Ned Flanders Will Finally Deal with His ‘Trauma’ in the Next Season of ‘The Simpsons’

‘The Simpsons’ Season 36 will feature an episode about Flanders’ grief post-Maude and post-Edna
Ned Flanders Will Finally Deal with His ‘Trauma’ in the Next Season of ‘The Simpsons’

After losing the two loves of his life, Ned Flanders is carrying around some Homer-sized traumaudiddlydoodlie.

Any time The Simpsons kills off a character who has appeared in more than one episode, it’s massive news to fans of the floating timeline sitcom where entire towns remain unchanged for 35 years. Just last month, the media covered the death of Larry the Barfly, a background character whose word count over the entirety of The Simpsons could be tracked on one hand, as if an actual, real-life celebrity had passed away. 

In Springfield, babies never learn to walk or talk, fourth grade lasts forever and every wacky, zany, off-the-wall incident or emergency that the safety inspector from Sector 7-G down at the nuclear power plant causes gets reset to neutral at the end of the episode. Well, except for when it involves a T-shirt cannon, obviously.

In a recent interview with CNNSimpsons showrunner Matt Selman gave a teaser for what fans can expect to see from The Simpsons Season 36 when it premieres in the fall, revealing that one episode will focus on the emotional impact that losing his wife Maude and, later, his deceased girlfriend Edna Krabappel has had on Flanders’ emotional health, saying, that it is “never too late to emotionally address a past trauma.” 

It’s also never too late to renegotiate Maggie Roswell’s contract – zombie Maude wouldn’t be the worst episode idea in modern Simpsons history.

“We have to be honest with ourselves: Most comedic language invented by The Simpsons is from its ‘glory years,’” Selman said of the first ten-ish seasons of The Simpsons that are now considered to be the show’s Golden Age, admitting, “We don’t create as many memes and things your dad quotes anymore. I think if we set that as a goal, it would be a very hard goal.” 

Selman claims that the question he asks his current writing staff when plotting out each season is, “If the show was brand new today, how would we write it?”

Dedicating an episode to dissecting the trauma of a man who has lost a wife and a girlfriend while raising two sons, running the Leftorium and remaining a dedicated, proselytizing Protestant is certainly a contemporary topic for The Simpsons to discuss. Right now, there are eight different Netflix writers’ rooms crafting a scene in which two main characters talk about how they both go to therapy for their trauma, or how someone they know needs to go to therapy, or how both their parents don’t respect their respective decisions to do therapy. And, like The Simpsons, all eight of those shows are, ostensibly, comedies.

Now, obviously, Selman didn’t exactly say that the episode will be about Flanders going to therapy (they already did that in the Golden Age), but it’s hard to hear the word “trauma” discussed in a comedy setting and not immediately assume that this plot line is going to be inundated with the kind of social media therapy-speech that is so trendy on TV right now. 

Based on my own trauma of having watched the most recent season of The Simpsons, I’m worried that an episode about Flanders processing these impactful canonical events will have the disastrous potential of a T-shirt loaded into an actual — well, you know.


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