Twenty-two years ago, on this very date, this happened on The Simpsons:
Today, it is easy to forget what an impact the death of Maude Flanders had on viewers. We are now used to semi-regular characters dying on TV shows and, of course, no one really cares that much about The Simpsons any more.
In 2000, though, this was a big deal. There were weeks of speculation over which Simpsons character would die, though most of us figured that it would be Maude Flanders early on. Maude had never been a major character, as Rev. Lovejoy pointed out in his eulogy. Plus, the actress that voice Maude, Maggie Roswell, had left the show. (Roswell later returned.) At the time, killing Maude was a controversial move, especially as she died as a result of Homer acting like a jerk. (Then again, everything that ever happened in Springfield was a result of Homer acting like a jerk.) Some critics complained that the show treated her death too cavalierly and that such morbid subject matter did not belong on a show like The Simpsons. But, as the show’s producers pointed out, the death of Maude also opened the door for new storylines involving Ned Flanders and, as a result, Ned became one of the few characters on the show to actually grow as a person.
Even though Ned was invented to act as a foil to Homer and he’s been the victim of some lazy writing (especially in the more recent season), Ned Flanders has a dedicated fan base and a lot it is due to him being one of the few people in Springfield to actually show any sort of decency on a consistent basis. That Homer is incapable of understanding that Ned is the only person (outside of the family) that he can depend on is one of the show’s best and longest-running jokes. As a character, Ned was at his best when he was coming to terms with Maude’s death, learning how to date again, and even forgiving Homer for the role he played in the tragedy. (Homer never really seemed to realize that it was all his fault. Typical Homer.) The show deserved more than a little credit for how it handled the fallout of Maude’s death, from Rod and Todd’s sadness to Ned’s very temporary loss of faith. Over the upcoming years, Ned Flanders went to marry Edna Krapapple and, after the passing of Carol Wallace, became a widower for a second time.
One final note: Marvin Monroe later turned out to be alive so I wonder who was buried in his grave at teh cemetery.
Previous Great Moments In Television History:
- Planet of the Apes The TV Series
- Lonely Water
- Ghostwatch Traumatizes The UK
- Frasier Meets The Candidate
- The Autons Terrify The UK
- Freedom’s Last Stand
- Bing Crosby and David Bowie Share A Duet
- Apaches Traumatizes the UK
- Doctor Who Begins Its 100th Serial
- First Night 2013 With Jamie Kennedy
- Elvis Sings With Sinatra
- NBC Airs Their First Football Game
- The A-Team Premieres
- The Birth of Dr. Johnny Fever
- The Second NFL Pro Bowl Is Broadcast