- “Howdily-doodily, neighborino!”
- ―Ned greeting Homer
Nedward Flanders, Jr. more commonly known by the moniker "Flanders" is the Simpson family's extremely religious next door neighbor. He is a genuinely well-meaning good-natured person. Though firmly religious, he can be timid and something of an easy pushover. He is a major character in The Simpsons and a minor, recurring antagonist in the Treehouse of Horror episodes. Ned thoroughly worships God and strictly follows the Bible as literally as possible and is easily shocked when challenged on any point of dogma. He also owns the Leftorium and a home business, Flancrest Enterprises, which makes religious hook rugs. He also works as a member of the Springfield Volunteer Fire Department. He even (legally) owns the Simpsons' house, renting it out to the family at a low rate, showing that he would burn through much of his resources just to help his neighbors out. Ned Flanders is 60 years old.
Ned Flanders grew up in New York and was the son of "Freaky Beatniks" who did not discipline Ned and let him run wild. Eventually, they took him to Dr. Foster, a psychiatrist, who put the young Ned through the University of Minnesota Spankalogical Protocol, which involved eight months of continuous spanking. The treatment worked so well that it rendered Ned unable to express any anger at all and resulted in his trademark nonsensical jabbering at moments when he was particularly close to losing his temper, causing Ned to unknowingly repress his anger. Flanders got his diploma from Oral Roberts University. Flanders worked as a salesman in the pharmaceutical industry for the bulk of his adult life. Having saved much of his earnings, Flanders decided to quit his job and invested his family's life savings into a store in the Springfield mall called "The Leftorium" specializing in products for left-handed people. He lives at 744 Evergreen Terrace.
He attended an all-boys school, where he played Blanche DuBois in a production of A Streetcar Named Desire.
Ned's age is uncertain. In "Hurricane Neddy" he is shown as a child in a flashback 30 years earlier, but later, in "Viva Ned Flanders", he states that he is 60 years old. (He attributes his youthful appearance to "clean living, chewing thoroughly, and a daily dose of vitamin church.") Later still, in "Walking Big & Tall", he is once again shown as a child 30 years ago. In the latter appearance, he is shown to be around the same age as Homer and Marge, who are in the same scene as children.
- Bigamy: In "Viva Ned Flanders", Ned gets drunk with Homer in Las Vegas, and both wake up married to strange women.
- Battery of a Police Officer: In "Hurricane Neddy", he pointedly grabs Clancy Wiggum by the stomach to taunt him purposefully.
Ned is very honest, kind and sincere in carrying out the Christian doctrines of charity, kindness and compassion to an extent unseen within the rest of the Springfield community. He is frequently shown doing volunteer work, and is rigorously honest and upright, even going so far as to spend an entire day tracking down a Leftorium customer in order to give him the extra change that he had forgotten to hand over. He once donated a kidney and a lung out of the goodness of his heart to whoever needs them first. He is also a good neighbor to the Simpsons, regularly offering his assistance. Ned’s dogged friendship inspires the loyalty of others; when his Leftorium appeared on the verge of bankruptcy shortly after it opened, Homer arranged a George Bailey-esque bailout with the help of many people in Springfield. Upon discovering that Bart and Lisa Simpson were not baptized he immediately took it upon himself to (unsuccessfully) conduct the ceremony without their parents' consent. He also was one of the organizers of a mob to remove the La Maison Derrière due to the amoral exploitation of the sexual desires in males (although he notably had to ask for permission to commence a mob to Belle, the owner of the place they were attempting to tear down in a mob frenzy, indicating that he either wasn't completely aware of how a mob was supposed to work or was unwilling to go to the extreme of inciting a mob riot to get rid of the house). In more recent episodes he seems to have gained more tolerance to other religions and homosexuality, as long as the people in question are good-natured. However, his bias and perspective still makes him think that they will have a harder time getting to heaven.
Ned was married to the equally religious Maude Flanders (after whose death he married Edna Krabappel). Ned and Maude had two children together; the sheltered and naïve Rod and Todd. While still married to Maude, Ned married Ginger, a waitress, while on a drunken bender in Las Vegas. Ginger came to live with Ned and his sons for a brief period following Maude's death, but she quickly grew tired of the Ned's sickly-sweet personalities and fled. Flanders has also been connected romantically with a beautiful Christian-rock singer, Rachel Jordan, and Tiffany Sloane, a movie star. He also makes absolute certain every year to pay and file his tax returns at the start of the new year, especially when considering how the vast majority of Springfield usually waited until April 15 to file their tax returns.
Homer generally loathes Ned, because his family, job, health and self-discipline are of higher quality than he could ever hope to attain himself. Ned is also very bossy with his beliefs, which Homer hates. Homer has since come to have a love-hate relationship with Ned, sometimes being his best friend, partly due to Ned's selfless tolerance of him, and other times treating Ned with complete disregard. Homer seems to genuinely care for Ned, despite still expressing and often acting on feelings of loathing. Nowadays Homer seems to regard Ned as more of a nuisance. Sometimes, Marge considers Ned to be a perfect neighbor and usually sides with him instead of her husband, which always enrages Homer. When Marge lends her voice on these matters they usually end with Homer angrily calling her "The President of The I Love Ned Flanders Fan Club" or with Homer furiously and sarcastically admitting that Ned is "perfect in every way" and that he himself is not perfect like Ned Flanders.
