Stream It or Leave It? The Prince
Join us across the pond for an animated adventure that pulls no royal punches. Sorry mates, we’re talking about The Prince, from its humble beginnings as an Instagram parody to 12-part mini-episodes on HBOMax.
So grab your afternoon tea and scones with clotted cream for bits from Mat, our resident Brit, ex-Londoner Shindy, and Jeff:
First Impressions: “It’s the Family Guy where everyone is Stewie.” (02:27)
Mat: When you proposed this my first impression was, ‘uh, hell no.’ And then once I played it for the first time, it was just awful.
It was just lazy, tired, and mean, I mean, HBOMax initially delayed the release because of Prince Philip's death and then they dropped it very quietly, I guess, because they watch the show and they just realize that it wasn't going to go anywhere. It's like a family guy scared, stretched out or.
Every character has one joke and somehow 40 minutes become repetitive.
Shindy: I've followed Gary Janetti on Instagram from probably two years ago, even before Meghan (Markle) was introduced to the Royal Family.
But obviously after she joined the Royal Family was when his Instagram took on an alter ego. Through the years, as Meghan became more popular, he made Prince George seem like this, bitchy, crass, sardonic member of the Royal family who has this humorous insider insight on being a member.
I was already used to that from scrolling through Gary's Instagram, but it added a different context to it in a completely different medium.
Spoiler Alert (06:54)
The all British big-name cast (07:23)
Mat: I just don't know how they managed to convince big names to take these parts. I guess the Instagram thing was funny and I guess they didn't read the script and I guess they were bored during Covid and were sat at home and, you know, taping an animation is something more Covid-friendly maybe.
I can't get my head around Orlando bloom, Sophie Turner, Alan Cummings — how did they not have something better to do! But I guess Covid is the easy answer to that.
Shindy: I’m thinking maybe when they were asked, they jumped eagerly into this project because of the success of the Instagram feed, and the writing's going to be funny.
Instagram feed vs. HBOMax (12:43)
Shindy: I think people who follow Gary’s feed would agree that he's much harsher in his treatment of Meghan on Instagram than he is in the show. I wonder if he was getting pressure from like Hollywood elitists or something to soften it because now Meghan's out in L.A. And then Prince Charles is spineless and entitled and Camilla is horse-like.
Mat: There was “Shit My Dad Says,” which was a sit-com based on a funny Twitter account, but wasn’t enough to make a sit-com. But Zola was based on an insane Twitter thread and that was a good movie that was done with style and panache and it had a message.
Funny or tasteless? Is there a line and did this cross it? Is the outrage unwarranted? (16:56)
Mat: I generally agree with Ricky Gervais, that anything is fair game, as long as it's funny.
Even before Prince Philip passed, it was clear he was going to pass away soon. So, you know, stay away from that. And then it's still there and they go full out at him. It's definitely tasteless, but what really makes it offensive is the fact that it's lazy.
If you're going to be this close to the line, then you better be funny. Satire can be the most sophisticated form of humor when it's used to reveal a truth, but these characters are so one dimensional. So it is offensive in that sense.
Jeff: I think if you claim any sort of title, and it doesn't matter what it is, whether it's royalty or, you know, best-selling this or famous that, then you're going to be called upon in some way to defend it. And oftentimes it comes with some sort of lampooning, right? So I get the cringe comedy aspect of this, but it really did feel over the top mean.
Is this invasion of a child’s privacy? And Hollywood hypocrisy at its best? (20:23)
Mat: It was interesting to see Orlando Bloom and Sophie Turner accused of hypocrisy because they've asked for privacy for their own children.
And then they come on to this incredibly mean-spirited show, which is based around a small child. But Hollywood actors are sanctimonious, so there's nothing new there.
Shindy: Sophie Turner voicing Charlotte's character wasn't evil. She was almost this conniving, plotting spy. Orlando Bloom was playing Harry as this, baby out of the womb to everyday reality and how real people live.
You know, you read about all the outrage and nowadays you say something and then on Twitter, within minutes, there's usually some form of outrage — it's expected. So at first you're like, ‘wow, why is everybody so prude?’
Maybe it's people's problems with having children being flamboyant or different, or maybe it's just everybody's uptight, you know? But on the other hand, you have comedians who are being canceled, left and right for the things that they're saying. And why should they be afraid of saying things if that's the only way that they can truly express their version of the truth?
Jeff: Somebody had some courage to take a shot at the Royal Family. But at the same time, it's almost surrealism. It's not, none of it's real, right. There's still value in making everybody sit down and go, ‘Hmm.’ Like we're talking about it right now, so you know, it brings up these things — even when it's bad, it still brings out this conversation.
Fave episodes and subplots, upstairs and downstairs (29:27)
Mat: I thought the Harry, Meghan storyline kind of went somewhere.
Shindy: There were a few tiny gems interspersed throughout, but maybe not worth 12 episodes. My favorite was the one dedicated to Owen, Prince George's Butler.
Stream It or Leave It? (34:45)
Mat: Leave it. Watch Zola!
Jeff: Leave it.
Shindy: Go back and just read Gary Janetti’s Instagram feed for the past two years. Leave it.
Bonus: What else we’re watching
Jeff: Stray, a documentary on HULU (38:11)
Errors and amplications: Shindy refers to Ricky Gervais hosting the Emmy’s (18:03). It was the Golden Globes.