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The 20 Most Cromulent Simpsons Episodes of All-Time: #1 Thursday, July 26, 2007

Posted by cdnmoose in CDNMoose, the simpsons, total cromulence.
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The Simpsons Movie” arrives tomorrow, and (perhaps foolishly) I have much hope.

Doing recaps of the Cromulent 20 has made my earlier cynicism vanish like Dr. Nick’s confidence at a malpractice trial, and I just can’t friggin’ wait to be in the theatre to see it all unfold.

To see if the movie will take us back to the ’90s when the show was absolutely a must-see event on Sunday…er…Thursday nights.

However, since the movie opens up tomorrow, it also brings us to the close of the big list. The list that started so “controversially” with the softball episode in the #20 slot.

Yes, SA and I know we left off some deserving episodes (I slapped my head after realizing we didn’t have any Fat Tony episodes (“Homer the Clown” or “Bart the Murderer” would both have been deserving choices), no Duffman, no Truckasaurus, no fishbulb, no eight-babied Apu, no Burns’ Heir, no Homer going on fat-guy disability on purpose…

The fact is, the show probably has 50 *great* episodes over its run, and 100 very, very good ones. They couldn’t all make the Cromulent 20.

But 19 others did, and SA’s recap of One Fish shows that it was very deserving of the #1 slot on its own, but when it came right down to it, there’s only one word that deserves to be here in the #1 spot, and most of you know exactly what that one word is…

Monorail.

#1

Marge vs. the Monorail

Written by Conan O’Brien
Directed by Rich Moore

Season 4, Episode 12
Originally aired January 14, 1993

20. Homer At The Bat
19. Hurricane Neddy
18. Homer Goes to College
17. Homer’s Enemy
16. The Cartridge Family
15. 22 Short Films About Springfield
14. Treehouse of Horror II
13. El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer
12. Mr. Plow
11. Kamp Krusty
10. Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk
9. Bart Sells His Soul
8. Homer the Heretic
7. Mr. Lisa Goes To Washington
6. The New Kid on the Block
5. Lisa the Greek
4. A Streetcar Named Marge
3. Last Exit To Springfield
2. One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish
1. Marge vs. the Monorail

Episode Synopsis

Springfield gets rooked into buying a Monorail from North Haverbrook’s arch-enemy.

Why This Episode Is Particularly Cromulent

This is hands-down Phil Hartman’s greatest performance on the show (and he was always such a treat), and I would argue it’s one of his best performances ever. He’s wonderful.

It’s also another Conan episode, and my (probably non-sexual) man-crush on Conesy means I have to rate one of his shows at the top. The man knows funny.

The show has some great visual gags like the toxic waste dumping (“Toxic Waste: Do not Eat”) as well as the shots in the park of the disposal…

Hide the Ooze

“That’s ridiculous…the last tree held 9 drums!”
P.S. Yes, that’s “M.B. + H.S.” carved in the tree…very nice.

Small, almost throwaway gags like the courtroom scene (where there is “Liberty and Justice for Most“), Burns pays his $3M fine in cash with the wallet in his front-right pocket. “Oh, and I’ll take that statue of justice, too!“, Homer’s “File Photo” of him smoking 100 cigarettes, Lanley’s incriminating doodles…

Smithers’ and “Mr. Snrub”‘s Batman-esque getaway always makes me chuckle…

I like the way Snrub thinks…

“I like the way Snrub thinks…”

Truly, the episode is quotable start-to-finish. The “Memorable Quotes” section below is almost a word-for-word transcript of the whole show. It’s that good.

You know what else is nice? Small-h “heart”. Bart does admire his father. Homer does save the day. Homer *isn’t* the cause of the problem this time.

And though this episode almost kicked off the “Homer has a new, wacky job” theme that got a little tired, man…it does it in style.

Notes and Observations

  • The “mad” scientist was modeled after Max von Sydow
  • George Takei turned down the “Star Trek guest” role because he belongs to many pro-public transport groups, so he wanted many changes in the script to make the Monorail not so bad. (P.S. Lame, Sulu…Lame). So, they asked and were shocked when Nimoy (who they wanted all along) actually said “yes”.
  • Homer’s uniform is a Star Wars thing…in an early version of the script, Marge says Homer looks like “Darth Vader without the helmet”.
  • The guys at the end falling off the “Escalator to Nowhere” are renderings of the show’s directors at the time.

