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Download The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History (Unabridged) Audiobook, by John Ortved
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (512 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Ortved Narrator: John Allen Nelson, Justine Eyre Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2009 ISBN:
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The Simpsons is one of the most successful shows in the history of television. From its first moment on air, the series' rich characters, subversive themes, and layered humor have resounded deeply with audiences, both young and old, who wanted more from their entertainment than what was being meted out at the time by the likes of Full House, Growing Pains, and Family Matters.

Spawned as an animated short on The Tracy Ullman Show - mere filler on the way to commercial breaks - the series grew from a controversial cult favorite to a mainstream powerhouse, and after 19 years, the residents of Springfield no longer simply hold up a mirror to our way of life; they have ingrained themselves into it.

John Ortved's oral history is the first-ever look behind the scenes at the creation and day-to-day running of The Simpsons, as told by many of the people who make it, including writers, animators, producers, and network executives. It's an intriguing yet hilarious tale, full of betrayal, ambition, and love. Like the family it depicts, the show's creative forces have been riven by dysfunction from the get-go - outsize egos clashing with studio executives and one another over credit for and control of a pop-culture institution.

Contrary to popular belief, The Simpsons did not spring from one man's brain, fully formed, like a hilarious Athena. Its inception was a process, with many parents, and this book tells the story.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Camille Scarborough | 2/10/2014

    " Interesting to be sure... just wish the author had edited better. It felt like reading a transcript. I think I will appreciate the show even more now, though I've lost some respect for Fox and Groening. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jj Kwashnak | 2/7/2014

    " Amazingly, considering that The Simpsons has been on the air for 20 years now, there has been no official, or authorized, history of the show written. Ortved may have set out to write an authorized history, but it is obvious that he was not getting the cooperation he felt was necessary. As a result he has created an unauthorized history of our favorite family, pulled together from what seems to be extensive sets of interviews with many key people in and around the Simpsons universe as well as pulled from various printed interviews and articles by others who may not have been willing to participate. What results is less of a story, and more of a magic window into the birth and formative first decade of the show. Told by a series of recollections and vignettes, we are taken behind the scenes of the Matt Groening being involved in creating interstitials for the Tracey Ullman Show, the eventual spinoff of the shorts into a full blown show, the show becoming a worldwide phenomenon and the resulting legal wrangling, staff changes and hurt feelings that a mega-success brings. The lack of participation by many vital players, including Matt Groening himself, necessitates the use of printed comments in the stead of interview comments. The lack of cooperation also frees Ortved from having to be objective in his writing, allowing others to present only one side of the story. It also probably limited his access to some areas, especially within Fox, that might have fleshed out pieces and give some heft to his story. This lack of objectivity allows the author to speak very highly of the first dozen seasons with high praise, milder praise for the next few seasons and then almost outright dismissal of work from the 9th or 10th season on. That said, the book is extremely entertaining, very informative and eye opening and just a great glimpse into the Juggernaut that is The Simpsons. It is the work of love of a fan who is trying to explain how lightning was captured in a bottle and the focus can be on the overall story, with varying amounts of attention paid to the details. It would have been nice to get a better overview of who everyone is and how they fit together (much of the conflicts that appear involve people who are around for a year or two, are influential and then leave), but since the goal is to produce a history told in individual’s recollections and stories rather than in a cohesive narrative, this is not a major issue. While not perfect, the book is a fascinating read of anyone interested in the history of The Simpsons as a show and how Fox became the House that Bart built. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sarah | 2/2/2014

    " There were a fair amount of pearls in the sections about the show's development and the discussions of the writers. I learned a lot about George Meyer. But beyond that, it was not entertaining. The analysis of the show's impact, by author John Ortvedt (who? exactly) and others, was not particularly insightful in most cases. Opinions were frequently presented as facts and not supported. Egregious typos and factual errors were rampant; some people's names were spelled in two different ways in the same paragraph--in the same sentence in one case. I'm sorry that the presence of this book means we won't get a better Simpsons history for many years. The subject deserves better than this. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrew McMillen | 2/1/2014

    " Such a joy to read due to the subject matter and the interviewees. The author's oral history approach worked incredibly well in this book: kept it quite light and breezy without getting bogged down in the details. This approach will come in handy for me in future, I know. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stina | 1/26/2014

