Now whether or not they agree with his philosophy, everybody loves Ned Flanders. He’s the squarest, most pious, darn-diddily root-diddily-tootin’ guy in Springfield. He’s a staunch supporter of south paws, he’s against gay rights (but is a big fan of the theatre), he likes to get dressed up to remind himself of his old fraternity days (literally in a dress), and he’s always willing to lend a helping hand, no matter how abused he is. Sure, there was that one time where he cracked and opted to go kicking and screaming into a mental institution, but that was just the once.
He used to be a troubled kid: he swore, beat up on the other kids around, and didn’t give two gosh-diddily-darns about any of it. That changed after the spank-a-logical protocol was put into place, and then hurricane Neddy learned to repress his rage and tame his tongue (for a time). That being said, there’s much more to Ned Flanders than one may think (especially under that sweater/dress shirt combo). There from the beginning, Flanders has not undergone a lot of change, but he’s certainly revealed more and more about his past, and he continues to surprise audiences even now, twenty eight years on. So let’s learn a little bit more about this oh-so-pleasant neighboureeno.
15. Flanders Played Bass For Spinal Tap
Now to be fair, it wasn’t Ned Flanders who was the bass player for Spinal Tap, of course. But the actor, Harry Shearer, who is the voice of Ned Flanders most certainly did. It might be unbelievable for some, especially new fans of The Simpsons, to believe that the above photo is of the man who voices the faithful Ned Flanders. That being said, newer fans to the show likely don’t even know what Spinal Tap even is. So there’s a bit of a history lesson. In addition to playing the bass for Spinal Tap, Harry Shearer does more than just play Ned Flanders. In fact, on The Simpsons alone, Shearer has played sixty other characters, aside from Ned. The most famous of which include: Mr. Burns, Waylon Smithers, Principal Skinner, Dr. Hibbert, Lenny, and Kent Brockman. That being said, the show almost lost him in 2015, but thankfully they’ve managed to work out a new contract to keep him. Otherwise, the show would struggle to continue without even just one or two of the above characters.
14. Flanders Is A Werewolf
Well, this isn’t strictly canon, but Flanders has been, at one point, a werewolf. During a Halloween episode that was playing parody on the film I Know What You Did Last Summer, Homer drives over Flanders with his car (having forgotten to “put the fog light in”), with the whole family along for the ride. Going back to the house, and faking the accidental death of Ned with his corpse (several times) so that Maude doesn’t question a thing, they seem to get away with murder. However, the writing is on the wall in this episode (quite literally), and “I know” is plastered all over the place. They push the parody even so far as to have Flanders in a slicker with a hook in hand, though he quickly drops it in order to explain the goings on. Turns out that Ned was just turned into a werewolf minutes before Homer drove over him. Not just that, but Ned was intent on killing the whole family before he got hit. He doesn’t manage to get the family by the end of the episode, but he does get to chomp on Homer at least… not sure how much meat there is there, but there’s certainly a lot of fat.
13. Flanders Is The Reason Lovejoy Just Doesn’t Care
When Reverend Lovejoy first arrived in Springfield back in the seventies, he was hip and keen to spread the good word, and help out his congregation as best he could. He arrived, with guitar in hand, ready for a sing-song. He hadn’t been in town one day before Ned Flanders came to him about having gone to a dance and accidentally touched his buttocks to the buttocks of another man. Now maybe this is why the only type of dance Flanders did from then on was square, but it was clear Lovejoy was pretty surprised by the ridiculous piety of the stuttering faith-nik. “Then the calls began”, and Lovejoy was overwhelmed by the worriment of the impossibly faithful Flanders. Lovejoy admitted that, at a certain point, he just stopped caring. So without even realizing it, Flanders was responsible for the lackluster preaching of Reverend Lovejoy… and he’s the one that worries about everyone else’s faith and morality.
12. Only Square Dancing?
Flanders has had his share of women (don’t worry, all out of wedlock). It’s always fun to see the most religious man in the room having a little bit of a cute crush. Other than Maude, nothing ever really came of any of it (though he did fall for a Christian singer once). However, in spite of how surprising it might have been (considering Edna has given herself to most of the male population of Springfield), Ned got himself hitched to Edna Krabappel. Unfortunately, like Maude, Edna passed on (though Maude was just in the show, and the actor voicing Edna actually died), and left Ned alone yet again. While reminiscing, Ned thinks of being at a dance with Edna, when he says to her that the only kind of dancing he does is square. As mentioned above, that may be because of his little falter while learning the bump (having bumped another man’s rump). Regardless, it turns out that Ned really does know how to dance, as he spins and dips Edna like he practises every day! Of course, he’s been a part of theatre work all through the series, so it should be no surprise that he really can dance, but perhaps it’s just not so godly to do it all the time.
