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29th Nov 2018

The iconic Monorail episode of The Simpsons was almost very different

Paul Moore

What. An. Episode.

Much like any magic episode of The Simpsons during its golden era, it’s a testament to every single person that worked on the 1993 feature ‘Marge vs. the Monorail’ that their legacy can be summed up by three just locations.

Brockway, Ogdenville and North Haverbrook.

Enough said.

Hard as it is to believe, that superb episode of The Simpsons is now 25 years old.

Conan O’Brien has said that of the Simpsons episodes that he wrote, this was his favourite – but things could have been very, very different.

In terms of people that left their mark on Springfield, director Rich Moore can rightfully claim to being a god among men because aside from winning an Oscar for his work on Zootopia, he also directed some of the finest episodes in the history of The Simpsons.

‘Treehouse of Horror I’, ‘Flaming Moe’s’, ‘Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie’, ‘Cape Feare’, ‘A Streetcar Named Marge’. The list goes on.

At present, Moore is one of the co-directors of the wonderful Ralph Breaks the Internet, or ‘Wreck-It Ralph II’ if you prefer, and ahead of the film’s release, had the chance to catch up with the talented director and naturally, they asked him about the Monorail episode.

After being reminded that the episode premiered in 1993, a shocked Moore said:

“What?! 25 years old! I feel like I worked on that yesterday!”

This being said, much like the fate of Springfield if Lyle Lanley hadn’t showed up to the town meeting, things could been very different.

“That was one of the very first big action episodes of The Simpsons. I approached it (‘Marge vs. the Monorail’) a lot like I did with the car chase scene, Slaughter Race in Ralph Breaks the Internet. It wasn’t just storyboarded sequentially, I planned out a bunch of scenes that could be edited in a more live-action way, which is different for animation.

“At the time, the studio that I was working for hated that! They wanted to know exactly the sequence. You now, their thinking was more like ‘this scene will be cut to this one and then this one etc.’ They did not appreciate my approach but the proof is in the pudding, as I say.”

Well, thank god that Moore had the courage of his convictions because his direction played a massive part in creating a truly iconic episode that’s brimming with gags.

For example, who can forget Leonard Nimoy’s weird chat about the cosmic ballet, Mr Snrub asking for all the money to be reinvested into the Power Plant, Lyle Lanley’s wonderful song, Batman as a scientist, or Homer’s classic remark “I call the big one Bitey”?

Take a bow, Rich Moore.