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Springfield Confidential
Cover of Springfield Confidential
Springfield Confidential
Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies from a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons
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One of Vulture's Top-10 Comedy Books of 2018

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.

One of Vulture's Top-10 Comedy Books of 2018

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."

Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    May 1, 2018
    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 thing--it'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(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    June 15, 2018

    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 Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Conan O’Brien "The good is always rare. A truly great comic is rare. Mike Reiss, by definition, is a rarity."
  • “Weird Al” Yankovic "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."
  • Dick Cavett "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."
  • Dan Castellaneta, longtime voice of Homer Simpson "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."
  • Nancy Cartwright, longtime voice of Bart Simpson "Mike Reiss always brings his own unique, quirky, eccentric genius with him."
  • Vanity Fair "Extremely funny and fascinating."
  • Kirkus Reviews "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."
  • Entertainment Weekly "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."
  • The A.V. Club "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."
  • Booklist (starred review) "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."
  • Vulture "Not until Springfield Confidential has one really nailed what it's like to work in the mystical promised land of The Simpsons' offices. Reiss shares the pride, joy, frustration, gratitude, grueling labor, and sense of luck that are a part of bringing Springfield to life."
  • Washington Post "Springfield Confidential offers a wealth of great anecdotes, all peppered with punchlines that make Reiss's memoir as hilarious as whichever season of The Simpsons you recall most fondly."
  • Bustle "Springfield Confidential spills all of the juicy secrets from behind the scenes of your dad's favorite cartoon, and after reading it, he may never be able to look at Homer the same way again."
  • Kurt Andersen, novelist and SPY magazine founder "The Simpsons is one of America's greatest cultural products of last few decades, and Mike Reiss was and remains one of its key creators. So if you like The Simpsons, why wouldn't you read this entertaining, charming and informative insider's chronicle? I did, and I'm better for it."
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Springfield Confidential
Springfield Confidential
Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies from a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons
Mike Reiss
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