Which Springfielder will make a play to replace Maude?
Now that Maude Flanders rejoices in the glory of her Lord, Ned is in a fozzy of a dilly of a pickle. Bereft of his godly--if rather nebbishy--helpmeet, to whom can Ned turn for solace? Who, in short, is wife #2?
It's wrong to speak ill of the dead, but Maude never deserved Ned. Though Springfield USA is a little short on single women, he can do so much better. Let's evaluate potential spouses through the only lens that matters to Ned: their Christian virtue.
1. Edna Krabappel, Springfield Elementary's fourth-grade teacher, seems an obvious choice. She's eminently single, and her teaching background theoretically means she's good with children and could raise Ned's boys well. But upon closer inspection, she's shrewish and lacking in all spiritual qualities. She has loose morals: she smokes, she drinks, and we sense that if the Fox censors weren't alert, she'd swear. She's off the list.
2. Selma Bouvier, Marge Simpsons' McGyver-obsessed sister, also doesn't make the cut. Like Edna, she is desperately seeking a man, and has tried to find love with the likes of Troy McClure, Lionel Hutz, and Sideshow Bob. But would Ned take to his bosom a thrice-divorced woman? Not if he holds to Matthew 5:32 and its strictures on marrying divorcees.
3. Could Mindy, the red-haired nuclear plant worker who tempted Homer to stray, be a candidate? She seems sweet-tempered, and might be willing to labor with Ned at the soup kitchen, the blood drive, and the book mobile. But no. She loves doughnuts, naps, and room service. She's simply too sensual for Ned, who needs someone for whom earthly comforts hold no allure.
4. Mrs. Van Houten, Milhouse's mom, is now divorced. Overlooking the issues raised in point #2, she might make Ned a good wife--she lacks imagination, but that never stopped Maude. However, her choice of male companionship is suspect. In one episode, she dates a hunky American Gladiator. She picks brawn over brains, appearance over substance. Ned is no slouch in beefcake department, as we know from his shirtless moment in the community play "Oh! Streetcar!" But he needs a woman who can see beyond externals and into his heart.