“The Monkey Suit” is the 21st episode of The Simpsons seventeenth season that originally aired on May 14, 2006.
On the last day of summer vacation Bart
realizes that he wasted the whole summer. He then makes a list of summer activities such as a winning a ballgame and having a summer romance. After Bart's activities Lisa
brings the family to go to the museum
to see a weaving
exhibit as her summer activity, but to her and Marge's
shock (and Homer
joy), it has just been canceled and replaced by a “History of Weapons
” exhibit. Faced with an incredibly long line, Homer notices Ned Flanders
and his kids at the front of the line and cuts in front of them. Others start taking advantage of Ned’s kindness, until they are stuck at the end. At the end of the day, the Flanderses are still waiting, and are denied entry, as it’s closing time for the Weapons exhibit for the day. So they decide to check out the evolution
exhibit next door. Ned is horrified to hear that humans evolved from apes
and that the creation account
is characterized as a “myth.” Covering his kids’ eyes, he drags them out of the exhibit.
He meets up with the church council to suggest promotion of Creationism. Reverend Lovejoy is initially against the idea, until his wife tells him that it might help the church regain its patrons, most of who have left Lovejoy's church for a nearby episcopalian church (with vibrating pews). The next day, Ned and Lovejoy blackmail Principal Skinner into introducing Creationism in the school. Lisa is perturbed by this, and at a town meeting asks everyone to make a choice between Creationism and Darwinism, as there is only one truth. The townspeople vote for Creationism, much to Lisa's chagrin, and the act of teaching or learning Darwinism and Evolution are now made illegal. So Lisa decides to start holding secret classes for people interested in Evolution. However, just as the first lesson is about to begin, she is arrested by Chief Wiggum “for the teaching of non-Biblical science.”
She is brought to trial, which is dubbed “Lisa Simpson v. God.” Representing her is Clarice Drummond, a despised ACLU lawyer from New York City, while on God’s (i.e., Ned’s) side is Wallace Brady, a beloved, overweight, southern lawyer. The trial does not go smoothly for Lisa, as Professor Frink (called by Clarice) gives ambiguous answers regarding God’s existence, while a creationist scientist (with a degree in “Truthology” from “Christian Tech”) says that Evolution cannot be real, as there is no proof of a “Missing Link” (depicted in a picture as a savage hominid, holding a rock over his head). At home, Lisa feels dejected and Marge decides to help her out. So she starts reading Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species and becomes engrossed in it. When the trial resumes, Marge tells Lisa that she can help her. While Ned is being cross-examined by Clarice, Marge gives Homer a cold beer. Homer, ecstatic at getting a beer, tries to open it unsuccessfully. The more he tries, the more primitive he gets. Finally, Ned loses his cool and calls him “a big monkey-faced gorilla.” Clarice then asks Ned to compare the picture of the “Missing Link” and Homer shaking the beer over his head. Ned concedes defeat and the case is dismissed. Ned walks off sadly, but Lisa explains that she is all right with his beliefs, but feels that science and religion should never mix together, a point upon which Ned agrees.
The opening of the episode, in which Bart rushes to do everything he planned on doing during summer vacation, was originally written and animated for the season fourteen
episode "I'm Spelling as Fast as I Can
" but was cut. This episode came in short, and to fill in time, the sequence was added.
- This is an obvious parody of the Scopes trial. In addition, the lawyers Clarice Drummond and Wallace Brady are parodies of Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan. Their names were changed to Henry Drummond and Matthew Harrison Brady in Inherit the Wind, the play which dramatized the trial. There are also references to the case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, a recent case about a town trying to have intelligent design taught in the high school.
- The chalkboard scene shows Bart writing the line "Je ne parle pas français," meaning "I don't speak French" in the respective language. However, Bart can actually speak French, as he went to France in the episode The Crepes of Wrath.
- The scene where Bart wins a baseball game parodies The Natural and The Bad News Bears, with the coach looking and speaking like Walter Matthau, the star of the latter movie.
- Bart appears in a stage adaptation of Grease 2, in which he quotes Fonzie from Happy Days.
- Homer's To-Do List has as an item " finding and destroying Atlantis" which Homer apparently succeeded in.
- The unmaskings of a Lisa-impersonating Milhouse Van Houten and Todd Flanders made by Nelson and the puzzle-piece fade-outs are a reference to The Saint TV series.
- The summer blockbuster Bart watches is a parody of Men in Black.
- The song played in the "Myth of Creation" diorama is "What a Fool Believes" by the Doobie Brothers.
- The blackboard at Lisa’s evolution seminar features the phrase "Viva la Evolución" a pun on the revolutionary call "Viva la Revolución."
- Booberella, the character appearing on the TV show at the beginning of the episode, first seen in "I'm Spelling as Fast as I Can," is a parody of television personalities Vampira and Elvira.
- Bart's home run is signalled by the same Musical Piece used frequently in Homer at the Bat.
- The book Principal Skinner holds up, "Life in the 38 States," mistakenly shows Oklahoma, which was the 46th state admitted, as one of the first 38 states, which is par for the course for a school that is as heavily underfunded as Springfield Elementary.
- When Martin and Database are looking around for whose identity is "L.M.S", they see Jimbo with a white PlayStation Portable.