That, in the end, is the true betrayal of “The Principal And The Pauper.” It’s not that it’s a terrible episode of The Simpsons, or that it forces you to have this element of the character in your mind every time another Principal Skinner storyline comes up. ... Yeah it sucked when TV Guide bought the Jump The Shark site, gutted the content and, well, killed it. [16], In July 2007, in an article in The Guardian, Ian Jones argues that the "show became stupid" in 1997, pointing to "The Principal and the Pauper" as the bellwether. "The Principal and the Pauper" is the second episode of The Simpsons' ninth season. While I considered the episode not so good I took it and it's ending in humor and thought nothing serious about it. Harry Shearer has over the years used such terms as “arbitrary,” “disrespectful,” and “a horrible … Look at the tremendous “Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadassss Song” from season five, or the wonderfully touching “Grade School Confidential” only a few episodes before this one. Harry Shearer has over the years used such terms as “arbitrary,” “disrespectful,” and “a horrible mistake.” It inspired our Inventory on subplots shows threw out the window and cracked our TV Club 10 on the show, described as the one episode that “wounded the faithful first and hurt the most.”, Revisiting the episode all these years later is an interesting experience. [13] The episode was the second highest rated show on the Fox network that week, following King of the Hill. Relevance. Despite being a terrible episode for the real Skinner in the universe of The Simpsons, this is ironically also an episode that has many great Skinner moments. The decline of The Simpsons is a source of great pain to me. [15][16] Skinner had been a recurring character since the first season and, after years of development, his backstory had suddenly been changed. That wrongness is tied inextricably to the episode’s central conceit: that milquetoast educator and mama’s boy Seymour Skinner is in fact the Don Draper/Dick Whitman of Springfield, a man who stole his commanding officer’s identity and has been living a lie for 26 years. Keeler feared he would face legal troubles, but afterwards, Tamzarian explained that he was simply curious and did not intend to scare anyone. I think The Principal And The Pauper was definitely one of their worst. Commentary for "The Principal and the Pauper", in, Oakley, Bill. Next time: As we prepare you for a review of “Lisa’s Sax,” Kyle Ryan would like to pass along the words of advice his father gave him: “You’re as dumb as a mule and twice as ugly. It also suffers from the fact that Sgt. Simpsons creator Matt Groening claims that only one episode in the history of the long-running show truly jumped the shark: "The Principal And The Pauper," in which it is revealed that Principal Skinner is an impostor. This page was last edited on 13 January 2021, at 19:22. Upon meeting him, however, Agnes mistook him for her son, and Armin could not bear to deliver the message. (2006). TL:DR it's not as bad as people think, but it is an example of why The Simpsons should've … A lot of people point towards The Simpsons episode 'The Principal and the Pauper' as a 'jump the shark' moment. Exposed at his 20th anniversary party by the real Sgt. The commentary track on this episode is worth listening to for the degree of frustration that runs through Keeler’s voice. [18], In a February 2006 article in The Star-Ledger, Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz cite the episode when asserting that the quality of The Simpsons "gets much spottier" in season nine. [14] The Fox network's ratings average for the week was 6.4. The only thing that’s wrong with him is that he’s not the Skinner Springfield and the audience have grown to love over eight seasons, which on balance isn’t enough. Season 18 is where I stopped watching Simpsons regularly, and is where I place the moment where The Simpsons jumped the shark. 1 Answer. … On the commentary track, writer Ken Keeler and showrunners Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein argue that they are able to tell this story because of Skinner’s tertiary nature to the show, but that belief represents a willing disregard for history. : A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family ...Continued, "Governor Jerry Brown Taps Armenian Bar Member Armen Tamzarian As Judge Of The California Superior Court", Leaving Springfield: The Simpsons and the Possibility of Oppositional Culture, "Ten Times The Simpsons Jumped the Shark", "The 20 Best Simpsons Movie-Star Guest Spots", Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Documented an Era and Defined a Generation, "The Principal and the Pauper episode capsule", A Modern Twain Story: The Prince and the Pauper, Cultural depictions of Edward VI of England, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Principal_and_the_Pauper&oldid=1000135395, Television episodes written by Ken Keeler, Television episodes about prisoners of war, Short description is different from Wikidata, Television episode articles with short description for single episodes, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Season 9 was the last good season. On the eve of his twentieth anniversary as school principal, Seymour Skinner is lured by his mother to Springfield Elementary School for a surprise party. I could go on a VERY long rant about ruining one the supporting casts best characters but if you're a Simpsons fan you know already. 