I really like observational humor, a lot of times just painfully realistic. I love when Todd said, "Dad, you're bending Spirograph!" When they ask "Will you unlock the fun cabinet so we can play with Spirograph?" And then Ned is inadvertently bending Spirograph because he's upset.
I really actually like this subplot with Flanders. This is one thing that I think was not in the episode and probably could not have been, just for time, was the actual kind of little arc of Flanders actually taking the job, and then Flanders becoming disenchanted with the job because nobody respects him because he's too nice. And in this outline, which, again, would have been an hour-long television show, there is a nice little arc of Flanders going to the school, being nice, and being taken advantage of, and then the school falls apart. And then we realize that the school actually needs Skinner. That was one of the things that actually was in the final episode that I was never that thrilled with was the fact that it was Flanders being a religious fanatic that made him unsuitable for the job, rather than that he was being too nice. I think the difference is that even though Skinner is kind of an uptight weirdo, he keeps the school running. Whereas the niceness of Ned did not keep it running because everyone took advantage of him. So that arc is missing.
MONTAGE of Flanders running the school
1) INT. ELEMENTARY SCHOOL – BART'S CLASSROOM – MORNING
NED: (OVER P.A.) Guten morgen, teachers and learners. This is Principal Flanders. I'd like to wish a happy 10th birthday to Wendell Tompkins; a happy 8th to Wilma Wangshrink — hmm, she seems to have a birthday every week; and a happy 44th to our own Edna Krabappel.
Mrs. Krabappel grimaces, stares furiously at the loudspeaker, and starts erasing an elaborate drawing on the blackboard which says "Mrs. K — Happy 36th Birthday from your class."
2) INT. ELEMENTARY SCHOOL – FACULTY LOUNGE – DAY
NED: (EXITING) Toodly-doo, youdly-two!
MISS HOOVER: (RE: NED) Do you think he's… (EFFEMINATE GESTURE)?
MRS. KRABAPPEL: I don't know. He's got a wife and kids.
MISS HOOVER: That doesn't count for anything. So does Mr. Largo.
ANGLE ON Mr. Largo eating a cookie and dabbing his mouth with a handkerchief after each bite. He notices them looking at him and gives them a sour look.
3) INT. ELEMENTARY SCHOOL – PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE – DAY
Bart sits calmly in front of Ned. He periodically takes a piece of candy from the bowl on Ned's desk.
NED: Bart, I'm beginnin' to get the feelin' you'd rather be in here than in class. This is fifth time you've been sent to my office this week, and now that I have peanut butter cups, you seem to be comin' every hour.
BART: (MOUTH FULL OF PEANUT BUTTER CUPS) Mufft be a co-in-fa-dince. (SWALLOWS) Say, Ned, I saw you patching the cracks in your driveway this weekend.
NED: (TOO EXCITED) Oh, yeah. What happened was, the roots from the sycamore cracked some of the asphalt, but I just got in there with some Sakrete — well, the thing about Sakrete is… (ETC.)
With a devilish look, Bart leans back and begins eating more peanut butter cups.
The one scene that I would have loved to have seen, which was in both the outline and the script, is where Homer was running the PTA and trying to railroad through this motion to impeach Flanders. And it was in both versions and it just had to get cut, because that whole aspect of him being head of the PTA got cut. I love that thing where he says, "Please just do me this one favor and fire Ned Flanders." And Dr. Hibbert says, "That is an absurd request. I suggest we fire you and put an end to your brutish behavior." [Laughing] I know that Josh and I for about six months after that would walk around and say that we'd "put an end to your brutish behavior” in that Dr. Hibbert voice. And then Homer being shocked and going, “Egad!” Anyways, that was a scene that I loved.
HOMER: I'll make this quick, 'cause I know we all want to get home to see the big football game tonight.
MR. MILHOUSE: Football season ended four months ago. What are you trying to pull?
HOMER: I'm sorry, I meant tonight's the big…Rosie O'Donnell special on HBO.
EVERYONE: (WAY TOO EXCITED) Oooh! / She's delightfully brassy! / Let's get outta here, then!
HOMER: Okay, item one: a vote to purchase soap and rags for the glee club car wash. All in favor?
HOMER: Item two: (VERY QUICKLY) the impeachment of Ned Flanders. All in favor?
A beat of silence as Homer looks expectant.
DR. HIBBERT: Wait a minute, let's discuss this.
HOMER: (ANNOYED GRUNT)
CHIEF WIGGUM: We may be in a hurry to see Rosie O'Donnell, but this sounds important. (SKEPTICAL) What's wrong with Ned Flanders?
HOMER: (GETTING VERY NERVOUS) Ned Flanders has, you know…been punishing my son, you know…and there's that other stuff he did, like, that stuff, you know?
CHUCK'S DAD: I've heard nothing but praise for Ned Flanders. He's a man in a very difficult position.
HOMER: Please just do me one favor and fire Ned Flanders.
DR. HIBBERT: That is an absurd request. I suggest we fire you and put an end to your brutish behavior. All in favor?
HOMER: (GENUINELY PANICKED) Egad! They've put an end to my brutish behavior!
And then there’s this one last thing that I really did like for a number of reasons, with Hank Williams Jr. showing up to get his honorary degree and beating up Ned Flanders. And I also liked that he said, “I invited all my rowdy friends to come see me get this degree” and he’s got his entourage and everybody with him. I thought that was such a treat. But I don’t think that was ever actually in the script, so it probably got cut out for time. That was probably my favorite plot point that got cut.
SCHOOL – LUNCHROOM – LUNCHTIME
The lunchroom is packed with kids. A frazzled looking Ned eats lunch alone in a corner.
SKINNER (V.O.): In 1972, I expelled a young troublemaker named Hank Williams, Jr. If he were to receive a fraudulent letter inviting him back to receive an honorary degree, it could create quite a stir…
Hank Williams, Jr. and his unruly entourage of huge cowboys burst into the cafeteria.
HANK WILLIAMS, JR.: Here I am! I believe somebody owes me an honorary degree and that fella's name is…what's that fella's name?
ENTOURAGE MEMBER: Ned Flanders, Hank.
Ned comes over and tries to escort Hank Williams, Jr. out.
NED: This is an elementary school. We don't award honorary degrees.
HANK WILLIAMS, JR.: The hell you don't! I invited all my rowdy friends to come see me get this degree!
The entourage gathers menacingly around Ned. The kids look on excitedly.
NED: I'm sorry, there's no degree for you, and I will not tolerate such a disturbance in my lunchroom!
HANK WILLIAMS, JR.: (STEAMING) Kids, we're gonna talk to your principal outside for a minute.
NELSON: Get him, Hank!
Hank Williams, Jr. and his entourage grab Ned and usher him out of the room.
And also, please let me apologize for complimenting myself and Josh about all this stuff. I am not normally one to toot my own horn. But in this case, it's almost like somebody else wrote these drafts, because I honestly haven't opened these files and read them in 17 years and much of this stuff has taken me by complete surprise.
You can find Bill Oakley on Twitter at @thatbilloakley.