The Simpsons is one of the most successful shows ever to run on television. From its first moment on the air, the series's rich characters, subversive themes, and layered humour resounded deeply with audiences both young and old who wanted more from their entertainment than what was being meted out by the likes of Full House, Growing Pains, and Family Matters. Spawned as an animated short on The Tracey Ullman Show—mere filler on the way to commercial breaks—the series grew from a controversial cult favourite to a mainstream powerhouse, and after twenty years, the residents of Springfield no longer simply hold up a mirror to our way of life: they have ingrained themselves in it.
Contrary to popular belief, The Simpsons did not spring out of Matt Goening's brain, fully formed, like an uproarious Athena. Its inception was a process, with many parents, and like the family it depicts, the show's creative forces have been riven by dysfunction from the get-go- outside egos clashing with studio executives and one another over credit for and control of a pop-culture institution worth billions. John Ortved's oral history is the first-ever look behind the scenes at the creation and day-to-day running of the show, as told by many of the people who made it, amoung them writers, animators, producers, and network executives. It's an intriguing yet hilarious tale, portraying more than two decades of betrayal, ambition, and love. Also available in paperback.