The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History

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Overview

The Simpsons is one of the most successful shows to ever run on television. From its first moment on air, the series's rich characters, subversive themes, and layered humor resounded deeply with audiences both young and old who wanted more from their entertainment than what was being meted out at the time by the likes of Full House, Growing Pains, and Family Matters. Spawned as an animated short on The Tracy Ullman Show—mere filler on the way to commercial breaks—the series grew from a controversial ...

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The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History

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Overview

The Simpsons is one of the most successful shows to ever run on television. From its first moment on air, the series's rich characters, subversive themes, and layered humor resounded deeply with audiences both young and old who wanted more from their entertainment than what was being meted out at the time by the likes of Full House, Growing Pains, and Family Matters. Spawned as an animated short on The Tracy Ullman Show—mere filler on the way to commercial breaks—the series grew from a controversial cult favorite to a mainstream powerhouse, and after nineteen years the residents of Springfield no longer simply hold up a mirror to our way of life: they have ingrained themselves into it.

 

John Ortved's oral history will be the first-ever look behind the scenes at the creation and day-to-day running of The Simpsons, as told by many of the people who made it: among them writers, animators, producers, and network executives. It’s an intriguing yet hilarious tale, full of betrayal, ambition, and love. Like the family it depicts, the show's creative forces have been riven by dysfunction from the get-go—outsize egos clashing with studio executives and one another over credit for and control of a pop-culture institution. Contrary to popular belief, The Simpsons did not spring out of one man's brain, fully formed, like a hilarious Athena. Its inception was a process, with many parents, and this book tells the story.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
With The Simpsons having celebrated its 20th anniversary, it's high time that the most successful series in TV annals be given its full due. John Ortved's rambunctious oral history of the show captures both the genius and the free spirits of its creators. The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History approaches its constantly fermenting subject from almost every conceivable direction, interviewing writers, animators, producers, and even (brace yourselves) network executives. An invigorating look at a pop culture institution.
From the Publisher
"Ortved's "uncensored, unauthorized" history... is as tasty as a pink-glazed donut with sprinkles, as refreshing as a Duff beer and as piquant as a curry slushy from Kwik-E Mart." —Louis Bayard, The Washington Post

 

"A gloriously windy oral history crammed with behind-the-scenes squabbles and power grabs...I completely devoured The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History, even if I felt a little bad afterward for the central players who got sucker punched. The early details, as show creator Matt Groening goes from obscure alt-weekly cartoonist to megamogul via talent and chance, remain a well-known showbiz tale. John Ortved's sources (including artist Art Spiegelman) tell it in a fresh, vivid way. The subsequent testimony about the empire Groening created is contentious and mesmerizing." —Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly

 

"Mr. Ortved has produced a 300-page combination of juicy entertainment gossip, rich television history and notes from a disenchanted lover." —Lisa Tozzi, The New York Times

 

"Brisk and engaging and likely to entertain Simpsons die-hards without breaking a sweat...a good balance between information and gossip; between a story about simmering creativity and a story about flawed human beings who showed their flaws — as many do — more and more as the money accumulated...a rich read for fans." —Linda Holmes, NPR

 

"Ortved has done a remarkable job of bringing to light the creators of our beloved four-fingered creatures with the bright yellow skin." —Publisher's Weekly

 

“An essential resource for any fan.”—John Williams, The Second Pass

 

“Ortved’s account is remarkably thorough, witty, and stands as likely the best Simpsons volume we'll see for some time to come.” —Under the Radar

 

“All of those people providing their perspectives on the founding of The Simpsons builds a multifaceted history of a television revolution and institution. If anyone has any interest in codifying the building of one of the most important pieces of American pop culture, The Simpsons: The Uncensored, Unauthorized History is a very effective, very worthwhile read.” —Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama

