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Saddlesore Galactica
Alone Again, Natura-Diddily
Missionary: Impossible
Warning Notice: Audience Discretion Advisory

This episode, and this Fandom page, contains material that may not be suitable for some audiences. It covers themes regarding to lingering depression and bereavement. While the Simpsons is a fictional animated sitcom series that usually jokes around and makes fun of such situations, these issues in real life are no laughing matter... We highly advise viewer discretion in regards to such presented themes to everyone and discussion about it. (regardless of viewership age, gender, ethnic background, race, sexual identity, religious affiliation, etc).


"In many ways, Maude Flanders was a supporting player in our lives. She didn't grab our attention with memorable catchphrases or comical accents. But, whether you noticed her or not, Maude was always there... and we thought she always would be."
Reverend Lovejoy

Alone Again, Natura-Diddily is the fourteenth episode (Originally the tenth episode of Season 11 in production order, and also produced in 1999) of Season 11.

Synopsis[]

While enjoying a day at the races, Homer's shirtless antics inadvertently cause the death of Maude Flanders, and Ned's faith begins to falter when Homer bungles his way to helping his depressed neighbor.

Full Story[]

On a trip to the bird sanctuary, the family sees that a new speedway has been built and is opening that day, much to Lisa's dismay. The family goes to the racetrack and are surprised to meet the Flanders family, who have come not to see the race, but because Ned admires the safety equipment the racers use and Maude likes the fresh air and looking at the poor people in the infield. Not long after the two families sit down, a squad of cheerleaders is giving out free T-shirts by firing them from hand cannons into the crowd, and Homer demands one. He takes off his own T-shirt and waves it around, which irritates Ned and Maude, who are seated right behind him. Needing a break from Homer's antics, Maude goes to buy some hot dogs. Homer draws a target on his chest and finally gets the cheerleaders's attention. The cheerleaders send a full salvo of T-shirts in Homer's direction, but rather than catch them, Homer bends down at the last second to pick up a bobby pin. The T-shirts hit Maude instead, just as she's returning from the hot dog stand. The shirts knock her over the guardrail, and she falls to the ground several stories below. Ned anxiously looks over the rail and sees a crowd of people surrounding Maude. Dr. Hibbert is at the race, but he's unable to do anything except say "Oh my lord! She's dead!", to everyone's shock and dismay, especially Ned.

Maude getting hit with a t-shirt

Maude dies.

At Maude's funeral, Reverend Lovejoy eulogizes her as follows: "In many ways, Maude Flanders was a supporting player in our lives. She didn't grab our attention with memorable catchphrases or comical accents. But, whenever you noticed her or not, Maude was always there... and we thought she always would be."

Ned-Datingvideo

A scene from Ned's dating video.

Everyone shows their condolences for Ned's loss, but Ned has to deal with being a widower and a single parent (and the fact that the last words he ever said to his wife were "No foot longs."). Feeling incredibly sorry for Ned (and relatively responsible for Maude's death), Homer attempts to help Ned find a new partner and secretly makes a videotape of Ned to submit to a video dating service. In his usual bumbling fashion, Homer manages to include completely unnecessary and potentially harmful pieces of information about Ned, such as a close-up of Ned entering his PIN number at an ATM machine and Ned taking a shower. Ned gets a few dates via the dating service, but none of them go well.

One Sunday morning, Ned says he does not want to go to church, because he doubts the Lord for having taken Maude. Guilt-ridden, he later rushes to church (apologizing out loud to God the whole way) and arrives just in time to see Kovenant, a Christian rock band, starting to perform. Ned likes the song, and finds himself attracted (both physically and spiritually) to the lead singer, Rachel Jordan. After the service, Ned helps Rachel load equipment into the band's van, and strikes up a conversation with her. It turns out that the attraction is mutual, and Rachel suggests that she and Ned get together after Kovenant gets back from touring with the Monsters of Christian Rock. Ned smiles and says, "Maybe we can. My name's Ned Flanders, and I'm here every week -- rain or shine!"

Behind the Laughter[]

The experience Ned endured through Maude's death was brought up in the February 5, 2001 edition of Billy Graham's Christianity Today as an example of testing one's Christian faith.[1]

Criticism[]

Lowe's Motor Speedway president Jerry Gappens expressed his concern over the episode, as it appeared to parody an actual incident. During the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series Visionaire 500k event on May 1, 1999, flying tires in a Lap 62 crash killed three spectators, forcing the track to abandon the race before the halfway point. WCCB, a former Fox affiliate in Charlotte, North Carolina (the home of Lowe's Motor Speedway), initially refused to show the promotional advertising for this episode, as the announcer stated that "one of Springfield's most beloved will die" and it shows Lenny Leonard getting hit by a tire, indicating that he would be the one to die.[2]

Many viewers criticized the show at the time for killing off a popular and beloved character.[citation needed] Groening later revealed that the reason he killed off Maude was because the crew wanted to open new storylines after Marcia Mitzman Gaven was brought in to voice the characters Maggie Roswell voiced due to her moving to Colorado, making it difficult to continue her roles in the show. [3] Roswell would return to the show in Season 14, though, with Maude Flanders dead, Roswell only voices Maude when she appears as a ghost or in flashbacks.

Citations[]

Season 10 Season 11 Episodes Season 12
Beyond BlunderdomeBrother's Little HelperGuess Who's Coming to Criticize Dinner?Treehouse of Horror XE-I-E-I-D'ohHello Gutter, Hello FadderEight Misbehavin'Take My Wife, SleazeGrift of the MagiLittle Big MomFaith OffThe Mansion FamilySaddlesore GalacticaAlone Again, Natura-DiddilyMissionary: ImpossiblePygmoelianBart to the FutureDays of Wine and D'oh'sesKill the Alligator and RunLast Tap Dance in SpringfieldIt's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad MargeBehind the Laughter
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