The Simpsons' thirteenth season originally aired on the Fox network between November 6, 2001 and May 22, 2002 and consists of 22 episodes. The show runner for the thirteenth production season was Al Jean who executive-produced 17 episodes. Mike Scully executive-produced the remaining five, which were all hold-overs that were produced for the previous season. The Simpsons is an animated series about a working-class family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional city of Springfield, and lampoons American culture, society, television and many aspects of the human condition.
The season won an Annie Award for Best Animated Television Production, and was nominated for several other awards, including two Primetime Emmy Awards, three Writers Guild of America Awards, and an Environmental Media Award. The Simpsons ranked 30th in the season ratings with an average viewership of 12.4 million viewers. It was the second-highest-rated show on Fox after Malcolm in the Middle. Season 13 was released on DVD in Region 1 on August 24, 2010, Region 2 on September 20, 2010, and Region 4 on December 1, 2010.
|The Simpsons (season 13)|
DVD cover featuring Ralph Wiggum
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||22|
|Original release||November 6, 2001 –|
May 22, 2002
Mike Scully served as executive producer for the show for seasons nine to twelve. Five of the episodes produced for season 12 were held over and aired as part of the thirteenth season. He left the show following season 12 and was replaced by Al Jean. Jean was one of the original writers for The Simpsons, and served as executive producer of the third and fourth seasons with Mike Reiss before leaving the show in 1993. Jean returned full-time to The Simpsons during the tenth season (1998), this time without Reiss. Jean called it "a great job with a lot of responsibility," and cited "the fact that people love it so much" as "great."
Writers credited with episodes in the thirteenth season included Joel H. Cohen, John Frink, Don Payne, Carolyn Omine, George Meyer, Mike Scully, Dana Gould, John Swartzwelder, Ian Maxtone-Graham, Matt Selman, Tim Long, Jon Vitti, Matt Warburton, Deb Lacusta and cast member Dan Castellaneta. Freelance writers included Bill Freiberger. Animation directors included Bob Anderson, Mike B. Anderson, Mark Kirkland, Jen Kamerman, Lance Kramer, Nancy Kruse, Lauren MacMullan, Michael Marcantel, Pete Michels, Steven Dean Moore, Matthew Nastuk, Michael Polcino, Jim Reardon and Chuck Sheetz.
The main cast consisted of Dan Castellaneta (Homer Simpson, Grampa Simpson, Krusty the Clown among others), Julie Kavner (Marge Simpson), Nancy Cartwright (Bart Simpson, Ralph Wiggum, Nelson Muntz), Yeardley Smith (Lisa Simpson), Hank Azaria (Moe Szyslak, Apu, Chief Wiggum, among others) and Harry Shearer (Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns, Principal Skinner, among others). Other cast members included Marcia Wallace (Edna Krabappel), Pamela Hayden (Milhouse Van Houten, among others), Tress MacNeille (Agnes Skinner, among others), Russi Taylor (Martin Prince) and Karl Wiedergott (additional characters).
Some critics felt season 13 was an improvement over the previous Scully seasons. DVDDizzy rhetorically asked how the season "stand[s] up for someone just looking to jump into a full, semi-recent year of episodes", answering "Pretty darn well". It explained "Nearly everything that makes "The Simpsons" what it is can be found here. Most important is the large cast of Springfield residents used to perfection...Clearly, real thought and lots of it goes into each episode's creation", and added "it's almost miraculous how fresh and sharp "The Simpsons" remains in its thirteenth year on air". The site explained "Not every moment here is brilliant. After a rocky start, the season really hits its groove a few episodes in. Even though jokes don't always land, there are guaranteed to be at least a few amusing moments per episode. The stylings haven't changed all that much. There are tasteful homages and cultural references, including loving parodies of classic movies, television, and literature [and] as usual, tons of famous guest stars lend their voices, some as themselves and others as fictional characters". Adam Rayner of WhatCulture wrote that "Season thirteen represents a time when the show was clinging to the classic humour that was derived from situations that were rooted in a reality—albeit a heightened reality—which could happen to you and your family, while slowly descending into the surreal and farcical." Matt Wheeldon of GoodFilmGuide said "the 13th Season another solid, and fairly memorable, effort from the world's best loved cartoon; even if it isn't the be all and end all of Simpsons cartooning. DVD Talk's Ryan Keefer gave a season 3.5/5 stars and said "While Jean might not have brought things to previous glory, he certainly righted the ship in Season 13." Blu-Ray.com gave season 13 a 3.5/5 and Casey Broadwater's sentiment was "The hit-to-miss ratio is much better here than in the previous three seasons, and while the episodes are never quite as hilarious as the Simpsons of old—from way back in the early 1990s—season 13 does mark a turning point for the series." Ron Martin of 411 Mania was more critical giving the season a 6.5/10. Part of the verdict was "Season 13 is representative of the chaotic scatterbrained nature the show would take on from here on out." Casey Burchby of DVD Talk gave the season a 3/5 and wrote "the thirteenth season is further proof of the regrettable change in comic tone that the series took on in the early part of the last decade."
