Bleats

The Simpsons Still Owe Ned Flanders Proper Closure For Maude's Death

20 years on and we're still not okilly-dokilly about this.

You’d think that The Simpsons‘ version God would be quite nice to Ned Flanders after all his decades of faithful devotion, yet the five-fingered bearded one still saw fit to kill both of Ned’s wives, Maude and Edna Krabappel.

It’s now been 20 years since Maude was sent to the pearly gates and her death is still felt among the Simpsons faithful (well, me anyway at least), mainly because neither we or Ned Flanders got some proper closure.

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Unlike Edna, who was gracefully written out of The Simpsons due to Marcia Wallace (the character’s voice actor) died, Maude’s unceremonious death via an ill-timed blow to the face by a T-shirt shot out of a cannon came about due to a pay dispute between the character’s voice actor, Maggie Roswell, and Fox.

As a result of this dispute – which was later resolved and saw Maggie return to The Simpsons – the writers decided to kill off Maude as a way to force Ned Flanders to “face a challenge and grow in a new direction” – as well as a cheap and surefire way to boost ratings.

Now there’s nothing wrong with killing off a major character, especially for a show that’s gone on as long as The Simpsons, provided that the death is handled well. Unfortunately for Ned and us, Maude’s death and its consequences were given almost no attention.

We don’t expect a Ned Flanders go through every single stage of grief on an episode of The Simpsons, but surely the show could’ve done more to give us and Ned some better closure for Maude than a quick funeral and a grieving period lasting about 30 seconds.

After Maude quickly gets pushed aside for a rushed “Ned gets back into dating” storyline thanks to Homer’s intervention, a THIRD storyline about Ned losing his faith is tacked on top of everything. Sure there were a few cheap laughs, but you have to wonder why the Simpsons writers squeezed in three episodes worth of story into one 20-ish minute episode.

While Maude wasn’t exactly the most popular character (though far from the most unpopular), it’s an absolute shame The Simpsons didn’t dive deeper into the aftermath of her death. She and Ned had been married for years and the way she was so quickly forgotten leaves a bit of an uneasy feeling.

It would’ve been a really interesting creative direction to have an entire Simpsons episode dedicated to Ned and his sons properly working through what happened and another episode exploring Ned’s latest crisis of faith.

Maude deserved a better exit than a death by T-shirt cannon, and Ned Flanders certainly deserved proper closure for such a traumatic event that didn’t involve getting roped into one of Homer’s ideas.

Always be in the loop with our snackable podcast breaking the biggest story of the day. Subscribe to It’s Been A Big Day For… on your favourite podcast app.

This Guy Won NME's 'Hero Of The Year' And Assaulted A Woman In One Go

Katherine Ryan should've been given Hero Of The Year for putting this drunk misogynist in his place.

Rapper Slowthai is a s**t-stirring grub who likes to spit in the mouths of fans, that much we do know. Yet people seem to like his controversial antics and music either way, so much so they voted him as Hero Of The Year at the NME Awards.

Well based on his conduct towards comedian Katherine Ryan and his behaviour to the audience, it seems like fans may already be regretting their decision to vote for the rapper.

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The entire mess began when Slowthai came face to face with Katherine Ryan, who was hosting the NME Awards. What initially started as an awkward interaction quickly descended into sexual harassment as he proceeded to make a number of disgusting and misogynistic slurs, such as calling her “baby girl,” urging her to smell his cologne and telling the audience “She wants me to tend to her flowers.”

It is clear that Slowthai was drunk based on his slurring, but that does not excuse any of the stuff he said and did to Katherine.

A massive kudos for Katherine Ryan though as she not only handled all that harassment like a champ, she turned the table back on Slowthai by mercilessly mocking him and restored some semblance of sanity back to the NME Awards.

That horrendous exchange was followed by an equally cooked incident when Slowthai was getting presented NME’s fan-voted Hero Of The Year award.

