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The Flanders family is a family in the animated television series The Simpsons. The nuclear family consists of Ned, Maude, and their two sons Rod and Todd, although Maude died in the season eleven episode "Alone Again, Natura-Diddily". They live at 744 Evergreen Terrace, next to the Simpson family.

Contents

Family

Ned

Ned Flanders is the father in a devoutly Christian family, and is often used to satirize Fundamentalist Christianity, as well as the cloying "niceness" of doggedly upbeat born-again evangelicals. Ned is the Simpson family's neighbor and as such is a frequent target of Homer's abuse and a party to Homer's antics and schemes. Homer usually hates Ned, although he has referred to Ned as "Stupid best friend Flanders!" He owns a small shop in The Springfield Mall called "The Leftorium".

Maude

Maude Flanders was the wife of Ned Flanders, and the mother of Rod and Todd. Maude was voiced by Maggie Roswell, and also temporarily by Marcia Mitzman Gaven from 1999-2000 (while Roswell was involved in a pay dispute) before the character was killed. In 2002, Roswell returned to the show and has since occasionally voiced the deceased character.

Maude Flanders was the happily married wife of Ned Flanders. With Ned, she had two children, Rod and Todd Flanders, in whom she instilled her unwavering piety. Maude was a woman with many qualities: faith, chastity, charity. She campaigned strongly against Itchy and Scratchy with Marge. While she was not employed outside the home, Maude was a busy homemaker and a tireless advocate for the children, whose innocence is so often sullied by the "evils" of cartoon violence, liberal education, and the insidious influences of popular culture. Even though she spent much of her free time in prayer and reading the Bible and helping out her husband at the Leftorium, Maude was known to let her hair down for the occasional dinner party at the home of her neighbors, the Simpsons. Homer often made statements insinuating his attraction to Maude, thereby literally coveting his neighbor's wife. Also, in the second season episode "The War of the Simpsons", Homer ogled at Maude's very low-cut dress at a dinner party, which resulted in him and Marge going to marriage camp.

In "Alone Again, Natura-Diddily", Maude was killed when Homer ducked at the last second to pick up a bobby pin. She was knocked off the grandstand by a t-shirt cannon at the Springfield Speedway, her rescue was prevented as Homer had parked in the ambulance zone, impeding their rescue attempt. Her death crushed Ned who, though used to some measure of hardship, assumed that they would always be together. Maude has since appeared in a few episodes, with Roswell returning for the voice. Her ghost appears in the opening sequence for "Treehouse of Horror XIII", and during the credits of "Bart Has Two Mommies" she is seen in heaven with Bob Hope and God, wondering how her boys are doing. Maude appeared as a primary character through flashback in season 20's "Dangerous Curves". She was also seen in the season 20 episode "Take My Life, Please" as a high school student asking if Homer had a date to the dance. Maude's name has also appeared in a Simpsons-branded video game, on a treehouse when Bart and Lisa are in heaven. She is also seen in "Simpsons Tall Tales" in a deleted scene and recently appreared in a flashback of the Season 21 episode, "Postcards from the Wedge".

Rod

Rod Flanders is voiced by Pamela Hayden. Rod is Ned's 10 year old son. Rod prays often; first thing in the morning and last thing before bed. He prays for God to watch over him and his younger brother, Todd, as well as for the success of his father's business. He also prays for all of the other children like his neighbor Bart Simpson, who do not pray for themselves. Ned has described his hobbies as including "being quiet during trips, clapping with songs and diabetes". In the episode "Future-Drama", it is revealed that Rod is very attractive as an adult. In "'Tis the Fifteenth Season", he claims he is "jealous of girls because they get to wear dresses".

Rod's largest role was in "Bart Has Two Mommies", where he obtains new climbing skills and rescues Bart from a chimpanzee atop a church. This episode also reveals that Rod thinks of Marge as the most fun they have had since Maude died.

Todd

Todd Flanders is voiced by Nancy Cartwright. Ned Flanders 8 year old son. He is the most impressionable member of the Flanders family. When exposed to profanity, Todd himself starts to curse ("Hell, no" and "I said I don't want any damn vegetables"). When Moe Szyslak loses his temper at Uncle Moe's Family Feedbag restaurant, Todd responds with "Ow, my freaking ears!" Whether due to immaturity or relentless sheltering by his parents, whenever Todd comes into contact with anything outside his family and their pious ways, such as the time he was tricked into eating a Pixy Stix by Bart Simpson, he turns nasty, telling his brother to "go to hell zitface", much to the delight of Bart. Todd can play the violin quite well, and is a part of the Springfield Elementary School band. He also plays mini golf quite well.

Other family members

Ned Flanders's parents were beatniks, as seen in the episode "Hurricane Neddy". Adherents of permissive parenting, they refrained from disciplining or punishing him during his childhood, resulting in his becoming an unholy terror. Seeking professional help, Ned's parents turned to Dr. Foster who tried an experimental procedure on Ned, which rendered him unable to express any anger at all.

