Planet Simpson

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


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. "Planet Simpson" (Product Description). Random House. Retrieved 2011-01-16.
  2. Moran, Jonathan (2004-11-11). "Planet Simpsons". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 2011-01-22.
  3. 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. 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". The Guardian (Book preview). London. Retrieved 2013-12-31.
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