"She of Little Faith" was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming less than One Hour). The song "Ode to Branson" from "The Old Man and the Key" by Alf Clausen and Jon Vitti was nominated for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Music and Lyrics. "Brawl in the Family" was nominated for the Environmental Media Award for Best Television Episodic Comedy. Three episodes were nominated for the Writers Guild of America Award in the animation category: "Blame It on Lisa" (written by Bob Bendetson), "The Bart Wants What It Wants" (written by John Frink and Don Payne) and "Jaws Wired Shut" (written by Matt Selman). The award was won by the Futurama episode "Godfellas". It marked the only time since the introduction of the category that a show other than The Simpsons won the award.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|270||1||"Treehouse of Horror XII"||Jim Reardon||Joel H. Cohen|
John Frink & Don Payne
|November 6, 2001||CABF19||13|
In the twelfth Treehouse of Horror episode:|
Hex and the City – While on a day trip through Ethnictown, Homer's bumbling catches the ire of a gypsy, who curses Homer's family and friends into receiving nothing but bad luck.
House of Whacks – in this mixed parody of Demon Seed and 2001: A Space Odyssey, Marge buys an automated house and customizes it with the Pierce Brosnan personality, who falls for Marge and attempts to murder Homer.
Wiz Kids – In this Harry Potter parody, Bart and Lisa go to a school for wizards, and Lord Montemort (Mr. Burns) uses Bart to capture Lisa's magic.
Guest star: Pierce Brosnan and Matthew Perry.
|271||2||"The Parent Rap"||Mark Kirkland||George Meyer & Mike Scully||November 11, 2001||CABF22||14.9|
Bart gets in trouble for joyriding in a police car, but feels confident he will be let off by Judge Snyder. However, Snyder goes on vacation before ruling his verdict and is replaced with a coldhearted judge named Constance Harm. She accuses Homer of being a negligent father and sentences him to be tethered to Bart. The two are against it at first but later start to bond. Marge however is unable to take anymore of it and slices the tether off of them both. Homer and Marge then go after Judge Harm only to end up sinking her houseboat. Eventually Bart decides to take punishment and is about to be sentenced to 5 year in juvenile hall, only though Judge Snyder returns and dismisses Harm.|
Guest star: Jane Kaczmarek and Jess Harnell.
|272||3||"Homer the Moe"||Jen Kamerman||Dana Gould||November 18, 2001||CABF20||14.4|
Moe becomes depressed and decides to return to bartending school so he can re-evaluate himself. He meets an old teacher, who suggests that Moe try improving his bar, which might make him happier. Moe takes the advice, and turns his bar into a trendy nightclub, which does not sit well with his regular customers Homer, Lenny, Carl, and Barney.|
Guest star: R.E.M. (Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe).
|273||4||"A Hunka Hunka Burns in Love"||Lance Kramer||John Swartzwelder||December 2, 2001||CABF18||13.4|
Homer becomes a fortune cookie writer for a Chinatown restaurant. Mr. Burns reads one of Homer's fortunes, which says that the reader will find love before Flag Day is over. Burns goes searching for love and meets Gloria, a meter maid, and asks her out. Gloria reluctantly agrees, and Burns recruits Homer to help him look young and hip to his new girlfriend.|
Guest star: Julia Louis-Dreyfus and George Takei.
|274||5||"The Blunder Years"||Steven Dean Moore||Ian Maxtone-Graham||December 9, 2001||CABF21||12.9|
After tricking Marge into thinking an advertising spokesman is coming to visit her, Homer takes Marge and the rest of the family to a restaurant. A hypnotist uses his powers on Homer, and makes him remember a horrific childhood incident where Homer found a dead body in a ravine. The Simpson family decides to investigate this and find out where the body came from.|
Guest star: Paul Newman, Judith Owen and Joe Mantegna.
|275||6||"She of Little Faith"||Steven Dean Moore||Bill Freiberger||December 16, 2001||DABF02||13.2|
After Homer and Bart's model rocket damages the church, Mr. Burns makes a deal to commercialize the church in return for paying for the damages. Lisa becomes disgusted at what the church has become, so she decides to find a new religion suitable for her. She eventually converts to Buddhism, causing Marge to fear for Lisa's soul.|
Guest star: Richard Gere.