11. Serial Killer Neddy
So, besides Bart thinking that Ned killed his wife Maude, back when she was still alive (though all he did was “murder” Maude’s ficus plant), there was a time when Ned was indeed a serial killer. Receiving a call from who he somehow believed was God, Ned began killing for him. The whole setup of this segment of the episode was a play on the show Dexter, and Ned expertly went about killing off Mr. Burns, Sideshow Bob, as well as Patty and Selma. Now if those people seem rather specific, as if they could be categorized as enemies of a certain character… it’s because the voice of “God” was none other than Homer Simpson. It’s always amazing to see just how easy it is to convince a religious person to turn to murder. Whether they be doctors, homosexuals, trillionaires, psychopaths, or simply heavy smokers, They’ll seemingly kill indiscriminately. There’s a twist in this episode though. Ned makes to kill Homer, once he finds out he’s been put on, but instead, Homer gets choked to death by God himself, who didn’t take kindly to his Bible burning. It also comes out that Satan is actually running things, is banging Ned’s now demon wife, and sends God to get him a coffee. So you see… crime doesn’t pay.
10. Who Would Have Guessed?
In spite of Ned being horrified at the end of the entry above, it turns out that Good ol’ Ned is actually Satan. So the above entry is some sort of “Jesus is God” type of thing. Turns out Ned is Satan, in the sense that he has a human form, as well as his satanic form. Devil Flanders has appeared in several episodes, and not just in Treehouse of Horror episodes. It could be taken as an interesting analysis of just how some religious people end up becoming the thing they strive so hard to turn away from. To be fair, Devil Neddy is actually a pretty fair creature (much like his human form), and is just as well acquainted with Bart Simpson (because of course Bart knows the Devil intimately). So as full of hell fire and damnation Devil Flanders is, he’s actually a pretty good guy. He certainly beats the other version of the devil who gives Homer nothing but noogies, and is afraid of John Wayne. So for those of you who forgot, or just didn’t know: the most friendly neighboureeno in town is the devil.
9. Flanders’ Own Personal Hell
Ned Flanders has a lot of gripes with a lot of things in the world. Yeah, he occasionally gets wasted, or goes on killing sprees, and commits himself, but otherwise, he’s a stand up guy. He doesn’t abide the tasteless, and he obeys every rule in the good book: “even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff”! But aside from not liking Edna using the term ‘coldcocking’ in bed (for obvious reasons of innuendo), and being afraid of overdosing on graham crackers and milk (his sleep-aid), Ned’s got some other issues to deal with. He can’t abide brief nudity, or non-Jesus-y beards, for example. He can’t bare to look at baboons (because of their glaring red butts), nor to think of Houston being in the American League (that’s a baseball joke for those who didn’t know). But that’s just the beginning. In Ned’s version of Hell, Homer is Satan (which is an interesting change of pace), but the true ruler in Hell is Richard Dawkins (a famous zoologist who published The God Delusion back in 2006— the year before The Simpsons Movie).
8. What Ned And Sideshow Bob Have In Common
Most people likely knew that Ned Flanders, under that green sweater and pink dress shirt, is in fact jacked! Now, thanks to the above image from one of the opening couch gags on the show, fans can truly know why! He was, evidently, a criminal in a 80s TV series called ‘La-Z Rider’ (a la Miami Vice), and once thrown in prison, he worked out to the max. The above image reeks of shades of Sideshow Bob, who also spent quite a bit of time pumping iron once he was put away by Bart Simpson. To be fair, Bob isn’t nearly as ripped as Ned, nor are his tattoos quite the same. Bob’s are all about killing Bart, whereas Ned’s all very much have to do with his neighbourly façade and his deep-held faith. On the wall behind Ned, one can see, scratched into the wall: Thou Must Kill Simpson. Of course, kill is scratched out, and forgive is scrawled beside it, and Simpson here refers to Homer, and not Bart, but the similarities are striking.
7. There’s A Heavy Metal Band Inspired By Ned
Now this, has got be one of the greatest things to ever come from the creation of Ned Flanders… though it does seem weird to talk about creationism when referring to Ned Flanders (it makes this author feel all dirty inside). Taking inspiration from Ned’s fabulous fashion sense, these five men have started a metal band. And not just any metal band. This is the only Heavy Ned-al band in existence. Every song that they have in their repertoire is based on little snippets of dialogue from Ned Flanders himself. The music video for ‘White Wine Spritzer’ is absolutely, hilariously terrifying. It takes a torrid night of drinking, and turns it into a murderous and macabre tale. It’s always fun to see the darker side of Ned Flanders, and make no mistake, Okilly Dokilly truly dig deep and turn out that dark quality, in spite of how “gosh darn pre-diddly-ictable” people expect Flanders to be.