Ned is not without facing life's challenges, but has been shown to frequently call Reverend Lovejoy for advice often, even over minuscule and petty things ("I... I think I'm coveting my own wife!"), to the point that Lovejoy has stopped caring and has even suggested that Flanders try a different religion. Reverend Lovejoy used to care for Ned's problems, but over the years Lovejoy became increasingly uninterested and annoyed when he would constantly turn to him for help, and even to frustration, as many of their talks have led his enjoyment of life's simple pleasures to go spoiled awry, and even to acts of passive-aggressive vengeance, in one instance of himself encouraging his Old English Sheepdog to defecate on Ned's lawn in return for many instances of the former. Ned is shown to have a room in his house filled with memorabilia of the Beatles. He claims that this is because they were "bigger than Jesus". He also even owns a small home business called Flancrest Enterprises. In addition, his modesty was such that he even goes as far as to bathe in swimming trunks specifically to avoid having to avoid anyone, even himself, see his privates, as he admits when Marge and Homer have him babysit Maggie once when they talk to him as he's bathing.
Ned is also against drugs. When Ned, Homer and Apu go on road trip to Canada for cheap prescription drugs, they meet a man who looks and acts just like Ned, the man then offers Ned marijuana ("Hey, would you like to puff on a reeferino? It's legal here.") but he promptly turns down ("They warned me Satan would be attractive. Let's go"). He did, however, briefly smoke a cigarette when playing the role of Mad Dog during his fire safety skit with some disgust. He also once suffered hallucinogenic experiences of the Dancing Bears and Skeletons of the Grateful Dead crossing the road, as well as witnessing an entity resembling a fusion between the hammers from Pink Floyd's The Wall and the Rolling Stones' lips & tongue attempting to kiss him after drinking groovy grove juice that unknown to him, was spiked with Peyote thanks to Homer Simpson.
His sons Rod and Todd are very sheltered and raised in an extremely strict climate of Christian morality, causing them to be unable to behave like all the other children in Springfield ("They're going to be eaten alive, in Middle School" Lisa once observed). For instance, the family has at least five different Trivial Pursuit sets relating to different versions of the Bible. "He is a real Christian. He stinks!" said Homer. Also, all of the family's board games contain no dice, as Ned believes that dice are "wicked". Rod says that they just move one space at a time, as it is "less fun that way". His pet peeve was Maude underlining passages in his Bible.
Because of his childhood and the therapy he was given, he learned to repress his anger by a significant amount, which also resulted in the creation of his odd choice of words. However, his anger eventually was unable to be suppressed anymore after his house, which was demolished by a hurricane despite several protective efforts such as placing a tarp over the house, and the house being rebuilt in a very shoddy fashion and eventually collapsing, at which point he lashed out at his friends and neighbors, even shocking and appalling Bart when he, in his anger, lashed out at Bart attempting to defend Marge from his anger and hinted that Bart will end up a street beggar when he grows up.
However, in some early episodes Ned is occasionally shown when he's angry. The first episode to ever show Ned's rage was the episode "Dead Putting Society". The episode starts-off with Ned inviting Homer in for a beer after an unsuccessful attempt at mowing the lawn. While visiting with Ned, Homer sees that Ned has a much better lifestyle than he does and gets into a fight with Ned. Homer leaves Ned's house in a very mad manner. Eventually the episode boils up to the point of Homer and Ned both losing their tempers and making a bet and entering their sons in a mini-golf tournament. The bet said that "The father of the boy who doesn't win has to mow his neighbor's lawn in his wife's best Sunday dress". The episode ends with both fathers having to wear the dresses as both Bart and Todd decide that they are equally good. The next episode to showcase Ned's wrath was "Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment" were at the start of the episode Ned is seen and loudly heard throwing a man out of his home for trying to sell him stolen cable. Ned even threatens to box the guys ears in which results in the man becoming terrified of Ned. The third early instance of Ned's rage was the episode "Homer Loves Flanders" where it begins with Ned and Homer going to a football game and enjoying each other's company. Homer and Ned then become really good friends, but it soon becomes apparent that Homer is obsessed with Ned and his family. Both Homer's obsession and extreme stupidity drive Ned into hating Homer and finally becoming so annoyed with him that Ned's rage causes him to snap very loudly at Homer. The fourth and last early reference came in "Bart The Lover" where Todd picks-up on Homer's potty-mouthed language and Todd says, "I don't want any of your damn vegetables," at the dinner table. Todd's newly discovered bad word sets-off Ned's temper and Todd gets punished by Ned right away for saying the nasty word. While trying to discover where Todd learned the nasty word he hears Homer swearing angrily and asks him to try and cut back on his "foul lingo" which ends with Homer having a talk with Marge and him actually trying to be a good neighbor by reducing his swearing.
In the eighth season of the show, the issue of why Ned very seldom ever shows his anger was greatly explored in the episode "Hurricane Neddy". In the episode, a very powerful hurricane hits Springfield and among the buildings that are destroyed is Ned's house. Ned's neighbors and friends all try to rebuild his home (led by Homer), but fail miserably. The sudden destruction of his home and the horribly failed attempt to rebuild it are what finally drives Ned to really lose it. He snaps at almost everyone in Springfield and goes on a long, mean, spiteful, and extremely loud rant about how horrible and annoying he thinks that everyone in Springfield is and why he thinks so. Homer is the last person that Ned comes to and when he does, instead of shouting at Homer like how he did to everyone else, Ned just in a calm voice tells Homer that he's the worst person that he has ever met. Homer, however due to his low IQ is not offended or even hurt by the remark. After the long, tiresome rant, Ned sees that he really needs help and drives himself to The Calmwood Mental Hospital. The episode ends with Ned's former childhood doctor, Doctor Foster, coming to see him and explain that as a child Ned was an uncontrollable hellion due to his parents being beatniks who never punished him when he was bad. Seeking help for their son's destructive behavior, they had Doctor Foster distribute a treatment known as the University of Minnesota Spankalogical Protocol. The treatment was a non-stop eight-month spanking technique that was supposed to stop a child's bad behavior permanently. However, according to Doctor Foster, the treatment later proved to have worked too well and in many cases, it caused severe repressed anger management issues in mid to late adulthood. To administer an outlet for this repressed rage, Doctor Foster has Ned think of somebody who really annoys him. At first, Ned can't come up with anybody, so the doctor tries a list of names of the town residents. Most of which Ned happily responds to. That is until they come to Homer. Homer is then brought in as a way to get Ned to admit that he does not always like everyone he meets. At first, the treatment doesn't seem to work until Homer tells Ned that he's too happy a person and always likes everyone. Ned gets really angry and says that it isn't true because he hates the people who work at the post office due to them being so slow and having to wait in long lines, he loathes beatniks and hates his parents who are beatniks. Ned is then cured and he learns that when he's seething with rage then he should let the others know.
