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Do-gooder
Ned Flanders
Background information
Origin The Simpsons
Hero information
Full name Nedward Flanders
Alias Neddy (by Maude), Mr. Flanders, Daddy (by Rod and Todd), Flanders (by Homer)
Occupation Pharmacist (previously to the show), Owner at The Leftorium, 742 Evergreen Terrace (Ex-owner), Storytown Village (former), Praiseland (former)
Powers / Skills Charisma
Hobbies Spending time with his family and go to church
Goals Varies on episode
Family Maude Flanders (wife; deceased), Rod Flanders (older son), Todd Flanders (younger son), Edna Krabappel (second wife; deceased)
Friends / Allies Homer Simpson (sometimes), Marge Simpson, Bart Simpson, Lisa Simpson
Enemies Homer Simpson
Type of Hero Big Good


Okilly-dokilly!!
~ Ned Flanders' famous catchphrase

Hey-Diddly-Ho!
~ Ned's other catchphrase

Neighbor-eeno!
~ Ned's other other catchphrase

Nedward "Ned" Flanders is a recurring character and Homer Simpson's enemy and sometimes friend in the animated television series The Simpsons. He is voiced by Harry Shearer, and first appeared in the series premiere episode "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire". He is the next door neighbor to the Simpson family and is generally loathed by Homer Simpson. A devout Christian, he is amongst the friendliest and most compassionate Springfield citizens and is generally considered a pillar of the Springfield community.

He was one of the first characters outside of the immediate Simpson family to appear on the show, and has since been central to several episodes, the first being season two's "Dead Putting Society". His last name comes from Flanders St. in Portland, Oregon, the hometown of Simpsons creator Matt Groening. When he was created, he was intended to just be a neighbor who was very nice, but whom Homer loathed.  Also, Marge sometimes falls for Flanders more than Homer, sparking the latter's jealousy.

Personality

Ned is very honest and sincere in carrying out the Christian doctrines of charity, kindness and compassion to an extent unseen within the rest of the Springfield community. He is frequently shown doing volunteer work, and is rigorously honest and upright, even going so far as to spend an entire day tracking down a Leftorium customer in order to give him the extra change that he had forgotten to hand over. He once donated a kidney and a lung out of the goodness of his heart to whoever needs them first.[2] He is also a good neighbor to the Simpsons, regularly offering his assistance. Ned’s dogged friendship inspires the loyalty of others; when his Leftorium appeared on the verge of bankruptcy shortly after it opened, Homer arranged a George Bailey-esque bailout with the help of many people in Springfield. Upon discovering that Bart and Lisa Simpson were not baptized he immediately took it upon himself to (unsuccessfully) conduct the ceremony without their parents' consent. He also was one of the organizers of a mob to remove the La Maison Derrière due to the amoral exploitation of the sexual desires in males (although he notably had to ask for permission to commence a mob to Belle, the owner of the place they were attempting to tear down in a mob frenzy, indicating that he either wasn't completely aware of how a mob was supposed to work or was unwilling to go to the extreme of inciting a mob riot to get rid of the house). In more recent episodes he seems to have gained more tolerance to other religions and homosexuality, as long as the people in question are good-natured. However, his bias and perspective still makes him think that they will have a harder time getting to heaven.

Ned was married to the equally religious Maude Flanders (after whose death he married Edna Krabappel). Ned and Maude had two children together; the sheltered and naive Rod and Todd. While still married to Maude, Ned married Ginger, a waitress, while on a drunken bender in Las Vegas. Ginger came to live with Ned and his sons for a brief period following Maude's death, but she quickly grew tired of the Ned's sickly-sweet personalities and fled. Flanders has also been connected romantically with a beautiful Christian-rock singer, Rachel Jordan, and Tiffany Sloane, a movie star. He also makes absolute certain every year to pay and file his tax returns at the start of the new year, especially when considering how the vast majority of Springfield usually waited until April 15 to file their tax returns.[3]

Homer generally loathes Ned, because his family, job, health and self-discipline are of higher quality than he could ever hope to attain himself. Homer has since come to have a love-hate relationship with Ned, sometimes being his best friend, partly due to Ned's selfless tolerance of him, and other times treating Ned with complete disregard. Homer seems to genuinely care for Ned, despite still expressing and often acting on feelings of loathing. Nowadays Homer seems to regard Ned as more of a nuisance. Sometimes, Marge considers Ned to be a perfect neighbor and usually sides with him instead of her husband, which always enrages Homer. When Marge lends her voice on these matters they usually end with Homer angrily calling her "The President of The I Love Ned Flanders Fan Club" or with Homer furiously and sarcastically admitting that Ned is "perfect in every way" and that he himself is not perfect like Ned Flanders.

