Sophie’s Choice: The Simpsons vs. Arrested Development

The Best Sitcom Episode Ever Tournament is pitting 32 of the greatest episodes of funny TV shows ever produced against each other in a single-elimination winner-takes-all (well, takes-nothing) competition. Every day, we’re putting up episodes for you, our loyal readers, to vote on. Today: The Simpsons vs. Arrested Development.

The Simpsons — “Marge vs. the Monorail,” January 14, 1993

There are many reasons why “Marge vs. the Monorail,” one of three Simpsons episodes solely written by Conan O’Brien, is THE episode of THE greatest sitcom of all-time — including Phil Hartman’s fast-talking monorail man, Lyle Lanley; Leonard Nimoy’s fittingly random guest appearance; “The Monorail Song”; Springfield’s quintessential mob mentality-over-reason decision; Homer’s correlation between scientists and Batman; donuts getting the well-needed PR push they’d needed for years, because really, is there anything they can’t do?; the world-expanding inclusion of Ogdenville, North Haverbrook, and Brockway; and a opossum named Bitey — but the biggest one is: it’s really fucking funny. — Josh Kurp

Arrested Development — “Pier Pressure,” January 11, 2004

It’s next to impossible to have a favorite Arrested Development episode when they all intertwine and play off each other so well, but “Pier Pressure” is certainly a good place to start. It has so many things that make AD great – George Michael vowing “I was going to smoke the marijuana like a cigarette,” Lucille 2’s vertigo problems, the 60s hit single “The Big Yellow Joint,” the Hot Cops, and George Sr.’s final lesson to his son using his one-armed friend J. Walter Weatherman. Wrap that up with a one-upmanship double pot bust and you get the tight but ridiculously layered goodness that makes watching this show from start to finish more rewarding each time. And remember: Always leave a note. — Megh Wright

Sophie’s Choice: The Simpsons vs. Arrested Development