Sunday's new "Simpsons" episode began with a pair of tributes to Marcia Wallace, who voiced long-suffering teacher Edna Krabappel and passed away last week at the age of 70.
Bart scrawled a poignant "We'll really miss you Mrs. K" on his chalkboard, and the episode also had an "in memoriam" card for Edna before the credits, featuring her trademark laugh:
As tributes go, the blackboard gag and the tribute card are wonderful remembrances of one of the most enduring "Simpsons" characters and the amazing woman who voiced her.
Plus, Fox honored Wallace (and Mrs. Krabappel) by re-airing a special Edna-centric episode before last night's new episode: 2011's "The Ned-Liest Catch," where Edna falls in love with Ned Flanders.
“The Ned-Liest Catch,” for those who don't remember (there's no shame in it; plenty of “Simpsons” die-hards have been known to miss an episode or two, or sometimes entire seasons), was the last episode of Season 22. Bart's antics cause Edna to be sent to a “holding facility” where, during her escape, she literally falls into the arms of Ned Flanders.
A romance blossoms, but Ned grows uncomfortable when he finds out how many men she's been with. (Even Joey Kramer, the drummer for Aerosmith, has spent time with Edna. He makes a guest appearance as himself in the episode, calling back a joke made back in Season 3.)
In typical Ned fashion, he timidly approaches the question of exactly how many men. “I was just wondering how many boxes of staples I should order for the store. Does 10 sound like a lot to you? 20? 50? What does sound like a lot to you?”
The real joy of the episode is that, rather than being ashamed of her liaisons, Edna's proud of them (well, maybe not Comic Book Guy), and she stands up to Ned's disapproval. In the end, the producers left it up to an Internet vote to determine whether or not they stayed together. The next season's opener revealed that, in fact, they married in secret (which, again, you can be forgiven for not knowing).
The character of Edna Krabappel will be retired, but Wallace had already voiced the entirety of next season's episodes, so we'll get to spend a little more time with her before she disappears into syndication completely.
"The Simpsons" airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Fox.