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Simpsons boss shares pages from never-made Prince episode

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Back in the early ’90s, there was going to be an epic joining of two colors: Purple and yellow.

Yes, The Simpsons wrote a script for a season 4 or 5 episode that featured Prince, though it never saw the light of day. According to DVD commentary, the episode involved the return of bricklayer-turned-psych-ward patient Leon Kompowsky, who believed that he was Michael Jackson in season 3’s “Stark Raving Dad.” (Kompowsky was voiced by a combination of Jackson, Hank Azaria, and Kipp Lennon.) 

In the Prince episode, Leon now believed that he was Prince. The Simpsons producers sent a draft of the script to Prince, who rejected it. He also sent along his own version of the script, which was apparently written by someone in Prince’s camp. The Simpsons producers reportedly rejected that script and ultimately opted not to make the episode.

In the wake of the death of Prince, who died Thursday at the age of 57, Simpsons showrunner Al Jean has tweeted out script pages from that episode. In one scene, Lisa is trying to order tickets to a Prince concert; in the other, Selma meets Prince, who is surprised to learn that she loved his movie Under the Cherry Moon, noting that even he didn’t see that one. (“Possibly another objection Prince had to the script,” noted Jean in his tweet.) In subsequent tweets, Jean confirmed former exec producer Mike Reiss’ assertion that the idea for the script came from executive producer James L. Brooks, and the first draft was written by freelance writers (which Jean has identified as Ian Deitchman and Kristin Rusk) and then staff writer-producer Conan O’Brien did rewrites on the script.

Jean also tweeted that in the draft of the script, Kompowsky believed he was Bobby Goldsboro, Roberta Flack, and Leo Sayer, in addition to Prince. And he noted when he re-read the script, “there is funny stuff but my guess is Prince didn’t want to play second fiddle to MJ, which I get.”

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You can check out a few scene snippets below:

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