The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family is a book published in 1997 by HarperCollins. It was edited by Ray Richmond and Antonia Coffman; Matt Groening receives credit as the creator of The Simpsons, the television series upon which the book is based, and for an introduction to the book.
The book is an episode-by-episode history of the fictional story of The Simpsons as it appeared on television. As it was printed in 1997, only the first eight seasons that had aired by then are covered. The book is notable as a "definitive guide." According the Groening's forward, the book was nearly titled Encyclopedia Simpsonica.
The classic and bestselling official episode guide to The Simpsons in a special collector's edition, the perfect accompaniment to the first 8 seasons now released on DVD. The Simpsons has gone from overnight success to cultural phenomenon to television's longest-running comedy show. Featuring highlights from almost 200 episodes, plot synopses, quotes, character profiles, couch gags, guest stars and much more, The Complete Guide supplies eight years of painstaking detail, including a guide to the original and little-seen short episodes from the Tracey Ullman Show. The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favourite Family is a meticulously researched, colorfully rendered, exhaustively indexed and lovingly fashioned episode guide providing memorable moments and little-known facts that will make you an authority on the The Simpsons. Even repeated viewings on DVD will not give you the facts and figures revealed in this bestselling book, which reveals the in-jokes, the background details and all manner of trivia craved by any self-respecting Simpsons fan, young or old.
On pages 10-11 are short biographies of each of the five immediate members of the Simpson family, namely Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie. Short biographies of other Simpsons characters are also available as sidebars to each episode's page, starting with Santa's Little Helper for "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" and ending with Willem Dafoe's Commandant from "The Secret War of Lisa Simpson." Each full-length episode receives one-page coverage, or two-page coverage, featuring a synopsis, credits, pictures, and memorable quotes, as well as the episode's blackboard joke. Obscure or hidden jokes are also brought to attention.
The episodes are arranged in chronological order, and at the beginning of each season are two-page special features, such as a list and brief description of the Simpsons shorts, a list of times Homer has cried "D'oh!", and a list of Itchy and Scratchy's cartoons.
Printed in 1997, the book only covers the seasons which had been aired by that time (the first eight). Thus, it is followed by two sequels, The Simpsons Forever!, covering seasons 9 and 10, and The Simpsons Beyond Forever!, covering seasons 11 and 12. These three volumes have in turn been collected and re-published as The Ultimate Simpsons in a Big Ol' Box. This was followed by a third sequel, The Simpsons One Step Beyond Forever!, covering seasons 13 and 14.
References on the show
As an in-joke, the Guide made an actual appearance in the 2003 episode "Today, I Am a Clown", where Lisa uses it to remind Homer that Santa's Little Helper was supposedly neutered in a previous episode, and apparently breaks the fourth wall. However, the episode proves her information false.
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