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Conan wrote one of the funniest episodes of the Simpsons ever. When the town comes into money they foolishly spend it when a shyster played by Phil Hartman convinces the the town they need a Monorail system just like Ogdenville and North Haverbrook. Homer becomes the monorail driver and everything goes haywire! The "Monorail Song" is hilarious! One of the funniest lines in a Simpsons song is when Apu asks in song, "is there a chance the track could bend?" Phil Hartman's character answers, "Not on your life my Hindu friend." Leonard Nimoy appears in one of his 2 guest appearances on the Simpsons. I wish Conan still wrote for the Simpsons, it might still be funny if he did.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Yes, I've given this ten out of ten but only because that's the maximum
I can give. It deserves a lot more.
We begin with a nice little throwaway gag about the Flintstones before Burns and Smithers set out to dispose of some Nuclear Waste in the park but they get caught and are forced to pay a fine. Mr Burns fails to "get to the money" (as Mr Snrub... Yes that'll do!) so the money is up for grabs and here is where our villain shows up: Lyle Lanley. Lanley is a parody of the music man for no reason other than for him to perform (with all of Springfield, naturally) one of TV's finest musical numbers in which he convinces the citizens of the town to purchase a monorail for reasons they're "twice as smart as the people of Shelbyville" and that if he just tells them his idea they'll vote for it. Suddenly he has won over everyone and even has Homer as the monorail conductor, even after Marge discovers it's a death trap. For example there are no brakes and the fire extinguisher is replaced with a family of possums (I call the big one Bitey), but it is too late and the monorail has gone haywire. Marge has to tell Homer via telephone how to stop the train of doom and ultimately he's saved by a doughnut... "Is there anything they can't do?"
The voice cast are excellent as ever and are joined by two notable guest stars this time. Guest-regular Phil Hartman is Lanley and Leonard Nimoy is himself. He plays a caricature of himself, as if he's the real person behind Spock. His scenes are deliciously random and it's one of the best examples of "guests as themselves" that the show has ever produced in more than two decades on screen. There's tonnes of throwaway jokes (like the popcorn van or the escalator to nowhere) and the script (by the one and only Conan O'Brien) is good and incomparably funny, you get more laugh out loud moments in this than at any other episode. Every line is as quotable as the next.
To call this a classic is to undersell it, I literally haven't got a bad thing to say about this. If you only ever watch one episode of The Simpsons make it this one.
This is the twelfth episode of the fourth season of the Simpsons and
it's a pretty weird, but satisfying episode. I also find it strange how
it's one of the lowest rated episodes in the series so far. I found it
to be funny and quite action-packed. The train sequence in the end was
very good. We also are treated to a wonderful cameo by Leonard Nimoy.
Let those Star Wars versus Star Trek jokes begin!
In this episode, "Marge vs. the Monorail," Mr. Burns is forced to donate three million dollars to Springfield and it was decided, thanks to a slick-speaking salesman, that the money will go toward a monorail system, despite protests from Marge. Homer decides to sign up to be the conductor. Eventually Marge learns that this monorail system is not for real and it is a faulty design only used to suck up money.
Overall, this is a really solid episode and one that involves all of Springfield in more of a joint effort. I keep forgetting that these episodes are written by the hilarious Conan O'Brien, so no wonder why we keep getting quality episode after quality episode this season. I rate this episode 9/10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is considered to be one of the greatest episodes this show has ever produced. For those who aren't familiar with the plot...well it goes something like this... A mysterious man tries to get everyone in Springfield to support his idea of creating a monorail for the people of Springfield and Marge tries to stop him. Well, here's the problem. Although this episode is hilarious, it doesn't really have a solid plot. It's more like a joke-after-joke episode without any actual story development and character development. The same can be said about other "classic" Simpson episodes like "You Only Move Twice" which in my opinion is one of the most overrated episodes of The Simpsons. Still, this episode provides good laughter so I guess it is worth seeing for every Simpsons fan. It bothers me however that the writer of this episode (Conan O'Brien) makes absolutely no use of guest star Leonard Nemoy. Guest stars usually play a serious role in The Simpsons so this is unacceptable.
