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Tania is currently the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Hudsucker, and Senior Editor at the Nashville, Tennessee based PopCulture.com. With past writing and editing credits with Womanista, Quietly, the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) and NBC Newsvine, she is currently a member of Indianapolis based, Society of Professional Journalists — one of the oldest organizations in the U.S. that promotes and represents journalists. She is an avid Indianapolis Colts, Elvis Presley and baseball fan as well as a lover of pancakes and fine cheeses, film, and music. Tania is a Hoosier at heart with a passionate wanderlust for always traveling and giving back to those in her community. She is currently studying at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Follow Tania on Twitter: @westlifebunny.

The Simpsons Say Goodbye to Mrs. Krabappel with Chalkboard Gag

Image Credit: FOX/Matt Groening

Image Credit: FOX/Matt Groening

Sunday night’s episode of The Simpsons paid heartfelt tribute to actress, Marcia Wallace who passed away last weekend. Wallace, who is best known for playing Springfield Elementary teacher Edna Krabappel on the animated sitcom, may be the only teacher in television history to have the same student–Bart Simpson–for 24 years. While she gives the delinquent lines to write on the chalkboard at the start of every episode’s opening credits as disciplinary action to his hi-jinks, last night’s episode (coincidentally titled “4 Regrettings and a Funeral”) showed us an incredibly heartbreaking moment between student and teacher, as Bart took a moment to grieve in a few words written in chalk upon the loss of the show’s beloved character.

“We’ll really miss you Mrs. K.” Words written on a chalkboard that have tremendous meaning to not just Bart, Ned Flanders (her second husband), and a slew of other ‘Springfieldians’, but a whole generation of fans who truly love and admire the show. Marcia Wallace, who was gravely ill as per reports from representatives at The Simpsons, passed away last week at the age of 70 from complications of pneumonia. She was described by producer Al Jean as “brilliant and gracious,” and goes onto sharing how the fiery red-headed actress was loved by all at the show. They intend to retire her irreplaceable character after the show runs out of pre-recorded dialogue despite rumors prior to her death regarding a story line involving Edna’s passing.

Image Credit: Associated Press/Reuters/FOX Broadcasting

It has been a heartbreaking tradition for The Simpsons to simply retire characters whose voice actors have passed away. It happened several times on the set of the long-running show, with the most known instance belonging to the passing of Phil Hartman in 1998. Hartman voiced the pretty boy actor, Troy McClure and sleazy lawyer, Lionel Hutz.  Actress Doris Grau, responsible for the voice of Lunchlady Doris was retired nearly a decade after Grau’s passing in 1995 but made brief appearances on the show since 2006 with Tress MacNeille as the voice.

Yeardley Smith (voice of Lisa Simpson) went to Twitter to share with fans and followers her love for Wallace, calling her hilarious, kind, and fab; going on to saying how, “Heaven is now a much funnier place because of you.” Smith later expressed a few days later on her Tumblr what work felt like after being back from the sad news of her friend’s passing:

So there we were going scene by scene, ever-mindful that Mrs. Krabapple was in the table-draft of the script on Thursday and, due to the tragic circumstances of Marcia’s passing, written out of over the weekend. That’s just weird, people, and there’s no way to prepare for it. The only saving grace is that the weirdness brought giggles and tears as we shared funny memories of Marcia and expressed our gratitude that she was in our lives and part of our show. And then as I listened to Dan, Julie, Nancy, Tress and Chris do what they do so masterfully (that’s who was in the studio today), I couldn’t help but feel overwhelming gratitude that I get to be in the room with them! It’s a miracle, Favorites, and it never gets old. Not ever.

As last night’s episode started with acknowledging that there is a world now without Edna Krabappel, it ended with a memoriam to the husky-voiced Wallace; showing the brown-haired teacher in her usual attire from an earlier episode, sitting at her desk blurting out a halting HA! for one last time.

Image Credit: UpRoxx

Now as a kid who grew up watching the show despite being told by my parents that I was not suppose to, I was personally affected by the loss of Wallace and am still extremely saddened. Last night’s episode tore at every heart-string and made me realize how you can really love someone without seeing them, and just simply resonate with them through their voice or a character, like in this case.

Edna Krabappel was a character who I loved and often held to the standard of my own teachers. She may have been a cynic full of sardonic wit and looked upon as a bitter chain-smoking elementary teacher, but she had a solid, warm heart with genuine care for her students. What Wallace brought to the two-dimensional animation of Edna Krabappel was great personality and charm, ultimately turning into one of the richest and most vibrant characters on the show.

Mrs. Krabappel was a fixture in my childhood and while I had different teachers each year, I kind of had her as my own throughout life and that will always mean something to me.

The Simpsons airs every Sunday at 8 pm on FOX. Check your local listings.

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One Comment on “The Simpsons Say Goodbye to Mrs. Krabappel with Chalkboard Gag”

  1. Elizabeth Rosalyn The November 4, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

    At a young age, Edna Krabappel made me realize that, besides from teaching students, teachers are human beings too. From then on, I always reminded myself to teach educators with kindness and respect. Thank you for the lessons, Mrs. K.

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