Memorable Quotes

Simpson! Homer Simpson!Homer (to a “Flintstones” tune):
Simpson! Homer Simpson!
He’s the greatest guy in histor-y!
From the…town of Springfield!
He’s about to hit a chestnut tree!
.

Smithers: Well, sir, where should we dump batch? Playground?
Burns: No…All those bald children are arousing suspicion. To the park!

Homer: Heh heh heh. Oh, Andy Capp. You wife-beating drunk!

KHAAAAANNNNN!!!Virtual Reality Khan: Hello, Lisa!
I’m Genghis Khan.
You’ll go where I go!
Defile what I defile!
Eat who I eat!

Marge: Well, I think we should spend the money on something the whole town can be proud of
Homer: Like a giant billboard that says “No fact chicks”?

Quimby: We will now hear suggestions for the disbursement of the two million dollars.
Lisa: Don’t you mean three million dollars?
Quimby: Of course. How silly of me.

Apu: Pardon me, but I would like to see this money spent on more police officers. I have been shot eight times this year. And as a result, I almost missed work.
Wiggum: Cry baby…

Marge: My name is Marge Simpson, and I have an idea. It may sound a little boring at first…
Quimby: Chat away. I’ll just amuse myself with these pornographic playing cards.

Granpa: I ain’t fer it, I’m aggin’ it!

Lanley: You know, a town with money is like the mule with a spinning wheel. Nobody knows how he got it, and danged if he knows how to use it.
Homer (late to the joke): Heh heh…mule.

Quimby: We’re twice as smart as the people of Shelbyville. Just tell us your idea, and we’ll vote for it!

By gum!Lanley: I’ve sold monorails to Brockway, Ogdenville and North Haverbrook.
And by gum, it put them on the map…
.
.

Monorail! Monorail! Monorail!Lanley:  Well, sir, there’s nothing on earth Like a genuine, bona fide, electrified, six-car Monorail!
What’d I say?
Flanders: Monorail!
Lanley:  What’s it called?
Patty & Selma:  Monorail!
Lanley:  That’s right!  Monorail!
<the crowd chants “Monorail!”>
Miss Hoover:  I hear those things are awfully loud…
Lanley:  It glides as softly as a cloud.
Apu: Is there a chance the track could bend?
Lanley: Not on your life, my Hindu friend.
Barney: What about us brain-dead slobs?
Lanley: You’ll all be given cushy jobs.
Abe: Were you sent here by the devil?
Lanley: No, good sir, I’m on the level.
Wiggum: The ring came off my pudding can.
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: Monorail!
Lanley:  What’s it called?
All: Monorail!
Lanley: Once again…
All: Monorail!
Marge: But Main Street’s still all cracked and broken…
Bart: Sorry, Mom, the mob has spoken!
All: Monorail! Monorail! Monorail!
Monorail!
Homer: Mono…  D’oh!

Marge: I still think we should have spent that money to fix Main Street.
Homer: Well, you should’ve written a song like that guy.

Lanley: Wondering if your dolly can ride the Monorail for free?.
Lisa: Hardly. I’d like you to explain why we should build a mass-transit system in a small town with a centralised population.
Lanley: Ha ha…young lady, that’s the most intelligent question I’ve ever been asked.
Lisa: Really?
Lanley: Oh, I could give you an answer, but the only ones who would understand it would be you and me…and that includes your teacher.
Lisa: <giggles>
Lanley: Next question…You there, eating the paste.

Truckasaurus!TV: Coming soon, it’s “Truckasaurus: The Movie”, starring Marlon Brando as the voice of John Truckasaurus. 
John T: You crazy car…I don’t know whether to eat you or kiss you… 

The Lanley InstituteLanley (on TV): Are you stuck in a dead-end job?
Homer: Maybe.
Lanley: Are you squandering the precious gift of life in front of the idiot box?
Homer: What’s it to ya?
Lanley: Are you on your third beer of the evening?
Homer: Does whiskey count as beer?
Lanley: Well maybe it’s time you joined the exciting field of Monorail conducting by enrolling in the Lanley Institute.
Voiceover: Actual institute may not match photo…
 

Springfield forfeits pennantHomer: Marge, I want to be a Monorail conductor.
Marge: Oh Homer, no…
Homer: But it’s my life-long dream!
Marge: Your dream was to run on the field during a baseball game, and you did it last year, remember?

Let’s go, Phil…Lanley: Good evening. Before we begin, is anyone here an investigative reporter?
Investigative Reporter: I am, and she is.
Lanley: Well, I’d like you to please leave.
Investigative Reporter: Should we take our hidden camera?
Lanley: Would you?
Investigative Reporter: Let’s go, Phil.

