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Homer's Triple Bypass
Marge vs. the Monorail
Selma's Choice

"Donuts. Is there anything they can't do?"
Homer Simpson
"I call the big one Bitey."
―Homer, on the opossums living in the Monorail.

"Marge vs. the Monorail" is the twelfth episode of Season 4.


After collecting a $3 million fine from Mr. Burns (for illegal disposal of nuclear waste), Springfield holds a town meeting to choose what to do with the money. Marge suggests they use it to fix Main Street, but a smooth-talking stranger named Lyle Lanley convinces the townspeople into spending the money on a needless monorail... which is built from shoddy materials. However, his slick salesmanship doesn't win over Lisa and Marge, both of whom suspect he is a con artist.

Full Story[]

After being caught dumping nuclear waste in the city park by Agent Malone, Mr. Burns is fined $3 million, which will go towards fixing up Springfield. Lisa wants the money to go towards Springfield Elementary getting virtual-reality helmets so students can actually experience history, Bart wants to buy giant, mechanical ants to destroy Springfield Elementary and cut Principal Skinner in half, and Homer wants a giant billboard that reads, "NO FAT CHICKS".

A town meeting is immediately held so that the citizens (the ones who aren't busy breaking into people's homes, like Snake Jailbird and his criminal buddies) can decide how to spend the money. Maude Flanders wants the money to go towards hiring more firefighters to put out the perpetual blaze on the east side of town (which Homer finds boring), Mr. Burns (poorly disguised as a man named Mr. Snrub) wants the money to be returned to the nuclear plant (the audience immediately turns on him and he and Smithers escape Batman-style with a grappling hook gun), Apu wants the money spent on hiring more police officers because he got shot eight times and almost missed work (Chief Wiggum dismisses this as Apu being a crybaby), and Marge suggests using the money to fix up Main Street, which is in extremely poor condition thanks to drivers like Homer driving with chains on their tires and carrying too much weight while the potholes have become so big that actual vehicles fall in them. Grampa Simpson goes to object to the "fix Main Street" idea, but the entire town takes it as a call to fix Main Street. Before Mayor Quimby makes the vote official, a smooth-talking stranger named Lyle Lanley suggests that the town buy a new monorail and wins them over with The Monorail Song.

While everyone in town is abuzz with a monorail being built in Springfield, Marge still believes that the town should have used the money to fix Main Street. At Springfield Elementary School, Lanley arrives for an assembly and he wins most of the school over. Lisa tries to ask Lanley about the point of having a monorail in a small town, but Lanley ends up charming her by complimenting her intellect.

While watching TV, Homer sees an advertisement that suggests he become a monorail conductor. Claiming it to be a lifelong dream (even though Marge points out that Homer fulfilled his lifelong dream of running out on the field during a baseball game, which he did last year and ended up getting arrested and costing Springfield the pennant), Homer signs up for the monorail conductor training course. After a decidedly un-intensive three weeks of training, Homer is named the monorail conductor.

His evil plan

When Homer shows his family the monorail cockpit, Marge finds a family of opossums in the fire extinguisher cabinet (in the place of a fire extinguisher). She pays Lyle Lanley a visit at his office to question him about his motives. In the empty office, Marge discovers a notebook and learns Lanley’s true intentions: to have the monorail break down and leave Springfield in ruins, while he gets away with the town's money in a plane trip to Tahiti. Lanley catches Marge and questions how much she saw in the notebook. Marge replies, "Nothing incriminating," and Lanley cheerfully lets her go, and wonders why he leaves his notebook lying around, unaware that Marge now knows his plan to con Springfield and endanger its residents.


Marge immediately drives to North Haverbrook, now a ghost town where the only residents are a cackling old lady sitting in a rocking chair on her porch and a traumatized diner waitress who denies that the town ever had a monorail. However, Marge finds one resident willing to talk to her: Sebastian Cobb, a scientist who was hired by Lanley to build the monorail. Cobb explains that Lanley forced him to cut corners everywhere: using bad wiring, installing faulty brakes, and having Gallagher as the celebrity on the maiden voyage. Worried, Marge asks Cobb what Springfield should do. Cobb's answer: have a damn good conductor. With Homer (who just locked his keys in the cockpit of the monorail) at the wheel, the maiden voyage is doomed.

At the maiden voyage of the monorail, the entire town turns out, including celebrities such as the Luke Perry-esque Kyle Darrin from Springfield Heights 90210, Krusty the Clown (who gets accosted by a single mother who begs him to see her son, who looks like Krusty, complete with white make-up and green hair), Lurleen Lumpkin (fresh from her stay at the Betty Ford Clinic and now sounding like Lunchlady Doris due to her drug problems and ruined career), and Leonard Nimoy (whom Mayor Quimby mistook for a cast member from the Star Wars movies and one of the original child actors from The Little Rascals). Lisa tries to get Lanley to ride the monorail, but Lanley, instead, leaves for his flight to Tahiti with the town's money. The monorail takes off just before Marge and Cobb arrive in Springfield, since Cobb decided to stop for a haircut.

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At first the monorail runs smoothly, but the controls malfunction, causing the monorail to speed up and travel at a dangerous speed. Nobody can figure out how to stop the monorail (since it runs on solar power) and Mayor Quimby and Chief Wiggum are too busy fighting over how many women each of them get according to the town charter to care that their citizens are in danger. Although a solar eclipse briefly halts it, the eclipse ends and the monorail takes off again.

Meanwhile, Lanley's plans goes awry when the flight to Tahiti makes a brief unscheduled stop in North Haverbrook. He is immediately attacked by a group of locals and is never seen again.


Back in Springfield, Cobb tells Homer that in order to stop the monorail, he needs to find an anchor. After seriously considering using Bart, Homer grabs the giant “M” from the side of the monorail, ties it to a rope, and throws it out the window (just barely remembering at the last second that he needs to also tie the rope to something inside the monorail). Eventually, the M latches onto Lard Lad's giant doughnut, stopping the monorail and saving its passengers. As the passengers get off of the monorail, Leonard Nimoy says that his work is done. Barney tells Nimoy that he didn't do anything. Nimoy asks, "Didn't I?" and vanishes a la Star Trek.

Marge concludes with an explanation that the monorail was the last folly Springfield ever had... except for the popsicle-stick skyscraper... and the 50-foot magnifying glass... and the escalator to nowhere.

Behind the Laughter[]


In 2003, Entertainment Weekly named this the fourth best episode in the show's history.


Season 3 Season 4 Episodes Season 5
Kamp KrustyA Streetcar Named MargeHomer the HereticLisa the Beauty QueenTreehouse of Horror IIIItchy & Scratchy: The MovieMarge Gets a JobNew Kid on the BlockMr. PlowLisa's First WordHomer's Triple BypassMarge vs. the MonorailSelma's ChoiceBrother from the Same PlanetI Love LisaDufflessLast Exit to SpringfieldSo It's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip ShowThe FrontWhacking DayMarge in ChainsKrusty Gets Kancelled