“But I distinctly heard you say that Maude was with God.” – Bart Simpson
“Oh, that’s right, I was at Bible camp. I was learning how to be more judgmental.” – Maude Flanders
Much like the commentary for the Jockey Elves episode, the commentary for the death of Maude Flanders mostly dances around the actual events on screen and their larger implications for the overall history and health of the show. Also like the commentary for the Jockey Elves, George Meyer is here quietly commenting on things without doing any of the stammering defense/non-defense of the indefensible crap that’s occurring on screen.
What’s most interesting here is that they actually do acknowledge that Flanders starting to date people might have been premature, that Rod and Todd were too much of a bummer to do much with, and that death is awfully difficult to handle on a show like this. They don’t really say much beyond that, and it’s cold comfort knowing that they’re aware of the problems here, but it’s something.
Six guys on this one, though Jim Reardon recorded from Oakland, where he was working on WALL-E.
1:20 – Here’s an artful elision: “Maggie Roswell, the actress who played Maude Flanders had decided to leave the show for awhile.” Well, that’s one way of putting it, and I don’t even blame them. FOX really, really doesn’t like people talking about salaries, and that the subject was a no-go on a commentary doesn’t surprise me in the least.
2:15 – Scully chuckles as Homer sprays his crotch with bug repellent.
2:30 – The NASCAR drivers all turned them down for voices.
3:20 – Maxtone-Graham denies that it was supposed to be his name in giant letters, says he originally wrote it as Reardon.
4:30 – Long silence here broken by someone asking if that was another actress doing Maude, which, of course it was.
5:30 – FOX, which was broadcasting NASCAR, didn’t care about their crash heavy portrayal.
6:30 – Scully’s rambling about how they got to the death scene and how they didn’t want it to be “horrifying”. He seems nervously defensive, which I suppose is understandable.
7:00 – Reardon complains that the camera was supposed to pan right to show Maude as she went off the edge but instead it went left and cut her out of the shot. Calls it a “clerical error” that never got retaken.
7:30 – Meyer jumps on to try and explain what they were going for on the act break and admits that it didn’t work out and “just seemed grim”. As usual, I’m glad he’s here. As soon as he’s done, Scully, Maxtone-Graham and the rest of them go back to nervously laughing and explaining things.
8:00 – They wrote a scene where Ned talks to the boys about Maude being dead, but it was too sad so they cut it.
8:40 – That’s followed by more rambling defense of this as having a lot of “heart”.
9:20 – Selman brings up how dumb FOX’s promotional material was for this episode, where they teased characters like Homer or Bart dying when everyone knew it was going to be Maude.
9:35 – Meyer comes on to explain that death is really tricky to do, whether you’re doing a one off character like Frank Grimes or a long running one like Maude. He concludes, again without really defending the episode, by saying that “People just don’t like death, and I’m going to remember that.”
10:50 – After the scene with Bart and the Flanders boys playing video games, someone says, “So they’re over it, that’s good”.
11:00 – Selman’s just rambling along here for no real reason.
11:30 – Still going. Meanwhile, Homer just kissed Flanders on the forehead.
11:45 – Someone finally comes on and asks, “Are you waiting for us to get you out of this?”
12:30 – After some banter with Reardon, Selman actually asks him if he gets free iPhones working for Pixar.
13:00 – Wondering why they went right to Flanders dating and if that might seem like it was too sudden. That’s followed by an awkward silence before someone finally says it’s okay because it’s Homer doing it.
14:15 – Actually interesting trivia: Flanders ATM code is 5316, which is short of John 3:16 (the J being on the 5 on a nine digit keypad).
14:20 – Scully asks Reardon about how far they should go with Flanders’ pixilated horse cock, Reardon doesn’t miss a beat: “Yes, you guys seemed to have a real interest in looking at those model shoots.”
15:15 – A long silence leads to the generic “Shearer did a great job in this episode” comment.
15:35 – Smattering of laughter as Homer’s in the mailbox for some reason.
16:30 – Mostly silence, some commentary that they should check with the Bob Hope and Charles Nelson Riley estates before doing those “grr” growls.
17:10 – More long silence.
17:30 – Quickly noting that Flanders apparently took the park swan boat all the way home, then more silence.
18:15 – The framed picture of God that Flanders turns around had to be approved by the writers. Not much else is going on here.
19:00 – Oh, hell, Selman’s off on a rant again. This time it’s about how Ned is like Job. Mercifully, someone cuts him off after only twenty seconds or so.
20:00 – Reardon points out that when you have a long song you can’t just park the camera somewhere, you’ve got to move things.
21:05 – Now they’re discussing the fact that, yes, Hot Christian Singer Babe (whose name they couldn’t remember either) did come back in a later episode.
22:10 – Maxtone-Graham: “Let me just say that I’m a little sorry we killed her and I’ve been trying to think of ways to bring her back and think of what she’s been doing all this time and hiding out, but then we did an episode where we showed her up in Heaven with God, so I guess she’s really dead.”
22:20 – And we close with them chuckling about having Ned remarry someone a lot like her with the same name. Ugh.