The Old Country is the land which Abraham Simpson claimed to have immigrated from in "Much Apu About Nothing." This country, most likely Scotland, Canada or Northern England, is said to be where the lineage of the Simpson family originated.
People from The Old Country
A list of characters from the 'Old Country'
- Abraham Simpson - Homer's Father
- Hubert Simpson - Abe's Brother
- Cyrus Simpson - Abe's Brother
- Tyrone Simpson - Abe's Brother
- Hortense Simpson - Abe's Sister
- Yuma Hickman - Abe's Mother
- Orville Simpson - Abe's Father
- Ginger-Haired Man - Non-speaking Local
- Brown-Haired Man - Non-speaking Local
The Old Country, based on the little seen of it flashback, is one of a temperate climate where coniferous trees grow. The country seems to be country in which sheep are kept as livestock. The houses seen in the flashback appear to be built from stone and to have thatched roofs. The majority of housing seems to be terraced. The accents of this country are somewhat Celtic-tinged, reminiscent of those of Ireland and Scotland.
Which Country is it?
Abe says he is unable to remember exactly which country he is from, likely due to his poor memory and his dementia. However, it is (at least, according to his own memory) an English-speaking nation, probably European and possibly Celtic, and is likely a country in which the Simpson surname is well-established. An important cautionary note is that any of the places implied by Abe could be the often inaccurate and sometimes contradictory imaginings of his aged memory. The Old Country could be any one of the following nations:
The Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland are candidates for the 'Old Country' as the Simpson name is common in Ireland, especially Scots-influenced Northern Ireland (though the name originates in Scotland and England). Abe has a brother called Tyrone, which is an Irish first name deriving from the Ulster county of Tyrone. In addition to this, Abe has strong ties with the country, shown when he, along with Marge, Homer, and the children, visited Ireland. This said, Abe has shown occasional anti-Irish sentiments, claiming to have 'driven the Irish out of Springfield village'. But these claims may be false and due to Abe's senility. Examples of Irish immigrants to Springfield would be Chief Wiggum, Colin, Father Sean among others.
Scotland is another potential location due to the possibly Scottish accent of Abe's father (in Abe's flashback), who pronounces 'tomorrow' (ta-marra') in a similar way to how it is pronounced in a Glasgow or other Scottish accents. Abe's father also has a light "tap consonant" for the "r" sound, as is common in Scotland. The way that the word 'live' and the long "a" and "o" vowels are pronounced are also reminiscent of a soft Scottish accent. Furthermore, the surname 'Simpson' is well-established in Scotland, particularly in Aberdeenshire and Stirlingshire, and was first seen in 1405 in Edinburgh. Scottish people are often stereotypically viewed as being tight with money, a trait shown by Abe, when visiting a circus with a young Homer during a flashback, after discovering the cost of Cotton Candy. The most notable Scottish expatriate in Springfield is Groundskeeper Willie. Others, such as Nikki McKenna, Superintendent Chalmers and others, bear Scottish surnames.
Canada is another possibility as this is where, if Abe's story is to be trusted, Virgil and Mabel Simpson fled to in 1860 and had a son, Abraham Simpson I (Abe's great-grandfather). Also, Homer has been hinted at having Native American ancestry, a heritage which is very uncommon outside of North America. Words from Abe in "Midnight Rx" could either support or oppose the Canada theory, depending on how they are interpreted. Canadians whom reside in the Springfield area include State Comptroller Atkins and Tyler.
In "The Color Yellow," Abe mentions, perhaps senilely, that his family were kicked out of Australia. The Simpson name has been found in Australia since the 1800s, having being brought there by convicts from the British Isles.
In The Simpsons Uncensored Family Album, Homer's ancestors were hinted to be Swedish. However, the canonicity of the book is unknown. The Swedish are not historically English-speaking and "Simpson" is not a native Swedish name, though it is similar to local names like Svensson or Simonsson. Even so, significant Scandinavian settlement in Springfield's State is implied, particularly in Springfield's neighboring town of Ogdenville. Springfieldian billionaire Charles Montgomery Burns had a grandmother from Sweden. Mona Simpson's maiden name was probably Olsen, which is a common Scandinavian name. The creator, Matt Groening, is himself of Scandinavian descent.
North of England
The accents spoken by Abe's father, Orville, could also be described as similar to those of the North East of England. The pronunciation of 'tomorrow' discussed in the Scotland section above is often heard in Tyneside and Sunderland accents as well, as are the long "a" and "o" sounds. The way Orville pronounces 'going' and 'home' is somewhat similar to the way that people from the north of England (Newcastle, Yorkshire, Manchester, etc.) pronounce these words. The style of buildings and the clothing of background characters are similar to rural Yorkshire. Furthermore, the first record of the surname 'Simpson' was in England, during the 1350s and the surname is common throughout the country, particularly in the North West. As with the Scottish, people from Northern England, particularly Yorkshire are often stereotyped as being tight with money, as shown by Abe in "Bart's New Friend." Abe's mother's maiden name 'Hickman' is a native English surname.
During Abe's flashback, sheep are heard in the background and Wales is famous for having more sheep than people. Another common stereotype is that Welsh people (particularly working-class citizens like the Simpsons) dislike their own country, which could have encouraged Orville's migration to America, though the surname 'Simpson' is uncommon in Wales.
- It is possible that Homer's great uncle Boris' house was in this country. This is based on fact that Boris is Orville's brother, and is unlikely to have emigrated with him. However, Boris might also have moved to the US at a later date.
- Episode – "Much Apu About Nothing" (flashback)
- Episode – "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious" (mentioned in reference to Scotland)
- Episode – "Dad Behavior" (flashback)
- Episode – "A Father's Watch" (plausible; flashback)