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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

"Marge Vs. The Monorail" creators reflect on The Simpsons' drift into surrealism in new oral history

Illustration for article titled Marge Vs. The Monorail creators reflect on iThe Simpsons/i drift into surrealism in new oral history
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When discussing G.O.A.T. episodes of The Simpsons, you’d be hard-pressed to find a fan who won’t ride for season 4's “Marge Vs. The Monorail. Recognized as a game-changer in the show’s trajectory, it infused the series with a sense of surrealism, upped the ante of its musical numbers, and widened its scope to focus just as much on Springfield as a town is it did its titular family. Despite receiving a mixed reception when it aired in 1993, “Monorail” has only grown in stature, so it was only a matter of time before it got its own oral history.

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Vice’s interviews with director Rich Moore, producer Jeff Martin, showrunner Mike Reiss, story editor Josh Weinstein, and supervising director David Silverman cover all of the essential beats, from a young Conan O’Brien giddily writing “The Monorail Song” to the late Phil Hartman perfectly embodying a more sinister version of The Music Man’s Harold Hill.

But, like any good oral history, the article also dives into the nitty-gritty, like when Silverman recalls creating the now iconic Flintstones opening. The Flintstones bit was actually a longer song [originally],” he said. “Al Jean and Mike Reiss came to Sam Simon and were like, ‘We’re having trouble with this opening.’ Sam Simon ends up singing, ‘Simpson, Homer Simpson, he’s the greatest guy in history / From the town of Springfield, he’s about to hit a chestnut tree.’ He came up with that off the top of his head and that became the opening. Sometimes it’s nice when you overwrite, and suddenly it’s like, ‘Okay, how do we solve this?’”

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Read the entire thing over at Vice.

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