Ned is not without facing life's challenges, but has been shown to frequently call Reverend Lovejoy for advice often, even over minuscule and petty things ("I... I think I'm coveting my own wife!"), to the point that Lovejoy has stopped caring and has even suggested that Flanders try a different religion. Reverend Lovejoy used to care for Ned's problems, but over the years Lovejoy became increasingly uninterested and annoyed when he would always turn to him for help[4], and even to frustration, as many of their talks have lead his enjoyment of life's simple pleasures go spoiled awry, and even to acts of passive-aggressive vengeance, in one instance of himself encouraging his Old English Sheepdog to defecate on Ned's lawn in return for many instances of the former. Ned is shown to have a room in his house filled with memorabilia of the Beatles. He claims that this is because they were "bigger than Jesus". He also even owns a small home business called Flancrest Enterprises. In addition, his modesty was such that he even goes as far as to bathe in swimming trunks specifically to avoid having to avoid anyone, even himself, see his privates, as he admits when Marge and Homer have him babysit Maggie once when they talk to him as he's bathing.

Ned is also against drugs. When Ned, Homer and Apu go on road trip to Canada for cheap prescription drugs, they meet a man who looks and acts just like Ned, the man then offers Ned marijuana ("Hey, would you like to puff on a reeferino? It's legal here.") but he promptly turns down ("They warned me Satan would be attractive. Let's go").[5] He did, however, briefly smoke a cigarette when playing the role of Mad Dog during his fire safety skit with some disgust.[6] He also once suffered hallucinogenic experiences of the Dancing Bears and Skeletons of the Grateful Dead crossing the road, as well as witnessing an entity resembling a fusion between the hammers from Pink Floyd's The Wall and the Rolling Stones' lips & tongue attempting to kiss him after drinking groovy grove juice that unknown to him, was spiked with Peyote thanks to Homer Simpson.[7]

His sons Rod and Todd are very sheltered and raised in an extremely strict climate of Christian morality, causing them to be unable to behave like all the other children in Springfield ("They're going to be eaten alive, in Middle School" Lisa once observed). For instance, the family has at least five different Trivial Pursuit sets relating to different versions of the Bible. "He is a real Christian. He stinks!" said Homer. Also, all of the family's board games contain no dice, as Ned believes that dice are "wicked". Rod says that they just move one space at a time, as it is "less fun that way". His pet peeve was Maude underlining passages in his Bible.

Because of his childhood and the therapy he was given, he learned to repress his anger by a significant amount, which also resulted in the creation of his odd choice of words. However, his anger eventually was unable to be suppressed anymore after his house, which was demolished by a hurricane despite several protective efforts such as placing a tarp over the house, and the house being rebuilt in a very shoddy fashion and eventually collapsing, at which point he lashed out at his friends and neighbors, even shocking and appalling Bart when he, in his anger, lashed out at Bart attempting to defend Marge from his anger and hinted that Bart will end up a street beggar when he grows up.

However, in some early episodes Ned is occasionally shown when he's angry. The first episode to ever show Ned's rage was the episode "Dead Putting Society". The episode starts-off with Ned inviting Homer in for a beer after an unsuccessful attempt at mowing the lawn. While visiting with Ned, Homer sees that Ned has a much better life-style than he does and gets into a fight with Ned. Homer leaves Ned's house in a very mad manner. Eventually the episode boils up to the point of Homer and Ned both losing their tempers and making a bet and entering their sons in a mini golf tournament. The bet said that "The father of the boy who didn't win had to mow his neighbor's lawn in his wife's best Sunday dress". The episode ends with both fathers having to wear the dresses as both Bart and Todd decide that they are equally good. The next episode to showcase Ned's wrath was "Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment" where at the start of the episode Ned is seen and loudly heard throwing a man out of his home for trying to sell him stolen cable. Ned even threatens to box the guys ears in which results in the man becoming terrified of Ned. The third early instance of Ned's rage was the episode "Homer Loves Flanders" where it begins with Ned and Homer going to a football game and enjoying each other's company. Homer and Ned then become really good friends, but it soon becomes apparent that Homer is obsessed with Ned and his family. Both Homer's obsession and extreme stupidity drive Ned into hating Homer and finally becoming so annoyed with him that Ned's rage causes him to snap very loudly at Homer. The fourth and last early reference came in "Bart The Lover" where Todd picks-up on Homer's potty-mouthed language and Todd says, "I don't want any of your damn vegetables," at the dinner table. Todd's newly discovered bad word sets-off Ned's temper and Todd gets punished by Ned right away for saying the nasty word. While trying to discover where Todd learned the nasty word he hears Homer swearing angrily and asks him to try and cut back on his "foul lingo" which ends with Homer having a talk with Marge and him actually trying to be a good neighbor by reducing his swearing.

