The British royal family is a gold mine for fiction. From the solemn tribute of the series The Crown (here everything about his sixth season) to the hilarious portrait he makes of the royals the comedy The Windsor’sgoing through the drama of spencer, which keeps our obsession with Princess Diana alive: Queen Elizabeth II and her brood have always been good raw material for storytelling. However, the death of the monarch on September 8 has also reminded us of the red lines of the matter. There are aspects of the life of the Windsors that cannot be shown, represented or parodied. Not without consequences, at least.
With The Prince, the animated comedy with which HBO Max dared to make fun of the royal family from the childish point of view of Prince George, that red line turned dark black. And the consequences were not a small thing: the anger unleashed by a good part of the audience in the British Isles and an express cancellation by the platform, which must have thought, like Madonna in her meeting with Queen Elizabeth, that in everything regarding the royals it is better to be the one offended than the one who offends.
The idea for the series was born from a parody Instagram account run by Gary Janetti, a screenwriter for Family Guy that he laughed making the young Prince George react to current affairs — then, eldest son of the tireless firstborn of the queen and Kate Middleton; now, direct successor of King Carlos III—. When HBO Max gave the green light for this virtual joke to be adapted into an animated comedy, in early 2020, things did not look bad. The portfolio of the series was even fattened with some tall dubbing actors, such as Orlando Bloom, Sophie Turner or Alan Cumming. Everyone involved seemed to have sincere faith that the existence of The Prince it was a good idea. Of course, they were wrong.
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You just have to see the responses to the tweet from the official HBO Max account with which the trailer was released (above), also announcing the premiere of the twelve foul-mouthed episodes of the sitcom, that distributed Prince Charles and Camila Parker Bowles, William and Kate, Harry and Meghan and even the queen herself. “Inappropriate”, “disrespectful” and “disgusting” are some of the softer adjectives that fell to the post in the comments section. Some user to was wondering otherwise there would be no way for the British royal house to denounce those responsible. Nothing too out of the ordinary if we talk about a subject as delicate as the one that touches the series, on the other hand. The real problem is that the reviews were also bad: English and American media alike slammed the sitcom encouraged by Janetti for not knowing how to compensate for her impudence with real fun. She especially annoyed the acid portrayal of Prince George, then an 8-year-old boy, who appears in the series as scheming and lackadaisical.
To be fair, the series was born without the gift of opportunity. Its launch, originally scheduled for spring 2021, had to be postponed due to the death in April of the queen’s husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, who in the series was practically portrayed as a walking corpse. His death caused the chain, uncomfortable, to delay the premiere of The Prince Several months. Between that original sin and its subsequent bad press, the broadcast of the series by the writer and producer of the Family Guy, a sitcom that recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, was the chronicle of a death foretold. Finally, last February, HBO declared that it was canceling its comedy at the expense of the Windsor house, with no intention of finding a new home for it on another chain or platform. So much so that, in Spain, The Prince hasn’t even been seen. Despite being an original HBO Max production, the national version of the platform has not released the series on its grid, probably with the intention of forgetting its existence surreptitiously and as soon as possible. The production company that took care of it, 20th Television, is now owned by The Walt Disney Company, so, by some twist of fate, the series could even end up in the Disney+ catalog, but that option doesn’t seem plausible either. bollocks!