Marge vs. the Monorail

Marge vs. the Monorail
                                                       Written by Conan O'Brien
                                                         Directed by Rich Moore

TV Guide synopsis

A fast-talking charmer (Phil Hartman) sells Springfield a monorail of dubious
necessity and, Marge learns, highly dubious quality.  Leonard Nimoy is aboard
for the maiden trip, with Homer at the controls.  Other voices: Dan
Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Hank Azaria.

Title sequence


    {I will not eat things for money}.
    {I will not eat things} at cutoff.

Lisa's solo

    Traditional, on a bari sax.


    Homer says ``D'oh!'' when Lisa scoots past.
    Homer yells ``Waugh!'' when Marge closes in on him.


    The entire family sit on the couch, and the entire population
    of Springfield rush in front of them to watch television.

Quotes and scene summary


 As the Flintstones theme blares, Homer's slumber at his safety console
 is broken by the five o'clock whistle.  With a Yabba-Dabba-Doo, Homer
 leaps into his car (crashing through the window) and speeds off.
   Simpson!  Homer Simpson!
   He's the greatest guy in history.
   From the!  Town of Springfield!
   He's about to hit a chestnut tree!
   -- Homer sings to himself, ``Marge vs. the Monorail''
 And he's right.  Crash!

 At the plant, Lenny and Carl seal up another barrel of toxic waste.
   -- Warning labels save lives, ``Marge vs. the Monorail''
 The two wonder where the waste gets taken.  Carl figures it's buried in
 an abandoned chalk mine.  Lenny thinks it's sent to a Southern state
 with a crooked governor.  Once the two leave, Burns and Smithers cart
 the barrel away.
   Smithers: Well, sir, where should we dump <this> batch [of nuclear waste]?
   Burns:    No.  All those bald children are arousing suspicion.
   -- Monty's kids, ``Marge vs. the Monorail''
 At the park, Burns tries to shove another barrel into a hollowed-out tree.
 ``The last tree held nine drums!''  He indicates another tree stuffed
 with radioactive waste, glowing green, complete with purple tentacles
 and really scary squirrels.  Burns' nighttime undertaking is interrupted
 by EPA agents.

 In court (``Liberty and Justice for Most''), Burns is fined $3 million,
 which he pays.  On the spot.  In cash.
   Heh heh heh.  Oh, Andy Capp.  You wife-beating drunk.  Heh heh heh.
   -- Homer reads the funnies, ``Marge vs. the Monorail''
 There will be a town meeting to decide how to spend the $3 million.
 Lisa dreams of spending it on the public schools.  Bart's dream
 is also vaguely school-related.  Marge thinks the money should be
 spent on something the whole town should be proud of.

 While everyone else is at Springfield Town Hall, Snake and his pals
 rob their homes.
   Quimby: We will now hear suggestions for the disbursement of the
           two million dollars.
   Lisa:   Don't you mean <three> million dollars?
   Quimby: [looks around nervously, adjusts his tie]  Of course.
           <Three> million dollars.
   -- ``Marge vs. the Monorail''
 Maude suggests they hire firemen to put out the blaze on the east side of
 town.  (Homer nixes the idea.)  Monty Burns (poorly disguised as Mr. Snrub)
 suggest the money be invested back into the power plant.  The idea is booed
 soundly.  With Smithers' help, he makes his escape.
   Apu:    I would like to see this money spent on more police officers.
           I have been shot eight this year.  As a result, I almost missed work.
   Wiggum: [to himself] Cry-baby.
   -- ``Marge vs. the Monorail''
 While Marge presents her proposal to spend the money to fix up the
 absurdly dilapidated Main Street, Mayor Quimby entertains himself
 with pornographic playing cards.  Abe tries to voice his objections,
 but the crowd loves the idea and gives him credit for the idea.
 Just as the vote is about to be taken, a fast-talking gentleman
 introduces himself.  Lyle Lanley plays the crowd like he's done it
 a million times before.
   We're twice as smart as the people of Shelbyville.
   Just tell us your idea, and we'll vote for it!
   -- Mayor Quimby, ``Marge vs. the Monorail''
 He unveils a model of the Springfield Monorail, just like the ones
 he sold to Ogdenville, North Haverbrook, and Brockway.  Whence follows
 a musical number.