|276||7||"Brawl in the Family"||Matthew Nastuk||Joel H. Cohen||January 6, 2002||DABF01||11.8|
A social worker is assigned to make the Simpson family functional after they get arrested for fighting while playing Monopoly. He helps them learn how to work together and function as a family. The moment is ruined when, Ginger and Amber, the barmaids who married Homer and Flanders while they were drunk in "Viva Ned Flanders", arrive at the Simpsons' home, which outrages Marge.|
Guest star: Delroy Lindo and Jane Kaczmarek.
|277||8||"Sweets and Sour Marge"||Mark Kirkland||Carolyn Omine||January 20, 2002||DABF03||12.3|
Springfield is officially declared the World's Fattest Town after an attempt to break a world record lands everyone on top of a truck scale. Out of embarrassment and disgust, Marge goes on a crusade against the local sugar corporation. However, when sugar is banned, Homer, Bart, Mr. Burns and Apu start bootlegging sugar.|
Guest star: Ben Stiller.
|278||9||"Jaws Wired Shut"||Nancy Kruse||Matt Selman||January 27, 2002||DABF05||14.2|
A jaw injury from colliding with a new town statue turns Homer into a better listener while recuperating with his jaws wired shut, but once the wires come off, Homer does not go back to being loud and obnoxious and Marge becomes starved for thrills.|
Guest star: John Kassir.
|279||10||"Half-Decent Proposal"||Lauren MacMullan||Tim Long||February 10, 2002||DABF04||13.2|
Homer develops a snoring problem, so Marge decides to spend a night with her sisters Patty and Selma. After a night of drinking, Marge sees a news report about her ex-prom date Artie Ziff, who is now very wealthy, and decides to send him an e-mail. Artie is still obsessed with Marge, so he offers the Simpsons $1 million in exchange for Marge spending a weekend with him.|
Guest star: Jon Lovitz.
|280||11||"The Bart Wants What It Wants"||Michael Polcino||John Frink & Don Payne||February 17, 2002||DABF06||11.2|
Bart befriends Rainer Wolfcastle's daughter Greta. She has a crush on Bart, but he does not seem to realize it and eventually stops seeing her. Seeking revenge, Greta begins dating Bart's best friend Milhouse, which causes Bart to start missing her. She leaves for Toronto with her father, and Bart convinces his family to follow them there.|
Guest star: Reese Witherspoon and Wolfgang Puck.
|281||12||"The Lastest Gun in the West"||Bob Anderson||John Swartzwelder||February 24, 2002||DABF07||13.2|
While running away from a vicious dog, Bart meets Buck McCoy, a former Western film star. Bart begins hanging out with him and starts to idolize him. Bart wants to help McCoy stage a comeback, so he convinces all of the kids in town to become interested in the Wild West. McCoy appears on the Krusty the Clown Show, but the comeback flops when Buck begins drinking again and injures Krusty the Clown.|
Guest star: Dennis Weaver and Frank Welker.
|282||13||"The Old Man and the Key"||Lance Kramer||Jon Vitti||March 10, 2002||DABF09||14.5|
Grampa falls in love with Zelda, a woman who has an interest in men who can drive. He decides to get his driver's license back, but is ignorant to Homer and Marge's concerns that she is only using him for his car.|
Guest star: Olympia Dukakis and Bill Saluga.
|283||14||"Tales from the Public Domain"||Mike B. Anderson||Andrew Kreisberg|
|March 17, 2002||DABF08||11.7|
|When Homer gets a notice from the library that he has a book of classic tales that is years overdue, he finds it on the shelf and reads three stories: The Odyssey (where Homer and his bar buddies try to get home after fighting the Trojans), Joan of Arc (where Lisa leads the French against the English with the help of God), and Hamlet (where Bart tries to kill Moe after Moe kills Homer in order to marry Marge).|
|284||15||"Blame It on Lisa"||Steven Dean Moore||Bob Bendetson||March 31, 2002||DABF10||11.1|
|When Homer gets the family's telephone service cut off for refusing to pay for calls made to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Lisa confesses that she was the one who called Rio after sponsoring an orphan who goes missing. She convinces the family to travel to Brazil to look for him. However, once there, they have no luck finding him, and Homer is kidnapped.|
|285||16||"Weekend at Burnsie's"||Michael Marcantel||Jon Vitti||April 7, 2002||DABF11||12.5|
Homer is prescribed medicinal marijuana after getting pecked in the eyes by a murder of crows. While his family and friends worry about the drug altering his personality, Homer becomes Mr. Burns's vice president after cracking up at Burns's antiquated jokes.|
Guest star: Phish (Trey Anastasio, Jon Fishman, Mike Gordon and Page McConnell).
