The Simpsons (1989– )
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The Principal and the Pauper 

At his 20th anniversary celebration as school principal, Princess pal Skinner is discovered to be an imposter of the real Seymour Skinner.

Director:

(as Steve Moore)

Writers:

(created by), (developed by) | 6 more credits »
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Cast

Episode cast overview:
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Marge Simpson (voice)
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Lisa Simpson (voice)
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Edna Krabappel (voice)
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Agnes Skinner (voice)
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Miss Hoover (voice)
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Storyline

At his 20th anniversary celebration as school principal, Princess pal Skinner is discovered to be an imposter of the real Seymour Skinner.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Animation | Comedy

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

28 September 1997 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The major revelations of this episode - that Principal Skinner is in fact an impostor named Armin Tamzarian - were quite controversial to fans of the show. Due to Tamzarian being granted Seymour Skinner's "past, present and mother," and the real Skinner being literally sent out of town on a rail, these twists were only referenced twice more on the show, on The Simpsons: Behind the Laughter (2000), where this episode was used as an example of "increasingly gimmicky and nonsensical plots." As well as in (annoyed grunt)-bots season 15 ep 9, to shut Skinner down (by Lisa calling him "Tamzarian") when he began to complain about naming a new cat Snowball II. See more »

Goofs

Skinner/Tamzarian doesn't know who Ned Flanders is, despite the fact that Skinner/Tamzarian once conspired with Bart and Homer to get Flanders fired from being a principal. See more »

Quotes

Miss Hoover: [to Lisa, who doesn't mind working on a school project with Ralph Wiggum] It's your funeral.
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Connections

Featured in The Simpsons: Behind the Laughter (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Flipper Theme
(uncredited)
Music by Henry Vars
[Sung as "They Call Him Skinner"]
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User Reviews

 
Outrage fades with time, but humor is a constant
27 October 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This was a pretty contentious episode when it came out, much like Homer's Enemy. And that's exactly what it was supposed to be -- a conspiracy against the fans, a giant screw- you, "in canon," but with a big wipeout at the end so that nothing really changed. This was a bold move that was well executed, and yet somehow fell short of communicating itself to the bulk of the audience.

We've got a story where a minor character in the lives of Springfieldianites is revealed to have a history that's shockingly different than they had understood, though his personality remains unchanged. This leads to outrage and finally a complete rejection of the truth because it's too unsettling.

Hey -- if this episode makes you outraged and uncomfortable, you might be from Springfield!

You see -- it's all a commentary on how easy it is to love a lie. On how constancy is such a necessity in our lives that we'd rather embrace a familiar falsehood than accept the truth.

Maybe that's too meta for TV -- but who gives a spit, this episode is also funny as hell, well paced, well written and highly emotive. And tucked inside is a cogent exploration of complex relationships. It could be the smartest episode in the series' history.

Now let us never speak of it again -- under penalty of torture!


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