Remember That Time Conan O’Brien Helped Write a Simpsons Episode About Prince That Never Got Made?


"The Prince episode" (unofficial title) of The Simpsons has become one of the most discussed and analyzed unproduced episodes of television. In the wake of Prince’s far-too-early death at 57, Al Jean, one of the original writers of the show and co-showrunner during seasons three and four, posted screengrabs showing pages of the unproduced screenplay from his phone (charge your phone, Al!). The pages include Lisa winning tickets to a Prince contest while a spider slowly descends towards her, and another scene in which Selma tells Prince she loves Under the Cherry Moon, to Prince’s astonishment. There’s some debate as to who wrote the script — writer Mike Reiss said it was a hodgepodge of freelance writers with some rewrites by Conan O’Brien, while co-showrunner Bill Oakley said it was O’Brien exclusively. Intended as a sequel to season three’s “Stark Raving Dad,” in which Leon Kompowksy believes he’s Michael Jackson, “The Prince Episode” would have aired during season five, one of the show’s very best seasons (and in which O’Brien’s classic episodes “Marge vs. the Monorail” and “Homer Goes to College” appear). Kompowsky would have had another identity crisis, this time believing he was, of course, Prince, as was revealed on the DVD commentary track for “Stark Raving Dad.” Kompowsky was originally voiced by Jackson and Hank Azaria, with singing provided by Kipp Lennon. Prince allegedly objected to the screenplay, asking to have it rewritten, at which point the story gets hazy. Ultimately, the script was never produced, though the Purple One appeared in animated cameos in later seasons, including "Treehouse of Horror XIX," in which Homer becomes a killer of celebrities and stabs the musician to death with his guitar.