'The Simpsons': Exec producer Al Jean on Marcia Wallace's final scene as Mrs. Krabappel, plans for Bart's next teacher

Simpsons-Krabappel.jpg

Image Credit: Fox

Last night’s episode of The Simpsons said goodbye to Marcia Wallace by including its final scene with Edna Krabappel, who was mourned by a black-armband-wearing Ned Flanders as he poignantly recalled a tango dance with his spouse. The tribute to the actress, who died last fall after a lengthy battle with breast cancer, was touching and short — out of necessity. “Unfortunately those were the only two lines that we had left that Marcia had recorded,” executive producer Al Jean tells EW. “People had conjectured that we might have an episode where we said farewell to her but we didn’t have the material from her. So we thought that the best way to say goodbye would be to use what we had in a brief scene that said how much we missed her.”

Jean confirms that “out of great respect” for Wallace, Bart’s sharp-tongued teacher is being retired, and the March 9 episode will serve as the last time you will see or hear from Edna on the show. “She wouldn’t be in a background, and obviously we don’t have any more vocals,” he says. “What we would never do is say, ‘Here’s Mrs. Krabappel,’ and voice it with someone else.”

So who will replace Mrs. Kabrappel in the fourth-grade classroom? For the time being, no one. The rest of this season’s episodes — which already have been completed — do not involve Bart with his teacher. As for season 26, “we have some ideas,” says Jean. “It’s also possible both given the way the show works and the state of public schools there won’t be a permanent teacher. We can get some great guest stars here and there before we settle on somebody. We’re looking at it from different angles.”

Before last night’s episode, the show had acknowledged Wallace’s passing in the opening credits of the Dec. 15 and Nov. 3 episodes, the former fitting Edna with angel wings and the latter being a sweet chalkboard reference. “Everything connected with Marcia has just been very sad because she is so wonderful,” says Jean, adding of this final tribute. “We wanted to do something that was respectful and tasteful and use what limited material we had.”


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