The Simpsons (partially found scripts for unproduced episodes of animated series; 1990s)
The Simpsons is an animated sitcom on the FOX network that premiered on December 17, 1989, with some shorts being shown on The Tracey Ullman Show two years before that. The show has been critically acclaimed and has ran for over 30 seasons, with a 31st and 32nd just being announced at the time of writing.
The show has had a treasure trove of deleted scenes over its 30-year run, but there have also been many unfinished or unproduced episodes of the series.
The Prince Episode
After the success of the Michael Jackson episode "Stark Raving Dad" (which has now been pulled from broadcast), around production of the fifth season of the show, the writers planned and wrote a sequel to "Stark Raving Dad" which would feature the Leon Kompowsky character from the last episode thinking he is the musician Prince instead of Michael Jackson. He would try to get Springfield to "become more flamboyant, loosen up a little, become more sexually open".
The script for the episode was sent to Prince, but he sent back notes about what he was wearing in scenes. These notes did not correspond to the writers' script. Prince had been sent an entirely different script. This script's writer is disputed. Mike Reiss stated it was written by an unidentified person, Bill Oakley said it was written by a friend of Prince's, and series creator Matt Groening stated that it was written by Prince's chauffeur.
Prince lauded the script whose writer is disputed, and absolutely hated the script written by the Simpsons writers. Prince started to write original songs for the script, but the Simpsons writers refused to rewrite the script, and permanently alienated themselves from Prince, and the episode was cancelled.
A few days after Prince died in April 2016, current showrunner Al Jean shared a couple pages of the script that the writers wrote. This is the only scrapped episode with a finished script that has surfaced in some form on the internet.
Crossover with Thirtysomething
In Season 3, David Stern wrote an episode that was a crossover with the ABC drama television series Thirtysomething. In it, Homer Simpson would meet a group of yuppies (young adults with good jobs and nice lifestyles) and hangs out with them. The episode was scrapped due to the fact that the writers thought the episode never seemed to work and "wasn't in the style of the show". The script for this episode has never surfaced.
Bart Goes To Military School
In the earlier seasons of the show, a script was written where Bart would be sent to military school. However, this script, like the Thirtysomething crossover also never worked out and was scrapped. However, this script was turned into another episode, "The Secret War of Lisa Simpson" as a B-plot.
As mentioned above, parts of "The Prince Episode" have surfaced, partially. However, the scripts for the Thirtysomething crossover and the early military school episode have never surfaced as of yet. However, if Al Jean was willing to release a script with such a story as the Prince episode, then maybe the scripts for these two episodes can still surface in some form.
- Simpsons Wikia page on the show's unproduced episodes, which also includes episodes that never made it past the pitching board. Retrieved 08 Mar '19
- Variety article on the renewal of the show. Retrieved 08 Mar '19
- Article on the removal of "Stark Raving Dad" from rotation. Retrieved 08 Mar '19
- Audio commentary for "Stark Raving Dad", where Mike Reiss mentions the Prince episode. Retrieved 08 Mar '19
- An interview on the fan website Nohomers.net where Bill Oakley discusses the Prince episode, and also mentions a couple of scrapped episodes. Retrieved 08 Mar '19
- A brief interview with Matt Groening where he states that the script for the Prince episode was written by his chauffeur. Retrieved 08 Mar '19
- Al Jean's Twitter post showing a page of the script. Retrieved 08 Mar '19
- Another Twitter post with a page of the script. Retrieved 08 Mar '19