Choosing the funniest moment from a show like The Simpsons is a lot like masturbation: Fun, but only for the person actually doing it. After all, one fan's Happy Days hall-of-famer is another fan's "Fonzie Jumps the Shark." Still, there are a handful of unarguably phenomenal scenes, jokes, lines and quotes throughout The Simpsons' 17 seasons that warrant some degree of canonization. And while narrowing even this limited "best of" group to a single favorite "moment" remains virtually impossible, choosing favorites never hurt anyone. Hear that, Dad? CHOOSING FAVORITES NEVER HURT ANYONE.
current high-point. In the song, Springfield's citizens, led by a silver-tongued monorail salesman named Lyle Lanley (voiced by Phil Hartman), are worked into a frenzied show tune that convinces them into buying a poorly-constructed transportation system. "There's nothing on Earth like a genuine, bonafied, electrified six-car monorail!" sings Lanley, evoking Meredith Wilson's "Trouble" from 1957's The Music Man (on which "The Monorail Song" is lovingly based).
"The Monorail Song" demonstrates everything that was great about The Simpsons in the early '90s: vaguely bizarre plot lines (including an episode revolving around a fictional holiday in which snakes are hunted out by the townspeople and whacked to death), a flawless ability to bend reality ever so slightly (the musical number is completely choreographed and totally unexplained), and, perhaps most significantly, a thoughtful-yet-entertaining commentary on the bull-headedness of Springfield's moronic community. In addition to spending their surplus on a whim, the people of Springfield, in subsequent episodes, trade in their health care plan for a keg of beer, and praised-in another musical number-the virtues of doing "a half-assed job' as "the American Way."
Of course, The Simpsons has never been a show with an overt political or social agenda. Its best jokes have always been its simplest. No wonder, then, that "The Monorail Song's" funniest occurs when, after a grand finale in which Springfield chants their support for the "Monorail! Monorail! Monorail!" Homer clumsily repeats the line a fourth time: