Dial N for Nerder
Couch gag: Professor Frink pours water on 5 capsules, which become the Simpson family. Homer is only half size so Frink pours a bucket of water onto him.
Director: Bob Anderson
Synopsis: Bart and Lisa accidentally cause Martin to fall off a cliff, while Marge forces Homer to diet.
Discussion: Oh no! Is it true? Have The Simpsons killed off another character? On an innocent trip to Springfield’s National Park (now smaller than ever), Bart and Lisa come across Martin Prince hunting to fossils. Bart plays a prank which backfires, sending Martin to his death over a cliff. Wracked by guilt, Bart and Lisa pretend everything’s OK while the town mourns their lost nerd. However, Nelson is on the case: why would Martin be on a cliff if he was scared of heights?
Meanwhile, Homer is suffering weight-related lethargy and Marge forces him to diet, but when he gain seven pounds, she calls in a TV show about cheaters to see what Homer is really up to.
Firstly, Homer’s weighty plot started out a bit ho-hum. How many diets has he been on before? The introduction of a TV show about cheating was a very good idea. But it really should have been obvious, no one likes bell peppers that much! (By the way, here in Australia, we call them capsicums.)
Secondly, the main plot of Martin’s death is very well done and having Nelson as the detective hot on the trail of Bart and Lisa is pure genius. Let’s face it, with Martin gone, who else is going to play the part of Columbo?? Nelson makes sense to me, particularly at the end when the game is up and Lisa tries to flirt with him again in exchange for his cooperation in letting the truth be told.
The episode turns out to be pretty good. There are some fantastic one liners and memorable moments. However, if you’re a vegetarian, I advise you to skip the Homer and kebab meat in a hotel sequence. It’s just a little bit wrong.