The Simpsons almost had a Prince-themed episode, but the story was rejected by the late singer more than 20 years ago. According to TV Guide, the Simpsons episode about Prince had been planned for the animated sitcom’s fifth season as a sequel to the famous Season 3 “Stark Raving Dad” episode, which featured Michael Jackson as the voice of Leon Kompowsky.
In the sequel Simpsons episode, which would have aired in Season 5, Leon was to have taken on the personality of the “Purple Rain” singer, but Prince ultimately objected to the original script. While then-Simpsons writer Conan O’Brien drafted a rewrite, the Prince-centered episode was eventually shelved because the singer didn’t like the rewritten version either.
In memory of the late music legend, Simpsons creator Al Jean posted pages from the rejected 1993 script of The Simpsons. In a series of tweets, the Simpsons creator pointed out sections of the script that Prince may have objected to, including a segment where the singer is flirting with Marge Simpson’s chain-smoking sister Selma after she gushes that she loves his album Under the Cherry Moon. Other pages of the Simpsons episode posted by Jean include a scene with Lisa Simpson calling into a radio contest to try to win tickets to a Prince concert.
Diehard Simpsons fans know all about this episode that never came to be because it was referenced in the DVD commentary for the “Stark Raving Dad” episode. The singer allegedly hated the Simpsons script centered on him because he felt it was too similar to the Michael Jackson episode, and he even offered to pay for a rewrite.
In addition, in a Q&A session with the website No Homers, longtime Simpsons writer Bill Oakley revealed that a friend of the music legend actually tried to submit a new script for the episode, but the two camps could never come to an agreement on it.
“An entire [Simpsons] episode was written to showcase an appearance by Prince,” Oakley revealed. “But it turned out Prince was on a completely different wavelength (imagine!) and actually had a friend of his write a script for the episode instead. No reconciliation was ever reached and the episode never happened.”
In 2012, the website Funny or Die posted a series of tweets from Oakley in honor of the 500th episode of The Simpsons. Oakley listed 10 Simpsons pitches that never came to fruition. In addition to “Prince Comes To Springfield” by Conan O’Brien (which was the first on the list), other doomed Simpsons story ideas included a Thirtysomething-themed episode.
Although the original Simpsons episode featuring Prince didn’t pan out, the music icon did turn up on the “Treehouse of Horror XIX” Halloween episode. In that episode, Prince was a victim of Homer Simpson’s celebrity killing spree in which the Simpsons patriarch stabbed him to death with his guitar in a montage featuring the Talking Heads song “Psycho Killer.” (George Clooney and Neil Armstrong were also victims of Homer’s murderous rampage.) The singer and his music have also been referenced in several other episodes of The Simpsons over the past 25 years, but Prince was never a voice guest on the long-running Fox series.
Prince passed away suddenly at age 57 last week, and tributes have been posted about him all over the internet. But seeing these long-lost pages from The Simpsons script that he rejected so many years ago is definitely one of the most interesting ways to remember the late music legend.
Take a look at the video below for more on the unproduced Prince-themed episode of The Simpsons.
[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]