In recent seasons following after Maude's death, Ned's demeanor has grown somewhat stern and hostile as opposed to his original jolly neighbor demeanor shown in earlier seasons. Some occasions to support this include mainly revolve around his "Flanderization" where he has become so Christianity-obsessed, that he would belittle other religions. One example would be in "The Monkey Suit", where Ned's fundamentalist intentions in enforcing creationism became so overzealous that it got Lisa thrown in jail when she went against it by teaching the theory of evolution in secrecy, after it was outlawed. In a lampshade to that episode in "Judge Me Tender", Ned deliberately stopped a fish from walking on land when it grew feet. Homer even goes to the point of saying, "You used to be nicer".
Despite his attempts at being a good Christian, as well as a good neighbor, most of his good deeds nevertheless end up exploited by the various Springfielders, and are often mocked by the townspeople behind his back for his naivety, zealousness, strict beliefs, and intolerance. This ultimately reached its breaking point when, after allowing two female college students to rent one of the rooms of his house for studying, they took advantage of his trusting nature and filmed a soft-core webcam site called "sexyslumberparty.com" without his knowledge. As soon as he learned of this from Homer, he angrily evicted them from his house, although the damage was already done when, thanks to Homer leaking the videos to the entire town, the townspeople arrive at his house around the time he evicted them to cheer on the girls, causing him to realize that the entire town actually mocked him behind his back, and he was even more shocked when he learned that Homer was the one who leaked the videos. He then entered a very deep depression due to this, and decided to have his family move temporarily to Humbleton, Pennsylvania where the Humbleton figurines that he collected were being made, and also posting a note stating that he left town.
Despite a meek outward appearance, Ned hides an exceptionally well-built physique under his pink shirt and green sweater combination. When he is revealed to be in his early 50's, Ned claims his deceptively youthful appearance is due to his conformity to the "three Cs" - "clean living, chewing thoroughly, and a daily dose of vitamin Church". According to many of the Springfield women, he is very handsome.
Both Ned and his family rarely refer to his mustache as such, preferring nicknames such as "Nose Neighbor," "Mr. Tickles," "The Soup Strainer," "The Cookie Duster," "The Pushbroom," and "Dr. Fuzzenstein." He once shaved it off, after Homer implied that people were mocking Ned's facial hair behind his back. He also once had it pulled off with a vacuum cleaner by Maude after Homer, who was thought to have leprosy, kissed Ned in gratitude for sending them to be treated. Ned's mustache would also affect his decision to move to the Humbleton, PA. After being hired at the town's Humble figurine manufacturing factory, Ned was ordered to shave his mustache, due to an unofficial ban on facial hair. Ned defiantly refused to shave his mustache for which he was labeled as a troublemaker. Interestingly, in one of the earliest references to Ned's facial hair, he shaved off his mustache without concern after Homer commented he should, and to strike a deal with Homer to please control his use of vulgarity as that was a bad influence on Todd. Homer is once again annoyed when he later sees a clean-shaven Flanders commenting that everyone likes his new appearance and he got the chance to star in a TV commercial.
Ned is a devout Christian. Ned's sons have been raised in a strict climate of Christian morality, to which they willingly conform. It is revealed that they "don't believe in flu shots", much as their father considers insurance to be a "form of gambling" and dice games to be "wicked." Rod and Todd go to bed several hours before sunset and are not allowed to consume sugar, (which is ironic because in the movie he gives them hot chocolate. Which you see through the window and then he makes one for Bart). But this could be to the fact only Maude imposed the no-sugar rule. Since her death, it is possible Ned has not seen an issue with sugar.
Most of the entertainment enjoyed by the family involves religion in some way. The family uses at least five different versions of the Bible to play "Bombardment...of Bible Questions!" ("The bridal feast of Beth Chadruharazzeb!?"), and are part of a competitive bowling team called the Holy Rollers (their uniform consisting of a Franciscan Friar's robes). Ned seems to sense that he cannot completely shield his family from the vagaries of popular culture, but does his best to mitigate the effects; one of his children's stories concludes "...and Harry Potter and all his wizard friends went straight to Hell for practicing witchcraft." Though they have satellite TV, nearly all of the 230 channels are blocked out — likely for the best, as one episode of Itchy & Scratchy was enough to more or less permanently scar Rod and Todd. Rod used to watch "Davey and Goliath", but finding the idea of talking dogs to be "blasphemous", he has since stopped.
Ned is willing to fight for what he believes in. For example, he once attempted to forcibly baptize the Simpson children, using his portable baptism kit, after finding out that they had never undergone the ritual. Ned once reminded himself to get his hand "re-blessed" after shaking a Catholic priest's hand (odd, considering he keeps a Latin Vulgate Bible in his home).
Despite occasional antipathy toward Catholicism, Judaism and Hinduism (he once compared worshiping Shiva to asking for help from Hawkman, and he fears that his children will grow up to become Jewish Hollywood producers), Ned is honest and sincere in carrying out the Christian doctrines of charity, kindness and compassion. He even admits (after a hurricane destroyed his home) that he has kept kosher just in case. He is frequently shown doing volunteer work, and is rigorously honest and upright, even going so far as to spend an entire day tracking down a Leftorium customer in order to give him the extra change that he had forgotten to hand over (à la Abraham Lincoln). Similarly, after winning football tickets by answering a radio trivia question, he immediately asked for the cash value so he could report it on his income taxes. He also is a good neighbor to the Simpsons, regularly offering his assistance — and then suffering the consequences often paid to those with misguided and shortsighted good intentions.
