Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History. Pre-review

As a rule I don't read a lot of books that don't star teenage wizards or vampires hooking up with teenagers. However I'm ready to make an exception with The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History.

From all the reviews I've read (that would be 3) it sounds like writer John Ortved has crafted a very insightful book that's a must read for all Simpsons superfans. Quite a feat considering that James Brooks, Matt Groening and most everyone at Fox refused to participate when they heard what Ortved was writing. The following is a small excerpt about the resistance Ortved ran into when he wrote a small article for Vanity Fair that turned out to be the precursor to the book... I totally lifted it from WarmingGlow

Fox tried to get me to write a different story, “How about,” one flack told me, “you do a history of how The Simpsons Movie came to be,” adding that this was something they could get on board with.. I declined this very generous offer and continued to work on the story, resulting in some hilarious calls from Fox publicity, with them informing me “There is no Simpsons story in Vanity Fair. We said ‘no’!”

Something I gleaned early from this experience is that Hollywood publicists are so used to journalists kowtowing to their every request that they no longer understand what journalism actually is. We’re talking about cartoon characters here, not Watergate, but the light subject matter doesn’t exclude the possibility of doing real research and telling interesting stories. They actually thought that we were all on the same team, trying to get their client the maximum exposure, using our words and outlets only to extend their message.

Again from what I've read about the book it isn't perfect. Ortved has to use a lot of old published quotes from the people that refused to participate making the narrative a bit one sided. He also spends a bit to much time harping on how the series sucks now, which is a given at this point. Still I can't go more than an hour without using a quote from The Simpsons, so I think I'll be adding this to the top of my reading list (sorry Edward, you'll have to wait).




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