The Flanders family have a very large extended family, as seen in their family reunion in the episode "Lisa the Vegetarian". They have relatives all over the world, including a Mexican relative named Jose Flanders, and a British relative named Lord Thistlewick Flanders. Ned also has at least one sibling, a sister who lives in Capitol City, as mentioned in the episode "When Flanders Failed".

In the episode "Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in "The Curse of the Flying Hellfish"" a Commander Flanders is mentioned as being the superior of Sergeant Abraham Simpson and Private Montgomery Burns, then soldiers in World War II.

In the episode "Lisa's First Word" Ned introduces "Grandma Flanders", who is either Ned's mother or grandmother.

Relationship with the Simpsons

The Flanders live next door to the Simpsons, and these two families could not be more different. The Flanders are fastidious, pious individuals, and Ned often seems concerned about Bart, Lisa and Maggie's well being. Constantly being harassed by the Simpsons, they have surprisingly gone through a lot together. In one episode Homer was good friends with Ned, but became obsessed with spending time with him. At the end of the episode, everything was back to normal. Homer always makes a remark about Flanders when they are near each other, including "Stupid Flanders", which Homer says in inappropriate situations. However, Homer does tend to view him as a good friend, after Ned gave him a cup of coffee, Homer replied "Stupid best friend Flanders." When Bart and Lisa were taken into protective custody by child services from their 'unfit' parents, the Flanders were their foster parents, and almost went through with baptizing them, if Homer had not stopped them. In the season 2 episode Dead Putting Society, Ned and Homer engage in a bet revolving around Bart and Rod's miniature golf tournament, where the losers father must mow the winning fathers lawn "in his wife's Sunday dress." The tournament ends in a draw, resulting in Homer wearing Marge's best dress while mowing the Flander's lawn, and Ned mowing the Simpsons lawn wearing Maude's best dress. Ned and Homer took a wild trip to Las Vegas, where, in their inebriation, married waitresses. Also, Ned does not refrain from calling the police if the Simpsons (especially Homer) are causing a ruckus, although when reporting he does remain anonymous. However, whenever Chief Wiggum responds to the call, he unknowingly gives Ned's identity away by saying "We got a tip from an anonymous 'neighborino'." Even with all the crazy things that happen to them, the Flanders and the Simpsons have managed to live as neighbors for all these years. Since the very first day that the Simpsons moved next door to the Flanders, they have kept a TV Tray that Homer still uses.

Characters

Creation

Ned Flanders, as well as Todd first appeared in the season one episode "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire", which was the series premiere. The first episode in which the Flanders family were prominent is season two's "Dead Putting Society", which also contained the first appearance of Maude and Rod Flanders.[1] The Flanders' were named after Flanders St. in Portland, Oregon, the hometown of Simpsons creator Matt Groening.[2]

Voices

Todd's voice is based on Sherman's from Peabody and Sherman.[3] For Ned, Harry Shearer used "such a sweet voice" that the character was broadened to become a Christian and a sweet guy that someone would prefer to live next to over Homer.[4] Maude was voiced by Maggie Roswell from seasons two to ten and one episode in season eleven. However, for "Brother's Little Helper", "Treehouse of Horror X", "Little Big Mom" and "Alone Again, Natura-Diddily" she was voiced by Marcia Mitzman Gaven while Roswell was involved in a pay dispute. Roswell would return for season fourteen and would voice Maude for her brief cameos since.[5]

Development

The Flanders' religion in their first few appearances was only mild. Ned's primary role was to be so "cloyingly perfect as to annoy and shame the Simpsons" and have a perfect family.[6] There has been a consistent effort among the shows writers to not just make him "goody good and an unsympathetic person".[1]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Jean, Al. (2002). The Simpsons season 2 DVD commentary for the episode "Dead Putting Society". [DVD]. 20th Century Fox. 
  2. ^ Blake, Joseph (2007-01-06). "Painting the town in Portland". The Vancouver Sun. http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/travel/story.html?id=f90268d8-6a5b-438d-9509-f03ecff27cc1. Retrieved January 13, 2007. 
  3. ^ Larry Carroll (2007-07-26). "'Simpsons' Trivia, From Swearing Lisa To 'Burns-Sexual' Smithers". MTV. http://www.mtv.com/movies/news/articles/1565538/20070725/story.jhtml. Retrieved 2007-07-29. 
  4. ^ Jean, Al. (2003). The Simpsons season 3 DVD commentary for the episode "When Flanders Failed". [DVD]. 20th Century Fox. 
  5. ^ McCann, Jesse L.; Matt Groening (2002). The Simpsons Beyond Forever!: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family ...Still Continued. HarperCollins. p. 116–117. ISBN 0-06-050592-3. 
  6. ^ Turner, Chris. Planet Simpson. p. 270–271. ISBN 0-679-31318-4. 

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