MCATBart: True or false? You can get mono from riding the monorail.
Homer: Hmmmm…False! No, wait…maybe it’s true…
Bart: No, you were right! It’s false! Wow, you really are gonna be a Monorail conductor.
Homer: That’s right boy…
Bart: You know, I used to think you were stuck in an emasculating, go-nowhere job.
Homer: Heh heh…kids.
Bart: But now? I want to follow in your footsteps.
Homer: Do you want to change your name to Homer, Junior? The kids can call you HoJu!
Bart: I’ll get back to you…

Lanley: So then, “mono” means “one”. And “rail” means “rail”. And that concludes our intensive three-week course.

I call the big one “Bitey”…Marge: Homer, there’s a family of possums in here!
Homer: I call the big one “Bitey”.
.
.
.

Lanley: How much did you see?
Marge: Nothing incriminating…
Lanley: Good!

Nothing incriminating

Cobb: My name is Sebastian Cobb. Lanley hired me to build his monorail. He cut corners everywhere: bad wiring, faulty brakes, and the celebrity on the maiden voyage was Gallagher.

Weren’t you one of the Little Rascals?Quimby: 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.
<the crowd chuckles>
Quimby: And let me say, “May the Force Be With You!”
Nimoy: Do you even know who I am?
Quimby: I think I do. Weren’t you one of the Little Rascals?

Marge: We’re too late!
Cobb: I shouldn’t have stopped for that haircut. Sorry.

Marge: How fast are they going?
Cobb: judging by your husband’s cowardly scream….180 miles an hour.

Quimby: Alright, I’m in charge here.
Wiggum: Oh, run along Quimby. I think they’re dedicating a phone booth somewhere.
Quimby: Watch it, you talking tub of donut batter!
Wiggum: Hey, I got pictures of you, Quimby.
Quimby: You don’t scare me. That could be anyone’s ass!

Springfield Town CharterWiggum: Hey, according to the charter, as chief constable, I’m supposed to get a pig every month..and ‘two comely lasses of virtue true’
Quimby: Keep the pig. How many broads do I get?

Operator 1: Wait a minute! We could just shut off the power!
Operator 2: No such luck– it’s solar powered
Operator 1: Solar power…When will people learn?

The cosmic ballet…goes onNimoy: A solar eclipse…The cosmic ballet…goes on.
Passenger: Does anyone want to switch seats?
.
.

Homer: Are we gonna die, son?
Bart: Yeah, but at least we’re going to take a lot of innocent people with us.

Marge: There’s a man here who thinks he can help you.
Homer: Batman?
Marge: No, he’s a scientist.
Homer: Batman’s a scientist…
Marge: It’s not Batman!

McAllister: Yarr! Ya call that an anchor?

DonutsHomer: Donuts. Is there anything they can’t do?
.
.
.
.

Beam him up…Nimoy: Well, my work is done here.
Barney: What do you mean, your work is done? You didn’t do anything!
Nimoy: Didn’t I?
<beams up>

Springfield Follies

“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.”

Summary

Pretty simple math here, folks…

Mono = One, Rail = Rail

Mono = One, Rail = Rail
“Marge vs. the Monorail” = The Most Cromulent Simpsons Episode of All-Time

Thanks for hanging with us for all of the Cromulent 20. It’s been a blast…

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Comments»

1. Peter - Thursday, July 26, 2007

Good top 20 but 2 faults. No Deep Space Homer (just for the Mr. T. quote alone) and no Cape Feare (personal favorite) which means no Side Show Bob episodes. Greatest villian ever.

2. SA - Thursday, July 26, 2007

Probably non-sexual huh? Is there something you want to tell us?

I love the initials carved into the tree. Such a great little detail that adds to the epi.

3. MitchKayak - Thursday, July 26, 2007

This is a good choice for number 1, but I still dispute the softball episode being 20. Should be at least 2 or 3. I also agree that the lack of Deep Space Homer is a mistake. I mean, inanimate carbon rod!

However, this might be my favorite episode, I remember the first time I saw it and how I laughed for at least 10 minutes when the popcorn truck falls into the giant pothole on main street. I have no idea why that cracked me up.

Also, whenever anyone asks a question about who is coming over or who did something, etc. my answer is always Batman.

4. Jeff - Thursday, July 26, 2007

This is a great episode. Nice list!

