Springfield confidential Jokes, secrets, and outright lies from a lifetime writing for the Simpsons

Mike Reiss, 1959-

Book - 2018

The longest-serving writer and producer for "The Simpsons" 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.

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 791.4572/Simpsons Checked In
New York, NY : Dey St., an imprint of William Morrow [2018]
First edition
Physical Description
xv, 299 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Main Author
Mike Reiss, 1959- (author)
Other Authors
Mathew Klickstein (author), Judd Apatow, 1967- (writer of foreword)
  • Opening credits. Burning question: Where is Springfield?
  • Act one. It begins ... ; A brief history of me ; Funny for money
  • Act two. Meet the writers ; Simpsons songs : who writes them, how are they written, and why are there so goddamn many? ; Meet the showrunners ; Meet the characters ; Meet the cast ; Burning question: Do you read what fans post on websites? ; Four episodes that changed the world (kinda) ; Burning question: What do you think of Family Guy? ; Meet the fans ; Burning question: What do you say to people who say the show has gone downhill? ; Seeing the world with The Simpsons ; Burning question: Why has the show lasted so long?
  • Act three. On comedy ; How Krusty became The Critic ; Burning question: What's the biggest reason The Critic failed? ; A development deal with the devil ; Burning question: What is the secret of The Simpsons' success? ; Doing animated films for cash (not credit) ; The sleazy, nasty world of children's books ; Gay for pay ; Writing for humans again! ; Back to the old tire fire
  • The tag. It never ends ... ; The final burning question: Why are the Simpsons yellow?
Review by Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Reiss has been writing for The Simpsons since before the show went to air, way back in the late 1980s. Already a veteran television writer, he got the job because someone else didn't want it (Nobody wanted to work on The Simpsons, he tells us, as hard as that is to believe nowadays); the show, of course, was an instant smash hit, and Reiss' career path was set. In this always entertaining and frequently laugh-out-loud-hilarious memoir, Reiss and coauthor Klickstein take us behind the scenes not only of the long-running sitcom, but also of Reiss' own life. Many people might think of working on The Simpsons as a dream job, and, according to Reiss, it often is; but even dream jobs have their downsides, mainly, for Reiss, a sort of artistic staleness that has prompted him to work on other projects (he created the short-lived but much-loved The Critic and wrote some plays and children's books), but he always circled back to The Simpsons coming home, in effect, after being on the road for a while. There have been a lot of books written about The Simpsons, some of them good but most not so much, and this is hands down one of the very best.--Pitt, David Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Library Journal Review

Reiss (How Murray Saved Christmas) offers an oral history of The Simpsons, pulling anecdotes from his time as writer, producer, and stint as showrunner-almost three decades spent on a show expected to last six weeks when it launched in 1989. Reiss mostly sidesteps drama, focusing on the teamwork behind producing, but there are juicy tidbits regarding celebrity cameos and occasional ego clashes among the show's creators. He also tackles burning questions about the show's longevity (and perceptions of its recent quality), thoughts on other animated shows, and concerns about the portrayal of Apu brought to light in comedian Hari Kondabolu's documentary The Problem with Apu. Finally, Reiss covers his time away from The Simpsons, including his work on The Critic, acting as script doctor for the films Despicable Me and Ice Age, writing children's books, and traveling the world. There are numerous encyclopedic guides as well as scholarly dissections on The Simpsons (which Reiss is quick to debunk). Unfortunately, the author's lengthy asides and admitted embellishments prevent this from being a definitive resource. VERDICT A breezy firsthand account sure to please casual Simpsons fans.-Terry Bosky, Madison, WI © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

A cartoon pioneer walks us down his Memory Lane.In 1988, an at-the-time extremely progressive, heavily funded Fox network asked Matt Groening and Sam Simon to create a cartoon. Not believing that the show would be a success, they wrote scripts that would please them rather than imaginary viewers. But The Simpsons became a hit and made their creation a 20th-century institution. Reiss (Santa's Eleven Months Off, 2007, etc.) joined the crew of writers after many rejections for other positions. The Simpsons was not his first choice. During this time, he worked closely with the two creators, learning nearly everything through them. "A writers' room is a delicate thingit's not enough to be funny; you also have to get along with everyone," he writes. "One irritating or obstinate writer can bring the entire machinery of a show to a halt." The author breaks down his story just like he would organize an episode of the show: in three acts. He takes us from his early days in the writer's room to his subsequent excessive weight gain as a devoted writer who paid little attention to self-care, the various failed and successful visits he made to campuses around the country to discuss the show, and the behind-the-scenes nitty-gritty of production. Interspersed throughout are "Burning Questions," assumedly those that people have asked him over the years. Each time, Reiss provides both a question and answer that injects the text with entertaining humor. "The Simpsons thrives on human stupidity," writes the author. "The dumber people get, the better our show is." Always honest, playful, and engaging, the book will provide fans with deep insight into the show's history but also into its daily production and future. Superfans might even be tempted to go back to the first episode and experience the show all over again.A charming look at a cherished American show. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.