The Ned-Liest Catch
|"The Ned-Liest Catch"|
|The Simpsons episode|
|Directed by||Chuck Sheetz|
|Written by||Jeff Westbrook|
|Original air date||May 22, 2011|
"The Ned-Liest Catch" is the twenty-second episode and season finale of the twenty-second season of The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 22, 2011. This is the second season finale to end on a cliffhanger, with the first being "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" from the sixth season. It is the third episode and the second one from season 22 (the other being the "The Great Simpsina") to have no opening credits, blackboard or couch gag.[note 1]
Edna Krabappel is suspended from teaching by Superintendent Chalmers after Bart pulls a prank that leads Edna to slap him twice on the back of the head. Chalmers tells Edna she is suspended with full pay, but will have to report to a rubber room where teachers spend agonizing days waiting until their fates are decided. Bart feels guilty about his behavior and helps Edna escape detention. When she uses a ladder outside the window to leave the building, it collapses but Ned Flanders winds up catching and saving her.
Ned and Edna start dating, and Edna is on top of the world when she learns she can return to teaching as long as she also does some weekend work as a prison guard. Fed up with Homer and Bart's attitudes towards Edna and Ned's romance, Marge shames Homer into putting in some good words about Edna with Ned. Homer takes Ned to Moe's and when he sees that Ned truly does love Edna, he actually does what Marge asked him to and praises their relationship. Unfortunately, he then makes a reference to Edna's extensive dating history, and Ned is surprised that she has been with many of Springfield's men, including Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer. Ned is furious at Homer for doing this, wrongly thinking Homer was trying to ruin his relationship, and he runs away in horror from Edna and gives Homer the silent treatment until Homer makes some points that make Ned think. Ned then tells Edna he forgives her past, but Edna angrily tells him off by saying that she is not sorry about her past and does not want or need his approval - she only wants to date him again. She then tells him that, if they are going to stay together, her past must never get in their way. Ned gasps and says "I guess this is gonna have to be decided... by a higher power." As soon as he says this, the image of him and Edna freezes and zooms out and Homer and Marge walk on screen.
The episode and the season ends on a cliffhanger with Homer and Marge giving a link to TheSimpsons.com and encouraging viewers to vote on whether Ned and Edna should stay together. The results were revealed during the first episode of the 23rd season, making this the second cliffhanger episode of The Simpsons.[note 2] The cliffhanger was resolved the next year by revealing Ned and Edna were still a couple, as the real-world poll overwhelmingly voted to keep them together.
On The Simpsons, when characters become couples, they usually break up at the end of the episodes. Executive producer Al Jean said in an interview that the writers decided it would not be interesting for them to do another episode where a relationship ended, and they thought it would be interesting "to see what people think, [...] the Internet certainly has a lot of opinion on the show, might as well have them have their say." When asked why the writers thought Ned and Edna were the right characters for a cliffhanger like this, Jean said that "In life, unusual things happen. People couple together in ways you would not expect, and he's single and she's single. We thought it would be funny, the fact that they both have these connections to the Simpsons but they never really met or if they have met it was minimal."
In its original American broadcast, "The Ned-Liest Catch" was viewed by an estimated 5.25 million households and received a 2.5 rating/7% share among adults between the ages of 18 and 49.[note 3] The episode stayed even with the ratings from the previous episode, "500 Keys".
Reruns have features an alternate version of the episode's credits, which feature Marge saying that if the viewer is watching in reruns or on a DVD, it's too late to vote. Homer then insults the show's viewers: "Fans like you we don't need." Marge corrects him, saying there is plenty for the fans to check out on TheSimpsons.com "unless there's no more Internet." "Put the next DVD in the machine ... and find out how the once great human race voted about a teacher dating a neighbor."
Following the October 2013 death of Marcia Wallace, Fox paid tribute to her with a re-broadcast of "The Ned-Liest Catch" preceding the premiere of "Four Regrettings and a Funeral"; the latter's chalkboard gag consisted of a single "We'll really miss you Mrs. K".
- "'Simpsons' Fans Play Cupid For New Springfield Couple 'Nedna'". accesshollywood.com. NBC Universal, Inc. May 20, 2011. Retrieved June 1, 2011.
- Fienberg, Daniel. "Watch: Al Jean talks Season 23 of 'The Simpsons'". HitFix. Retrieved 2011-09-27.
- Gorman, Bill (2011-05-24). "Sunday Final Ratings: 'Billboard Music Awards,' 'Celebrity Apprentice,' 'Funniest Videos,' 'Family Guy,' 'American Dad,' '60 Minutes' Adjusted Up - Ratings | TVbytheNumbers". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
- Seidman, Robert (2011-05-13). "TV Ratings Sunday: 'Survivor' Finale Trumps 'Desperate Housewives' Finale, Trump and Everything Else - Ratings". TVbytheNumbers. Zap2it. Retrieved 2011-05-17.
- "The Simpsons pays tribute to late actress Marcia Wallace". BBC News. 4 November 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-05.
Sunday's edition of The Simpsons was preceded on the Fox channel in the US by a re-run of 2011 episode The Ned-liest Catch. Wallace appeared in 178 episodes in all, voicing grumpy fourth-grade teacher Edna in all but three of them. The actress's death was confirmed on 26 October by The Simpsons' executive producer Al Jean, who said she had been 'brilliant and gracious'. 'She was beloved by all at The Simpsons and we intend to retire her irreplaceable character,' he said in a message on Facebook."