|286||17||"Gump Roast"||Mark Kirkland||Deb Lacusta & Dan Castellaneta||April 21, 2002||DABF12||12.3|
|In this clip show episode, Homer is honored at a Friars' Club Roast. A number of characters show up to roast him, but the celebrating is interrupted by Kang and Kodos, who say that humanity will be judged based on Homer's experiences.|
|287||18||"I Am Furious (Yellow)"||Chuck Sheetz||John Swartzwelder||April 28, 2002||DABF13||12.4|
Inspired by a cartoonist who speaks at the school as part of a career day assembly, Bart creates a comic book series based on Homer and his anger problems, which turns into a popular Internet cartoon series called Angry Dad. Homer finds out about this and is at first outraged, but after talking to his family, he decides to try to become a less angry person.|
Guest star: Stan Lee.
|288||19||"The Sweetest Apu"||Matthew Nastuk||John Swartzwelder||May 5, 2002||DABF14||11.8|
Homer and Marge discover that Apu is having an affair with the Squishee delivery lady at the Kwik-E-Mart. They decide to keep Apu's wife Manjula from finding out about it. However, she eventually learns of Apu's affair by watching store security tapes. She throws Apu out of the house and decides to file for divorce, but soon realizes that she misses him.|
Guest star: James Lipton.
|289||20||"Little Girl in the Big Ten"||Lauren MacMullan||Jon Vitti||May 12, 2002||DABF15||11.2|
Lisa tries to fit in with two college students by lying about her age. She finds that the college atmosphere is perfect for her, but her lie is soon discovered and she is shunned by her fellow elementary school students. Meanwhile, Bart is diagnosed with a weakened immune system after getting bitten by a Chinese mosquito and must live in a plastic, germ-free bubble.|
Guest star: Robert Pinsky.
|290||21||"The Frying Game"||Michael Polcino||John Swartzwelder||May 19, 2002||DABF16||10.8|
While faced with community service for abusing an endangered insect, Homer begins assisting an elderly woman named Mrs. Bellamy. One night, Mrs. Bellamy is murdered, and Homer and Marge are accused of committing the crime.|
Guest star: Carmen Electra and Frances Sternhagen.
|291||22||"Poppa's Got a Brand New Badge"||Pete Michels||Dana Gould||May 22, 2002||DABF17||8.2|
Homer starts a security company with Lenny and Carl after the police are ineffective during a blackout, and eventually Mayor Quimby decides to have them replace the police. Homer finds that he excels at the job, but then he runs afoul of mob boss Fat Tony, who threatens Homer with death unless he leaves town.|
Guest star: Joe Mantegna.
The DVD and Blu-ray boxset for season thirteen was released by 20th Century Fox in the United States and Canada on August 24, 2010, eight years after it had completed broadcast on television. As well as every episode from the season, the Blu-ray and DVD releases feature bonus material including deleted scenes, animatics, and commentaries for every episode. The boxart features Ralph Wiggum, and a special limited edition "embossed head case" package was also released. The Blu-ray set is also available on Region 4. In Region 2, the set is only available on DVD.
|The Complete Thirteenth Season|
|Set details||Special features|
|Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|August 24, 2010||September 20, 2010||December 1, 2010|
"A Hunka Hunka Burns in Love" is the fourth episode of The Simpsons’ thirteenth season. It first aired on the Fox network on December 2, 2001. In the episode, Mr. Burns falls in love with Gloria, a woman who is much younger than he is and who turns out to be Snake Jailbird's ex-girlfriend.
The episode was written by John Swartzwelder, directed by Lance Kramer and dedicated to the memory of George Harrison. The episode featured, along with George Takei as a waiter and Karl Wiedergott as a delivery boy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who appeared as Mr Burns' love interest Gloria. The episode received positive reviews from critics following the thirteenth season's release on DVD and Blu-ray.Blame It on Lisa
"Blame It on Lisa" is the fifteenth episode of the thirteenth season of the American animated sitcom The Simpsons. In the episode, the Simpson family goes to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in search of a Brazilian orphan named Ronaldo whom Lisa has been sponsoring. Lisa used to receive a letter from Ronaldo every month, but that recently stopped and according to personnel at the orphanage, he is missing. As the Simpsons search through Rio de Janeiro, Homer is kidnapped and in order to free him the family must pay a ransom of $50,000, which they do not have. Lisa soon discovers that Ronaldo has been working in a flamingo costume on the children's television series Teleboobies, which is the reason he left the orphanage. Ronaldo finally meets up with the Simpsons and gives them the $50,000 they need to rescue Homer.
Written by Bob Bendetson and directed by Steven Dean Moore, "Blame It on Lisa" features several references to popular culture, including a parody of the Brazilian children's television host Xuxa and an allusion to the film A Trip to the Moon. When it originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on March 31, 2002, it was seen by around eleven million people. In 2010, the episode was released on DVD and Blu-ray along with the rest of the episodes of the thirteenth season.