 [End of Act One.  Time: 7:22]

 Driving home, Bart and Homer chant ``Monorail'' as the car goes over
 each pothole.
   Marge: I still think we ought to spend the money to fix Main Street.
   Homer: Well, you should've written a song like that guy.
   -- Another song-and-dance, ``Marge vs. the Monorail''
 Mr. Lanley takes his spiel to Lisa's class, where he answers questions
 from the students.  Lisa asks a hard-hitting question, and Lanley smartly
 plays the man, not the ball, by complimenting Lisa on her astuteness,
 and never actually answering the question.
   You there, eating the paste.
   -- Lyle Lanley calls on a student in Lisa's class, ``Marge vs. the Monorail''
 Homer watches a television advert for ``Truckasaurus: The Movie'',
 starring Marlon Brando as John Truckasaurus (celebrity voice impersonated).
 Then follows an ad (using somebody who looks startlingly like Homer as
 a demonstration) recruiting people to become monorail conductors.
 Homer decides that being a monorail conductor was his life-long dream.

 At the hastily-put-together Lanley Institute of Monorail Conducting...
   Lanley: Before we begin, is anyone here an investigative reporter?
   Man:    I am.  And she is.
   -- Why they're still writing for the Springfield Shopper,
      ``Marge vs. the Monorail''
 He asks them and their hidden camera to leave.

 At home, Bart quizzes Homer from his study book.
   True or false?  You can get mono from riding the monorail.
   -- A difficult question on the MCATs (Monorail Conductors Aptitude Test),
      ``Marge vs. the Monorail''
 Homer gets the question right.  Bart expresses his admiration.
   Homer: Do you want to change your name to Homer, Junior?
          The kids can call you Ho-Ju!
   Bart:  [appropriate pause]  I'll get back to you.
   -- Not to be confused with Ho-Ho's, ``Marge vs. the Monorail''
 Barney guides a crane in placing the train on the track.  He turns to
 wave to Homer, which the crane operator interprets as the sign to drop
 the train.  The train falls, crushing a house.  ``Aw, I hate that sound.''

 In bed, Marge reads a book.
   Marge: According to this book, the monorail goes over 150 miles an hour!
          What if something goes wrong?
   Homer: ``What if.''  What if I stepped in the shower and slipped on a bar
          of soap?  ... Oh, my God!  I'd get killed!
   -- ``Marge vs. the Monorail''
 Homer goes into salacious mode, but Marge isn't interested.

 At the Lanley Institute, the lesson concludes.
   -- Lesson at the Lanley Institute of Monorail Conducting,
      ``Marge vs. the Monorail''
 Otto asks who gets to be conductor.  Lanley consults his notebook
 (in which he has drawn a picture of himself driving to Tahiti with
 a pickup full of cash) and arbitrarily selects Homer as the monorail

 While Homer shows off the steering compartment of the monorail, Marge
 finds an opossum family in the fire extinguisher compartment.  (No
 fire extinguisher is to be seen.)

 Marge goes to visit Mr. Lanley's office and, finding no one inside,
 lets herself in.  There, she finds Lanley's notebook.  She is startled
 by the appearance of Mr. Lanley.  ``How much did you see?''  ``Um,
 nothing incriminating.''  Lanley's demeanor brightens.  ``Good!''
 Marge quickly excuses herself.

 She drives to North Haverbrook, ``Where the monorail is king!'',
 claims the billboard.  It is a run-down town, where the locals are
 reluctant to discuss the monorail.  She is startled by Sebastian
 Cobb, whom Lanley hired to build the monorail.  He shows her what's
 left of it.  When asked what can be done, he answers, ``You just better
 have a damn good conductor.''

 Homer has locked the keys to the train inside.  A bent coat-hanger
 doesn't seem to help, so Homer tells Bart, ``Get a rock.''