The Flanders Clan has members around the globe, who convened at the Flanders Family Reunion bible bashing BBQ. Relatives included Mexican José Flanders ("Buenos ding-dong-diddly días, señor") and English Lord Thistlewick Flanders ("Charmed... [he is prompted by Ned] ...a-googily-doogily").
Flanders is believed to have 3 younger sisters. Ned and family planned on moving in with one of them who lived in Capital City after the loss of their home and business in Springfield. He might also have a possible unnamed brother or stepbrother.
Ned has the odd habit of attaching "diddly," "doodly" and other nonsensical phrases to his sentences. "Hi-diddly-ho, neighborino," is a common example. This is the result of sublimated anger caused by his upbringing, anger which has no other outlet. This trait is, strangely, demonstrated by his relatives from around the world. However, one of his relatives; Lord Thistlewick Flanders, does not have this trait other than when pressured by Ned Flanders, which may imply that his relatives might just attach the trait when with Flanders. He also has the habit of saying "Okally-Dokally", when replying to someone - meaning OK. He might also occasionally add a "doo" on the end, for example... "Okally Dokally-Doo". This is more often than not repeated, when Homer tells him to "Shut up" or "Get lost and we don't need your help". He said "Son of a diddly!" in the episode Trilogy of Error.
His extreme prudishness makes him averse to saying "sex" aloud, even when there are no children in sight — he either spells it out or sheepishly calls it "doodily". Ned also uses the word "doodle", "Flander-doodle" or "shrinky-dink" when referring to his penis (ironically, he actually shouts "penis" while praying with his kids before eating at Krusty Burger after Bart lands on a window naked in front of him). He wears a bathing suit in the shower or when he takes a bath. He also uses annotated words, when referring to words that could slightly have a bad, injury related, or slightly offensive meaning. An example is when Bart and Homer are on the roof, and Bart is dangling from the guttering. He says the word "parapleig-orino" referring to parapleigic (a person paralyzed from the waist down). Nevertheless, Bart and Homer join a gay pride parade. Then they both reply "Shut up, Flanders..." His speech pattern once got him into trouble with Rex Banner, because the latter thought he was drunk during a time when prohibition was revived.
Ned worked as a salesperson in the pharmaceuticals industry for the bulk of his adult life. Having saved much of his earnings, Flanders announced during a barbecue he was throwing for his family and friends that he had quit his job and planned to invest the family's life savings into a new business. After burning his necktie, he proclaimed his intent to open a store in the Springfield Mall called The Leftorium, specializing in products for left-handed people including everything from left-handed can openers to an entirely left-handed car, of which only three were ever made. Many of the Leftorium's products are merely labeled as "left-handed," such as pens and nunchucks. He does not sell, however, left-handed eyelash curlers.
The Leftorium faces stiff competition from Leftopolis and Left-Mart. However, an unusually large proportion of Springfield's citizens are left-handed, including Bart Simpson, Mr. Burns, and Moe Szyslak.
Ned began an Internet company called Flancrest Enterprises (which deals in religious hook-rugs) and founded a Bible-themed amusement park called Praiseland, in honor of his late wife (that he would go to such lengths to fulfill her last wish is unsurprising, as Ned had previously exerted himself a great deal in order to avoid disappointing Maude — after accidentally killing Maude's prized ficus plant, he attempted to bury and secretly replace it rather than explain the situation). Ned also spent a stint as principal of Springfield Elementary School, replacing Seymour Skinner (Armin Tamzarian).
He, along with his late wife, also worked as a member of the Springfield Volunteer Fire Department, once saving Homer from his burning house. Because of his membership status, he also participates in Fire Safety Day at Springfield Elementary School, once doing an act trying to display the dangers of not taking care of Fire Safety where he acted completely different from himself for the role. He portrayed a pot-smoking, chain-smoking, hog-riding hippie party-goer named MadDog whom, after arriving back home with his girlfriend (played by Maude Flanders), who is also a pot-smoking hippie party-goer, they smoked a cigarette to "make the night complete." His girlfriend suggests that they get another smoke alarm in case their current one "tricks out on them" but MadDog refused as one was good enough for him before telling her that they should "hit the sack." While sleeping, MadDog accidentally drops his cigarette on his pants thus burning them. His girlfriend tries to warn him to stop, drop and roll, but he ignores it as he felt it was for clydes and that "a little fire won't hurt him." The performance turned out awry because Ned Flanders was forced to break character due to the fire spreading fast, and the usual method of stop drop and roll was not successful at all in putting out the fire, and had it not been for Bart Simpson's latest hijinx involving a hose and the gymnasium, he would have been burned alive.
Ned had a relationship with Sara Sloane for the craic. They later broke up and she married Bob Ballaban.