In the eighth season of the show, the issue of why Ned very seldom ever shows his anger was greatly explored in the episode "Hurricane Neddy". In the episode, a very powerful hurricane hits Springfield and among the buildings that are destroyed is Ned's house. Ned's neighbors and friends all try to rebuild his home (led by Homer), but fail miserably. The sudden destruction of his home and the horribly failed attempt to rebuild it are what finally drive Ned to really lose it. He snaps at almost everyone in Springfield and goes on a long, mean, spiteful, and extremely loud rant about how horrible and annoying he thinks that everyone in Springfield is and why he thinks so. Homer is the last person that Ned comes to and when he does, instead of shouting at Homer like how he did to everyone else, Ned just in a calm voice tells Homer that he's the worst person that he has ever met. Homer, however due to his low IQ is not offended or even hurt by the remark. After the long, tiresome rant, Ned sees that he really needs help and drives himself to The Calmwood Mental Hospital. The episode ends with Ned's former childhood doctor, Doctor Foster, coming to see him and explain that as a child Ned was an uncontrollable hellion due to his parents being beatniks who never punished him when he was bad. Seeking help for their son's destructive behavior, they had Doctor Foster distribute a treatment known as the University of Minnesota Spankalogical Protocol. The treatment was a non-stop eight month spanking technique that was supposed to stop a child's bad behavior permanently. However, according to Doctor Foster, the treatment later proved to have worked too well and in many cases it caused severe repressed anger management issues in mid to late adulthood. To administer an outlet for this repressed rage, Doctor Foster has Ned think of somebody who really annoys him. At first Ned can't come up with anybody, so the doctor tries a list of names of the town residents. Most of which Ned happily responds to. That is, until they come to Homer. Homer is then brought in as a way to get Ned to admit that he does not always like everyone he meets. At first, the treatment doesn't seem to work until Homer tells Ned that he's too happy a person and always likes everyone. Ned gets really angry and says that it isn't true because he hates the people who work at the post office due to them being so slow and having to wait in long lines, he loathes beatniks and hates his parents who are beatniks. Ned is then cured and he learns that when he's seething with rage then he should let the others know.

In recent seasons following after Maude's death, Ned's demeanor has grown somewhat stern and hostile as opposed to his original jolly neighbor demeanor shown in earlier seasons. Some occasions to support this include mainly revolve around his "Flanderization" where he has become so Christianity-obsessed, that he would belittle other religious. One example would be in "The Monkey Suit", where Ned's fundamentalist intentions in enforcing creationism became so overzealous that it got Lisa thrown in jail when she went against it by teaching the theory of evolution in secrecy, after it was outlawed[8]. In a lampshade to that episode in "Judge Me Tender", Ned deliberately stopped a fish from walking on land when it grew feet. Homer even goes to the point of saying, "You used to be nicer"[9].

Despite his attempts at being a good Christian, as well as a good neighbor, most of his good deeds nevertheless end up exploited by the various Springfielders, and are often mocked by the townspeople behind his back for his naivety, zealousness, strict beliefs, and intolerance. This ultimately reached its breaking point when, after allowing two female college students to rent one of the rooms of his house for studying, they took advantage of his trusting nature and filmed a soft-core webcam site called "sexyslumberparty.com" without his knowledge. As soon as he learned of this from Homer, he angrily evicted them from his house, although the damage was already done when, thanks to Homer leaking the videos to the entire town, the townspeople arrive at his house around the time he evicted them to cheer on the girls, causing him to realize that the entire town actually mocked him behind his back, and he was even more shocked when he learned that Homer was the one who leaked the videos. He then entered a very deep depression due to this, and decided to have his family move temporarily to Humbleton, Pennsylvania where the Humbleton figurines that he collected were being made, and also posting a note stating that he left town.

