A "Must" pick by Entertainment Weekly
An A.V. Club "Best Books of June" selection
A "New and Noteworthy" selection by USA Today
In celebration of The Simpsons thirtieth anniversary, the show’s longest-serving writer and producer offers a humorous look at the writing and making of the legendary Fox series that has become one of the most revered artistic achievements in television history.
Four-time Emmy winner Mike Reiss—who has worked on The Simpsons continuously since episode one in 1989—shares stories, scandals, and gossip about working with America’s most iconic cartoon family ever. Reiss explains how the episodes are created, and provides an inside look at the show’s writers, animators, actors and celebrity guests. He answers a range of questions from Simpsons fans and die-hards, and reminisces about the making of perennially favorite episodes.
In his freewheeling, irreverent comic style, Reiss reflects on his lifetime inside The Simpsons—a personal highlights reel of his achievements, observations, and favorite stories. Springfield Confidential exposes why Matt Groening decided to make all of the characters yellow; dishes on what it’s like to be crammed in a room full of funny writers sixty hours a week; and tells what Reiss learned after traveling to seventy-one countries where The Simpsons is watched (ironic note: there’s no electricity in many of these places); and even reveals where Springfield is located! He features unique interviews with Judd Apatow, who also provided the foreword, and Conan O'Brien, as well as with Simpsons legends Al Jean, Nancy Cartwright, Dan Castellaneta, and more.
Like Cary Elwes’ As You Wish, Jennifer Keishin Armstrong’s Seinfeldia, and Chris Smith’s The Daily Show: An Oral History, Springfield Confidential is a funny, informational, and exclusive look at one of the most beloved programs in all of television land.
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About the Author
Mike Reiss has won four Emmys and a Peabody Award during his twenty-eight years writing for The Simpsons. He ran the show in Season 4, which Entertainment Weekly called “the greatest season of the greatest show in history.” In 2006, Reiss received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Animation Writers Caucus. Reiss has written jokes for such comedy legends as Johnny Carson, Joan Rivers, Garry Shandling…and Pope Francis! For his comedic contributions to the charitable group Joke with the Pope, in 2015 Pope Francis declared Reiss “A Missionary of Joy.”
Mathew Klickstein's writing has appeared in such publications as Wired, New York Daily News, and Splitsider. He is the author of SLIMED! An Oral History of Nickelodeon's Golden Age, the screenwriter of Sony Pictures' Against the Dark, and director/producer of the Marc Summers documentary, On Your Marc. He currently hosts the podcast NERTZ (based on his book Nerding Out), is developing a new television series, and -- with lifetime series writer Mike Reiss -- co-authored Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies from a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons. He aspires to get some sleep someday soon.
In addition to writing, producing, and directing Funny People, Judd Apatow performed the same duties on the film Knocked Up, and co-wrote (with Steve Carell) and directed The 40-Year-Old Virgin. He has also produced Pineapple Express, Superbad, Forgetting Sarah Marshall,Year One, Drillbit Taylor, Stepbrothers,Talladega Nights, and Anchorman.
Table of Contents
Foreword Judd Apatow xiii
Burning Question Where is Springfield? 5
Chapter 1 It Begins … 9
Chapter 2 A Brief History of Me 23
Chapter 3 Funny for Money 37
Chapter 4 Meet the Writers 51
Burning Question Simpsons songs: Who writes them, how are they written, and why are there so goddamn many? 89
Chapter 5 Meet the Showrunners 91
Chapter 6 Meet the Characters 99
Chapter 7 Meet the Cast 111
Burning Question Do you read what fans post on websites? 139
Chapter 8 Four Episodes That Changed the World (Kinda) 141
Burning Question What do you think of Family Guy? 161
Chapter 9 Meet the Fans 163
Buring Question What do you say to people who say the show has gone downhill? 175
Chapter 10 Seeing the World with The Simpsons 177
Burning Question Why has the show lasted so long? 191
Chapter 11 On Comedy 197
Chapter 12 How Krusty Became The Critic 209
Buring Question What's the biggest reason The Critic failed? 221
Chapter 13 A Development Deal with the Devil 223
Burning Question What is the secret of the Simpsons' success? 229
Chapter 14 Doing Animated Films for Cash (Not Credit) 233
Chapter 15 The Sleazy, Nasty World of Children's Books 241
Chapter 16 Gay for Pay 247
Chapter 17 Writing for Humans Again! 255
Chapter 18 Back to the Old Tire Fire 261
Chapter 19 It Never Ends … 275
The Final Buring Question Why are the Simpsons yellow? 279
Answers to NPR Puzzles 289
Image Credits 295
About the Authors 297