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.
Speaking of closure, the GOAT team dive into To All The Boys 2 and see how the story continues on It’s Been A Big Day For… below:
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.
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