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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 22 March 2007
In writing Planet Simpson, author Chris Turner risked turning himself into The Simpsons' anal Comic Book Guy - with his clipped nasal tones - investing far too much of his time and energy into what is simply a pretty crude cartoon: "Best. Cartoon. Ever." However, what makes The Simpsons different to, say, The Flintstones, it's prehistoric ancestor, is that The Simpsons is (A) hilarious and (B) an acutely observed portrait of a struggling, conflicted and yet in its own way, harmonious, nuclear family, deeply embedded in small town America.

Turner divides his analysis into sections - some look at the archetypal characters, such as (my personal favourite), captain of industry Charles Montgomery Burns and his bootlick, Smithers; the look at Burns will feature his cinematic precedents, such as Citizen Kane and It's a Wonderful Life; then the book might cast its gaze over what Monty might have to say about American-style capitalism ("Get beaten by the Japanese?! What, those sandal-wearing goldfish tenders? Pah!"). Other characters considered in detail include the main Simpson family of course. Naturally, the best section is on Homer, the most irritating is on Lisa.

Planet Simpson also breaks The Simpsons cartoon down into epochs, of which Turner argues there are three: the first is The Early Years, the first couple of series when the cartoon was still finding its feet, the animation was sketchy, voices were different and the humour was broader; the second epoch is The Golden Years, when the cartoon really hit its stride - this lasted until roughly season eight or nine; then we hit the final epoch, which we are still in, as of this writing: The Great Plateau, whereby we find that The Simpsons, whilst still being much funnier than most other sitcoms, is not really breaking any new ground but simply ploughing a well-worn furrow.

Chris Turner has written an audacious book, in Planet Simpson; it mixes one part fanboy celebration, with one part academic thesis and it is of course, peppered with hilarious quotes! Best cartoon ever? Well, I personally prefered Futurama...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 16 October 2005
This is a very long book - probably too long - that lauds The Simpsons as the greatest TV show we have. The author is sometimes close to labouring this point, especially early on. Indeed, in the whole book there is only one criticism of something in the show. Much of what he writes is interesting stuff, but my complaints would be as follows: it is occasionally self-indulgent; it occasionally goes off the point (this is particularly true in his chapter on the internet, which turns into a commentary on the web's explosion in the 1990s and is a slog to read through); a leftish bias is evident in many places; some of the repeatings of what happens in the show do not translate too well. But there's some decent stuff here, and you do come away from it with more admiration than ever for the makers of the show. If the book had been a little thinner it could have picked up similar plaudits.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 17 April 2006
Turner's premise is that 'The Simpsons' has become the main vehicle for countercultural discourse, replacing rock music, independent cinema and political philosophy. It's an interesting idea, I guess, but one which he signally fails to put across well, rambling down various blind alleys and quoting bits of the shows repeatedly and at length: it's like being collared by an enthusiastic drunk in the pub. Turner also likes Nirvana and Radiohead as well as 'The Simpsons' and seems to reason that as he likes them they must therefore all have something in common, and spends many pages tortuously trying to link lyrics from 'Kid A' to the activities of Professor Frink. Overall, the book reads like a (very long) Media Studies thesis written by someone who's not quite as smart as they think they are. It's interesting that the publishers didnt edit this down to something more readable, as there are some worthwhile ideas tucked away.
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on 18 August 2013
Definite recommendation to anyone who loved and indeed grew up on 'The Simpsons' ...One word of warning to any prospective reader, you need to have a good vocabulary to follow and keep up with the author. This of course will be a plus to many readers.
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on 5 February 2015
very enlightening.Helps give a better more informed experience especially when watching earlier series of the programme
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