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The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Show and the Book They Didn’t Use

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ortved simpsons

Last night on Fox, I caught Morgan Spurlock’s documentary about the 20 year history of The Simpsons. It was entertaining enough and I was particularly pleased to observe a situation where vocalist Sting references literary heavyweight Cormac McCarthy while discussing yellowish cartoon characters.

But during the show, I kept thinking about how much of a shame it was that the documentary couldn’t somehow involve John Ortved.

A writer for Vanity Fair, Ortved published the highly entertaining and informative The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History. In the book, Ortved reveals much of the behind-the-scenes politics and powergrabs amongst producers and writers that marred the years in Springfield. It’s a fun book.

It’s also a book that at least some of the Fox people wanted no part of. Ortved discussed some of the difficulties in getting quotes in this December Village Voice article.

In spite of the challenges, Ortved wrote a good book that covered much of the same ground as Spurlock’s documentary last night. It’s just a shame the book couldn’t be used somehow, although not surprising given the negative reaction from the cartoon’s brass.