The Rewind

The Rewind Recommends: 31 Reasons Why The Simpsons' Monorail Episode Is Its Best Ever

The Rewind Recommends: 31 Reasons Why The Simpsons' Monorail Episode Is Its Best Ever

It's almost 27 years since The Simpsons produced one of the greatest 20 minute episodes in television history, courtesy of 'Marge vs The Monorail.'

Is it the best episode of The Simpsons ever? Many think so and we would definitely have in our top three. Here are 31 reasons why.

1. The opening scene

Right from the get-go they set their stall out that espisode was going to be one of their most random. Their Flinstones tribute had nothing to do with anything but at the same time set the tone for the whole thing.

 

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2. Mr Burns' nighttime capers

During the peak of The Simpsons their episodes had a formula for success that is missing from recent seasons. It seemed the writers would come up with the main storyline and then think 'What's the most completely ridiculous way we can introduce this plot?'

So here the main theme was the town investing in a monorail. How does that come about? By Mr Burns hiding toxic waste in trees and spawning radioactive squirrels. Of course.

3. The brilliance of Conan O'Brien

O'Brien was the brains behind the whole thing and if ever there was a piece of work to illustrate his comic ingenuity (I'm running out of adjectives for genius) it was this one.

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Even among a group of writers as talented as those who worked on The Simpsons the verdict seems to be that O'Brien stood out head and shoulders above everybody. An inspired comedian, he is still every bit as funny to this day.

4. Homer's simplicity

One of those lines that comes out of nowhere...

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5. Mayor Quimby's divilment

I could have went with the 'That could have been anybody's ass' line either but the town hall meeting is often the scene of Mayor Quimby's finest. A truly under-appreciated character.

6. Mr Snrub

One of those little snippets that you can easily forget was in the episode.

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7. The fact that it's actually a cutting satire of mob mentality

It may be completely whacky and a laugh-a-minute but Marge v The Monorail takes a wide swipe and the shortsightedness and ridiculousness of a mob mentality. Even when poor Abe Simpson objects, his protests fall on deaf ears.

I ain't for it, I'm again' it!

8. Mule

Hehe ... 'Mule'

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9. The voice of Phil Hartman

Hartman was the voice behind much-loved characters like Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz but in Lyle Lanley he had his shining moment. He was just 49 years old when he was murdered by his troubled wife in 1998. He leaves a great legacy.

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10. Need we say ... the song

Well obviously! O'Brien's Monorail song was a number inspired by 'You Got Trouble' from the aforementioned musical The Music Man. In fact you can see the similarities between both characters and their ability to manipulate the crowd into agreeing on a solution for a problem which never existed in the first place.

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What I say?

11. Marlon Brando

Again I have no idea why this was in the episode but it's the better for it.

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12. The kids can call you Hoju

I'll get back to you.

13. Lyle Lanley's intensive three week course on becoming a monorail conductor

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Mono means one and rail means rail. And that concludes the course.

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14. True or false? You can get mono from riding the monorail

Genius in its stupidity.

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15. Homer's lifelong dream

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One of the many excellent Homer related newspaper front pages throughout the show's history.

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16. The scene that has been repeated in the bedroom of every Simpsons fan

You are not a true fan of the Monorail episode until you've asked your significant other 'What if I talk like this?' at least once when in bed together.

17. The episode was under-appreciated at the time

Like all great works of art, Marge vs The Monorail was not popular when first aired. In fact, Yeardley Smith - who voices Lisa - described it as one of the worst episodes ever and said that many working there agreed with her.

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18. Homer's file photo

Like the newspaper covers, there was never a shortage of great Homer file photos on the news. This one is up there with the best.

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19. The drama begins

Marge's trip to North Haverbrook brings with it an air of foreboding, made all the worse by the dramatic comments of one Sebastian Cobb.

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20. The guest appearance of Leonard Nimoy

This is not the last time he will feature in this post. Nimoy was actually only the third choice to guest appear in the episode, with George Takei and William Shatner their first two options. It's hard to imagine the episode with out Nimoy
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21. The return of Lurline Lumpkin

Homer's former love interest had appeared in the background of many other episodes but this was the first time she spoke. Needless to say she sounded a little worse for wear.

22. Matt Groening's favourite line

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Groening also cites this as one of the best episodes of The Simpsons and in fact one of his favourite lines ever is a little unexpected. It comes from the scene where Marge discovers a family of possums living in the place the fire extinguisher should be. To which Homer merely replies:

I call the big one 'Bitey.'

 

23. The name of the pipe that bursts

Should have been called 'Seld M Brake' ... Am I right? Wha?

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24. Sebastian Cobb's timewasting

'I knew I shouldn't have stopped for that haircut.'

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25. He's no Batman either

'Batman's a scientist?'

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26. The solar eclipse

Another top notch Nimoy moment. Damn solar power. When will they ever learn!?

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27. Quimby and Wiggum arguing over the town charter

As the town flies around at 180mph, the two men in charge are busy arguing over who should actually in charge. A wonderful waste of time in which Wiggum discovers that he's entitled to a pig every month.

 

28. A breakthrough for medicine

Rumour has it that siamese twin operations are a long and painful process. Not when Homer's anchor is around!

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29. Donuts

Is there anything they can't do?

30. Nimoy's exit

Apparently this was only put in as a joke at the end of the episode with everyone expecting Groening to cut it because, well even in an episode as random as this it was completely surreal. But he loved it so much that it stayed in and the world is a little better for it.

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31. The memory lives on

Now I don't want to get too emotional but in 2014 Conan O'Brien and some of The Simpsons voice actors paid a special tribute to the episode and we feel it's a fitting note to leave on.

See Also: Michael Foley's Photos Show Us Dublin In The Rare Auld Times

Mark Farrelly
Article written by
Balls Media Audience Development Manager. Former Miss World 1997 contestant.

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