Last night, The Simpsons gave SFF readers and long-ago fans a reason to try and remember that The Simpsons is still on television — maybe still on Sundays, who knows — with an episode focused on young adult book mills featuring Neil Gaiman.
If you caught the episode, you may have been surprised by a few things:
- Gaiman is featured heavily throughout.
- It was really funny.
- No, seriously, it was consistently sharp and clever all throughout the episode.
The episode goes after young adult book mills, specifically inspired by this New Yorker article about Alloy Entertainment, by having Homer and Bart form a team to write and package a book series. (Neil Gaiman is there to get lunch... at first.) The commentary is fast-paced and accurate to the point of sadness. Dogs “writing” bestsellers, books being changed to involve vampires, getting distracted from writing by watching Friday Night Lights, and a closing line to the packaged book that actually makes you want to read it....
There are some great one-off lines, as well. Some of our favorites:
- Homer: “I just hope we remembered to put in enough steampunk. Whatever that is.”
- Neil Gaiman: “I’ve heisted my way to the bestseller list once again. And the most brilliant part is... I don’t even know how to read!”
- One of the parody book titles in the episode, proving that no book is safe, young adult, genre or no: Cloud Atlas 2: Cumulus Rising
Gaiman’s appearance, the melding of book publishing with Ocean’s Eleven, and the sharp jokes, delivered an episode of a quality that The Simpsons has struggled to re-obtain for, let’s see, 23 seasons... over a decade now? Gaiman + funny Simpsons is a rare animal indeed. Did any of you happen to catch it?
Chris Lough is the production manager of Tor.com and gets his ideas from every movie ever made.