Appearance

Despite a meek outward appearance, Ned hides an exceptionally well-built physique under his pink shirt and green sweater combination. When he is revealed to be in his early 60s, Ned claims his deceptively youthful appearance is due to his conformity to the "three Cs" - "clean living, chewing thoroughly, and a daily dose of vitamin Church".[10]

Both Ned and his family rarely refer to his mustache as such, preferring nicknames such as "Nose Neighbor," "Mr. Tickles," "The Soup Strainer," "The Cookie Duster," "The Pushbroom," and "Dr. Fuzzenstein." He once shaved it off, after Homer implied that people were mocking Ned's facial hair behind his back. He also once had it pulled off with a vacuum cleaner by Maude after Homer, who was thought to have leprosy, kissed Ned in gratitude for sending them to be treated. Ned's mustache would also affect his decision to move to the Humbleton, PA. After being hired at the town's Humble figurine manufacturing factory,[11] Ned was ordered to shave his mustache, due to an unofficial ban on facial hair. Ned defiantly refused to shave his mustache for which he was labeled as a troublemaker. Interestingly, in one of the earliest references to Ned's facial hair, he shaved off his mustache without concern after Homer commented he should, and to strike a deal with Homer to please control his use of vulgarity as that was a bad influence on Todd. Homer is once again annoyed when he later sees a clean-shaven Flanders commenting that everyone likes his new appearance and he got the chance to star in a TV commercial.

Religion Ned is a devout Christian. Ned's sons have been raised in a strict climate of Christian morality, to which they willingly conform. It is revealed that they "don't believe in flu shots",[12] much as their father considers insurance to be a "form of gambling" and dice games to be "wicked." Rod and Todd go to bed several hours before sunset and are not allowed to consume sugar, (which is ironic because in the movie he gives them hot chocolate. Which you see through the window and then he makes one for Bart). But this could be to the fact only Maude imposed the no-sugar rule. Since her death, it is possible Ned has not seen an issue with sugar.

Most of the entertainment enjoyed by the family involves religion in some way. The family uses at least five different versions of the Bible to play "Bombardment...of Bible Questions!" ("The bridal feast of Beth Chadruharazzeb!?"), and are part of a competitive bowling team called the Holy Rollers (their uniform consisting of a Franciscan Friar's robes). Ned seems to sense that he cannot completely shield his family from the vagaries of popular culture, but does his best to mitigate the effects; one of his children's stories concludes "...and Harry Potter and all his wizard friends went straight to Hell for practicing witchcraft." Though they have satellite TV, nearly all of the 230 channels are blocked out — likely for the best, as one episode of Itchy & Scratchy was enough to more or less permanently scar Rod and Todd. Rod used to watch "Davey and Goliath", but finding the idea of talking dogs to be "blasphemous", he has since stopped.

Ned is willing to fight for what he believes in. For example, he once attempted to forcibly baptize the Simpson children, using his portable baptism kit, after finding out that they had never undergone the ritual. Ned once reminded himself to get his hand "re-blessed" after shaking a Catholic priest's hand (odd, considering he keeps a Latin Vulgate Bible in his home).[13]

Despite occasional antipathy toward Catholicism, Judaism and Hinduism (he once compared worshipping Shiva to asking for help from Hawkman, and he fears that his children will grow up to become Jewish Hollywood producers), Ned is honest and sincere in carrying out the Christian doctrines of charity, kindness and compassion. He even admits (after a hurricane destroyed his home) that he has kept kosher just in case. He is frequently shown doing volunteer work, and is rigorously honest and upright, even going so far as to spend an entire day tracking down a Leftorium customer in order to give him the extra change that he had forgotten to hand over (à la Abraham Lincoln). Similarly, after winning football tickets by answering a radio trivia question, he immediately asked for the cash value so he could report it on his income taxes. He also is a good neighbor to the Simpsons, regularly offering his assistance — and then suffering the consequences often paid to those with misguided and shortsighted good intentions.

Role in the Simpsons

Ned Flanders, real first name is Nedward, is a genuinely well-meaning good-natured person and is one of the few in Springfield to whom that description applies. Though firmly religious, he can be timid and something of a pushover. He is a Republican and a devout Evangelical Christian who strictly follows the Bible as literally as possible and is easily shocked when challenged on any point of dogma. This has led to his frequent calls to Reverend Lovejoy, who has become increasingly frustrated with and uninterested in Flanders.