1 min ago. They add that "Martin Sheen steals the show ... in a brief but important slice of Simpsons history. In response, the townspeople banish the real Skinner from town by tying him to a chair on a flatcar of a freight train (literally running him out of town on a rail). Apparently outside the storage facility after dark is the place for fourth graders to hang out. Take ... Much more controversial is the subsequent episode The Principal and the Pauper, in which Principal … [8.8/10] People get hung up on the ending of this one and the fact that it retcons Principal Skinner’s past. You're taking something that an audience has built eight years or nine years of investment in and just tossed it in the trash can for no good reason, for a story we've done before with other characters. The celebration goes well until a strange man arrives, claiming to be the real Seymour Skinner. The Principal and the Pauper is a good Simpsons episode but it is one of the most shocking episodes of the series. The fact is, The Simpsons jumped the shark a decade ago. "[3] Total Film's Nathan Ditum named Martin Sheen's performance in the episode the 20th best guest appearance on The Simpsons. Seymour Skinner. When the episode aired, lo and behold, a community of people who like things just the way they are got mad. The Fox network's ratings average for the week was 6.4. Skinner out of town on a literal rail. How the ropey final few seasons watered down a … Her rejection of her real and fake sons displays some great willful ignorance (“I have one stranger and one fraud!”), and her admission that “there was a weenie you could be proud to call your son” is the one time she feels like an affectionate mother. “I can’t remember who came up with the idea of destroying the series,” he half-jokes at the start, but his sense of irony is short-lived the deeper he gets into his arguments. If a strange man offers you a ride, I say take it!” Lousy traumatic childhood. Close. The episode is one of the most controversial of The Simpsons. The reactions are never outraged or indignant enough to feel like that’s what the episode is about—indeed, when Marge addresses the topic directly, her argument on why this makes her uncomfortable is entirely valid. It's pretty well established that The Simpsons just hasn't been the same since the late 1990s, but when do people think it jumped the shark? Keeve. Years before that, however, they got it right. Keeler said he later received a "curtly phrased" letter from Tamzarian, who wanted to know why his name appeared in the episode. This is a wild … It’s a toss-up for best line between his delivery of “Up yours, children” and the literal way he reads a strip club advertisement. Judge Snyder declares that Armin will again be referred to as Seymour Skinner, that he will return to his job as school principal, and that no one shall ever again refer to Skinner or the fallout from his visit, under penalty of torture. Keeler also attempts to redirect audience distaste in the commentary track by arguing that this was intended to be satirical, a take on “a community of people who like things just the way they are.” Yet that argument doesn’t hold up either. The real Skinner is unhappy about this and refuses to give up his job and his dignity just because the people of Springfield prefer Armin to him. Something they then did in the Principal and the Pauper and pretty much every episode in Season Twelve when it really turned crap. It guest-starred Martin Sheen as the real Seymour Skinner. A lot of people point towards The Simpsons episode 'The Principal and the Pauper' as a 'jump the shark' moment. They resorted to ever more outlandish episodes. They surmise that the negative reception was partly due to the fact that it was not immediately apparent to viewers that this was such an episode (as opposed to, for example, "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase"). The Principal and the Pauper “I'm... (sighs) I'm... an impostor. In other cases, critics dispute the exact shark jumping moment. Matt Groening, in the ninth season DVD introduction, calls it out as one of his least favorite episodes. In an April 2001 interview, Harry Shearer, the voice of Principal Skinner, recalled that after reading the script, he told the writers, "That's so wrong. [6] However, Keeler has said he was inspired by the Tichborne Case of nineteenth-century England. While the existence of Tamzarian can never be revealed in the show under penalty of torture. Skinner isn’t the unlikeable character that Poochie was or that Frank Grimes became—a key detail that allowed both of those earlier jokes on the audience to work. Principal