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The Classic Simpsons Moment That Went Too Far According To 23% Of People

Now in its 33rd season on the air, and with more than 700 episodes under its belt, "The Simpsons" is the longest-running scripted primetime series in television history by a wide margin. And if network bosses have anything to say about it, the show will go on for many years to come. Perhaps more surprising than the beloved animated program's astonishing staying power in the small-screen landscape is that series creatives continue to come up with new storylines for Homer (Dan Castellaneta) and the gang from one week and season to the next.

With so many seasons already in its wake, there is, of course, very little "The Simpsons" hasn't done from a narrative standpoint. Over the years the series has frequently shocked its legions of fiercely devoted fans. So much so we couldn't help but be curious if said fans ever felt like the show pushed things a little too far. Spoiler alert — they have. Per our recent reader poll, many fans of "The Simpsons" think the series killing off a major character was indeed too much to handle.

The death of Maude Flanders remains a sore point for fans of The Simpsons

The character in question is Maude Flanders, the devoted late wife of The Simpsons gang's do-gooding neighbor Ned Flanders (Harry Shearer). And if you can believe it, poor Maude made her series exit more than two decades ago. Even after such a long period, it seems "The Simpsons" fanbase is still missing dear Maude, as 23% of the 633 respondents to our poll felt killing off her character was a bit too much. 

That fateful moment came in the series' eleventh season, which found The Simpsons family bumping into the Flanders crew at a NASCAR event, during which Maude is killed after being knocked off the bleachers by some overzealous cheerleaders' use of T-shirt canons.

If you're wondering what led to Maude's shocking departure, per Maggie Roswell's (the actor who voiced Maude and several other characters since the series' 1989 debut) comments to the Los Angeles Times, it was the end result of a pay dispute with Fox that ultimately led to her leaving the series. Roswell and the Fox bosses made up a couple of years later, with the actor returning to work on "The Simpsons" in 2002. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late for Maude, though series creatives have brought her back via the occasional flashback and ghostly encounter. Luckily for Roswell, her other main characters (Helen Lovejoy, Mrs. Hoover, and Louann Van Houten) are still alive and well, so fans will continue to enjoy her voice work for seasons to come.