"Blame It on Lisa" was controversial in Brazil because of its inclusion of clichés and stereotypes, and because the Brazilian culture was inaccurately mixed with the cultures of surrounding Latin American countries. Riotur, the tourist board of Rio de Janeiro, planned on suing Fox for damaging the international image of the city, which they thought was incorrectly portrayed as having rampant street crime, kidnappings, slums, and a rat infestation. James L. Brooks, executive producer of The Simpsons, soon issued an apology to Rio de Janeiro.Gump Roast
"Gump Roast" is the seventeenth episode of The Simpsons’ thirteenth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on April 21, 2002. In the episode, Homer Simpson is honored by the townspeople at a Friars' Club Roast, until it is interrupted by Kang and Kodos.The episode was directed by Mark Kirkland and was written by Dan Castellaneta and his wife Deb Lacusta. The plot idea for the episode came about when The Simpsons cast members were on hiatus following a payment dispute. This is the fifth and, so far, the last clip show The Simpsons has produced. Instead, the series implements one "trilogy episode" each season. When it was first broadcast, "Gump Roast" received a 5.7 rating and was watched by 12.2 million viewers, making it the 16th most watched television show of the night. However, following its release on DVD and Blu-ray, the episode received negative reviews from critics.Homer the Moe
"Homer the Moe" is the third episode of The Simpsons’ thirteenth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 18, 2001. In the episode, Moe, following advice of his former bartending professor, decides to modernize his bar. The bar's new image attracts several customers, but leaves Moe's four regular customers, Homer, Lenny, Carl, and Barney, feeling alienated, which in turn prompts Homer to open his own private bar, disguising it as a hunting club to avoid liquor license restrictions.
The episode was directed by Jen Kamerman and was the first episode Dana Gould wrote for The Simpsons. Gould based the part about Homer's bar on his own father, who opened a hunting club in order to sell alcohol without having to acquire a liquor license. The episode featured the musical group R.E.M., who appeared as themselves. It received mixed reviews from critics following the thirteenth season's release on DVD and Blu-ray.I Am Furious (Yellow)
"I Am Furious (Yellow)" is the eighteenth episode of The Simpsons' thirteenth season. It first aired in the United States on the Fox network on April 28, 2002. In the episode, Bart creates a comic book series based on his father Homer's anger problems, which turns into a popular Internet cartoon series called Angry Dad. Homer finds out about this and is at first outraged, but after talking to his family, he decides to try to become a less angry person.
The episode was directed by Chuck Sheetz and written by John Swartzwelder. The idea for the episode was pitched by Matt Selman, and the staff took inspiration for the episode from the Simpsons staff's own experience with web cartoons, such as Queer Duck and Hard Drinkin' Lincoln. The episode includes references to the dot-com bubble, Danish physicist Niels Bohr and comic book publishers Marvel Comics and DC Comics. It also features American comic book writer Stan Lee as himself.
Before its original broadcast, "I Am Furious (Yellow)" faced scrutiny from fans, who thought that Homer would literally transform into the Hulk in the episode. In its original broadcast, the episode was seen by approximately 7.8 million viewers, finishing in 26th place in the ratings the week it aired. Following its home video release, "I Am Furious (Yellow)" received positive reviews from critics, and is often considered a favorite among fans. A sequel to this episode, "Angry Dad: The Movie", in which Bart and Homer make a short film based on Angry Dad, aired in the United States on February 20, 2011.Jaws Wired Shut
"Jaws Wired Shut" is the ninth episode of The Simpsons' thirteenth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on January 27, 2002. In the episode, Homer gets his jaw injured by running into the fist of Drederick Tatum's statue. As a result, Homer's jaw is wired shut, making him unable to speak. Initially, Marge enjoys Homer's inability to talk, as it makes him a better listener and a more compassionate person. However, when Homer's jaw is finally healed, Marge starts to miss his earlier, wilder personality.
The episode was written by Matt Selman and directed by Nancy Kruse. The plot idea for the episode was pitched by Selman, as was the setpiece, which originated from a discussion he had with current showrunner Al Jean. Comedian John Kassir guest-starred as one of the gay dogs in the gay pride parade in the episode. In its original broadcast, the episode was seen by approximately 8.7 million viewers, making it the most watched scripted program on Fox that night. Following its home video release, "Jaws Wired Shut" received mostly positive reviews from critics.Poppa's Got a Brand New Badge
"Poppa's Got a Brand New Badge" is the twenty-second episode and season finale of The Simpsons' thirteenth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 22, 2002. In the episode, a massive heatwave causes the residents of Springfield to install large air conditioning devices in their homes. This leads the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant to overload, causing two town-wide blackouts to occur. The Springfield Police Department are powerless to the riots that follow, prompting Homer, dissatisfied with the police's incompetence, to start his own security company called SpringShield.
