Planet Simpson

  • by Chris Turner
  • Narrated by Oliver Wyman
  • 11 hrs and 57 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

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.

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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)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.
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- Stephen

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.
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- Neil

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-22-2004
  • Publisher: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books