 [End of Act Two.  Time: 13:27]

 At the grand opening of the Springfield Central Monorail Station,
 Kent Brockman reports on the myriad celebrities on-hand for the
 occasion, including a tattered Lurleen Lumpkin, fresh from her
 (so to speak) stay at the Betty Ford Clinic.
   Quimby: And now, I'd like to turn things over to our Grand Marshall,
           Mr. Leonard Nimoy.
   Nimoy:  I'd say this vessel could do at least Warp Five.
           [appreciative laughter from the crowd]
   Quimby: And let me say, ``May the Force Be With You!''
   Nimoy:  [annoyed]  Do you even know who I am?
   Quimby: [indignant] I think I do.  Weren't you one of the Little Rascals?
   -- ``Marge vs. the Monorail''
 Lisa spots Lanley lugging suitcases of cash into a taxi.  She asks him
 if he's going to ride the monorail, but he seems to be in a bit of a hurry
 to leave.

 Homer (dressed in a bizarre uniform) fires up the engines and disengages
 the brake.  Inside the engine, we see a gear slip off its axle, a
 belt snap, sparks fly, and a Seld-M-Break rubber hose stretched to the limit.
 Marge and Mr. Cobb arrive...
   Marge: We're too late!
   Cobb:  I <shouldn't> have stopped for that haircut.  Sorry.
   -- Cut, too, the quick, ``Marge vs. the Monorail''
 In the luxury car of the monorail (complete with painting of the Hindenburg
 disaster), Leonard Nimoy tells Star Trek anecdotes to an obviously
 uninterested gentleman.  At Homer's suggestion, Bart sticks his head out
 the window.  (Bart pulls it back in just in time.)

 The Seld-M-Break hose finally snaps, and the train accelerates out of
 control.  The ``Springfield Monorail'' sticker peels off, revealing
 a ``1964 World's Fair'' sign.  The brake lever fails to work.  Quimby
 wants to take charge of the situation, but Wiggum refuses to let him.
   Quimby: Watch it, you walking tub of donut batter!
   Wiggum: Hey, I got pictures of you, Quimby.
   Quimby: You don't scare me.  That could be <anyone's> ass!
   -- ``Marge vs. the Monorail''
 To resolve the constitutional crisis, the two go to town hall.
 According to the town charter, as town constable, Wiggum gets a pig
 every month, as well, as ``two comely lasses of virtue true''.  Quimby
 takes a closer look, ``Hey, how many broads do <I> get?''  The two
 fight over the charter as the monorail zips past.

 One technician suggests cutting the power, but alas, the monorail
 is solar-powered.  (``Solar power.  When will people learn?'')
 But miracle of miracles, Springfield suffers a solar eclipse!
 The train grinds to a halt, and all celebrate.  The eclipse
 ends, and the train speeds off again.

 Lyle Lanley's nonstop flight to Tahiti is interrupted by a brief stop
 in North Haverbrook.  Once the plane touches down, the townsfolk
 storm the plane and repay Lanley for his work.
   Homer: Are we gonna die, son?
   Bart:  Yeah, but at least we're going to take a lot of innocent people.
   -- ``Marge vs. the Monorail''
 Marge calls Homer on the radio.  Mr. Cobb tells Homer to find an anchor
 of some sort.  Homer looks at Bart and envisions him as an anchor.
 ``Think harder, Homer.''  Homer takes a lariat from a passenger, ties it
 to the metal `M' from the monorail sign and heaves it overboard.  Bart
 reminds him that he should tie the loose end of the rope to the train.
 The `M' anchor rips into the ground, destroying everything in its
 path.  It chops down Springfield's Tallest Tree, sending it crashing
 onto Jebediah Springfield's Birthplace.  Dr. Hibbert explains to
 Siamese twins that an operation to separate them is a long and
 costly procedure.  The anchor rope rips through them, separating
 them cleanly.  The makeshift anchor passes in front of ``Ye Olde
 Anchor Shoppe'', owned by Captain McAlister.  (``You call that an
 anchor?'')  It eventually hooks onto a giant donut atop a donut shop
 and brings the train to a stop.
   Donuts.  Is there anything they <can't> do?
   -- Homer, ``Marge vs. the Monorail''
 The passengers exit on the emergency inflatable slides (in the event
 of a water landing...), and Leonard Nimoy notes, ``My work is done
 here.''  He beams out.