Overall merely a mediocre episode. The problem is that for the most
part it just focuses on "laugh-moments", and the storyline gets
affected by it. On the other hand, there's some good stuff too, some of
the gags are really excellent. The story also gets quite interesting
during act 2, only to crash back down again in act 3 due to too many
unnecessary (though sometimes funny) gags (the story doesn't develop at
all anymore in the third act). The good laughs and fast pace in this
episode save it, however you can't help feel that - as Ryan Williams
has already pointed out - the episode could have been done better.
Still a 8/10, or a B.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Overview: This is without a doubt one of my least favorite episodes in
the series. I absolutely hated the very simple plot... it makes me
wonder if people actually like the episode just because it was written
by Conan O'Brien... I'm certainly not going to like something just
because it was by someone or just because it has a certain character in
an episode. The episode's main idea is to show this guy named Lyle
Lanley (a smooth talking con man) who pretty much cons the town into
building a monorail which fails. Homer drives the monorail prior to its
failure... and that's about it. There wasn't much more to the plot nor
was there anything special in terms of character development. They
randomly tossed in a guest star appearance of Leonard Nimoy of Star
Trek... who did absolutely nothing anyway... so that was a real waste
of a character. That may be another reason why people may like the
episode... based on a random character appearance or something of this
caliber. This is probably one of the worst reasons to rate an episode
highly... I'm still confused as to why this episode is highly rated...
most of the other episodes amongst the highly rated make more sense to
me except for this episode and "You Only Move Twice"... probably the
only other episode I despise exceptionally due to failure of providing
some form of solid story/plot. In the long run... I'm confused... I
tried to break it down...
Story: Well... that's about it... a guy tricks the town into paying for a poorly built monorail... and it fails. Yeah... it's that simple.
Development: There is none... nothing happens in the episode to change or alter the characters... nor does it have any effect on any of the characters.
Lyle Lanley: The character seemed really annoying to me... I completely preferred Hartman's other characters... (for example: Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz)... Hartman's a very good voice actor... so this character definitely isn't the most definitive when it comes to his excellent performances. Overall, Lanley was rather limited in terms of story. He was merely a plot device... and a rather poor one at that... considering I really love well-written plot device characters a lot (they are likely my favorite type of characters, even more than main characters)
Leonard Nimoy: Yeah... uh... he didn't DO anything... even if I was a Star Trek fan (which I'm not)... I wouldn't vote highly JUST because he's on screen. That is completely poor reasoning. Say, for example, one of my favorite Star Wars (which I greatly prefer to star trek) characters (DARTH MAUL) randomly appeared in an episode... I still wouldn't rate the episode highly solely based on this. A character or cameo doesn't make an ENTIRE EPISODE a good episode. This is merely to toss in something extra... not a definitive basis for judgment. I'm neutral for Nimoy, at best. Although I myself don't care about star trek much... I found it rather repetitive and lame in comparison to star wars.
Conan O'Brien: I watched this guy's TV show for a very long time. It was better than his writing... that's for sure. Some people should stick to what they do best. Conan's got a good sense of humor. But this episode wasn't humorous... it was more towards the annoying side if anything. Very poorly written overall. Conan must've just rushed it or something... I know for a fact I wouldn't love an episode JUST 'cause it's by Conan O'Brien... that is just plain stupid reasoning. Even if God wrote an episode... I wouldn't love it JUST 'cause. It has to compel and convince me... it has to move me and soothe me... it must have a climactic impact on me of some type in order for me to feel some form of emotion. Only a hardcore Conan O'Brien fan will love this... JUST because it's by him and nothing else.
The Song: I hated the whole singing scene... just as I hate almost any random singing scenes. Most of the songs are just plain annoying... but this one... this particular one was EXTREMELY annoying. There's a few songs in the series as a whole that I did enjoy (such as "We Do" from "Homer the Great" and the "Dr. Zaius" track from "A Fish Called Selma") but this track was just plain annoying... like those other really annoying tracks from "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious"... those tracks just plain ticked me off.
Overall: I wouldn't recommend this episode... unless for some reason you're a fan of musicals (which I'm not)... there isn't much of a story to it really... okay... so the monorail failed... big deal. It sucked anyway.
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