5. DougOLis - Thursday, July 26, 2007

This is unquestionably my favorite Simpsons episode. So many great gags and quotes. Nimoy was one of the best guest stars in all of the shows.

Was that billboard supposed to be “no fact chicks” or “no fat chicks?” Cause fact chicks are hot.

The HoJu and Bitey lines are simplistically brilliant. I chuckle every time.

6. heyzeus - Thursday, July 26, 2007

You guys have done the blogosphere proud with the Cromulence series.

7. Yostal - Thursday, July 26, 2007

A job well done to both of you. It is the best episode, but I do admit, no Deep Space Homer is a shocker. But an entertaining and well done series, way to go.

8. washeed neutwon - Thursday, July 26, 2007

this is a great epsiode my personal top five are

5. deep space homer
4. monorail
3.camp krusty
2. burns heir
1. softball

9. J.L. White - Thursday, July 26, 2007

Actually, I saw a Simpsons episode last night in syndication that I was CERTAIN would be #1. It was the Joe Quimby’s nephew’s trial one, where Bart (a.k.a. HoJu) escapes Principal Terminator and testifies against the frog waiter. Officially it’s titled “The Boy Who Knew Too Much.”

I don’t care where it would have ranked, really. As Marge’s uncle said one fateful October morn, “Shoot them all, and let God sort them out.” Words to kill by.

10. Greek McPapadopoulos - Thursday, July 26, 2007

Not a bad list. Lack of Fishbulb is awful though. I am thinking of creating an alternate 20 that will be at least 73% more cromulent.

But still, great work!

11. Peter Cavan - Thursday, July 26, 2007

Based on the entire list, I can see why my favorite, “Krusty Gets Kancelled” didn’t make the cut. It does focus on a secondary character the entire time. But it’s Krusty!

Overall, a great list. I may have to watch a marathon of these tonight (or at least the ones I own).

12. mathesond - Thursday, July 26, 2007

I would have liked to see Belle’s Burlesque House in the top 20, but as the intro says, it’s hard to narrow it down to just 20.

13. steve - Thursday, July 26, 2007

I’m glad I didn’t have to burn this website to the ground. Monorail FTW!

14. Slyde - Thursday, July 26, 2007

Also wouldn’t have minded the one where Bart joins the mob, and then got “ratted” on by Fat Tony and his crew.

Bart: I learned that crime really doesn’t pay.
Fat Tony: Yeah, I guess you’re right.
*turns around and gets into his limo, to be followed by a cavalcade of about 5 limoes*

Quality.

And I think the softball episode is definitely top 3.

But how could we leave out the Homer Got a Gun episode?! Atrocious.

But you do have the Monorail episode in medal position. So you’ve got that going for you. Which is nice.

15. Slyde - Thursday, July 26, 2007

Hmm…I guess that’s what #16 was for, The Cartridge Family. I always got that mixed up with the one where Bart steals the video game cartridge from that store and gets yanked by that Security Guard during the X-Mas picture.

The lesson, as always: I’m an idiot.
…and a Sports Guy reader.

16. Tom - Friday, July 27, 2007

I think leaving out You Only Move Twice is pretty bad. Hank Scorpio, the man who invented wearing jeans with a sport coat, was great. Everything he says is quotable. Plus the fact that Homer is disappointed that he gets the Denver Broncos, who go on to win the next two Super Bowls.

17. Top Posts « WordPress.com - Friday, July 27, 2007

[…] The 20 Most Cromulent Simpsons Episodes of All-Time: #1 [image] “The Simpsons Movie” arrives tomorrow, and (perhaps foolishly) I have much hope. Doing recaps of the […] […]

18. Punch Rockgroin - Saturday, July 28, 2007

As with most “best of” lists, you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Ok, so in light of that, I myself would have put in “Homer the Vigilante” in at least the top five. That one is one only episodes i can think of that is basically one long quote factory. In fact, my friends and I can basically repeat the entire episode from verbatim, it’s just that good.

So, professor: would you say it’s time for everyone to panic?
Professor: Yes I would, Kent.

So I said to him, “Look buddy, your car was upside-down when we got here. And as for your grandma, she shouldn’t have mouthed off like that.”

and my favorite:
Homer: Oh Kent, I’d be lying if I said my men weren’t committing crimes.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

19. Stefan - Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Overall the list was brilliant, but it had one missing episode.

Lisa the vegetarian.

