Tyler Vendetti
May 15, 2015 5:39 am

The new season of The Simpsons is already off to a rocky start. Yesterday, Harry Shearer, the voice actor behind popular characters like Ned Flanders and Mr. Burns, announced his departure from the long-running animated series after 26 years. Though there has been some speculation over why the actor decided to leave (some reports say there were disagreements over merchandise payments), Shearer has explained that he simply wants to work on other projects. Now producers are holding out hope that he’ll reconsider. If he doesn’t, that means the original voice of Mr. Burns and, sniff, Ned Flanders will be recast. If you’re a Flanders fan (and who isn’t?) this is heartbreaking news. So to mourn the loss of OG Flanders, we put together some of Ned’s finest moments. You know, all those times he surprised us with his secret Harlequin-worthy hotness. Yeah, it always made us feel weird too. That was kind of the point.

1) Stupid Sexy Flanders Haunts Homer’s Thoughts – “Little Big Mom” (S11xE10)

In the season eleven episode “Little Big Mom,” Homer finds himself forgetting how to ski as he’s skiing down a mountain. (Typical.) In an effort to save himself from wiping out, he frantically searches his mind for advice from his skiing instructor, only to remember a conversation with Flanders about his ski outfit and how it makes him feel like he’s wearing “nothing at all.” Homer curses the “stupid sexy Flanders” before crashing into a snow bank. The phrase “nothing at all” has since become a wildly popular meme, often paired with images of Flanders shaking his butt because, Internet.

2) Ned Plays Stanley Kowalski – “A Streetcar Named Marge” (S4xE2)

Hoping to meet new people, Marge decides to audition for a local production of A Streetcar Named Desire. She’s cast as Blanche DuBois alongside Ned Flanders who lands the role of Stanley Kowalski. For those of you that don’t know, Stanley Kowalski is a gruff, controlling character that was once famously played by Marlon Brando in the film adaptation. This gave Flanders a lot to live up to but in the end, he had a pretty convincing performance, no thanks to his ripped T-shirt and impressive abs.

3) Ned Dates A Movie Star – “A Star Is Born Again” (S14xE13)

After Ned’s wife dies in season eleven, he ends up on a roller coaster of emotions. During the annual Jellyfish Festival in Springfield, he’s reminded of his wife’s death and returns to his shop to distract himself. A young woman enters his store and asks him on a date. Flanders later realizes the girl is a famous movie star, and the rest of the episode proceeds to recreate the plot of Notting Hill. Now he’s no Hugh Grant, but Flanders certainly has a romantic side to him, which is interesting and unsettling and refreshing all at the same time.

4) Ned Saves Edna – “The Ned-Liest Catch” (S22xE22)

When Edna (rightfully) slaps Bart in the back of the head for making a rude comment in class, she’s suspended indefinitely and forced to sit around in “Teacher’s Detention.” Feeling bad, Bart tries to help her escape by propping a ladder against the building, but the plan fails miserably when the structure breaks halfway through her descent. Instead of falling to the ground, she lands in Ned Flanders arms, turning him into the nerdiest hero I’ve ever seen. As most Simpsons fans will know, the two start dating and eventually wed. This means that Bart is responsible for Edna’s happiness, which I’m sure she would be thrilled about.

5) Ned Casts Himself As God – “Homer and Ned’s Hail Mary Pass” (S16xE8)

Casting his children as Cain and Able, and himself as God, Ned makes a short film about the famous bible story that becomes a hit. Mr. Burns even decides to finance a feature film based on the subject called “Tales of the Old Testament.” What follows (the film is deemed too bloody and a town protest forces Burns to retract his support) is not as interesting as what we see on screen. Namely, Ned Flanders with a completely toned body wearing nothing but a leaf. Who knew Flanders was hiding a six-pack under his little green sweater vest?

6) Ned Saves the Day – “Homer the Heretic” (S4xE3)

When Homer skips church and has “the best day of his life,” he’s convinced his family’s Sunday morning service trips are to blame for his past misery and he vows never to attend church again. After ignoring God’s pleas in his dreams, Homer wakes up to find that he fell asleep with a cigar in his mouth and accidentally set his house on fire. While volunteer firefighters attempt to put out the flames, Flanders rushes in and saves his neighbor. Maybe that’s not your classic definition of “hunky,” but any guy that rushes into a burning building to save someone (especially someone that doesn’t even really like him) is my personal savior.

Featured image via The Decider.

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