 As the camera pulls away from the scene, Marge's voice narrates:
 ``And that was the only folly the people of Springfield ever embarked
 upon.  Except for the popsicle stick skyscraper.  And the 50-foot
 magnifying glass.  And that escalator to nowhere.''

 The magnifying glass focuses the sun's rays on the skyscraper, igniting
 a fire.  Meanwhile, people rise to the top of a huge escalator, only
 to fall off when it reaches the top.

 [End of Act Three.  Time: 20:42]

Voice credits


    Dan Castellaneta    (Homer, Krusty, Grampa)
    Julie Kavner        (Marge, Patty and Selma)
    Nancy Cartwright    (Bart)
    Yeardley Smith      (Lisa)
    Hank Azaria         (Wiggum, Apu)
    Harry Shearer       (nearly everybody else)

Special Guest Voice

    Phil Hartman        (Lyle Lanley)

Special Guest Voice

    Leonard Nimoy       (himself)

Also starring

    Doris Grau      (Lurleen Lumpkin)
    Maggie Roswell  (Maude, Ms. Hoover, Caf\'e owner, Voice of Monorail)

Didja notice...

    ... on the park, on one of the trees was carved a heart with the
	legend ``M.B. + H.S.''?
    ... a picture of a dinosaur tacked to the Simpsons kitchen bulletin
	board?  Continuing the ``Flintstones'' leitmotif. @{jsw}
    ... in the newspaper photo, Smithers is carrying the statue of Justice
        that Burns bought?
    ... Snrub is Burns spelled backwards?
    ... Maggie reaching out to touch the opossums?
    ... the two cops standing in front of the donut shop?
    ... the world's most deadly weapon (a board with a nail through it)
	was yielded by one of the angry mob in North Haverbrook? @{ddw}

Movie (and other) References

      The Untouchables
	- Agent Malone from the EPA has the voice of Robert
	  Stack as Elliot Ness @{rnk}
    + The Music Man
        - Lyle Lanley's song and dance.
        - Everyone chanting ``monorail'' (cf. ``trouble'') @{mbb}
        - But where was Shirley Jones?
    + Silence of the Lambs
        - Monty Burns' attire at the court hearing.
    + Batman
        - Smithers and Burns' escape.  (Where does he get those toys?)
    + Them!
	- Bart's giant ants.  Leonard Nimoy appeared in the movie, too.

Freeze Frame Fun

Watching television with the Simpsons


    Mr. Burns
    Ms. Krabappel
    Principal Skinner
    A bikini-clad woman
    Ms. Hoover

    Chief Wiggum
    Ned Flanders
    Maude Flanders
    Dr. Hibbert

    Kent Brockman (and microphone)

The power plant

    * Signs
        + Sector 7-G
        + ATTENTION: USE [unclear] AT ALL TIMES
    * The standard green goo leaking from assorted pipes
    * Storage drums leaking, one badly bent out of shape

The town meeting

    * Mayor Quimby, Chief Wiggum, and the two cops
    * The Simpsons
    * Mr. Largo
    * Ms. Mellon
    * Rev. Lovejoy
    * Abe
    * Apu
    * Miss Hoover
    * Maude Flanders
    * Mr. Snrub and Smithers
    * Dr. J. Loren Pryor
    * Jasper
    * Ned Flanders
    * Mr. and Mrs. Van Houten
    * Dave Shutton
    * The receptionist from the Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers Babysitting Service
    * Akira
    * Patty and Selma
    * Dr. Marvin Monroe
    * Moe
    * Principal Skinner
    * Ms. Krabappel
    * One of Princess Kashmir's friends?
    * Herman
    * Richie Sakai
    * Krusty (in make-up)

Main Street

    | On the overhead pan
    * Deli on the corner.

