When actress Marcia Wallace died in 2013, The Simpsons decided her character, the chain-smoking, cynical Edna Krabappel, would pass away within the universe of the animated series as well. According to Variety, however, Simpsons executive producer Al Jean felt the show wasn’t able to give the actress and her vocal talents the good-bye they deserved at the time. Which is why The Simpsons opted to bring Wallace’s voice back for the show’s most recent episode, paying homage to her Miss Lonelyhearts school teacher turned Ned Flanders’s second wife for a final time.
In Sunday’s episode, titled “Diary Queen,” Bart finds Mrs. Krabappel’s diary and learns “how much she really believed in him — and it inspires him.” The show used two previously recorded lines from Wallace, who won an Emmy in 1992 for her work on the show. The late actress’s estate approved of, and was compensated for, the repurposing of the lines.
“Sadly, it was very surprising passing,” Jean says of Wallace’s death. “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. And, you know, 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.”
The previous last episode to feature Wallace’s voice acting after her death was 2014’s “The Man Who Grew Too Much.” And with that, Jean says, “this will be her last appearance.” Explains the EP, “We just wanted to sort of send the character off properly, in a way that I think isn’t trying to be exploitive.”