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Planet Simpson

Planet Simpson
Planet Simpson.jpg
Cover of Planet Simpson (1st United States ed.)
AuthorChris Turner
SubjectThe Simpsons
Published2004 (Random House Canada)
Media typePrint
Pages466 pp.

Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Documented an Era and Defined a Generation, also abbreviated to Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Defined a Generation, is a non-fiction book about The Simpsons, written by Chris Turner and originally published on October 12, 2004 by Random House.[1] The book is partly a memoir and an exploration of the impact The Simpsons has had on popular culture.


Planet Simpson was written by Canadian author Chris Turner, who is a big fan of The Simpsons, although "not even the biggest fan I know personally ... I think I am actually a pretty average hardcore fan. What I brought to it was a sense that because the show is as well put together as it is, it really offers a wide lens for looking at culture generally."[2] Turner notes: "I can count on The Simpsons to provide me with a solid thirty minutes of truth, of righteous anger, of hypocrisies deflated and injustices revealed, of belly laughter and joy. It is food for my soul. Seriously. I think many Simpsons fans would agree. And that, as far as I'm concerned, makes it a kind of religion," he explains in the book.[3] He had previously written an essay during his time at Shift entitled "The Simpsons Generation", which was syndicated across North America.[1] Turner wrote Planet Simpson because there had not been a book that had looked at the "genesis, past, characters and influence" of the show, only official episode guides or academic pieces.[2]

Planet Simpson examines the show's satirical humor and its impact on pop culture.[3] It also looks at numerous episodes of the show.

It features a foreword by Douglas Coupland.[1]


Top 5 episodes

The end of the first chapter includes a look at the author's Top 5 episodes. Turner lists "Last Exit to Springfield" as his favourite episode. The other four episodes ordered by airdate: "Marge vs. the Monorail", "Rosebud", "Deep Space Homer" and "El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer)".[4]


Christopher Hirst of The Independent felt the book would largely appeal to fans of The Simpsons who would enjoy "Turner's critical intelligence and social awareness," while "non-fans will see 470 pages of geeky raving." He felt the book was "sui generis," and its "combination of motor-mouthed omniscience and voluminous footnotes is reminiscent of a certain style of highbrow writing about pop music."[5] Curtis Gloade of The Record described the book as "almost 500 pages of this sort of meticulous, clear, and I believe, accurate rhetoric. It kept me nodding in agreement throughout. And laughing, too."[3] He also wrote that he hopes people will not skip by the book at the bookstore because it is about The Simpsons and assume that it is "little more than a laugh-along-with-me book with lots of pictures and funny quotes." Gloade commented that this is "not the case. I laughed out loud regularly at the many Simpsons quotes, but that's only a small part of the total package."[3] He concluded that Planet Simpson is an "enjoyable reading experience, one that will likely be matchless still for a long time because I highly doubt we'll see such a melding of a stellar pop culture icon (The Simpsons) and eloquent cultural critic (Turner) again for a long time."[3] Kevin Jackson of The Times gave a largely negative review of the book. While feeling Turner's knowledge of the show was vast and finding much of the initial "less well-known aspects of Simpsonian pre-history" interesting, he overall felt the book was mostly "flimflam and filler" and criticised Turner's "gee-whiz prose and occasional lapses into plain old illiteracy" and ultimately failed to achieve the analytical goal Turner set: "It would take wit as keen and literary flair as supple as [the show's writers] to do justice to the show, and Turner is gifted with neither: he may think like Lisa, but he writes more like the Comic Book Guy."[6]


Publishing date Title Edition Tag Imprint Cover's Extras Length
September 9, 2004 Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Documented an Era and Defined a Generation 1st UK Ebury Press Introduction by Douglas Coupland
Power Screen Global Cult Pop Politics Music[7]
472 pp.[8]
October 7, 2004 Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Defined a Generation 1st abridged USA HighBridge The first audio to bring witty, opinionated, in-depth analysis to
the longest-running sitcom of all time and the most important
pop-cultural phenomenon of our generation.
Abridged; 12 hours on 10 compact discs. Read by Oliver Wyman.[9]
12 hours[9]
October 12, 2004 Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Documented an Era and Defined a Generation 1st (original) CA Random House Canada Foreword by Douglas Coupland[10] 466 pp.[11]
October 12, 2004 Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Defined a Generation 1st USA Da Capo Press Foreword by Douglas Coupland
author of Generation X[12]
464 pp.[13]
August 4, 2005 Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Documented an Era and Defined a Generation 1st revised UK Ebury Press Introduction by Douglas Coupland
‘This is a terrifically energetic book which, like its many-layered
subject, will reward repeat consumption.’ THE GUARDIAN[A][14]
480 pp.[15]
October 18, 2005 Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Defined a Generation 1st revised USA Da Capo Press "Quite simply, the definitive book about The Simpsons."—Q[16] 464 pp.[17]
October 28, 2008 Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Documented an Era and Defined a Generation 1st revised
with addition
CA Vintage Canada Foreword by Douglas Coupland
With a new afterword by the author[18]
576 pp.[19]
A. ^ Citation from article "Books previews: Saturday, 11 September 2004" (The Guardian).[20]


  1. ^ a b c "Planet Simpson" (Product Description). Random House. Retrieved 2011-01-16.[dead link]
  2. ^ a b Moran, Jonathan (2004-11-11). "Planet Simpsons". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 2011-01-22.
  3. ^ a b c d e Gloade, Curtis (2004-10-09). "Dohs! of our lives on Planet Simpson". The Record. p. P3.
  4. ^ Turner 2004d, p. 70; Turner 2005b, p. 70
  5. ^ Hirst, Christopher (2005-08-26). "Paperbacks: Dirk Bogarde, Maggie: Her fatal legacy, Planet Simpson, Limeys, All the Wrong Places, Village of Stone, Fleshmarket Close". The Independent. London. Retrieved 2011-01-16.
  6. ^ Jackson, Kevin (2004-09-05). "Television: Planet Simpson by Chris Turner". The Times. London.
  7. ^ Turner 2004a, front cover.
  8. ^ Turner 2004a.
  9. ^ a b Turner 2004b, back cover.
  10. ^ Turner 2004c, front cover.
  11. ^ Turner 2004c.
  12. ^ Turner 2004d, front cover.
  13. ^ Turner 2004d.
  14. ^ Turner 2005a, front cover.
  15. ^ Turner 2005a.
  16. ^ Turner 2005b, front cover.
  17. ^ Turner 2005b.
  18. ^ Turner 2008, front cover.
  19. ^ Turner 2008.
  20. ^ Mueller, Andrew (September 11, 2004). "Planet Simpson [by] Chris Turner" (Book preview). London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-12-31. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)

External links