11 Times Ned Flanders Wasn’t So Neighborly on ‘The Simpsons’
When you think of Ned Flanders, you tend to think of an unfathomably good human being. Treating everyone with as much care and consideration as he does his flawless mustache, Flanders is the definition of what many would consider the “perfect neighbor.”
But there have been moments when the wrong okillies were dokillied, leaving Flanders’ switch flipped to the most unimaginable setting: Unneighborly. These moments are few and far between, but below are some of the rare times that Flanders was a bit of a Homer...
Calling Homer a ‘Jackninny’
Midway through the 1990s, Flanders was such a goody-two-shoes that many had already forgotten that, in his early days on the show, he didn’t so easily brush off a good heckling from Homer. He was a more realistic portrayal of a Christian neighbor who still had his minor vices like drinking beer, although most of his bad behavior would come from Homer being a terrible neighbor to him.
In Season Two’s “Dead Putting Society,” Flanders invites Homer over, but after Homer vulgarly yells at him for what he interprets as Flanders pridefully describing how good his wife and children are, Ned throws Homer out of his home for his behavior. He later laments his actions and gives Homer an apologetic letter (that Homer mocks). Later, Homer heckles Flanders, pushing him to admit Homer is “starting to annoy (him).” Homer even prods Flanders enough to bet that his son will beat Bart in a mini-golf tournament, which escalates to a shouting match where Flanders calls him a jackaninny (gasp!).
Both Flanders and Homer lose the bet, but while Homer is embarrassed beyond belief, good ol’ Ned ends up enjoying the punishment of mowing the Simpsons’ lawn in his wife’s Sunday dress, much to Homer’s chagrin.
Upbraiding an Illegal Cable Installer
In another Season Two episode, “Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment,” Flanders throws a man off his property for trying to sell him illegal cable. He really tears into him, too, calling him a “sneaky Pete” and telling him he “should box (his) ears!” Yes, the man is trying to break the law on Flanders’ property, but as the ancient proverb states: Don’t have a cow, man. He’s trying to save you money (...if he was paid a little extra on the side).
Pretty Much Any ‘Treehouse of Horror’ Flanders
The Treehouse of Horror series certainly paints Flanders in the worst possible light. In “TOH III,” he becomes a zombie who ends up getting shot by Homer. (“He was a zombie?”) He later rules the world in a dystopia of “re-Neducation camps” where citizens are lobotomized in “TOH V.” Then, in “TOH X,” Flanders becomes a werewolf who brutally kills people who accidentally tried to murder him. In “TOH XXII,” he kills for God (a la Dexter). And, of course, in “TOH IV,” he is the worst creature of all: The Devil. (“It’s always the person you least suspect.”) In this episode, he tricks Homer into selling his soul for a doughnut. When Flaners is robbed of Homer’s soul in a trial, he curses Homer with a doughnut head. Canon or not, how un-neighborly can you be?
Fantasizing About Shooting Homer
Ned is a great neighbor at the beginning of Season Five’s “Homer Loves Flanders,” as he shares his spare ticket to a college football game with Homer, who, in turn, has one of the greatest days of his life. To show his gratitude, Homer ends up forming a friendship with Flanders. Unfortunately, he gets a little too friendly and begins inviting himself to (and ruining) Flanders’ family functions, leading to Flanders beginning to hate Homer, even fantasizing about shooting him. Flanders tries to avoid Homer the rest of the episode but explodes at him during church for breathing heavily through his nose, swearing at him to “Breathe through your damn mouth!”
Attempting to Make the Simpsons Children in His Own Image
After a series of unfortunate events at school with Lisa and Bart in Season Seven’s “Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily,” Homer and Marge lose custody of their children, with Flanders taking them in. As is often the case with the Flanders family, their good intentions are soured by their Christian fundamentalism, going to the extent of attempting to baptize Bart, Lisa and Maggie. (Homer laments, “In the eyes of God, they’ll be Flandereseses!”)
Trying to Burn Down a House of Burlesque
When a burlesque house makes itself known to the public at large in Springfield in Season Eight’s “Bart After Dark,” Flanders leads a mob to try and tear it down. It takes a whole song and dance from Homer to convince him and the rest of the town to keep it.
Attacking Everyone in Springfield
Season Eight’s “Hurricane Neddy” really pushes Flanders off the rails. After a hurricane destroys his home (and only his home), he begins to question his faith. His neighbors come to his aid, however, and rebuild his home. Unfortunately, they do an absolutely terrible job, and the home ends up collapsing. After his glasses break, so does Flanders’ composure, and he completely goes off on the town.
Quitting on His Pee-Wee Football Team
After getting heckled relentlessly by Homer while trying to coach pee-wee football in Season Nine’s “Bart Star,” Flanders confronts Homer rather aggressively, quitting mid-game and handing over the job to him, letting the team down and putting their safety in the hands of a man who never wanted the job and was dangerously unqualified to coach children.
Evicting His College-Student Tenants
After renting out a room in his house to two college students in Season 16’s “Home Away from Homer,” Flanders kicks them out of his home for using the room to shoot softcore pornography. (It’s not like it was hardcore pornography, Flanders.)
Getting Lisa Thrown in Jail for Teaching Evolution
Season 17’s “The Monkey Suit” is another instance of Flanders’ fundamentalism going too far. He pushes creationism and manages to get evolutionism banned in Springfield. When Lisa holds secret classes teaching the Theory of Evolution, she is thrown in jail.
Stealing Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars
Season 33’s “A Serious Flanders” is another non-canon situation, but in this critically-acclaimed two-part episode, Ned takes an unclaimed bag of hundreds of thousands of dollars and donates it to an orphanage. This is seemingly neighborly, but he steals the money back when threatened about it. He then manages to put Homer in danger and lies about his whereabouts when asked about it. And that’s just in the first part.