in the rabbit's cage, he decides to insult him by painting graffiti of Homer's face all over Springfield. In one scene, it can be seen that he also puts Homer's face on a red flag, which is raised by the sign of the United States Coast Guard, as shown in this screenshot and this one.
Aleksandar Nemet, 19 July 2013


 
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