The Book Job
| The Book Job
| Episode Information
"After Lisa finds out that author T. R. Francis is a fake, she decides to write her own book, also giving the idea to Homer who then creates a writing group in order to become rich. However, when they grow attached to the book and have it changed by TweenLit Inc. they decide to throw away their money and steal the book back."
At the Duff Center Arena, the family are watching a show, Sitting with Dinosaurs. Many kids get scared of the show and run away. After the show, the family then heads to Souvenirus Rex and want to buy toys. One of the many dinosaur mascots has the head fall off, revealing herself to Lisa and Lisa recognizes her. She and Homer chase this dinosaur down and catch up with her.
Lisa then recognizes her as T. R. Francis, author of the Angelica Button series of books. However, the woman says that she isn't really Francis, just an actress who plays her and goes on to explain that the Angelica Button books were written by a lot of authors who only cared about money. A now disheartened Lisa goes home and wants her Angelica Button books destroyed. She then explains to Homer how they are written and that gives Homer an idea.
Homer then heads to Noiseland Arcade, where Bart is playing Fruit Shoot. Homer explains what he wants to do and Bart says that he's in. They then go to see Seymour Skinner, Patty Bouvier and Lenny Leonard. Lenny says that he can't do it as he's bonding with a monkey so Moe Szyslak joins instead. They then decide that they need a computer guy so hire Jonathan Frink as well. Meanwhile, Lisa also decides that she will write a book.
The book writing group heads to Bookaccino's where they meet Neil Gaiman while thinking of ideas. They allow Gaiman to join their group as he's a famous fantasy author. They then come up with an idea for a book, about an orphan troll who goes to a magical school and go to write it. Meanwhile, Lisa is still struggling to write a book.
The group eventually write the book and design the cover, calling it The Troll Twins of Underbridge Academy. They take their book to Springfield Book Fair and show it to a publisher of TweenLit Inc. He likes the idea and accepts it, as long as they get a fake author. Lisa, who also came to the fair, accepted this as she was desperate.
When the group gets an advanced copy of the book, they find that it's been changed to The Vampire Twins of Translyvania Prep. Outraged at this, they plan on stealing their book back. They head to TweenLit Inc. World Headquarters and they successfully make it to the printing floor. When they get here, the publisher comes out with guards saying he was tipped off to their plan. Moe immediately blames Gaiman but then Lisa comes out saying it was her as she was disgusted at what she had agreed to. She then inserts the flash drive and hits print, printing the book.
Back at Bookaccino's, the group realize that the Troll Twins book got published instead. Lisa then reveals that she swapped the flash drives around and says that she is glad that she is credited as the author. She then checks the author's panel to find Gaiman there instead, there was a third flash drive which he planted. Meanwhile, Gaiman is lying on Shelbyville Beach, enjoying himself. Moe then comes along, pleased with their partnership. He gets a drink with Gaiman, which Gaiman doesn't drink because he doesn't "like the taste... of poison".
Matt Selman, a writer and executive producer on the show, originally conceived the idea for the episode after reading an interesting article on book publishing and how many companies make use of ghostwriters. Selman said on his inspiration for the episode; "was all about how these executives take market research and come up with the ideas for these books and farms them out and slaps the name of fake writers on them and fabricates backgrounds for these authors who don’t exist. We took that trend and kind of blew it up and shoved it in the face of Lisa". Despite Selman being a regular writer on the show, he eventually decided against writing the episode - Futurama writer Dan Vebber was chosen and did so instead. Vebber had assistance off the Simpsons staff writers during the writing process.
Popular fantasy author Neil Gaiman guest stars in the episode as himself. He recorded his lines for his scenes in January under Matt Selman's guidance. Gaiman posted photos on TwitPic of his work in an episode of The Simpsons. One of his photos reveals the cover of the script and the name of the episode as being "The Book Job".
"The Book Job" was watched by an approx 5.77 million people during it's initial broadcast on the Fox network. The show subsequently became the highest-rated program in the weekly Animation Domination lineup. The episode had higher ratings than both Allen Gregory and American Dad!, but received a lesser viewership compared to main competitor, Family Guy. Since airing, "The Book Job" has received substantial praise from both critics and fans.