While there is much debate over the quality of this generation’s Simpsons episodes, fans of the show, both current and former, were united in their respect for much loved voice artist Marcia Wallace, who recently passed away.
Last week’s new Simpsons outing, an otherwise relatively bland affair involving another reprise by Kelsey Grammar as Sideshow Bob, officially laid Marcia’s beloved alter ego, Edna Krabappel, to rest, in a surprisingly apt and touching closing scene.
Mrs Krabappel has been a constant in The Simpsons since its early conception and, over the years, the writers and Marcia managed to create a complex and layered character, riddled with flaws, but who was ultimately a warm hearted person. Edna was a sour, sarcastic and pessimistic teacher, who had lost her passion for her vocation long ago. But as we delved deeper into her barbed psyche, we discovered a lonely character, desperate for affection who, beneath her bitter exterior, showed lovely moments of genuinely caring for her students; even mortal nemesis Bart.
Despite the criticisms the show has come in for in the past few years, there is no denying that The Simpsons appeals to a broad base of fans and it is characters like Edna, who can make you howl with laughter one moment and shed a tear in another, who are the glue to the show. The scene in which Ned Flanders commented that he would miss her trademark “Ha!” laugh, really hit home that here was a genuinely superb character who we were not going to see again.
Naturally I am glad that the decision was taken to retire Edna rather than recast. I simply cant imagine anyone else managing to capture the sheer sassiness and cutting edge of Krabappel.
We first scraped away her initial cold exterior to discover her true colours in The Simpsons’ highest rated episode of all time, ‘Bart Gets an F.’ The episode followed Bart who, under threat of being kept behind a grade, had to avoid the temptations of a snow day and study like never before. Naturally, he failed, and his emotions collapsed as Edna prepared to write a big, red F on his work. In a wonderfully touching moment that is rare to be seen in an animation, she spared him the failure when he made mention of George Washington, prompting him to plant a big kiss on her cheek. Since that moment, Edna and Bart had a long running love/hate relationship with regular classroom barbs being interspersed with rare unions including Bart helping to keep Edna’s affair with Principal Skinner a secret and getting an insight into Edna’s loneliness when he made up a prank boyfriend and endeavoured to fix the damage after developing a conscience.
Edna went on to embark on relationships with the dreary Principal and the do gooder Ned Flanders, neither of whom managed to completely dilute her sassiness. For Edna was never a settling down type, and her closing moments pay tribute to that perfectly. In fact, her early quote served as an accurate prediction to her life: “Don’t worry children. Most of you will never fall in love but will marry out of fear of dying alone.”
Which takes me on to close my post with some of Edna’s and Marcia’s expertly delivered infamous lines. Please feel free to share any of your own favourite memories of Edna K in the comments section below.
Edna’s Best Quotes:
“You know why they call it a choir? Because choir we listening to this crap!?”
“These tests will have no effect on your grades. They merely determine your future social status and financial success…if any.”
“Bart, are those licquor bottles!? Take those to the teachers’ lounge. You can have what’s left at the end of the day.”
“I don’t entertain much. Usually it’s soup for one, salad for one, wine for three.”
“Your education is important. Roman numerals etc. Whatever. I tried.”
And finally, when watching a sex education film with her class…“Pffft she’s faking!”
Classy to the very end, Mrs K!
Written by Our Man In The North