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  • Date Submitted: 10/11/2012 04:25 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 60.8 
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Most. Important. Comedy. Ever.

It's highly unlikely that anyone picking up Toronto-raised John Ortved's The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History would disagree with that sentiment.

The author's new 300-plus-paged tome is an oral history of TV's longest running comedy, as the show's architects, staff members and guests recount the calculated decisions and happy accidents that went into creating what might be the last truly ubiquitous cultural juggernaut.

Ortved ends the introduction with the line: "We, as a culture, speak Simpsons." While my somewhat obscure favourites are: "Oh, so you've played knife-y-spoon-y before," "Increase my killing power? Let's do it." and my standard go-to toast, "Gentlemen, to evil," Ortved is also speaking in larger cultural implications.

"I don't think there is a force in culture that has penetrated as widely or deeply as The Simpsons have," he says. " I think if you're in your late-20s or 30s or around it, there's some DNA in the way you speak, in the way you construct your story. It doesn't matter if you're writing a story or giving a speech in a boardroom, there's some sense of irony in your sense of storytelling that has been shaped to some degree by The Simpsons."

Ortved started telling this story when he was an editorial associate at Vanity Fair, and while he pitched an article about the show as a oral history as much out of desire as calculation: "I figured it was a good way to get it in, because really, editorial associates didn't really get to write for the magazine that much, and this was a great way to let people tell their story," he says.

Simpsons staffers were told not to take part in the article, and the subsequent book (although many did). The request came mainly because of attempts to look into the dispute between Simpsons creator Matt Groening and veteran TV producer/writer Sam Simon, Ortved says.

Simon supporters feel he didn't get enough credit for his contributions, in particular,...


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