Everything I Need to Know, I Learned From Edna Krabappel
I know, I know, I knowwww that I write about The Simpsons too often, and I am so sorry if my sweet readers ever get sick of it, but I have two things to say in my defense:
2. Marcia Wallace passed away last week, and I was a huge fan of her work, and a huge fan of her character, and I am very sad. When I am sad, I write, and what better tribute to a loved character than sharing what I have learned?
EINTKILF Edna Krabappel
1. The meaning of marriage.
Samantha Stanky: How will we know when we fall in love?
Mrs. Krabappel: Oh, don’t worry children. Most of you will never fall in love, but will marry out of fear of dying alone!
I usually think that my pessimism around the “sanctity of marriage” comes from my own family’s ridiculous history of not holding down a relationship, but reading through all of these Krabappel quotes recently, I have begun to think that I may have been a little more influenced by Mrs. Krabappel. That or Edna perfectly represented every woman’s bitterness. Let’s go with the latter.
But I have not gotten married out of fear of dying alone…yet.
2. Public school education is important, kinda.
Mrs. Krabappel: Now I don’t want you to worry, class. These tests have no effect on your grades. They merely determine your future social status and financial success, if any.
The kids have to take a career test to determine what they will be one day, and clearly Krabappel feels quite passionately about them.
Also, there are plenty of times that Krabappel is seen grading papers unjustly, or hurriedly to get to happy hour, or selling As for cigarettes. So, grades aren’t that important.
3. Flanders is hard to understand.
Ned: One cran bran for the Flan man.
Bart: Here you go.
Edna: What did he ask for?
Bart: Beats me. I just gave him a banana.
4. It’s okay to not have a type.
Comic Book Guy: I adore Edna. She’s near mint and comes from a very limited edition – females who will talk to me.
Throughout her time in Springfield (sob, that made me sad), Edna is involved with Comic Book Guy, Principal Skinner, and good ol’ Ned Flanders, who was her husband in her final days.
A woman after my own heart.
5. Opposites attract?
Speaking of Flanders, I have to admit that I have not watched any of the recent “Nedna” episodes. That makes the whole idea of “opposites attracting” even more applicable because I just cannot envision these two together in my head.
But a little google image search melted my heart, so I buy it.
6. “Do what I mean, not what I say.”
If I could just go ahead and have this tattooed on my face, that would be great.
7. Even teachers have feelings.
Edna: Bart, you’re the closest thing to a man in my life. And that’s so depressing, I think I’m going to cry.
You know when you are a kid and you cannot really imagine teachers doing normal people things? Like shopping, or going to concerts, or dating, or having feelings? I think the first time I saw a teacher cry, I was in high school and had discovered that they were humans already. Now that I am old and have friends that are teachers, I always imagine what their students think. It’s such a funny relationship, teacher and student.
That all being said, Bart Simpson is still eight years old (and kind of a little punk), so it has taken him quite some time to realize that his teacher has feelings. Like in “Bart the Lover,” one of the best episodes of The Simpsons ever. (And the episode that won Marcia Wallace her Emmy.)
8. Love/hate relationships are the best.
Bart was pretty much the love of Mrs. Krabappel’s life, which is extra-heartwarming since they seem to hate each other so much.
As shown on great occasion however, they really do love one another. Moments of peace between Bart and Mrs. Krabappel are some of my favorite moments.
9. A little laughter goes a long way.
10. Even the roughest edges can be softened.
Probably my favorite Krabappel episode (because “Bart the Lover” just makes me really, really sad) is “Bart Gets an F.” In an attempt to not get held back (what’s the point? Bart’s been in fourth grade forever.), Bart relies on the nerd Martin to help him actually pass their test. Bart studies and studies, and still gets an F on his test. He starts to cry, which startles Krabappel because Bart always fails.
Bart: This is as good as I could get! And I still failed!
Mrs. Krabappel: Well, a 59 is a high F.
Bart: Oh, who am I kidding? I really am a failure. Oh, now I know how George Washington felt when he surrendered Fort Necessity to the French in 1754!
Mrs. Krabappel: What did you say?!
Bart: Fort Necessity. George Washington lost that battle to the French in 1754.
Mrs. Krabappel: Why, Bart, you showed applied knowledge! And given the obscurity of that battle, it is only fair to award you one point. That raises your grade to a 60, or D-.
Bart: You mean I passed?
God, nothing tugs my heartstrings more than a troubled boy overcoming his obstacles. Bart is so excited that he kisses Mrs. Krabappel.
And we are shown that even mean ol’ crabby Edna Krabappel has a huge heart. People are not always what they seem.
I read some critical comment from someone that said we were all being ridiculous for paying tribute to an animated character when a real life has been lost. Well, I must respectfully disagree with that sentiment. By paying respect to a character that I have literally grown up with, I in turn pay my respects to Wallace. Honoring one’s work is honoring one’s life. The mere fact that we mourn the loss of Edna Krabappel directly represents our appreciation and sadness over the real life woman beind the character.
Rest in peace, Marcia. Thank you for the years and years of laughter and heart. You will be missed.