bookstore / richmond (ed.)
The Simpsons: A Complete Guide To Our Favorite Family (Amazon.com)
The Simpsons: A Complete Guide To Our Favorite Family (Amazon.co.uk)
The Simpsons: A Complete Guide To Our Favorite Family (Powell's Books - new or secondhand)
Ray Richmond (editor)
The Simpsons: A Complete Guide To Our Favorite Family
This is the first official guide to the animated TV series and it's 250 pages long and illustrated in full colour. For each of the 178 episodes there is a synopsis; writer/director/guest star credits; shots from the show; notable lines; script excerpts; any song lyrics; any movie/TV/literary/musical/historical references; any oblique references to other episodes; fast-moving "stuff you may have missed"; blackboard "gags"; and illustrated character biographies. You can almost relive the experience of seeing the cartoons themselves, which makes this a very, very funny book.
The reader is also guided, with trainspotting detail, through the 48 shorts; couch "gags"; background signs; the many instances when Homer has uttered "D'oh!" and "Mmm..."; the Itchy & Scratchy filmography (everything from Why Do Fools Fall in Lava? to Remembrance of Things Slashed); who does what voice; and Krusty the Clown merchandising.
Of course, The Simpsons is so multi-layered that some stuff does fall through the net but this is still quite an encyclopedia. It was published in 1997, so it goes up to and including series number eight (which contains my personal favourite episode, Homer's Enemy, a cartoon with an extrememly high joke-to-line-of-dialogue ratio).
In the period not covered by the book (the last three years), The Simpsons has gotten more bizarre, if anything. The plots have become asymmetrical (in that they seem to have ditched the idea that everything should return to normal by the end of each episode) and the comedy more cruel (you're now much more likely to see a monkey knife-fight or human children in a zoo!).
- Barry Kavanagh
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