6. The Flanders Cookie Duster
There is so much to be said about Ned’s moustache, that it cannot all be said in this brief bit of text, but let’s give it a go. First off, there’s great controversy amongst Simpsons nerds (the very intense Simpsons nerds, that is), as to whether or not Ned’s push broom is even real. In the above photo, one can see that Neddy was indeed wearing a postiche moustache. However such fakes certainly can’t take much of a beating, and in one episode of The Simpsons, the origin of Ned’s cookie duster comes to light (literally). During a fireworks display, Ned’s then handlebar moustache gets singed by some falling flame, to become what is now the cowboy duster he wears. No fake ‘stache could withstand that heat. Beyond that even, when Bart begins to grow a moustache himself, Ned seems to be extra in tune with him. As Lisa painfully plucks one of the hairs from Bart’s lip, Ned’s ‘stache gives a bit of a shudder and Ned becomes “aware another moustache is in tremendous pain.” Could a simple postiche have such powerful connection to the pains for another nose neighboureeno?
5. Ned’s Been Married… Three Times!
Now obviously he was initially married to Maude, from whom he was graced with his two little boys, Rod and Todd (if one considers that being graced). However, Ned’s had some other loves… well perhaps only two (of which he only married one)… and of course God isn’t included in this because that would be homosexual, and against Ned’s faith. As mentioned earlier, Ned did fall for a Christian singer once, but he certainly never married her. He did, however, go on a torrid adventure with Homer Simpson to Las Vegas where, of course, he had one too many white wine spritzers. The morning after, it is apparent that both Homer and Ned have married two “grubby casino cocktail waitresses”. Now what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, so this little piece of history is often forgotten. More significantly though, in later seasons, Ned marries the Springfield bicycle who is Edna Krabappel. Unfortunately fans didn’t get to spend more time with the unexpected couple though, as actor Marcia Wallace passed away in 2013.
4. Ned’s Dead
You might not know it, but Flanders has died likely more times than any character on the show. This is likely because of Homer’s incredible dislike of the friendly neighboureeno he considers to be equal parts pompous and pious. Just to run down a little list of times Ned’s died: Killed by Homer for being a zombie (though Homer didn’t know he was one), decapitated by a gremlin, obliterated by a neutron bomb, hit by a car (though he comes back as the aforementioned werewolf), decapitated with a chainsaw by a Homer clone, heart ripped out by Professor Frink Sr., incinerated by nuclear meltdown, head bitten off by Homer, run over by a car (again without returning as an undead creature), crushed by Slinkies, cooked for dinner, destroyed by Plow King… so there are a dozen deaths right there. It makes one wonder just how much Ned’s faith plays in to his current existence.
3. A Passion For The Theatre
Aside from being a fantasy of Marge’s (during a writing stint of hers), Flanders is also a scene partner in a production of A Streetcar Named Desire (the unfortunate musical version). It’s never been a real surprise that Ned is really into theatre (he even smokes to teach kids a lesson about fire safety… just before he gets caught on fire). However, it might be interesting to know that Ned had apparently done Streetcar several times. But not as the strong, surly character of Stanley. Oh no. Ned is accustomed to playing the role of Blanche DuBois. Hating to be an “arm chair Blanche”, Ned shows Marge a thing or two about playing the feisty, and simultaneously demure, and up-giving Blanche. Ultimately it takes Homer to really bring out the ferocity in Marge, but Ned is certainly more gentle than both Homer and the director. So gentle that, in spite of his ripped upper body, he cannot fight off a broken-glass-bottle-wielding Marge.
2. This Happened…
It is amazing that this happened. And not only this one picture. There are several pictures that can be found on the internet of not only Ned Flanders as the infamous Walter White, but also with Bart Simpson as the good-willed Jesse Pinkman. The most celebrated artist to have created such artwork (and the one who is responsible for the picture above) is New Zealand-based artist AKADoom. Of course the name is simply a moniker on the popular art site Deviant Art, but this fan of both The Simpsons and Breaking Bad has taken the two shows, and put them together in an unsuspecting, but perfectly sensibly melange. Ned is, after all, the Devil in disguise (literally), and since Walter White is likely the next most unsuspecting villain to have hit television, it makes absolute perfect sense for this combination to create the person “who knock-diddly-ocks”. Breaking Ned would be a show that this author would certainly watch.
1. “I Miss Flanders… There I Said It!”
It’s never been a shock to anyone to hear that Bart has some daddy issues. Perhaps they’re not perceived to be as deeply serious as Lisa’s lack of stability and support, but it is present and pertinent nonetheless. Seemingly, as a replacement father, Ned Flanders has come to Bart’s aid on more than one occasion. Perhaps made the most glaring in The Simpsons Movie, the relationship between Bart and Homer becomes so strained that Bart starts drinking whisky to deal with his realization that he truly misses Flanders. “I’m troubled” is what he tells Marge, before he downs the remainder of the bottle he had in hand. In addition to this, Homer pushes Bart by saying that he “worship[s] the ground [he] walks on”. Bart then reveals that he’s drawn a likeness of Ned over his photo of Homer, shoving it in his father’s face, repeating “howdily doodily” and “diddly” as Homer chokes him out. This all comes to head when Bart decides to be with Ned Flanders when it comes time for Springfield to be destroyed. Homer wins the day, but Ned has certainly always been the replacement father figure for when Homer really messes up.