From Publishers Weekly
Freelance writer Ortved tells the story of a cartoon about a dysfunctional family living in the shadow of a nuclear power plant that became the longest-running prime time series in American television history. The Simpsons first appeared as a series of shorts on The Tracy Ullman Show in 1987 and debuted as a full-length series in 1989. Almost immediately it became an international phenomenon, helping to establish the then-upstart Fox network. Since then, The Simpsons has featured dozens of celebrity guests, from Michael Jackson to Tom Wolf, and has become a major influence on the development of television comedy and on a generation of Americans. Ortved has done dozens of in-depth interviews, and they make the book. His oral history approach is particularly compelling through the first 200 pages, where the disagreements over who deserves credit for The Simpsons take on a Rashomon-like complexity. Ortved seems evenhanded in his assessments of principals like Matt Groening and James Brooks-few of whom come through unscathed. As the book progresses, it loses focus, and Ortved inserts more of his own opinions and analyses, which are generally less interesting than the interviews (hating Everybody Loves Raymond isn't exactly a radical stance). Nevertheless, Ortved has done a remarkable job of bringing to light the creators of our beloved four-fingered creatures with the bright yellow skin.
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"Ortved's "uncensored, unauthorized" history... is as tasty as a pink-glazed donut with sprinkles, as refreshing as a Duff beer and as piquant as a curry slushy from Kwik-E Mart." —Louis Bayard, The Washington Post
"A gloriously windy oral history crammed with behind-the-scenes squabbles and power grabs...I completely devoured The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History, even if I felt a little bad afterward for the central players who got sucker punched. The early details, as show creator Matt Groening goes from obscure alt-weekly cartoonist to megamogul via talent and chance, remain a well-known showbiz tale. John Ortved's sources (including artist Art Spiegelman) tell it in a fresh, vivid way. The subsequent testimony about the empire Groening created is contentious and mesmerizing." —Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly
"Mr. Ortved has produced a 300-page combination of juicy entertainment gossip, rich television history and notes from a disenchanted lover." —Lisa Tozzi, The New York Times
"Brisk and engaging and likely to entertain Simpsons die-hards without breaking a sweat...a good balance between information and gossip; between a story about simmering creativity and a story about flawed human beings who showed their flaws -- as many do -- more and more as the money accumulated...a rich read for fans." —Linda Holmes, NPR
"Ortved has done a remarkable job of bringing to light the creators of our beloved four-fingered creatures with the bright yellow skin." —Publisher's Weekly
“An essential resource for any fan.”—John Williams, The Second Pass
“Ortved’s account is remarkably thorough, witty, and stands as likely the best Simpsons volume we'll see for some time to come.” —Under the Radar
“All of those people providing their perspectives on the founding of The Simpsons builds a multifaceted history of a television revolution and institution. If anyone has any interest in codifying the building of one of the most important pieces of American pop culture, The Simpsons: The Uncensored, Unauthorized History is a very effective, very worthwhile read.” —Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama