Dangers on a Train

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Dangers on a Train"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no. 530
Production code RABF17
Original air date May 19, 2013 (2013-05-19)
Showrunner(s) Al Jean
Written by Michael Price
Directed by Steven Dean Moore
Couch gag Two winners for the "Create-A-Couch Gag" contest: in America, the winning couch gag shows five dandelions on the couch that bloom and turn white. When the TV sneezes, the dandelion seeds scatter and turn into hundreds of Homers, Marges, Barts, Lisas, and Maggies. In Canada (save for Quebec), the winning couch gag shows The Simpsons sitting with a Canadian loon, John A. Macdonald (Canada's first Prime Minister), a beaver, and a hockey player.
Guest star(s) Lisa Lampanelli as Ramona
Seth MacFarlane as Ben

"Dangers on a Train" is the twenty-second and final episode of the 24th season of The Simpsons, and the 530th episode overall. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 19, 2013.[1] The name of the episode is a reference to the film Strangers on a Train.


It is Homer and Marge's anniversary and Homer remembers that their 1st anniversary was one of the happiest days they ever had, between a visit to an upscale outdoor mall, getting Ned Flanders to watch a hyperactive infant Bart, and a lovemaking session on the mall's mini-train (which was called "Li'l Lisa" and provided the name of our starfish-headed middle child). When Homer heads to the mall to plan another anniversary, he is stunned to see it is a nearly-deserted pit of failure, but he manages to save the small train and plans to fix it with the help of his bar buddies and Reverend Lovejoy. Meanwhile, Marge tries to order Homer a batch of Dolly Madison cupcakes but accidentally signs onto a site called "Sassy Madison" (a parody of Ashley Madison) that helps married people have affairs, and in the course of deleting many perverted e-mails she ends up talking to a likeable guy named Ben (played by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane). At first, she tries to tell him that she is not interested but ends up sharing a same passion for a series called Upton Rectory, which is a spoof of Downton Abbey; things are not helped because Homer's efforts to hide his train project are alienating Marge.

Eventually, the anniversary day arrives in and Marge receives a gift from her children, but Homer fakes having an injured back to send Marge on a long car trip into a bad neighborhood to get medicine so he can set up the train, not knowing Marge is having visions of Ben that she pushes away while simultaneously bemoaning how unpleasant her marriage is. But after she comes home and sees the train, that Homer re-named "Majestic Marge", all is well. Ben's wife, Ramona (played by Lisa Lampanelli) confronts him but Homer and Marge manage to save their relationship saying that the secret of a perfect couple is that there should be no secrets. As the episode closes, Homer decides he does not need to know the details of how Marge knows Ben, Ramona tells her husband they are going to become closer by reviewing his computer browser history (something he did not seem to know existed), Ben returns to Sassy Madison and runs away screaming from a match with Selma, and the Simpsons sing about how they stay together.



The episode received a 2.1 in the 18-49 demographic and was watched by a total of 4.52 million viewers. This made it the second most watched show on Fox's Animation Domination line up that night, beating two episodes of The Cleveland Show but losing to the one-hour Family Guy finale with 5.28 million.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

Robert David Sullivan of The A.V. Club gave the episode a C+, saying, "Dangers on a Train" is more standard 2013 Simpsons fare, with another trip to the bottomless well of stories about Marge feeling neglected by Homer as their 10th anniversary nears. MacFarlane is the impossibly nice guy named Ben that she has a flirtation with, after meeting him on a dating website for married people wanting to screw around. (She thinks she's ordering "snack cakes" for Homer from Dolly Madison, unaware she's on the website Sassy Madison — a parody of this real-life thing.) Meanwhile, Homer is actually planning a grand gesture for his wife: fixing up the kiddie railroad at a mall that he and Marge rode on their first wedding anniversary. There's no monorail-type disaster this time, and "Dangers on a Train" has one of the simpler and sweeter Homer-and-Marge reconciliations."[3]

Teresa Lopez of TV Fanatic gave the episode three out of five stars, saying, "Slightly better (but still annoyingly repetitive) was the story of Homer and Marge's anniversary. Marge thought Homer forgot, so she let herself flirt with a married man who had similar interests and, more importantly, was interested in her. We've seen both Homer and Marge tempted by other people on the show (Homer more than Marge), so we kinda already know where this is heading. Instead of taking Marge for granted, Homer was actually working on a wonderful anniversary surprise for his wife, which once again validates her decision to stay loyal to their marriage. The only thing that elevated this episode above the mundane was a Downton Abbey parody. Marge and Ben's obsession with the costume-drama Upton Rectory perfectly captured the global preoccupation with the PBS show. Seth MacFarlane also provided an amusing addition to the episode, but he pulled his usual shtick of using his Stewie voice and Sinatra-style singing, which was definitely suffering from the law of diminishing returns."[4]