Friendship with Homer Simpson
Flanders personality makes him think of Homer as good and friendly, but although they are friends, Homer doesn't like Flanders that much even at times has envied Flanders for having a better lifestyle than him for example before Maude's death homer openly made flirtatious comments about Maude in front of Marge and that in The first three seasons that were focused on how Ned was doing well financially since he was a devout Christian, how his family are well behaved, and how they are more respected than the Simpsons whilst Homer was angry with that on account of the Simpsons being a struggling family, constantly getting in trouble with the law and are mocked by the public of Springfield. The financial issue was largely resolved in When Flanders Failed. Homer has often borrowed many of Ned's possessions, none of which he ever had any intention of returning in the first place. Homer tells Ned to "shut his stupid face" on a regular basis, and has even prayed for his ruin and death — "I've learned that life is one crushing defeat after another, until you just wish Flanders was dead." Ironically, at one time, Homer becomes Flanders' best friend, but becomes so annoying that Flanders starts to hate him, but eventually things go back to the way they were with no explanation as to why. Homer and Ned's relationship has been good on occasions, in which Homer seems to genuinely care for Ned, despite still expressing (and often acting on) feelings of loathing and envy. Examples of this include Homer comforting Ned following Maude's death (seconds after preparing to bash Ned's head in with a rock) largely due to Marge's insistence that the Simpson family must now be supportive of the Flanders family in wake of the tragic loss of Maude, and helping Ned build Praiseland Amusement Park. Despite their friendship, Homer wrote the song "Everybody Hates Ned Flanders," and even sang and produced it with David Byrnes. When Ned was embarrassed in front of the entire community after two young women who rented his house were found to be using it to film a racy website (which Homer helped spread), Ned moves away in shame. Homer genuinely misses Ned's absence, especially when a gruff, unneighborly man buys the house, and is overjoyed when Ned returns to Springfield. Homer and Ned became friends again when they got jobs as bounty hunters. In the recent episode I won't be home for Christmas, Homer sees Flanders selling things for his Leftorium. Homer asks Ned how he stays so happy and Ned says that God and his family are all he has left since Edna died. Ned starts crying after all the misfortune he suffered and because his business is failing. Homer then buys something from his store to make him feel better, showing the true friendship between Homer and Flanders. Homer has correlation with the deaths of both of Ned’s wives, when he got Maude knocked over a top row of bleachers by t-shirts, and apparently hitting Edna Krabappel with his car.
Friendship with Bart Simpson
His friendship with Bart began in The Simpsons Movie. When Bart becomes a camper, he would seem to have taken a liking to his head camper, Ned Flanders. During a time when Homer was being an exceptionally bad father, Ned was his surrogate. This is shown by Bart talking in Flanders normal diddly-doodily fashion. However, Ned reassures Bart that Homer is his true father, and that Bart must be a receptive son in order to help Homer be a concerned father during Springfield's darkest hour.
Ned Flanders is irritatingly optimistic and cheerful. Religion has removed all gray areas in life for him, so he and his family live secure, knowing that the ultimate safety net that is Heaven awaits for them. Ned believes the Bible has all the answers. Sometimes as many as two or three very different ones for the same question. His constant fretting over every rule Biblical rule exasperates even the bland Rev. Lovejoy. Ned keeps kosher "just on the safe side." This Starkly contrasts to his upbringing as Ned's parents lived like freaky beatniks without believing in any rules. As a result, Ned learn to repress all his anger and learned turn the other cheek. And, with Homer Simpson as a neighbor. Ned has had to turn every cheek on his body.
Ned's special calling is to make the world a better place for the left-handed. To this end, he owns and operates The Leftorium down at the Springfield Mall. His volunteerism extends into the community, whereas a member of the junior campers, sponsored a Spongebath the Old Folks Day. Before she fell to her death at the race track, Ned's relationship with his wife Maude had been unabashedly corny and romantic-he once serenaded her dressed as an ornate heart-shaped box of candy. The one fracture in their practically perfect union occurred when Maude underlined passages in Ned's Bible.
In spite of Maude's untimely demise, Ned, Rod, and Todd are a model family in nearly every way. Consequently, they are regarded as an unsettling curiosity by nearly everyone, and as a very personal annoyance by Homer. Everything the Simpsons have or do, the Flanders have a little more or do a little better. In "Land Behemoth", for instance, Flanders motor home is bigger than Homer's motor home, and in "Propane Elaine," Ned's grill is more expensive than Homer's grill. The exceptions to this rule are the things in the Simpson household that Homer has "borrowed" from Flanders, more or less permanently. But don't think that the relationship between the families is one-sided. There is some give with all they take. Though Homer's example, Todd Flanders has learned to curse.
The Flanders family members constantly help each other out as study-buddies, pray-partners, and stratego-amigos. Together, they enjoy bible stories, taffy pull, flag ceremonies, and cable TV, though they've locked out all the channels, except the religious ones. Their home is tailored to reflect their religious beliefs with such items as Shroud of Turin beach towels, Lot's Wife salt shakers, and a doorbell that rings "Kumbaya". In short, the Flanders family strive to do everything the Bible says, even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff.
Treehouse of Horror
In the "Treehouse of Horror IV" segment "The Devil and Homer Simpson", Flanders appeared as the devil in front of Homer Simpson (quoted by Flanders, "It's always the one you least expect!") and when he comes to claim Homer's soul, he and Bart exchange casual greetings. He acts as the "unquestioned Lord and Master of the world" (in a parallel universe) in a segment in "Treehouse of Horror V", he instituted Orwellian "Re-Neducation" facilities for those with impure thoughts culminating in frontal lobotomies. In other Halloween episodes, he proclaimed his preference for "wanton carnality" as an early Pilgrim immigrant to the New World, only to be vetoed by Maude; been transformed into a werewolf; been murdered by Homer Simpson (who used the rise of a zombie horde as an excuse for killing him) (Homer Simpson: "He was a zombie?"— Homer didn't care if Ned was actually zombie or not), a clone of Homer Simpson, and an evil bus-gremlin whom he attempted to adopt. In the opening of "Treehouse of Horror XXX", when Ned sees Maggie's devilish abilities and attempts to kill her at a abandoned church, Homer and Marge try to stop him, but Ned shows them that Maggie 'bears the mark of the beast'. He shows, under her hair, a mark that looks like Mickey Mouse. This is the wrong mark, however, and the real mark is the numbers '666', the number of the Devil. Before Ned can kill Maggie, she rises in the air, and breaks open the roof of the church. Homer states that Maggie still better than another boy, and all three of them get giant wooden stakes through their hearts.
In "Bart to the Future", Bart sees his own future. Ned is seen blind, revealing that he received laser eye surgery, which was great at the beginning, but after the 10-year-point, your eyes fall out. He often bails Bart out with money as a way of thanking him for not "outing" Rod and Todd.
In "Holidays of Future Passed", Ned is shown to have his eyes and is shown to still be Homer's happy neighbor. He also stated that Edna was killed by Homer and Ned is shown to be married with Maude's ghost.
In "Flanders' Ladder", he marries several women in Springfield including Marge.
The Simpsons Road Rage
In The Simpsons Road Rage, Ned Flanders is a driver that you can unlock. While not being played, he is a passenger.
The Simpsons Game
Ned was an unlockable character in Simpsons Wrestling. His special moves are summoning lightning and he can get up once after being pinned.
Behind the Laughter
The writers found Harry Shearer's voice for Flanders so sweet that they decided to make the character a Christian.
Ned Flanders, who was designed by Rich Moore, first appeared in the season one episode "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire". The episode was the series premiere, but not the first episode produced. The first episode in which Flanders and his family were prominent is season two's "Dead Putting Society", which also contained the first appearance of Maude and Rod Flanders. Flanders was named after Flanders St. in Portland, Oregon, the hometown of Simpsons creator Matt Groening. Groening described the inspiration for Flanders as "just a guy who was truly nice, that Homer had no justifiable reason to loathe, but then did". It was not until after the first few episodes that it was decided Flanders would be a faithful Christian. Mike Scully noted that Flanders is "everything Homer would love to be, although he'll never admit it". Flanders had been meant to be just a neighbor that Homer was jealous of, but Harry Shearer used "such a sweet voice" and Flanders was broadened to become a Christian and a sweet guy that someone would prefer to live next to Homer. Flanders is known for his nonsensical jabbering, and his first use of the word "diddly" was in "The Call of the Simpsons".
Ned Flanders was not religious in his first few appearances and in the first few seasons he was only mildly religious and his primary role was to be so "cloyingly perfect as to annoy and shame the Simpsons", whereas Homer Simpson has always hated Ned Flanders and always tries to undermine him. There has been a consistent effort among the show's writers to make him not just "goody good and an unsympathetic person". In the later seasons, Flanders has become more of a caricature of the Christian right, and his role as an irritating "perfect neighbor" has been lessened.
Ned's store "The Leftorium" first appeared in "When Flanders Failed". It was suggested by George Meyer, who had had a friend who had owned a left-handed specialty store that failed. The episode "Hurricane Neddy" shows Ned's faith being tested and the writers also used the episode as a chance to examine what makes him tick.
There have been two occasions where Flanders was not voiced by Harry Shearer. In "Bart of Darkness", Flanders's high pitched scream was performed by Tress MacNeille and in "Homer to the Max", Flanders comments about cartoons being easily able to change voice actors and on that occasion he was voiced by Karl Wiedergott.
The Adventures of Ned Flanders
"The Adventures of Ned Flanders" was a short that appeared at the end of the episode "The Front". Entitled Love that God, it highlights the Flanderses' dedication to religion and perfect family niceness, yet again. Ned nearly scolds Rod and Todd, who are busy praying, after they refuse to get ready for church — only to be told that it is, in fact, a Saturday. Ned laughs at his mistake with a trademark "Okily-dokily!" According to commentary on 22 Short Films About Springfield, The Simpsons team wanted to do more "Adventures of Ned Flanders" shorts. Time limitations have prevented them from producing more. Ironically, the reason why "The Adventures of Ned Flanders" was first conceived was that they couldn't expand the episode to fill up the remaining time gap.
Influence Outside Simpsons
In January and February 2001, Ned's influence among the American evangelical community was recognized in Christian Century and Billy Graham's Christianity Today.
- A self-referenced joke in the episode "Homer to the Max" he was voiced by Karl Wiedergott, at the time where the voice actors for the Simpsons got low salaries from FOX, and FOX threatened to replace them with new voice actors.
- Montreal Canadiens goalie Peter Budaj has a picture of Ned Flanders on his mask.
- Ned's ATM number is 5316.
- Ned's blood type is B-positive.
- Ned is often compared to Job (of the Bible) as he is a devoted Christian, and has his faith tested, multiple times, like his house getting destroyed, and his wife's untimely death, but he still ultimately believes in God.
- Ironically, Ned is usually portrayed as the Devil in Halloween episodes because one of the Devil's names is 'Old Ned'.
- A running gag in the series is Homer telling Flanders to shut up.
- His favorite Popsicle flavor is plain.
- He resembles the Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band version of Beatle John Lennon.
- Ned and Edna's relationship was determined by the viewers of The Simpsons.
- He is the only resident in Springfield who has not seen Meet the Parents.
- He believes people should face the worst punishment in Hell for thinking women are beautiful.
- In Treehouse of Horror XIV (Frinkenstein), he states "I'm running to find a cure for homosexuality" stating that he believes homosexuality is a mental disorder rather than something you are born with.
- Although he isn't the uncle to him, Bart has called him "Uncle Ned" in the episode "Fland Canyon".
- Flanders has an exorcism kit. He told the kids to get it out in the episode Brother's Little Helper.
- Ned makes a cameo in the Harvest Moon manga as one of the protesters led by Mayor Theodore to stop the construction of the forest.
- During the first thirteen seasons, the cuffs at the end of his sleeves sometimes varied between green and pink (though green was more common). However, since the show switched to digital ink and paint in Season 14, the cuffs have consistently been green.
Everybody Loves Ned Flanders
From "The Front":
Hens love roosters.
Geese love ganders.
Everyone else loves Ned Flanders!
Homer: Not me. Chorus: Everyone who counts loves Ned Flanders!
- organ plays*
Flanders: Knock that off, you two. It's time for church.
Todd: We're not going to church today.
Flanders: (gasps) What? You give me one good reason!
Rod: It's Saturday.
Flanders: (chuckles) Okelly-dokelly-do!
Hens love roosters.
Geese love ganders.
Everyone else loves Ned Flanders!
From "Ned 'N Edna's Blend":
Hens love roosters.
Geese love ganders.
Everyone else loves Ned Flanders!
Ned: My mustache is grizzly,
My letters are dissly,
And I don't wanna missly you,
I'd like to hug and kissly.
Ned: First base, yo.
I like Christian rap,
A bible on my lap.
Homer: Will you stop this stupid crap?
I want to take a nap!
|The Simpsons: Season One|
|"Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire":||"Bart the Genius":||"Homer's Odyssey":||"There's No Disgrace Like Home":||"Bart the General":|
|"Moaning Lisa":||"The Call of the Simpsons":||"The Telltale Head":||"Life on the Fast Lane":||"Homer's Night Out":|
|"The Crepes of Wrath":||"Krusty Gets Busted":||"Some Enchanted Evening":|
|The Simpsons: Season Two|
|"Bart Gets an "F"":||"Simpson and Delilah":||"Treehouse of Horror":||"Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish":||"Dancin' Homer":|
|"Dead Putting Society":||"Bart vs. Thanksgiving":||"Bart the Daredevil":||"Itchy & Scratchy & Marge":||"Bart Gets Hit by a Car":|
|"One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish":||"The Way We Was":||"Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment":||"Principal Charming":||"Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?":|
|"Bart's Dog Gets an F":||"Old Money":||"Brush with Greatness":||"Lisa's Substitute":||"The War of the Simpsons":|
|"Three Men and a Comic Book":||"Blood Feud":|
|The Simpsons: Season Three|
|"Stark Raving Dad":||"Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington":||"When Flanders Failed":||"Bart the Murderer":||"Homer Defined":|
|"Like Father, Like Clown":||"Treehouse of Horror II":||"Lisa's Pony":||"Saturdays of Thunder":||"Flaming Moe's":|
|"Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk":||"I Married Marge":||"Radio Bart":||"Lisa the Greek":||"Homer Alone":|
|"Bart the Lover":||"Homer at the Bat":||"Separate Vocations":||"Dog of Death":||"Colonel Homer":|
|"Black Widower":||"The Otto Show":||"Bart's Friend Falls in Love":||"Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?":|
|The Simpsons: Season Four|
|"Kamp Krusty":||"A Streetcar Named Marge":||"Homer the Heretic":||"Lisa the Beauty Queen":||"Treehouse of Horror III":|
|"Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie":||"Marge Gets a Job":||"New Kid on the Block":||"Mr. Plow":||"Lisa's First Word":|
|"Homer's Triple Bypass":||"Marge vs. the Monorail":||"Selma's Choice":||"Brother from the Same Planet":||"I Love Lisa":|
|"Duffless":||"Last Exit to Springfield":||"So It's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show":||"The Front":||"Whacking Day":|
|"Marge in Chains":||"Krusty Gets Kancelled":|
|The Simpsons: Season Five|
|"Homer's Barbershop Quartet":||"Cape Feare":||"Homer Goes to College":||"Rosebud":||"Treehouse of Horror IV":|
|"Marge on the Lam":||"Bart's Inner Child":||"Boy-Scoutz 'n the Hood":||"The Last Temptation of Homer":||"$pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)":|
|"Homer the Vigilante":||"Bart Gets Famous":||"Homer and Apu":||"Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy":||"Deep Space Homer":|
|"Homer Loves Flanders":||"Bart Gets an Elephant":||"Burns' Heir":||"Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song":||"The Boy Who Knew Too Much":|
|"Lady Bouvier's Lover":||"Secrets of a Successful Marriage":|
|The Simpsons: Season Six|
|"Bart of Darkness":||"Lisa's Rival":||"Another Simpsons Clip Show":||"Itchy & Scratchy Land":||"Sideshow Bob Roberts":|
|"Treehouse of Horror V":||"Bart's Girlfriend":||"Lisa on Ice":||"Homer Badman":||"Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy":|
|"Fear of Flying":||"Homer the Great":||"And Maggie Makes Three":||"Bart's Comet":||"Homie the Clown":|
|"Bart vs. Australia":||"Homer vs. Patty and Selma":||"A Star is Burns":||"Lisa's Wedding":||"Two Dozen and One Greyhounds":|
|"The PTA Disbands":||"'Round Springfield":||"The Springfield Connection":||"Lemon of Troy":||"Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part One)":|
|The Simpsons: Season Seven|
|"Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part Two)":||"Radioactive Man":||"Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily":||"Bart Sells His Soul":||"Lisa the Vegetarian":|
|"Treehouse of Horror VI":||"King-Size Homer":||"Mother Simpson":||"Sideshow Bob's Last Gleaming":||"The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular":|
|"Marge Be Not Proud":||"Team Homer":||"Two Bad Neighbors":||"Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield":||"Bart the Fink":|
|"Lisa The Iconoclast":||"Homer The Smithers":||"The Day The Violence Died":||"A Fish Called Selma":||"Bart on the Road":|
|"22 Short Films About Springfield":||"Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in "The Curse of the Flying Hellfish"":||"Much Apu About Nothing":||"Homerpalooza":||"Summer of 4 Ft. 2":|
|The Simpsons: Season Eight|
|"Treehouse of Horror VII":||"You Only Move Twice":||"The Homer They Fall":||"Burns, Baby Burns":||"Bart After Dark":|
|"A Milhouse Divided":||"Lisa's Date with Density":||"Hurricane Neddy":||"El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer)":||"The Springfield Files":|