Flanders grew up in New York and was the son of "freaky beatniks" who did not discipline Ned and let him run wild. Eventually they took him to Dr. Foster, a psychiatrist, who put the young Ned through the University of Minnesota Spankalogical Protocol, which involved eight months of continuous spanking. The treatment worked so well that it rendered Flanders unable to express any anger at all and resulted in his trademark nonsensical jabbering at moments when he was particularly close to losing his temper, causing Ned to unknowingly repress his anger. Flanders got his diploma from Oral Roberts University. Flanders worked as a salesman in the pharmaceuticals industry for the bulk of his adult life. Having saved much of his earnings, Flanders decided to quit his job and invested his family's life savings into a store in the Springfield mall called "The Leftorium" specializing in products for left-handed people. Despite a meek outward appearance, Ned hides an exceptionally well-toned physique. In the episode "Hurricane Neddy" a flashback to 30 years earlier shows Ned as a young child despite the fact that he is later said to be 60 years old, attributing his youthful appearance to his conformity to the "three Cs"—"clean living, chewing thoroughly, and a daily dose of vitamin church."

Ned is very honest and sincere in carrying out the Christian doctrines of charity, kindness and compassion. He is frequently shown doing volunteer work, and is rigorously honest and upright, even going so far as to spend an entire day tracking down a Leftorium customer in order to give him the extra change that he had forgotten to hand over. This is likely a reference to a similar act carried out by Abraham Lincoln. In "Homer's Triple Bypass", he donates a kidney and a lung out of the goodness of his heart to whoever needs them first. He also is a good neighbor to the Simpsons, regularly offering his assistance. Ned’s dogged friendship inspires the loyalty of others; when his Leftorium appeared on the verge of bankruptcy shortly after it opened, Homer arranged a George Bailey-esque bailout with the help of many people in Springfield.

Flanders is a widower, having been married to the equally religious Maude. They had two children together; the sheltered and naive Rod and Todd. In the eleventh season, Maude dies an untimely death in a freak accident involving a t-shirt cannon, leaving Ned alone and grieving. While still married to Maude, Ned married Ginger, while on a drunken bender in Las Vegas. Ginger came to live with Ned and his sons for a brief period following Maude's death in a later episode, but she quickly grew tired of the Flanders' sickly-sweet personalities and fled. Despite his outward nerdishness, Flanders has also been connected romantically with a beautiful Christian-rock singer, Rachel Jordan, and Sara Sloane, a movie star. In the twenty-third season, he marries Bart's teacher, Mrs. Krabappel.

In the early years of The Simpsons, Homer Simpson generally loathed Ned, because Ned's family, job, health and self-discipline are of higher quality than he could ever hope to attain himself. Homer is often shown borrowing (or stealing) items from Flanders, such as a weather vane, a camcorder, a diploma, a toothbrush and an air conditioning unit. Even the Simpsons' couch came from "the curb outside Flanders' house." Homer has since come to have a love-hate relationship with Flanders, sometimes being his best friend, partly due to Ned's selfless tolerance of him, and other times treating Flanders with complete disregard. Homer seems to genuinely care for Ned, despite still expressing and often acting on feelings of loathing. Nowadays Homer seems to regard Ned as more of a nuisance. An early running joke was that Marge considers Flanders to be a perfect neighbor and usually sides with him instead of her husband, which always enrages Homer.

Flanders has been shown to call Reverend Lovejoy for advice often, even over minuscule things, to the point that Lovejoy has stopped caring and has even suggested that Flanders try a different religion. This was a running joke in the early seasons, but has been used less in the later episodes. In the eighth season, the episode "In Marge We Trust" would examine the relationship between Lovejoy and Flanders, and shows the history of their relationship and how Lovejoy became increasingly uninterested in Flanders' problems. Flanders is shown to have a room in his house filled with memorabilia of the Beatles. He claims that this is because they were "bigger than Jesus".

Character

Creation

The writers found Harry Shearer's voice for Flanders so sweet that they decided to make the character a Christian.

Ned Flanders, who was designed by Rich Moore, first appeared in the season one episode "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire". The episode was the series premiere, but not the first episode produced. The first episode in which Flanders and his family were prominent is season two's "Dead Putting Society", which also contained the first appearance of Maude and Rod Flanders. Flanders was named after Flanders St. in Portland, Oregon, the hometown of Simpsons creator Matt Groening. Groening described the inspiration for Flanders as "just a guy who was truly nice, that Homer had no justifiable reason to loathe, but then did". It was not until after the first few episodes that it was decided Flanders would be a faithful Christian. Mike Scully noted that Flanders is "everything Homer would love to be, although he'll never admit it". Flanders had been meant to be just a neighbor that Homer was jealous of, but Harry Shearer used "such a sweet voice" and Flanders was broadened to become a Christian and a sweet guy that someone would prefer to live next to over Homer. Flanders is known for his nonsensical jabbering, and his first use of the word "didly" was in "The Call of the Simpsons".