    | On Homer's drive down Main Street with a grand piano
    * Swampy's Liquor.  Neon ``Duff'' sign, and a sign reading
      ``Duff spoken here''.
    * Pizza on a Stick
    * Palais de Donut
    * Toup\'e [sic] Towne
    * Hair Loss Clinic (right next door, how convenient)
    * Bail Bonds
    * Chinese Smorgasbord
    * Videos of Springfield
    * Cafe Food
    * Swampy's Liquor (again)
    * Pizza on a Stick (again)
    * Palais de Donut (again)
    * Toup\'e [sic] Towne (again)

    | As the popcorn truck falls into a pothole
    * Jewelry 2-Go [as opposed to `Jewelry for Here']

Passengers on the runaway monorail as it passes town hall

    * First car
        - Bart
        - Homer
        - Two screaming people
    * Second car
        - Four screaming people
        - One screaming and praying person
    * Third car
        - Jimbo laughs
        - Nelson laughs
        - Wendell blows mondo chunks
    * Fourth car
        - Lionel Hutz
        - Apu
        - Dr. Hibbert (I thought he was in his office)
        - Krusty
    * Fifth car
        - Dr. John Fink
        - Otto (sitting back and enjoying the ride)
        - Two screaming people
    * Sixth car (economy class)
        - A huge mass of screaming people

Animation and continuity goofs

The pan down from the `Main Street' signs shows an empty corner by
the deli, but the pan upwards from the street shows Wiggum and the
other cop at the corner, eating.

Comments and other observations

References obvious and obscure

Previous episodes

[7[FG]24] ``My work is done here.''

The Flintstones

You didn't get this?  Where have you been, living under a rock?
Note Homer's slide down a pipe on his way out, cf. Fred's escape
down the tail of his dino-crusher.  Homer also leaps into his car the
same way Fred does.  Except that Homer's car has a glass window...


Phil Mueller @{pm} suggests that the Southern state with the crooked
governor is Alabama.  His logic: ``The toxic waste dump at Emille
takes stuff from all over the country, and Gov. Hunt was just indicted
on [thirteen counts of] ethics [violations].''

Tracey McCartney @{tmc} followed up on this.  The writers of the
``Under the Dome'' section of a Montgomery newspaper called the
production office.  ``The exec producer said they weren't referring to
any state in particular.''  This has been confirmed by Bill Oakley.

Beverly Hills 90210

The obvious referent of Springfield Heights 90210.  Plus the wry
observation that the male hunk is 34 years old, playing a teenager.
The resemblance to Luke Perry is no doubt purely coincidental.

The 1964 World's Fair

Randy Lambertus @{rl} gives us a brief history lesson:
    The 1964 World's Fair was held in Flushing Meadows (a suburb of New
    York City proper), and it did feature a monorail in the `Amusements'
    area, on the south side.  The monorail was sponsored by AMF, the
    bowling people.  But unlike the one pictured in the episode, the cars
    hung from an overhead rail.  [Another important difference is that the
    World's Fair monorail cruised at a mind-boggling 1/2 mile per hour.]
    There were two tracks, with the trains running in opposite directions.
    It was an additional-cost item, not included in the general admission.
    It wandered along the outline of the `Amusements' and took a couple of
    minutes to traverse the entire length of track.  The overall color of
    the units were white with red trim, the AMF triangle at the front and
    back of each end.

    Near it was the UniRoyal Ferris wheel, a giant tire.  I believe it was
    moved to Uniroyal headquarters in Michigan? minus the ferris wheel

    The 1964-65 New York World's Fair ran from April to October in the
    years 1964 and 1965. When the fair closed almost all the attractions
    were removed.  The only stuff left is the New York City pavilion
    (really from the 1939-40 fair), the NY State pavilion (now badly
    decomposed), the Singer Bowl (used for concerts, still?), the
    Unisphere (symbol of the fair) the Westinghouse time capsules from
    1939 and 1964 (under a monument), the Vatican marker for the display
    of Michealangelo's Pieta, the Port of Authority building (used as a
    heliport during the fair), and the Science Museum (called Rocket Park
    now?), oh yes, and Shea Stadium, and I think the Florida building on
    the lagoon (originally Billy Rose's Aquacade in the 1939 fair).
David M. Stein @{dms} continues the story:
    While AMF sponsored the monorail, it was designed and built by a
    California engineering firm which was named WED.

