Book: Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies from a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons
Author: Mike Reiss
Publication Info: 2018, Dey Street Books
Genres: Nonfiction, Biography/Memoir, Pop Culture, Pop Culture Essays, Audiobook
My Rating: 3.5 stars
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 episode.
I would encourage readers to skip the audiobook, despite it being quite short at 7 hours, and just read this one. Audio is grating on my nerves and the jokes fall very flat. Otherwise, this book offers some genuine insight at times, as it showcases this writer’s POV of making his way through the TV/comedy writing industry and landing eventually on one of the most successful TV shows of all time. The content is a mix of info about the show and the author bio essentially. I found the bits about how the show was made to be the most valuable part of this book.
Another strength of this work is the laidback, conversational tone, which works pretty well considering the content discussed. The layout of the content is also often broken up by charts/tables or facts squares etc, so it is honesty a quick read. You could easily get what you need to know from a few chapters.
I like to read about pop culture, and I’m using this one as a springboard for a few academic books about animated series, including a different set of essays called The Simpsons: A Culture History by Moritz Fink (2019)
Ultimately, though, skip the audiobook. If you are interested in the POV of a writer on The Simpsons, try this book for their opinions. Not entirely an in-depth look at the making of the show but skims the surface, thus making this a book for a range of fans or those interested in breaking into this career path (writing, comedy, media production, etc).