Maude Flanders is the late wife of Ned Flanders
and mother of Rod
and Todd Flanders
. Much like the rest of her family, Maude was deeply religious and went to church frequent
In the many years for which she was a neighbour to the Simpsons, Maude became involved with their lives several times. She and Ned became foster parents to Bart, Lisa and Maggie after Marge and Homer were deemed unfit parents. Bart also thought that Ned had murdered her after he witnessed him burying something in his backyard. It eventually turned out that Ned was burying Maude's favourite plant which he had forgotten to water and that Maude had been at bible camp learning to be more judgemental. Maude was also partial to unflavoured non-fat iced milk.
Maude died in a tragic T-shirt related incident while she and her family were enjoying an auto racing event. She had gotten up to get snacks for the family when a T-shirt that had been fired out of a cannon hit her, sending her over the balcony and down into the parking lot where she was pronounced dead by Dr. Julius Hibbert.
"In many ways Maude Flanders was a supporting player in our lives. She didn't grab our attention with memorable catch phrases or comical accents."
- Rev. Timothy Lovejoy
Maude's last words (unless one counts the shriek of terror that was heard as she was thrown over the barrier) were to Ned: "I know, they make you uncomfortable" (regarding his request that she not purchase any footlong hot dogs).
After Maude's death, Ned found a notebook containing many of her sketches, including one for a religious theme park. Not wanting her dream to go unfulfilled, Ned and his sons chose to build and finance the park as a tribute to Maude. They named the park Praiseland and placed a large statue of Maude at its entrance. A gas leak near the statue caused many of the park's patrons to hallucinate, leading them to believe that the statue could perform miracles. (The park also sold "Maude Masks").
Maude's ghost returned in a brief cameo appearance during a séance at the Simpsons' home at the beginning of Treehouse of Horror XIII.
Maude was voiced by Maggie Roswell except in the episode in which the character was killed. This was due to the contract disputes that caused Roswell to leave the show, subsequently causing Maude to be killed off. Roswell returned as Maude for the Halloween special as well as to voice her other characters in future episodes once the dispute was settled.