Development

Ned Flanders was not religious in his first few appearances and in the first few seasons he was only mildly religious and his primary role was to be so "cloyingly perfect as to annoy and shame the Simpsons", whereas Homer Simpson has always hated Ned Flanders and always tries to undermine him. There has been a consistent effort among the show's writers to make him not just "goody good and an unsympathetic person". In the later seasons, Flanders has become more of a caricature of the Christian right, and his role as an irritating "perfect neighbor" has been lessened.

Ned's store "The Leftorium" first appeared in "When Flanders Failed". It was suggested by George Meyer, who had had a friend who had owned a left-handed specialty store which failed. The episode "Hurricane Neddy" shows Ned's faith being tested and the writers also used the episode as a chance to examine what makes him tick.

There have been two occasions where Flanders was not voiced by Harry Shearer. In "Bart of Darkness", Flanders's high pitched scream was performed by Tress MacNeille and in "Homer to the Max", Flanders comments about cartoons being easily able to change voice actors and on that occasion he was voiced by Karl Wiedergott.

"The Adventures of Ned Flanders"

The Adventures of Ned Flanders is a short film that appears at the end of the fourth season Simpsons episode "The Front". The only one to ever exist and titled Love that God, it highlights Flanders' dedication to religion and perfect family niceness by showing Ned nearly scolding Rod and Todd after they refuse to get ready for church–only to have them inform him that it is, in fact, Saturday. Ned laughs at his mistake with a trademark "okely dokely do!" The segment was added when "The Front" was too short and the producers had already tried "every trick in the book" to lengthen it. Although the episode was scripted by Adam I. Lapidus, "Love That God" was written by Mike Reiss, Al Jean and Sam Simon. Generally, fans reacted with confusion as to why the short existed. Bill Oakley and several other writers loved the short so much that they wanted to do more, but time limitations prevented them. As a result, Oakley and Josh Weinstein decided to produce an entire episode that was nothing but loosely-associated shorts, which became the season seven episode "22 Short Films about Springfield". The Flanders/Lovejoy segment of that episode was written by David Cohen. "22 Short Films about Springfield" in turn inspired the Futurama episode "Three Hundred Big Boys".

Reception

Although in more recent seasons Flanders has become a caricature of the Christian right, he is still a favorite of many conservative Christian viewers. Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is a confessed Simpsons fan, and likes Flanders. Ned's "unbearable piousness" has been described as "The Simpsons' sharpest critique of organized religion. The show's implicit argument seems to be that humorless obsessives like Ned have hijacked religious institutions, removing them from the center of society to a place where only those who know their brides of Beth Chedruharazzeb from their wells of Zohassadar can seek solace." Steve Goddard, of the website Ship of Fools said "Ned is an innocent abroad in a world of cynicism and compromise. We love him because we know what it's like to be classed as a nerd - and to come out smiling at the end of it."

Cultural influence

He has been described as "The United States' most well-known evangelical." According to Christianity Today, "today on American college and high school campuses, the name most associated with the word Christian—other than Jesus—is not the Pope or Mother Teresa or even Billy Graham. Instead, it's a goofy-looking guy named Ned Flanders on the animated sitcom known as The Simpsons. The mustache, thick glasses, green sweater, and irrepressibly cheerful demeanor of Ned Flanders, Homer Simpson's next-door neighbor, have made him an indelible figure, the evangelical known most intimately to nonevangelicals". Colorado Avalanche goaltender Peter Budaj has an image of Ned Flanders painted on the back of his helmet.

In 2001 and 2002, the Greenbelt festival, a British Christian music and arts fest, held a special "Ned Flanders Night". The 2001 event featured a look-alike contest, as well as the tribute band "Ned Zeppelin". It was held in a 500 seat venue that was filled to capacity, and an extra 1500 people were turned away at the door. A second event was held in 2002, with Ned Zeppelin reappearing.

Merchandise

Flanders has been included in a lot of The Simpsons merchandise. In 2008, the Flanders' Book of Faith, part of the Simpsons Library of Wisdom was released by HarperCollins. The book takes a look at Flanders' life and his ever enduring faith.

Gallery

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