    WED Stood for Walter Elias Disney... the engineering wing of Disney.
    That monorail ended up at Disneyland after the fair.  If I remember
    that set of monorails was retired in the late 60's.  The guy would
    have had to have gotten the thing from Disney.

    There were several other exhibits WED designed and built for other
    companies.  Namely Kodak (``It's a Small World''), GM ``An Evening
    with Mr. Lincoln'' (the first of the ``Hall of Presidents'')
    and General Electric's ``Carousel of Progress''.

(For further information, there's lots of books in your local library,
many of them with cool, gory pictures.)

The Declaration of Independence

The Springfield City Charter is styled after the Declaration of
Independence, with Jebediah Springfield's signature taking the place
of John Hancock's.


It seems nobody gives Gallagher a break.  Not that he deserves one.

Solar power

In case you didn't get the joke, solar power has yet to prove itself
as an in-any-way viable source of energy for transportation.

Lost animation and cut scenes

Homer's monorail outfit

Bill Oakley explains, ``Homer's monorail conductor outfit was designed
with the following joke in mind:
    Homer:  Well, how do I look?
    Selma:  Like Darth Vader without the helmet.
This joke was cut out in a later draft of the script, but the design of
the outfit remained the same.  So, you see, his uniform was supposed to
be reminiscent of Darth Vader.''

The Monorail Song

Lyle Lanley:  Well, sir, there's nothing on earth
              Like a genuine,
	      Bona fide,
              Monorail! ...
              What'd I say?
Ned Flanders: Monorail!
Lyle Lanley:  What's it called?
Patty+Selma:  Monorail!
Lyle Lanley:  That's right!  Monorail!
	      [crowd chants `Monorail' softly and rhythmically]
Miss Hoover:  I hear those things are awfully loud...
Lyle Lanley:  It glides as softly as a cloud.
Apu:          Is there a chance the track could bend?
Lyle Lanley:  Not on your life, my Hindu friend.
Barney:       What about us brain-dead slobs?
Lyle Lanley:  You'll all be given cushy jobs.
Abe:          Were you sent here by the devil?
Lyle Lanley:  No, good sir, I'm on the level.
Wiggum:       The ring came off my pudding can.
Lyle Lanley:  Take my pen knife, my good man.
              I swear it's Springfield's only choice...
              Throw up your hands and raise your voice!
All:          [singing] Monorail!
Lyle Lanley:  What's it called?
All:          Monorail!
Lyle Lanley:  Once again...
All:          Monorail!
Marge:        But Main Street's still all cracked and broken...
Bart:         Sorry, Mom, the mob has spoken!
All:          [singing] Monorail!
	      [big finish]
Homer:        Mono...  D'oh!

Total solar eclipses

Bruce Watson @{bw2} checks his trusty almanac and sees that the only
total solar eclipse in 1992 took place on 30 June in Uruguay at
sunrise.  There are no solar eclipses (at least, no scheduled ones)
in 1993.

Leonard Nimoy

Chris Baird @{cjb} quotes a ``reputable source'' that Nimoy's r\^ole
was ``originally written for George Takei.  Takei wanted a few too
many changes to the dialogue, so the writers asked Nimoy instead, and
to their complete surprise, he agreed.''

Jebediah Springfield's Birthplace

Why did Jebediah Springfield's birthplace explode?  Because of all the
toxic waste stored inside, of course.

That brief stopover in North Haverbrook

Rick Kitchen @{rnk} wonders how the people of North Haverbrook knew
that Lyle Lanley was on the plane, and in seat 3F.  Obviously, a scene
we didn't see was Lisa mentioning to Marge that Lyle Lanley seems to
be in a hurry to leave, upon which Marge reacts with one of her
classic gasps.  Mr. Cobb contacts his friends back home, and, in a
demonstration of unity and cooperation not unheard of in the world of
cartoons (see [8[FG]01]), the airline company and the people of North
Haverbrook work together to bring Lyle Lanley to vigilante justice.

HTML conversion by
Howard Jones( on Sat 10 Sept 1994