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Mike Reiss: Springfield Confidential

While our new “golden age of television” has hopefully made us collectively better at looking beyond highly-paid actors and directors to recognize the behind-the-scenes folks who work tirelessly to make everything tick, TV writers remain largely anonymous — save for maybe those nominated in the four “Outstanding Writing” categories each year at the Emmy Awards. Raised in a Jewish family in Connecticut, four-time Emmy-winning Harvard grad Mike Reiss is in certain ways an exception to this rule. Having worked as a writer and producer on The Simpsons continuously since the first episode in 1989, Reiss had a “lifetime” of experiences to draw from when penning his critically acclaimed memoir Springfield Confidential. Beyond amusing “stories, scandals, and gossip” and interviews with the likes of Judd Apatow, Conan O’Brien, Al Jean, Nancy Cartwright and Dan Castellaneta, the book sheds light on such intriguing tidbits as “why Matt Groening decided to make all of the characters yellow … what it’s like to be crammed in a room full of funny writers 60 hours a week … and what Reiss learned after traveling to 71 countries where The Simpsons is watched.” Billed by publisher Harper Collins as a “personal highlights reel of his achievements, observations, and favorite stories,” Springfield Confidential comes to light this weekend through a presentation and book signing with Reiss hosted by the Barshop Jewish Community Center in observance of The Simpsons’ 30th anniversary.

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