20. CrashOverride - Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I guess what we can deduce from this wonderfully structured list is that the most cromulent seasons were #4 and #5. Which one is cromulentest? Tough call…

21. Jeff - Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Ummm…No “$pringfield”? Thats the best ep ever! Almost all of my friends agree…

22. AOB - Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Definitely the best ever. Heh heh, mule. I use that so often and it makes me laugh every time I hear it. God it was so good back then.

23. bbbudda - Sunday, June 22, 2008

All good stuff.

But Lisa the Vegetarian & Guatamalean Insanity Pepper were left off the list and should be in the top 10…

If I went to a barbeque where there was no meat, I’d say, “hey Goober, where’s the meat?”

You don’t win friends with salad, Lisa.

Go back to Russia!

I have been meaning to take a spiritual journey.

And that talking coyote must have just been a talking dog…

(Caught by Marge trying to drink beer to quench the chili pepper burning) BUT I NEED IT!

24. philip - Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I have to agree with Tom. The bestest most embiggeningly comulent episode of the The Simpsons is “You Only Move Twice”

Homer: Uh… you have any sugar around here?

Hank: Sugar? Sure. [fumbles in his pockets, takes out a few handfuls of sugar] There you go. Sorry it’s not in packages. [puts his hands back in his pockets] Want some cream?

Homer: Uh… I… no.

25. Dave - Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Great list, definitely fun to read, and some awesome episodes for sure. Personally, I loved the Stonecutters episode, and the episode where Lisa enters the beauty pageant (the title of which I can’t remember right now), though that possibly wins extra points because of it’s hilarious MacArthur Park reference. And when Barney crashes the Duff blimp in a Hindenburg style accident. Oh and for whatever reason, I giggle like a schoolgirl when Kent Brockman is doing the news and they keep cutting to a video of a baby goat drinking from a bottle.

26. Sam Wark - Sunday, August 29, 2010

As an avid Simpsons fan who’s seen all but the later seasons episodes at least 100 times each, I was thoroughly impressed with your seemingly rather comprehensive guide: a listing of impeccable taste, if I don’t say so myself! But…that’s until you went & missed off ‘Homer’s Triple Bypass’ (without a doubt the greatest episode of all time) from your listings! It is THE ONLY Simpsons episode that they’ve ever done where every scene is a gag, yet along with ‘Mother Simpson’ & ‘& Maggie Makes Three’ it is also one of the most warm, emotional & near to teary episodes in the entire Simpsons repertoire, touching on some very serious issues that affect many of us, in the warm & fuzzy manner that only the Simpsons has mastered. IMHO of course!

27. Tom - Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fairly good list, but it leaves out two of my absolute favourites: You Only Move Twice, and Cape Feare. The finest hours of The Simpsons two best villains (though one of them is a one off character). Albert Brooks as Hank Scorpio is incredible, and that entire episode is one big laugh. Cape Feare is my favourite Sideshow Bob episode, followed closely by Sideshow Bob Roberts. Bart’s ingenious plan to defeat Bob is one of the Simpson’s most creative moments. Those two emissions, along with One Fish Two Fish Blowfish Bluefish at #2 are the greatest flaws in this list. This list is anything but cromulent.

28. andy - Sunday, October 16, 2011

homer, on your way out if you could kill anyone it would really help me alot

you only move twice is #1

29. trent - Tuesday, May 8, 2012

excellent list but one of my favorites, The Twisted World of Marge Simspon, should be on there!

30. Emma - Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Good list, but top three: 3. Much Apu About Nothing 2. Last Exit to Springfield 1. Simpson Tide. As far as the last one goes, to paraphrase Mayor Quimby, “Rats! I’m outraged! It promises top 3 or higher!” I’m not outraged, just wanted to paraphrase that, but I do disagree with yous.

31. Joe W - Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A list missing ‘The Homer they Fall’ AND ‘Bart after Dark’?

32. timmy brisby - Monday, November 12, 2012

hey i found the simpsons funny and stupid that homer thinks he’s a scientist like the guy from menlo park but he ‘s not him. he tried to make a chair just like him but that was taken on the simpsons heh it’s dumb but it’s not informational about a dead scientist that died years ago but he just did b/c that ‘s not my idea of homer being a scientist

33. junkie stew - Sunday, July 7, 2013

Great choice for number one. I do like Marge episodes, so it’s a shame she often gets marginalised as a dull character. A sitcom is all about balance people. Well done again.

Nimoy: Didn’t I?

Haha. Timeless.

34. Tv Advertising Agencies - Wednesday, February 19, 2014

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