During his acceptance speech, an audience member started calling him out for being a misogynistic arsehole towards Katherine Ryan. Being the s**t-stirring grub he is, Slowthai responded by throwing a drink into the crowd and trying to pick a fight with the person who called him out. It was after all this that security thought maybe it was time to kick the rapper out.

Slowthai, your 2020 NME Hero Of The Year, folks.

In one fell swoop, Slowthai has not only torpedoed his career with his drunken antics, he has revealed himself not to be a misogynist rather than the edgy, anti-establishment rapper he’s tried so hard to promote.

The NME Awards aren’t off the hook here either because it was clear to everyone present what Slowthai was doing to Katherine, and yet no one working the event stepped in to intervene? Come on, NME Awards, you can do far better than that.

Is it too late to strip Slowthai of his Hero Of The Year NME award (while putting him in the canceled corner) and giving it to Katherine Ryan? She was the true hero of the event and deserves far more than putting up with a drunk misogynist.

Always be in the loop with our snackable podcast breaking the biggest story of the day. Subscribe to It’s Been A Big Day For… on your favourite podcast app.

It's Been A Year Since The Epic Game Of Thrones Hype, So Where Did It All Go?

From the top of the TV world to not even a peep.

This time a year ago, the world was getting hyped for the final season of Game Of Thrones and the anticipation was off the charts. After seven years of building up storylines, long-awaited resolutions to outstanding plot points and unparalleled cultural influence, everyone was hoping that it would end gracefully.

And then it all landed with an almighty thud.

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The backlash to the final Game Of Thrones season was so swift that any hype and goodwill built up over the years was quickly overwhelmed with disappointment.

Whereas people were downright force-recommending people to watch Game Of Thrones, folks these days are vehemently telling people to avoid it or are indifferent to the show at best. Hell, even the cast, who were the hottest people in Hollywood, have suddenly been regulated to yesterday’s news.

By comparison, people still talk about Breaking Bad years after it ended and yet there’s virtually no peep about Thrones, except maybe to diss it and/or tell people to stay away.

All this begs the question: did Game Of Thronesending ruin whatever longevity it might’ve had? After having such a strong stranglehold on pop-culture, how did its cultural influence dissolve the moment it ended?

For all the faults the last couple of seasons of Game Of Thrones had – and boy were there many – the preceding six seasons were great, if not some of the best TV ever produced in recent memory. You’d think that the greatness of the show’s first 60 episodes would offset whatever lapses in logic in the final 13 episodes, but it appears not.

There’s no denying that some of the blame can be put on the showrunners for squeezing in about 25 episodes worth of plot and character development into the final 13 episodes, but surely that’s not enough for Game Of Thrones to go from pop-culture golden child to red-headed step cousin virtually overnight. Slightly neglected middle child certainly, but family pariah seems a bit extreme.

Perhaps it was a combination of the aforementioned rushed ending and the unrealistic expectations everyone had. We all propped Game Of Thrones up as the pinnacle of TV and thus, the ending simply had to be good, especially when we’ve invested some seven years into the journey.

There was no way the showrunners could meet the hype, but the fact that they didn’t manage to even remotely pay off seven years of build up was perhaps too much for fans to handle, even today.

It’s just fascinating to see how a TV show that’s been touted as one of the greatest ever go from endlessly rewatchable to being shunned. There hasn’t been a heel turn from a fandom quite like this, which is fitting for a show like Game Of Thrones since that itself is a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon that’ll likely never be replicated.

There’s no doubt that the short term cultural influence of Game Of Thrones has more or less dissolved in the wake of its final season. As for its long-term influence, well perhaps a little early to make a judgment on the lasting legacy of Game Of Thrones. Anger and disappointment fades over time and the show’s final season may be retrospectively looked as an underrated ending with flaws that were blown out of proportion.

Or maybe not. Ask us again in 10 years.

Always be in the loop with our snackable podcast breaking the biggest story of the day. Subscribe to It’s Been A Big Day For… on your favourite podcast app.

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