W. Seymour Skinner (born Armin Tamzarian) is a recurring fictional character in the animated sitcom The Simpsons, who is voiced by Harry Shearer.He is the principal of Springfield Elementary School, which he struggles to control, and is constantly engaged in a battle against its inadequate resources, apathetic and bitter teachers, and often rowdy and unenthusiastic … When people say stuff like "The Principal and the Pauper" is when they jumped the shark, I think it's more that's when the slow decline began, but it didn't get immediately ---- after that. But (a.) Later, Seymour was declared missing and presumed dead. He calls the episode "[one of] the weakest episodes in Simpsons history", and adds, "A blatant, continuity-scrambling plot twist of this sort might've been forgivable if the result had been as funny or sharply satirical as the classics of the Golden Age, but alas it's emphatically not." The Simpsons are dressed as astronauts and sit on the couch just as it blasts off into space. The episode has been criticized by series creator Matt Groening, and by Harry Shearer, who provides the voice of Principal Skinner. [32], Later episodes of The Simpsons contain references to "The Principal and the Pauper". [33] In the season fifteen episode "I, (Annoyed Grunt)-Bot", Lisa addresses Principal Skinner as "Principal Tamzarian" when Skinner chides her for naming her new cat Snowball II, after a cat that had died earlier in the episode. A clip from the episode was used in season eleven's "Behind the Laughter" as an example of the show's increasingly "gimmicky and nonsensical plots". The episode was the second highest rated show on the Fox network that week, following King of the Hill. u/candidateHundred. [4][5] According to animation director Steve Moore, one of the working titles for the episode was "Skinnersby". The fact is, The Simpsons jumped the shark a decade ago. "[23], In a December 2006 interview, Shearer added, "Now, [the writers] refuse to talk about it. Anonymous. We made him just not quite right, not quite Skinner, and a little bit off. "The Principal and the Pauper" was written by Ken Keeler and directed by Steven Dean Moore. [25] He also called the episode "a mistake" in an interview with Rolling Stone. There are some sturdy jokes (which we’ll get to later) peppered throughout, but there’s a sense of underlying wrongness to the whole endeavor. Interesting trivia: Skinner has no idea who Ned Flanders is despite the fact that Flanders once took his job and is head of the PTA. [22], Other figures associated with The Simpsons have publicly criticized the episode. He was sent sailing straight over the shark.The shark smelled blood.The shark started to circle.We spotted a fin.But the damage had been done.The shark had moved on to its next victim.If hearing those phrases repeatedly does not bother you, then you will enjoy the abridged audiobook version of Jump the Shark, written and read by John Hein. [17], In his 2004 book Planet Simpson, Chris Turner describes "The Principal and the Pauper" as the "broadcast that marked [the] abrupt plunge" from The Simpsons' "Golden Age", which he says began in the middle of the show's third season. From music legends to sports heroes, from TV shows to politics, Jump the Shark catalogs those priceless moments when the magic vanishes and the mighty become the fallen! It aired in the United States on September 28th, 1997 with Martin Sheen guest starring as Sgt. Commentary for "The Principal and the Pauper", in, Groening, Matt. A lot of people say The Principal And The Pauper, which came out in 1997, marked the downfall, the episode where Skinner is revealed to have been adopted and the real Seymour Skinner is an Army Sergeant, and I sort of agree … Many fans and critics reacted extremely negatively to the revelation that Principal Skinner, a recurring character since the first season who had undergone much character development, was an impostor. Voiced with aplomb by Martin Sheen, who was cast based on the producers’ affection for his work as a Vietnam veteran in Apocalypse Now, Sgt. Discouraging as other things might be, The Simpsons is still close enough to its prime that it can generate instantly quotable lines. Actually, I’d rather call the original Skinner “protective” of his school and of the children in it. "[8] Bill Oakley said the idea behind the character was that he "just lacked pizzazz". I still think Principal and the Pauper is a good, and interesting episode, but like Seinfeld's Season 9, this is the prime example of why The Simpsons should have ended at Season 9, since, I believe they reached the limits of character development from people like Skinner. This is made an overt part of the text, thanks to a decree from Judge Snyder that Skinner is the one true Skinner, and Agnes immediately shutting down Skinner’s closing promise to loosen up a bit. Although it aired during the show's ninth season, it was a holdover from season eight.[3]. I think The Principal And The Pauper was definitely one of their worst. 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