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Recap / The Simpsons S 19 E 14 Dial N For Nerder

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Bart and Lisa fear that they might have killed Martin while Marge thinks Homer is cheating — on his diet.


  • The B Grade: Lisa believes telling the truth would be worse that one million "A minuses".
  • Brain Bleach: Homer "making out" with the food he snuck while in a motel shower.
    Host: I can't believe I'm saying this, but turn the camera off.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Nelson ends the episode by telling the audience to have a good night.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Martin survived falling off a cliff because of a preference to wear a special anti-wedgie set of briefs with extra-extendable elastics (which got caught on a branch as he fell).
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Nelson gets pummeled by the other bullies of Springfield Elementary because he wants to add something. Nelson is too tough to notice, though.
    • Lisa immediately shoots down the idea of confessing they killed Martin because she believes Bart and her both would be seen to have reasons to kill him. Bart being one of his regular bullies makes sense, but Lisa is assuming that the cops will say she pulled this off because of their academic rivalry.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Though Nelson ofter bullies Martin a lot, when he hears that Martin was dead, he began investigating. After Lisa confessed to killing Martin, she offered to get back together with Nelson, and let him cherry bomb her Malibu Stacies if he let them go, Nelson told her to "save it for the warden". Although when Martin shows up alive, Nelson punches him, but comments that "it's good to have you alive."
    • The host of "Sneakers" is the kind of man who has no problem looking at footage of people having sex all day and ruining their lives, but even he gets sickened after a few minutes of seeing Homer pretty much having sex with a literal piece of meat.
  • Fan Disservice: Homer's motel interlude with the junk food is deliberately portrayed as a disgusting affair. Even the Sneakers host is disgusted.
  • Girly Skirt Twirl: Martin does one when he's showcasing the modesty skirt he sewed by hand with leaves (and took him most of the week he was gone — it took him one hour to make a raft to get out of the island he was in). Nelson gives him a Dope Slap as a result.
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  • It's All About Me: Both Lisa and Bart are concerned about being nailed for Martin's "murder" but Lisa is the one that constantly acts like being on the verge of a nervous breakdown because she can't stop thinking of her possibly shattered future (and her Imagine Spot where she's in prison shows a newspaper cut-out that puts most of the blame on Bart).
  • Kid Detective: Nelson, in full-blown Columbo homage mode.
  • Lampshade Hanging: At the Kwik-E-Mart, Lisa tells Bart they can't be seen together. Bart reminds her they're siblings, so it wouldn't be considered unusual. Lisa in turn says exactly and tells him to get her an Indian burn to keep up appearances.
  • MacGyvering: Martin, as a result of the events that made people believe he died, landed on a small island in the middle of a lake. It took him just one hour to make a raft to get out... and the week it took for the whole mess to occur for him to sew a skirt out of leaves.
  • Made of Iron: Musing about the details of Martin's death, Nelson commented things didn't add up. Hearing that, Jimbo, Kearney and Dolph wanted to beat him up for wanting to add. However, he's so much tougher than their other victims he not only didn't show any pain but also didn't show any sign he was aware of people hitting him.
  • Mood Whiplash: Going from a cop talking about a child's death to a children's cartoon.
  • Not Quite Dead: Martin survived. It took him a week to get back to civilization because of his Skewed Priorities.
  • No Warrant? No Problem!: As befits a Columbo homage, Nelson's plan to try to catch Lisa and Bart is to constantly pester them in an attempt to trigger a Paranoia Gambit.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: After seeing the news report about Martin, Bart feels so guilty that he immediately wants to confess. Conversely, Lisa is so scared of getting in trouble that she keeps him quiet.
  • Panty Shot: When Martin does his Girly Skirt Twirl.
  • Plagiarism in Fiction:
    Bart: I didn't know there was a national park here.
    Lisa: You wrote a report on it last week.
    Bart: The internet wrote it. I just handed it in.
  • Properly Paranoid: Nelson notices Bart and Lisa's nervous behavior and recalls how Martin was so afraid of heights that he would be too afraid to go near the rail.
  • Really Dead Montage: Martin gets one. Subverted when it turns out that he's not really dead, or even hurt bad.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare: Bart paraphrases the "The play's the thing" line from Hamlet when planning to use Sideshow Mel's hair bone for a prank.
    Bart: The bone's the very thing, methinks / to prank my sister and the dink.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Marge slaps the host of Sneakers for goading her into breaking up with Homer.
  • Skewed Priorities:
    • Lisa's Imagine Spot of herself in prison for helping with Martin's death has the newspaper headlines "Bart killed Martin" and "Lisa helped". The one about Lisa has a bigger font.
    • The thing Lisa is worried about if she went to prison was having to read Danielle Steel novels instead of Joyce Carol Oates.
    • Martin is believed dead for a whole week because he decided it was more important to finish sewing a modesty skirt (by hand, made of leaves) than immediately use the raft he made in one hour to escape the island he was trapped in. And he is a bit too proud of showing it off.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Nelson spends half of the episode trying to get Lisa and Bart to confess that they were involved in Martin's disappearance, complete with him inspecting the scene of the "crime" and playing off their paranoia (or at least Lisa's paranoia).
  • Softer and Slower Cover: Invoked In-Universe with the Springfield Elementary band playing a mournful version of the theme from Rocky while remembering Martin.
  • Take That!:
    • Danielle Steel novels are the only books available in prison. It makes Lisa (who is daydreaming of becoming a lifer as a result of Martin's accidental death) bellow out a Big "NO!".
    • "Sneakers" is a regular Fox Network reality show, more concerned about ratings-raising family-destroying schadenfreude than actually helping people. When Marge points it out and acts like a sweetheart with Homer, the host says that it's nice... and if she'll excuse him, he's going to go to the editing room to do some Manipulative Editing that will make her look like a psychotic Woman Scorned.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Lisa says on the episode's denouement that she didn't expected to find such a criminal streak deep inside her when confronted with the dilemma of owning up to Martin's apparent death.
  • Your Cheating Heart: The show "Sneakers" is made to show an unfaithful spouse/significant other cheating in some way. Marge's plot involves hiring this team to prove that he's cheating on his bell pepper diet and they do it in a way that makes him look like another cheater.

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