- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins - US; Reprint edition (7 May 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 006274805X
- ISBN-13: 978-0062748058
- Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2 x 20.1 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 236 g
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 47,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies from a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons Paperback – 7 May 2019
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"Besides providing a hilarious look at what is perhaps the greatest TV show of all time, Mike Reiss has also created a staggering literary work that is almost completely devoid of typos and grammatical errors. It's well worth the price of this book for the proofreading skills alone." --"Weird Al" Yankovic
"Reiss has done a masterful job of compiling this laugh-filled account of his long years as a writer on this beloved show. It's the sort of book that makes you wish your dinner guests would go the hell home so you can get back to reading it."--Dick Cavett
"Mike Reiss is a great example of somebody who writes for a living and does it so well in so many different ways. And, of course, he helped write this thing called The Simpsons."--Dan Castellaneta, longtime voice of Homer Simpson
"Mike Reiss always brings his own unique, quirky, eccentric genius with him."--Nancy Cartwright, longtime voice of Bart Simpson
"Extremely funny and fascinating."--Vanity Fair
"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...A charming look at a cherished American show."--Kirkus Reviews
"Founding Simpsons writer Reiss offers a funny and factoid-filled glimpse behind the curtain -- or, brown couch -- of the beloved sitcom...a surprising view of Springfield you've never heard before."--Entertainment Weekly
"In Springfield Confidential, Reiss offers a breezy history of the show from his insider's perspective, from its dismal early prospects to its astonishing success, with insights aimed squarely at the Comic Book Guy variety of Simpsons fans."--The A.V. Club
"Always entertaining and frequently laugh-out-loud-hilarious. 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."--Booklist (starred review)
From the Back Cover
The longest-serving Simpsons writer and all-around funnyman Mike Reiss delivers the ultimate fan guide to the most popular animated show in American history
Mike Reiss has spent his lifetime—well, thirty years—at The Simpsons, since the show’s debut in 1989, as a writer, producer, and showrunner. As such, he knows a lot about these four-fingered freaks and their crazy antics.
In Springfield Confidential, he shares his behind-the-scenes stories about his work on the most iconic American cartoon family ever. Reiss pulls back the curtain for those curious about how The Simpsons works, answers burning questions from Simpsons die-hards, and shares never-before-told stories about creating favorite episodes and characters. In his freewheeling, irreverent comic style, Reiss reflects on his lifetime inside The Simpsons—a personal highlight reel of his achievements, observations, and favorite anecdotes.
He’ll reveal why the Simpsons are yellow; how Lisa became one of the first “deep” cartoon characters ever; what it’s like to be in the writing room stuffed with funny guys (and one hilarious woman); what he’s learned after traveling to every country where the show is watched (many have The Simpsons, but not flush toilets); and lots of inside dish on the show’s animators, actors, and celebrity guests.
Reiss also sheds light on the writing he’s done for cult series (The Critic, ALF, Sledge Hammer!), hit movies (five Ice Age films, two Despicable Mes, and a dozen more), and comedy legends (Johnny Carson, Joan Rivers, Garry Shandling, and, yes, even Pope Francis!).
Springfield Confidential is a treat for not only devout Simpsons fans but comedy fans everywhere.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I haven't watched The Simpsons religiously in decades, and haven't even really watched it casually in a very long time, but I was amazed at how many episodes and characters I remembered. What I loved most about the book were the bits I didn't remember because, well, I couldn't have remembered them because I never experienced them. I'm referring specifically to Reiss's anecdotes from working on The Simpsons and his other creative works, like The Critic. The book zips from anecdote to anecdote so quickly that its almost possible to miss how they all connect to each other - but they actually do more than just connect, they feed off of and into each other.
It may be a bit cliché, but reading the book was like listening to an exciting conversation from an old friend. Reiss and Klickstein clearly have a knack for making their readers feel comfortable, even when the occasional joke earns a cringe and a head shake (it is comedy, after all, right?)
I truly enjoyed this book, and as someone who wouldn't consider himself a lifelong Simpsons fan by any stretch, it was quite impressive that I was drawn in so quickly and my attention held from first page to the last. If you're a big fan of the Simpsons, I imagine you'll love this, and if you're a more casual viewer like me, but a lover of well-told behind-the-scenes stories about show business, this is right up your alley too.
It did NOT disappoint.
I very much liken it to the book and subsequent movie "A Futile & Stupid Gesture" which took an inside look at former Harvard Lampoon writer (much like Mike Reiss himself) and National Lampoon writer Doug Kenney. We get a great look at how our favorite TV show started, the problems the show endured, the success of the legendary show, and amazing factoids and laughs along the way.
This book is a true inside look of the Simpsons and exactly what goes into making it the 30 year old power house that is still going strong. For example: ONE episode takes 9 months to create. There was animosity early on between show creator Matt Groening and Sam Simon which led to the latter leaving the show. We also find out how many of the characters were named, why they're yellow, and how the staff handles criticisms of the show.
This book was a two sitting read for me as Springfield Confidential is simply one of those books where you say "OK, one more chapter" at 9:30pm and you're finally putting the book down for the night at 1am and 9 chapters later.
He answers questions from viewers — like “Where is Springfield?”
There is insider stuff like the show was almost canceled before it got on. And that power plant mogul Burns’ assistant Smithers was African-American but changed after they saw the show in color and decided having a prominent black character kiss up to his cruel, white boss was wrong.
There is celebrity gossip: “I’ve heard that Bruce Willis is so monstrous that one of his directors, a cancer survivor, said, ‘I’d go through another round of chemo rather than work with Bruce again.'”
Insider stuff: Some think “The Simpsons” never won an Emmy. “That’s because our awards aren’t handed out at the boring televised ceremony. Our awards are handed out at the super-boring un-televised ceremony, the Creative Arts Awards.”
On his colleague Nancy Cartwright playing male characters Bart, Nelson and Ralph: “Not since Lassie had a TV actor played a classic character of the opposite sex.”
There’s even stuff about Tom Cruise which I won’t mention because Cruise sues.
The book is sprinkled with interludes like this “True Fact”: There is a Macon, Ga., resident named Homer Simpson who works in a nuclear power plant. Says Reiss, “Poor guy. Having to live in Macon, Georgia.”
In the chapter titled “Gay for Pay” Reiss admits his favorite project was not “The Simpsons” or “The Critic” but a web series called “Queer Duck” (He can’t even fly straight.) It was enormously popular, Britain’s Channel 4 viewers named it one of the 100 greatest cartoons of all time. Notes Reiss, “Now, mind you. England is the world’s only exclusively gay country. Britain’s an island — it’s like a big gay cruise that doesn’t go anywhere.”
He writes about the art of comedy — “k” words are funnier. But there are exceptions. “My cousin Kenny was killed by the Ku Klux Klan,” for instance. And he recommends some great comedy flicks you may have missed. And some books about being funny.
Reiss finally answers the burning question of why “The Simpsons is so successful. “… the valuable input of network executives. We don’t have any.”
The book is written with the same comic timing and cleverness that Reiss brings to everything he does. My regret is that it is not twice as long.
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