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Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Defined a Generation | [Chris Turner]

Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Defined a Generation

In one memorable The Simpsons moment, Homer laughs hysterically at a standup comic, pausing only to gasp, "It's true, we're so lame!" In a sense, that is author Chris Turner's main thesis: Over the last 15 years, The Simpsons has chronicled the absurdities and the defining events of an increasingly confusing culture.
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Publisher's Summary

In one memorable The Simpsons moment, Homer laughs hysterically at a standup comic, pausing only to gasp, "It's true, we're so lame!" In a sense, that is author Chris Turner's main thesis: Over the last 15 years, The Simpsons has chronicled the absurdities and the defining events of an increasingly confusing culture. At the same time, Turner suggests, the show has transcended being just a cartoon and has had a profound and lasting influence, defining attitudes toward everything from pop culture to global politics.

This extremely funny examination of the 18-time Emmy-winning show uses individual characters to define different facets of the American personality: Homer is the slightly doltish but well-meaning everyman; Lisa speaks as the show's social conscience; Bart is the punk icon; Marge the moral authority; and C. Montgomery Burns represents the evil of unchecked capitalism. The ensemble provides a framework for identifying, through ruthless parody and subversive wit, the wrongs of our time. By Turner's analysis, the popularity of the show illustrates a generation's cynicism, restlessness, and ultimately, optimism and love of humanity.

Want to know even more about The Simpsons? Make My Life As a 10-Year-Old Boy your next listen.

©2004 Chris Turner; (P)2004 HighBridge Company

What the Critics Say

"Turner's fannish enthusiasm and tsunami of trivia will appeal mainly to devotees, though cultural historians may value it for its vision of Springfield as a satirical mirror reflecting the trials and tribulations of contemporary life." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.4 (32 )
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3.3 (12 )
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  •  
    Stephen Leesburg, VA, USA 12-21-04
    Stephen Leesburg, VA, USA 12-21-04 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Planet Commentary"

    This is not a bad book, not what I expected but not a bad book. Is a very academic commentary on the world using Simpson references (and the same ones over and over). In the end I enjoyed the book, however some of the social commentary really started to get in the way of the theme of the book. About half way through the author stops mentionioning the Simpsons and goes on a rant about George W. Bush and the evils of his administration. Now I'm no W fan, in fact I worked in both 2000 and 2004 to try to keep him out of office, but the commentary just seemed to out of place.
    In the end a decent look at the Simpsons and where it fits in todays society, with a few too many tangents.
    In regards to the other reviewer's comments - the impressions of the Simpsons characters really are bad.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Neil Saskatoon, SK, Canada 01-14-08
    Neil Saskatoon, SK, Canada 01-14-08
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    "A mixed bag"

    I'm quite torn in evaluating this book. To the good, Turner does a mostly decent job at analyzing The Simpsons in its 1990s context and how it sought to critique the culture in which it existed. And while I mostly agree with his analysis, Turner is wholly uncritical of the show itself. So it's a combination of fanboy enthusiasm with a bit more measured critique of the 90s.

    I would almost certainly have had a better experience if I had purchased the text version of this book. The narrator, as others have said, was various shades of painful. Passable, I suppose, when reading Turner's words, but hideous when trying to imitate various characters' voices. It almost sounded like he'd never seen the show before. How the publishers allowed such an awful and distracting rendition of the characters to be released is baffling.

    My recommendation: if the subject matter interests you, hunt down the text version (that's what my three stars represent) but avoid the "worst Simpsons imitation ever," to borrow from Comic Book Guy.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike D Franklin, TN 11-12-05
    Mike D Franklin, TN 11-12-05 Listener Since 2005
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    "How can a book about a show so great be so bad?"

    I've been a fan of the Simpson's since the night it premiered on Fox (I've never been all that taken by the Simpson shorts that graced the Tracey Ullman show). As I have gotten older and matured, so has the show. A national audience has been able to watch as it has evolved from a series of skits, into a family show, into a cartoon drama, into a collection of 3 eight minute - loosely related stories separated by commercials, and end up in a Sunday evening - primetime powerhouse that literally has full creative control and pushes those creative boundaries to the limit (going so far as to routinely take shots at the network that broadcasts the show, as well as the president of said network).

    As an avid fan of the show I had thoroughly enjoyed virtually every web article, newspaper clipping and tv snippet about this beloved family that I could locate. After listening to a majority of "Planet Simpson" I can no longer make that claim.

    I agree with the reviews criticizing the narrator's imitation of the show's characters - they are both sub-par and too frequent. Likewise, there is a complete lack of focus in the direction of the narrative. Not only does it ramble about covering topics not even loosely related to the show, but the connections that are made between the show and political and historical events are often baseless. There are even moments when this book's analysis of the show's events directly contradict what the writers of the show state on the commentary of their dvd's.

    I was incredibly excited when I purchased this book, being such a fan of the show, and it did nothing to live up to my expectations. I suppose in answer to my question, the way that a book about a show so great can be so bad is that this is not a book about a great show - this is a random collection of rambling narratives and innacturate cultural comparisons that occasionally loosely relate to a great show.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brian 11-13-13
    brian 11-13-13 Member Since 2010
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    ""Who-hoo!""
    If you could sum up Planet Simpson in three words, what would they be?

    Excellent and funny.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The narrator. He's great at Simpsons impressions.


    Which character – as performed by Oliver Wyman – was your favorite?

    Uh, all of em.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    I can't think of one yet.


    Any additional comments?

    Too bad it's the abridged version.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Sydney, Australia 07-26-13
    Paul Sydney, Australia 07-26-13
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    "Buyer Beware"
    Any additional comments?

    PLEASE BE AWARE B4 PURCHASING that this audio reading has 4 chapters omitted , it omits chapter 7: The Simpsons in Cyberspace. Chapter 8:The Ugly Springfieldianite. Chapter 9:The Simpsons Go Hollywood .Chapter 10: The Simpsons Through The Looking Glass . After completing chapter 6: Marge Knows best it will skip the mentioned chapters and continue onto chapter 11: Planet SimpsonI know this as it was suggested to me to purchase the printed book after listening to this audio version & upon glancing over the chapters , i was surprised to find the chapters mentioned above.I highly recommend purchasing this book but in printed form.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sitroom 08-02-07
    sitroom 08-02-07 Member Since 2003
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    "Correct Title Should be"

    I was really disappointed with this book. The author at times rambled about his social and political views, and in the second part of the book, there were whole 20 to 30 minute sections, where The Simpsons were not even mentioned at all. The book goes so far afield that we even get a 10 minute dissertation on Michael Moore's "bowling for Columbine" and the evil of SUVs. If you're looking for a book that's really about the Simpson then I suggest "My Life as a 10-Year-Old Boy" by Nancy Cartwright. her book is biographical form but still has a lot of interesting information about what goes on behind the scenes with the Simpsons.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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