When longtime Simpsons voice actor Marcia Wallace died in 2013, the showrunners made the difficult decision to say goodbye to Edna Krabappel in the episode “The Man Who Grew Too Much.” It was a touching tribute, with Ned Flanders mourning his second wife, remarking how much he misses her laugh. But as executive producer Al Jean told Variety, he always felt that Mrs. Krabappel didn’t get a proper goodbye because Wallace’s death was so unexpected.
So the latest episode of The Simpsons, “Diary Queen,” served as a proper send-off to the beloved character. In the episode, Bart finds Mrs. Krabappel’s diary, learning how much his teacher believed in him. The episode uses two previously recorded lines from Wallace that were approved by her estate, including “Remember: If you can teach one kid one thing, then today will be a success....”
Jean also explained to Variety why now felt like the appropriate time to honor Wallace’s legacy on The Simpsons. “Sadly, it was a very surprising passing. I didn’t know she was that ill until very close to when it happened. So we never got the chance to give sort of a proper goodbye to her in the show, and this is a small attempt to do that,” he explained. “She was so beloved by everybody that worked on The Simpsons, that we just sort of wanted to give her one last moment on the show in her memory. It’s just that, it’s nothing more, but, we thought she was the best.”
As for how Mrs. Krabappel died, Jean says that the cause of death won’t be revealed for now, but we do get to learn more about her life in this episode. Seeing Ned Flanders become a widower twice over was heartbreaking, but now Mrs. Krabappel gets a far more lighthearted send-off that is just as touching.