|"The Twisted World of Marge Simpson":||"Mountain of Madness":||"Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious":||"The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show":||"Homer's Phobia":|
|"Brother from Another Series":||"My Sister, My Sitter":||"Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment":||"Grade School Confidential":||"The Canine Mutiny":|
|"The Old Man and the Lisa":||"In Marge We Trust":||"Homer's Enemy":||"The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase":||"The Secret War of Lisa Simpson":|
|The Simpsons: Season Nine|
|"The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson":||"The Principal and the Pauper":||"Lisa's Sax":||"Treehouse of Horror VIII":||"The Cartridge Family":|
|"Bart Star":||"The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons":||"Lisa the Skeptic":||"Realty Bites":||"Miracle on Evergreen Terrace":|
|"All Singing, All Dancing":||"Bart Carny":||"The Joy of Sect":||"Das Bus":||"The Last Temptation of Krust":|
|"Dumbbell Indemnity":||"Lisa the Simpson":||"This Little Wiggy":||"Simpson Tide":||"The Trouble with Trillions":|
|"Girly Edition":||"Trash of the Titans":||"King of the Hill":||"Lost Our Lisa":||"Natural Born Kissers":|
|The Simpsons: Season Ten|
|"Lard of the Dance":||"The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace":||"Bart the Mother":||"Treehouse of Horror IX":||"When You Dish Upon a Star":|
|"D'oh-in' in the Wind":||"Lisa Gets an "A"":||"Homer Simpson in: "Kidney Trouble"":||"Mayored to the Mob":||"Viva Ned Flanders":|
|"Wild Barts Can't Be Broken":||"Sunday, Cruddy Sunday":||"Homer to the Max":||"I'm with Cupid":||"Marge Simpson in: "Screaming Yellow Honkers"":|
|"Make Room for Lisa":||"Maximum Homerdrive":||"Simpsons Bible Stories":||"Mom and Pop Art":||"The Old Man and the "C" Student":|
|"Monty Can't Buy Me Love":||"They Saved Lisa's Brain":||"Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo":|
- Lisa's First Word
- Homer's Triple Bypass
- The Trouble with Trillions
- In Marge We Trust
- Midnight Rx
- Brother's Little Helper
- D'oh-in' in the Wind
- The Monkey Suit
- The Squirt and the Whale
- Viva Ned Flanders
- Home Away from Homer
- The Computer Wore Menace Shoes
- The Father, the Son and the Holy Guest Star
- Burns, Baby Burns
- Das Bus
- When Flanders Failed
- It reflects the greeting of the Gordon Hathaway recurring character on the Steve Allen Show, with his arch "Hi-ho, Steverino!"
- The Simpsons Movie
- Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment
- When Flanders Failed
- Homer the Heretic
- Homer Loves Flanders
- Looking For Mr. Goodbart
- Hurricane Neddy
- Alone Again, Natura-Diddily
|Ned Flanders ● Maude Flanders ● Rod Flanders ● Todd Flanders ● Agnes Flanders ● Nedsel Flanders ● Grandma Flanders ● Lord Thistlewick Flanders ● José Flanders ● Ginger Flanders ● Commander Flanders ● Ted Flanders ● Bonnie Flanders ● Connie Flanders ● Edna Krabappel ● Maude Flanders' grandmother ● Neduchadnezzar Flanders ● Sir Nederick Flanders ● Augusta Flanders ● Bart Simpson ● Commander Flanders|
The Simpsons Characters
|The Simpsons and relatives|
|Homer Simpson • Marge Simpson • Bart Simpson • Lisa Simpson • Maggie Simpson|
Santa's Little Helper • Snowball II • Abraham Simpson • Patty Bouvier • Selma Bouvier • Mona Simpson • Jacqueline Bouvier • Ling Bouvier • Herb Powell
|Jasper Beardly • Comic Book Guy • Barney Gumble • Maude Flanders • Ned Flanders • Professor Frink • Gil Gunderson • Julius Hibbert • Lionel Hutz • Helen Lovejoy • Reverend Timothy Lovejoy • Captain Horatio McCallister • Akira • Hans Moleman • Marvin Monroe • Bleeding Gums Murphy • Apu Nahasapeemapetilon • Mayor Joe Quimby • Dr. Nick Riviera • Agnes Skinner • Cletus Spuckler • Disco Stu • Squeaky-Voiced Teen • Moe Szyslak • Sam and Larry • Kirk Van Houten • Luann Van Houten • Clancy Wiggum • Eddie • Lou • Crazy Cat Lady • Lindsey Naegle • Cookie Kwan • Wiseguy • Brandine Spuckler • The Yes Guy • Sanjay Nahasapeemapetilon • Blue-haired Lawyer • Judge Roy Snyder • Rich Texan • Luigi Risotto • Old Jewish Man • Mrs. Glick|
|Itchy & Scratchy • Kent Brockman • Krusty the Clown • Troy McClure • Sideshow Mel • Rainier Wolfcastle | Arnie Pye • Radioactive Man • Duffman • Bumblebee Man • Bill and Marty • Drederick Tatum • Mr. Teeny • Scott Christian • Booberella • Gabbo • Lurleen Lumpkin • Celebrities|
|Springfield Elementary School faculty and students|
|Superintendant Chalmers • Seymour Skinner • Edna Krabappel • Elizabeth Hoover • Groundskeeper Willie • Otto Mann • Lunchlady Doris • Dewey Largo • Dr. J. Loren Pyror • Milhouse Van Houten • Ralph Wiggum • Nelson Muntz • Martin Prince • Rod Flanders • Todd Flanders • Sherri and Terri • Wendell Borton • Database • Jimbo Jones • Kearney Zzyzwicz • Dolph Starbeam • Üter Zörker • Janey Powell • Lewis • Richard • Bashir bin Laden|
|Springfield Nuclear Power Plant|
|Charles Montgomery Burns • Waylon Smithers • Carl Carlson • Lenny Leonard • Charlie • Blinky|
|Snake Jailbird • Kang & Kodos • Herman • Sideshow Bob • Fat Tony • Frankie the Squealer • Johnny Tightlips • Legs and Louie|
|The Simpsons • The Bouviers • The Flanders • The Van Houtens • The Wiggums|
|Fictional characters • One-Time Characters • LGBT characters • Parodied celebrities • Animals|