From Michael Jackson to Paul McCartney, Johnny Cash to Barry White, it seems that no member of musical royalty (or any celebrity, for that matter) would or could ever turn down the chance to guest star in The Simpsons.
But in this, as in almost every other aspect of his long and illustrious career, Prince differed from his fellow chart-toppers, snubbing the show not once, but twice, owing to what he saw as sub-par scripts.
Now, in the wake of Prince’s untimely death, the Simpsons’ long-standing executive producer-come-overlord, Al Jean, has released never-before-seen excerpts from “The Prince Episode”.
The episode was originally slated as a follow-up to ‘Stark Raving Dad’ – which saw Michael Jackson voice the part of mental patient and prison inmate Leon Kompowsky – only this time with Prince playing the part of Kompowsky.
The only problem was, Prince was not amused. This led to a total start-over from writer Conan O’Brien, which would see Prince strike up a romance with Marge’s sister Selma. Only this rewrite, too, failed to impress Prince, possibly due to the fact that it poked fun at the Purple Rain star’s less successful forays into film.
The show’s creative team were clearly huge fans, sprinkling references to Prince and his music throughout 27 seasons of The Simpsons – including a ‘Treehouse of Horror’ and the brilliant ‘Radioactive Man’ episode in season 7 (pictured below) – but they never did manage to convince him to lend his vocal artistry to the beloved series.
Back then it probably just looked like Prince had unreasonably high standards, though in hindsight it might have been a sign o’ the times that The Simpsons had begun its slow, sad demise.