"Poppa's Got a Brand New Badge" was directed by Pete Michels and written by Dana Gould, who also pitched the idea for the episode. It features American actor Joe Mantegna as recurring character Fat Tony, and includes references to Dragnet, High Noon and The Sopranos. In its original broadcast, the episode was seen by approximately 5.3 million viewers, finishing in 53rd place in the ratings the week it aired. Following its home video release on August 24, 2010, the episode received mixed reviews from critics. The episode was dedicated to the memory of Stephen Jay Gould who died two days before it aired. He had voiced himself in the ninth-season episode "Lisa the Skeptic".She of Little Faith
"She of Little Faith" is the sixth episode of The Simpsons' thirteenth season. It first aired in the United States on the Fox network on December 16, 2001. In the episode, Bart Simpson and his father Homer accidentally launch a model rocket into the Springfield church, causing the church council to accept funding plans from Mr. Burns for reparation.
Discontent with how commercialized the rebuilt church has become, Lisa abandons Christianity and seeks out to follow a new religion.
The episode was directed by Steven Dean Moore and written by Bill Freiberger, whom executive producer and show runner Al Jean had met while working on the television series Teen Angel. The plot idea for the episode was pitched by Jean, who wanted to expand on Lisa's personality, even though some of the Simpsons writers were concerned over the episode's originality. Lisa has remained a Buddhist since this episode. The episode features actor Richard Gere, who agreed to star as long as Buddhism was portrayed accurately, and as long as Lisa would say "Free Tibet".
The episode was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming less than One Hour) in 2002, which it ultimately lost to the Futurama episode, "Roswell That Ends Well". Following the thirteenth season's release on DVD and Blu-ray, the episode received mostly positive reviews from critics.Sweets and Sour Marge
"Sweets and Sour Marge" is the eighth episode of The Simpsons' thirteenth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on January 20, 2002. In the episode, Homer gathers several of Springfield's citizens to participate in creating the biggest human pyramid in the world. It fails, but they instead learn that Springfield is the world's fattest town, prompting Homer's wife Marge to sue Garth Motherloving's sugar company.
"Sweets and Sour Marge" was written by Carolyn Omine and directed by Mark Kirkland. It was dedicated to the memory of Ron Taylor. Omine conceived the episode after hearing about smokers who sued tobacco companies. While its plot is loosely based on Erin Brockovich, the episode also features references to Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, What's Eating Gilbert Grape and Butterfinger. It also features Ben Stiller as Garth Motherloving. In its original broadcast, the episode was seen by approximately 7.5 million viewers, finishing in 34th place in the ratings the week it aired. Following its home video release, the episode received mixed reviews from critics.Tales from the Public Domain
"Tales from the Public Domain" is the fourteenth episode of The Simpsons’ thirteenth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on March 17, 2002. It is the third trilogy episode of the series, which had become annual since the twelfth season's "Simpsons Tall Tales", consisting of three self-contained segments that are based on historical stories. The first segment puts Homer Simpson in the role of Odysseus in the ancient Greek epic poem the Odyssey. The second segment tells the story of Joan of Arc, and the third and final segment lampoons William Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet.
The episode was written by Andrew Kreisberg, Josh Lieb and Matt Warburton, and Mike B. Anderson served as the director. Show runner and executive producer Al Jean stated that the episode was "very fun for the writers" to do because it "allow[ed] them to parody great works of literature." On the other hand, Anderson stated that the episode was "much harder" to direct than others because, like with Treehouse of Horror episodes, the animators had to make as many character designs for one act as they would for one normal episode.
In its original American broadcast, the episode was seen by more than 4% of the population between ages 18 and 49. Following its release on DVD and Blu-ray however, the episode received mixed reviews from critics.The Bart Wants What It Wants
"The Bart Wants What it Wants" is the eleventh episode of The Simpsons' thirteenth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on February 17, 2002. In the episode, Bart befriends Rainier Wolfcastle's daughter, Greta. While Greta falls in love with him, Bart only accompanies her because she owns a lot of entertaining things.
"The Bart Wants What it Wants" was written by John Frink and Don Payne while Michael Polcino served as director. Although the episode's first draft was written by Frink and Payne, the idea for the episode was pitched by staff writer Matt Selman. Because the Simpsons visit Toronto in the episode, the Fox network wanted to promote it by having the city of Toronto declare February 17 "The Simpsons day", and award the Simpsons family a key to the city. Because the city does not allow for-profit companies to receive a key, the request was turned down.