Louis Bayard
How did such a curious artifact become "the most powerful, lasting, and resonant entertainment force television has ever seen"? That is the task taken up by Ortved's "uncensored, unauthorized" history, which is as tasty as a pink-glazed donut with sprinkles, as refreshing as a Duff beer and as piquant as a curry slushy from Kwik-E Mart. And doubly delightful because, for once, the heroes are writers.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
This behind-the-scenes look at perhaps the most successful television series of all time is a memorable and highly entertaining romp that offers listeners never before heard stories and anecdotes from such figures as Conan O'Brien and James L. Brooks. John Allen Nelson does a splendid job at relating the text with an ear for Ortved's wry wit—though his Homer impression could use a little work. Nelson takes listeners to places they've never been, tells them stories they thought they'd never hear, and does it all in such a cool and collected tone, that it seems almost second nature. It's endlessly informative and a fine complement to Ortved's superb study of the pop culture phenom. A Faber & Faber hardcover (Reviews, Oct. 5). (Nov.)
Publishers Weekly
This behind-the-scenes look at perhaps the most successful television series of all time is a memorable and highly entertaining romp that offers listeners never before heard stories and anecdotes from such figures as Conan O'Brien and James L. Brooks. John Allen Nelson does a splendid job at relating the text with an ear for Ortved's wry wit—though his Homer impression could use a little work. Nelson takes listeners to places they've never been, tells them stories they thought they'd never hear, and does it all in such a cool and collected tone, that it seems almost second nature. It's endlessly informative and a fine complement to Ortved's superb study of the pop culture phenom. A Faber & Faber hardcover (Reviews, Oct. 5). (Nov.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780865479395
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber
  • Publication date: 10/12/2010
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 500,947
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

John Ortved's writing has appeared in Vanity Fair, Interview, The New York Observer, and Vice. He lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Douglas Coupland Coupland, Douglas

Introduction "Hi, Everybody!" 3

1 The Matt Groening Show 11

2 The King of Comedy 27

3 When Bart Met Tracey 45

4 Sam "Sayonara" Simon 57

5 Welcome to Springfield 69

6 The Room 87

7 The First Episodes 101

8 Bigger Than Jesus 117

9 Fallout Boys 131

10 Buddies, Sibs, Dweebs, and an Odd Man Out 145

11 Conan 159

12 Institutionalized 169

13 The Godfathers 189

14 Who's the Boss? 207

15 Foxy Boxing 229

16 The Guest Stars 243

17 On and On 261

18 Under the Influence of Duff 275

Notes 291

Dramatis Personae 299

Acknowledgments 311

Index 313

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 5, 2010

    Interesting Read for Simpsons Fanatics

    This unauthorized look at the creation and behind-the-scenes workings of the Fox television staple "The Simpsons" is an interesting look at how the creative and business sides of television production work and will likely appeal most to serious fans of the show.

    It's mostly a tsunami of interviews strung together with minimal narrative by the author. The book covers the origin of the show and focuses largely on the early years where the show really developed its character and shines a light on some of the key figures in the evolution of the program.

    I enjoyed being taken behind the scenes to see how important clout is in the business and just how many creative minds it takes to get a show like this off the ground. There is plenty of focus on the large egos needed to create the show and plenty of drama to keep the reader moving forward.

    There were times that the book seemed to be spinning its wheels in place a bit - I think it would have benefitted from more aggressive editing. The sheer amount of interviews and quotes was impressive but could have been cut back while still getting its point across.

    Being an unauthorized history, the author did not land direct interviews with key figures in the book, relying on previously published quotes from Matt Groening and others. Since the book raises issues involving Groening, as well as James Brooks and Sam Simon, it would have been great to have their reactions to some of the opinions given about them and their actions.

    The author also is fairly clear in his opinion about recent seasons and the quality of other related programs in the book. His opinions do not really take away from core stories related.

    I found this book interesting and would recommend it for anyone who would like a glance into the back rooms of a TV program. Simpsons fans should certainly consider reading this.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2013

    Homer

    HOMER!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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