    " I expected this to be a lot more funny. If you want to laugh, just read the Conan O'Brien section and skip everything else. But, it was interesting to learn about the different personalities involved in the show's creation, and just about the process of getting an animated tv show made. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mr.P Allen | 1/23/2014

    " I learned a lot about the creation of The Simpsons from this book, but overall I didn't like it. The writer spent too much time sharing his own opinions rather than letting the interviews tell the story. There was also no clear organization to the chapters, so it was difficult to follow the order of events. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Thomas Chau | 1/17/2014

    " A must for any Simsons fan "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 CB | 12/27/2013

    " There were a lot of glaring mistakes (WAYLAND Smithers?!) and it really was just mostly him compiling interviews by 'the powers that be' and then binding them. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 marcali | 12/27/2013

    " fun evolutionary back story on The Simpsons-- "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Donkey21 | 11/30/2013

    " I think the author's main goal was to let us know that the Simpsons isn't good anymore. There's some good stuff, but i would have liked more info on how some of the best episodes were created. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nyssa Walsh | 9/28/2013

    " Very much like the series, this book started off with a bang and slowly got less interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John | 8/4/2013

    " Interesting, insidery stuff for hardcore tv junkies only. If you know the difference between Klasky-Csupo and Film Roman, or if you know who Sam Simon is, this book is for you... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Josh | 1/6/2013

    " Mostly interesting. It's worth a read for fans of the Simpson's in their golden years, if anything because it made me want to watch the show again. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Keith Davis | 12/22/2012

    " A book for hardcore Simpsons fans. If you already know who Sam Simon and George Meyer are then you will enjoy it. An interesting look at how a television show goes from idea to broadcast, but ultimately a little depressing as it compares the past heights of the show to its current doldrums. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joshua | 12/6/2012

    " Liking this very much so far..informative, entertaining..most likely would still be so for even the casual fan of the genre. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pinder | 10/21/2012

    " It's Waylon Smithers, not Wayland. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sara | 10/20/2012

    " This is an oral history, composed largely of direct quotes, so it's quite a quick read. I didn't find it hugely fascinating or revealing, but it was interesting to see how such a complicated creative product is made, and there were a couple of good anecdotes. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bherpen | 3/12/2012

    " Unlike most people, I found this oral history informative beyond my wildest dreams, yet drier than the Sahara Desert and tough to get through. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michelle | 8/18/2011

    " maybe unauthorized but lots of interesting behind the scenes info and impressive list of those who have been involved in the Simpson's "dynasty" over the years. You do not have to be a huge Simpsons nerd to appreciate this book "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melinda | 5/2/2011

    " for such a hilarious show, the behind the scenes look was dullsville! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 1/5/2011

    " Interesting but not in-depth for obvious reasons. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alex | 11/5/2010

    " The stuff about the behind-the-scenes feuding and personality conflicts was especially interesting. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Mel | 8/22/2010

    " Holds the dubious honour of being the most error-riddled book I have ever read. Full of spelling and grammar mistakes. A complete mess. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martin | 7/21/2010

    " Interesting and funny. A very good look into one of my favorite shows. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Monica | 7/14/2010

    " I didn't like the back and forth dialogue and talk from so many. This just wasn't my cup of tea. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Matthew | 4/24/2010

    " A very informative book gives a behind the scenes history of The Simpsons, from who ran the show to a look at the writers, voice actors, and Fox's involvement. Definitely a history, but also a fan's perspective. A recommended read for fans of the show. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John | 4/13/2010

    " Interesting, insidery stuff for hardcore tv junkies only. If you know the difference between Klasky-Csupo and Film Roman, or if you know who Sam Simon is, this book is for you... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andrew | 3/9/2010

    " The quotes from the people involved are great, but the sections written by the author have a strange agenda and point of view, and come across like an angry fanboy's blog screed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robert | 3/2/2010

    " Pretty dishy and delerious, this oral history proves yet again that Money and Success Changes Everything. "

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About the Author

John Ortved is a journalist and author whose writing has appeared in Vanity Fair, where he serves as a contributing editorial associate; Interview; the New York Observer; and Vice. He lives in New York City.