"The Bart Wants What it Wants" also features guest stars Reese Witherspoon as Greta and Wolfgang Puck as himself. It also features references to Scrabble, Seinfeld and Whassup?, an advertisement campaign for Budweiser beer. In its original broadcast, the episode was seen by approximately 6.4 million viewers, finishing in 27th place in the ratings the week it aired. Following its broadcast, the episode received mixed reviews from critics.The Blunder Years
"The Blunder Years" is the fifth episode of The Simpsons’ thirteenth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on December 9, 2001. The episode sees Homer, after being hypnotized by the hypnotist Mesmerino while having dinner at the restaurant Pimento Grove, reminded by a repressed traumatic experience from his childhood. The Simpsons set out to find the corpse that triggered Homer's psychological trauma, which evolves into a murder mystery later in the episode.
The episode was written by Ian Maxtone-Graham while Steven Dean Moore served as the director. The original idea for the episode came from current show runner Al Jean, which involved the murder mystery in the episode. The writers then incorporated Homer's flashbacks, at which point the episode was titled "The Blunder Years", a parody on the television show The Wonder Years.
Following the release of The Simpsons' thirteenth season on DVD and Blu-ray, the episode received mixed reviews from critics.The Frying Game
"The Frying Game" is the twenty-first episode of The Simpsons' thirteenth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 19, 2002. In the episode, after accidentally injuring an endangered screamapillar, Homer is sentenced to two weeks of community service. As part of his sentence, Homer delivers Meals on Wheels to an old woman called Mrs. Bellamy, who subtly guilts trips him, and later Marge, into becoming her personal servants. One day, the two find Mrs. Bellamy dead in her house, having been stabbed by a man with braces who quickly escapes the murder scene. Being the only ones present when the police arrive, Homer and Marge are soon suspected for the murder. The episode also features a "Snuh cascade", an homage to a group of Simpsons fans on Usenet.
"The Frying Game" was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Michael Polcino. The screamapillar was conceived by the episode's writer, who pitched it to the other staff writers. It has since been described as a satire on the Endangered Species Act, a United States environmental law passed during the 1970s. The idea that Homer's execution was in fact part of a reality game show was conceived by former staff writer George Meyer. The episode features Frances Sternhagen as Mrs. Bellamy and Carmen Electra as herself. In its original broadcast, the episode was seen by approximately 6.5 million viewers, finishing in 46th place in the ratings the week it aired. Following its home video release, the episode received mixed reviews from critics.The Lastest Gun in the West
"The Lastest Gun in the West" is the twelfth episode of The Simpsons’ thirteenth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on February 24, 2002. In the episode, Bart, after being chased by a vicious dog, runs into a retired Western star named Buck McCoy, who soon becomes Bart's idol. After McCoy shows the Simpsons some of the films he starred in, the family decides to help him get back into acting.
The episode was directed by Bob Anderson and written by John Swartzwelder, who based the script on a story idea pitched by fellow Simpsons writer Ron Hauge. The episode features Dennis Weaver as the retired Western actor Buck McCoy, as well as Frank Welker as the vicious dog, and Karl Wiedergott as an alcoholic resembling Walter Brennan. When it was first broadcast, "The Lastest Gun in the West" was seen by 5.9% of the American population between ages 18 and 49. It has since been negatively received by fans and has garnered mixed reviews from critics.The Old Man and the Key
"The Old Man and the Key" is the thirteenth episode of The Simpsons' thirteenth season. It first aired in the United States on the Fox network on March 10, 2002. In the episode, Grampa Simpson falls in love with Zelda, an old woman who has just moved into the senior home in which Grampa lives. However, Grampa is not the only one in the home who is infatuated with Zelda.
The episode was written by Jon Vitti and directed by Lance Kramer. The storyline was pitched by Vitti, who based it on an article about social status in senior homes. The episode features Olympia Dukakis as Zelda, and Bill Saluga as his television character Ray J. Johnson. The song "Ode to Branson", which was written by Vitti and composed by Alf Clausen, was submitted for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Music And Lyrics in 2002, which it ultimately lost to a score from The Blue Planet.The Parent Rap
"The Parent Rap" is the second episode and official premiere of the thirteenth season of The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 11, 2001. In the episode, Bart and his father, Homer, are sentenced by the cruel judge Constance Harm to be tethered to each other as a result of Bart stealing Police Chief Wiggum's car. Eventually, Homer's wife, Marge, is fed up with the punishment and cuts the rope, which instead leads to Judge Harm sentencing them to have their heads and hands locked up in wooden stocks.
The episode was written by George Meyer and Mike Scully, who also served as the show runner for the episode, and Mark Kirkland worked as the director. The writers based the story on “a couple of incidents” in real life in which troublesome children, through alternative sentencing, were tethered to their parents. The episode marks the first appearance of the infamous and notoriously cruel Judge Constance Harm, who is played by actress Jane Kaczmarek.
