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Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Documented an Era and Defined a Generation Paperback – Oct 28 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Although this unauthorized book "was not prepared, licensed, approved, or endorsed by any entity involved in creating or producing" The Simpsons, Canadian journalist Turner embarks on an encyclopedic exposition of the show's episodes, catchphrases, characters, cultural impact, social commentary, themes and influences. In 1987, 33-year-old cartoonist Matt Groening devised the dysfunctional family during a 15-minute wait before pitching the concept to producer James L. Brooks. Short segments on Fox's Tracey Ullman Show escalated into the full series in 1989–1990, with accolades and awards piling up during the following 15 years. Turner flavors his straightforward Simpsons study with footnotes and facts on everything from Ayn Rand and Columbine to Y2K and Yeats. Unraveling and analyzing plot threads, he views the series as "more anti-authoritarian by far than almost anything else that's ever aired in prime time," and he praises it as a "cultural institution" comparable to the Beatles. Turner's fannish enthusiasm and tsunami of trivia will appeal mainly to devotees, though cultural historians may value it for its vision of Springfield as a satirical mirror reflecting the trials and tribulations of contemporary life.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
On the verge of becoming the all-time longest-running situation comedy, The Simpsons has had unprecedented effect on American popular culture, as Turner convincingly argues. He traces the show's history, from cultural touchstone to beloved institution, and offers lengthy profiles of the characters, elucidated with tidbits from 15 years' worth of episodes. Especially fascinating is his depiction of the online community devoted to The Simpsons, which pores over each episode for arcane references and whose efforts have been subtly acknowledged in metatextual gags on the show. While Turner overstates the case for The Simpsons' cultural importance, even claiming that, since it appeals to all ages, it is in some respects more important than rock and roll, his observations are thoughtful and perceptive, and he conveys them in a breezy, sometimes smart-alecky tone totally appropriate to the subject. Long-winded but never dull, dense but never academic, Planet Simpson may be too much for casual viewers. For the show's sizable hardcore audience, however, especially the most serious-minded viewers, it's a feast. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
True, Turner spends a handful of pages at the beginning of the book setting the stage, as it were. We are treated to favorite moments from the show, relatable anecdotes, and some unofficial history behind its conception. But then Turner begins his broad and sweeping path through the cast: we are treated to archetypal descriptions of each character -- not as end in itself, but rather as a jumping point for some wild (and often speculative) tangental explorations of culture and politics in our modern age. We laugh at the antics of Homer, then grimace at how the bumbling cartoon documents the decline of modern society.
It's interesting. And if you are looking to explore the Simpsons at a level that is much deeper than average (though very relatable and written very friendly) this is your book. Recognize that. You'll either love it or hate it -- but I think that may depend on your political viewpoint AND your tolerance for literature of society's vocal left.
Most recent customer reviews
My brother purchased this book thinking that it would provide background information on writers, provide anecdotes regarding development of specific episodes etc.. Read morePublished on Dec 23 2008 by B. Tavares
The concept is great: take the best show going and analyse it. The delievery is less interesting. There are many great insights into what certain moments, episodes, or characters... Read morePublished on June 15 2007 by Steve Bennett