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. It originally aired on January 14, 1993. The episode was written by Conan O'Brien and directed by Rich Moore. Special guest voices are Phil Hartman as Lyle Lanley and Leonard Nimoy as himself.


After collecting a $3 million fine from Mr. Burns (for illegal disposal of nuclear waste), Springfield holds a town meeting to decide what to do with the money. Marge suggests they use it to fix Main Street, but a smooth-talking stranger named Lyle Lanley talks the townspeople into spending the money on a needless monorail...built from shoddy materials. However, his slick salesmanship doesn't win over both Lisa and Marge whom both 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. A town meeting is immediately held so that the citizens can decide how to spend the money, and Marge suggests using it to fix up Main Street, which is in extremely poor condition. The town shows enthusiasm for this idea and is about to vote for it when suddenly a smooth-talking stranger named Lyle Lanley suggests that the town buy a new monorail, making his pitch in a song which convinces the town to buy the monorail.

While Lanley wins over the residents of Springfield, Marge and Lisa are the only ones skeptical of him with the belief he's a con-artist. Marge is furious with the town's purchase of the monorail deeming it too dangerous and still believes that they should have used the money properly to fix Main Street.

At Springfield Elementary School, Lanley arrives for an assembly and he wins most of the school over. Although Lisa is still suspicious of his true motives, she pretends to play along with her classmates so he doesn't suspect anything.

While watching TV, Homer sees an advertisement that suggests he become a monorail conductor. Claiming it to be a lifelong dream, Homer signs up for the monorail conductor training course. After a decidedly unintensive three weeks of training, Homer is named the monorail conductor. In bed, Marge tries to voice her suspicion about Lanley to Homer. She is ignored by him, claiming that her plans to restore Main Street was a bad idea in general. This prompts Marge to find out more about Lanley to prove to Homer about the monorail.

While he shows the kids inside the monorail for tomorrow, Lisa is still wary and voices her concerns. She mentions she had to trick Lanley into believing that she is won over by the monorail, but she's still skeptical and believes Marge may have been right the whole time. Homer and Bart tries to quell Lisa's concerns about the monorail. However, she still feels suspicious and uneasy about the whole thing.

His evil plan

Lisa isn't the only one who feels that way, Marge is fed up with the her town's lack of understanding of the dangers involved and decides to take matters into her own hands. She decides to pay Lyle Lanley a visit at his office to question him about his motives and discovers a notebook. Opening it, she 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. Closing the notebook, this confirms what she and Lisa suspected the whole time about Lanley being a con-artist with a lack of concern for anyone but himself. He catches Marge in his office and questions her about her reasons in his office. She quickly comes up with a convincing alibi that lets him suspect she knows nothing. Lanley allows Marge to leave, unaware that she has read the notebook and is aware of his plans.

Marge comes home and tells Lisa about it. She agrees to keep this between them, making Marge feel a lot more comfortable knowing Lisa can be trusted due to their similar suspicions to Lanley and the monorail. Marge immediately drives to North Haverbrook, which Lanley mentioned was a previous purchaser of one of his monorails. She finds the town to be a desolate ghost town and nearly deserted. Marge asks around about the monorail and is met with hostility with the remaining few residents because no one is willing to talk about it. A woman working at a drive-in diner says there's no monorail in North Haverbrook and never was. She tells Marge she is wasting her time and tells her to leave. The woman rudely closes the doors, revealing that the diner is called "MONORAIL CAFE". However, Marge finds one resident who's willing to talk to her about the monorail. He introduces himself as Sebastian Cobb, a German scientist whom has been living in North Haverbrook for years. He explains that although he designed the monorails himself, Cobb was actually against his town purchasing the monorail because he suspected Lanley of foul play. His suspicion was confirmed when Cobb discovered that Lanley cut costs everywhere while building North Haverbrook's monorail, and that the entire thing is a scam. He then shows Marge the remnants of the town's monorail, which is now broken and in disrepair. Realizing she knows the truth about Lanley's true motives, Cobb agrees to assist Marge in preventing the monorail from taking off.

At the maiden voyage of the monorail, the entire town turns out, including celebrities such as Lurleen Lumpkin and Leonard Nimoy. Lisa refuses to step inside and tries to stop Lanley from leaving by convincing him to jump in the monorail. He refuses by grabbing his money and jumps in a taxi, which takes him to the airport. The monorail takes off just before Marge and Cobb arrive in Springfield, since Cobb needed to get in a quick 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's solar-powered) and although a solar eclipse briefly halts it, the eclipse ends and the monorail takes off again. Using the main control tower system, Marge and Lisa tries to help Homer stop the monorail, but finds that Lanley ruined the main panel upon knowing that they knew truth of his scams. Undaunted, Marge quickly comes up with a plan B knowing that Lanley will soon answer to his crimes.

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 angry locals who have been tipped off about his arrival, presumably by Marge who promised the residents a chance at justice against him. Charging inside the plane, Lanley screams out in terror as the residents viciously beat him up in revenge for ruining their town's reputation with potential visitors and chasing away most of their residents that lead their desolate ghost town status.

Back in Springfield, Cobb tells Homer that in order to stop the monorail, he needs to find an anchor. 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 a 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 in a transporter effect very similar to Star Trek.

The town later apologizes to Marge for not listening to her about the monorail and agrees to take it down and use its parts to fix Main Street. The episode ends with Marge explaining that the monorail was the last folly Springfield ever had...except for the popsicle-stick skyscraper...and the giant 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
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