When it was first broadcast, “The Parent Rap” was watched by 14.4 million viewers, making it the second most watched show of its timeslot that night. After its release on DVD and Blu-ray, however, the episode garnered mixed reviews from critics.The Sweetest Apu
"The Sweetest Apu" is the nineteenth episode of The Simpsons' thirteenth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 5, 2002. In the episode, Homer and his wife Marge discover that convenience store owner Apu is having an affair with the Squishee delivery lady working in his store. It is up to Marge, Homer and Apu to try to keep his wife Manjula from learning his secret.
"The Sweetest Apu" was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Matthew Nastuk. It features Inside the Actors Studio host James Lipton as himself. It also features references to The New Yorker, photographer Richard Avedon and the film Wild Wild West. In its original broadcast, the episode was seen by approximately 7.1 million viewers and finished in 37th place in the ratings the week it aired. Following its home video release on August 24, 2010, the episode received mostly negative reviews from critics.Treehouse of Horror XII
"Treehouse of Horror XII" is the first episode of The Simpsons' thirteenth season. Because of Fox's contract with Major League Baseball's World Series, the episode first aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 6, 2001, nearly one week after Halloween. It is the twelfth annual Treehouse of Horror episode, consisting of three self-contained segments. In the first segment, a gypsy puts a curse on Homer, which puts everybody he cares about in danger. In the second segment, which is a parody on both 2001: A Space Odyssey and Demon Seed, the Simpson family buys a new house, who falls in love with Marge and attempts to kill Homer. In the third and final segment, which lampoons the Harry Potter franchise, Lord Montymort attempts to capture Lisa, a skilled magician, in order to drain her magic powers.
The episode was written by Joel H. Cohen, John Frink, Don Payne and Carolyn Omine while Jim Reardon served as the director. It was the first Treehouse of Horror since the original special to not employ "scary names" in the credits. According to executive producer Ian Maxtone-Graham, this was due to the September 11 terrorist attacks, after which the Simpsons staff tried to be more serious and sensitive. However, according to current show runner Al Jean, the "scary names" were dropped because they were too difficult to come up with. The episode contains numerous references and parodies to science fiction and horror works, including 2001: A Space Odyssey, Demon Seed, Harry Potter and Star Wars. The episode also features Pierce Brosnan and Matthew Perry as guest stars.
The episode was considered a success in the ratings when it first aired, boosting the Fox network to victory among viewers between ages 18 and 49 the night it was broadcast. Since airing, the episode has received mixed reviews from critics. In particular, critics were dissatisfied with the last segment of the show, while "House of Whacks" was often considered to be the best of the three.Weekend at Burnsie's
"Weekend at Burnsie's" is the sixteenth episode of The Simpsons' thirteenth season. It first aired in the United States on the Fox network on April 7, 2002. In the episode, Homer Simpson is prescribed medicinal marijuana after getting pecked in the eyes by a murder of crows. While his family and friends worry about the drug altering his personality, Homer becomes Mr. Burns's vice president after cracking up at Burns's antiquated jokes.
The episode was directed by Michael Marcantel. The plot idea for the episode was pitched by George Meyer, who wanted to make an episode about Homer getting addicted to medicinal marijuana. Executive producer and current showrunner Al Jean found the idea "very funny" and gave former staff writer Jon Vitti the duty to write the episode's first draft. Fox was initially very uneasy to pass the episode for broadcast, since they were concerned that it might encourage younger viewers to smoke marijuana. Even though The Simpsons' staff slightly altered the episode by not actually showing Homer smoke his medicinal marijuana, the network was still worried that it might cause a controversy.
The use of medicinal marijuana is prominently featured throughout "Weekend at Burnsie's". Because the legislation of medicinal marijuana is a controversial issue, The Simpsons' staff has stated that they wanted to explore both sides of the argument, showing both the negative and positive effects of marijuana use. The episode does not come to an absolute conclusion about the issue. The episode also criticizes the use of genetically modified foods, and references Citizen Kane, Dragnet, The Birds, and Judy Garland, among other things. It also features the American rock band Phish as themselves.
Despite the network's initial concerns, "Weekend at Burnsie's" did not attract any controversy. In its original broadcast, the episode was seen by approximately 7.2 million viewers, finishing in 46th place in the ratings the week it aired. Following the thirteenth season's release on DVD and Blu-ray on August 24, 2010, the episode received mostly positive reviews from critics.
The episode is one of two from the series that has been restricted to post-watershed airing in the UK - a restriction that is still in place as of 2019 (the other episode being The Cartridge Family, although the restrictions on this episode have since been lifted).