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The Simpsons

Season 13 Episode 5

The Blunder Years

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Dec 09, 2001 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
149 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

The Blunder Years
Marge falls for the image of the man on the package Burly paper towels. Homer and Bart scam Marge by making her think that Chad Sexington, the burly paper towel model, is coming to dinner. Who shows up in place of Chad? A shirtless Barney. To make up for her humiliation, Homer takes her and the family out to dinner and a show. A featured performer on the bill is Mesmerino and Homer offers himself up for hypnosis. When Homer reverts to himself at 12 years old, it triggers something within that causes him to start screaming incessantly. With the use of some Indian Memory Tea, Homer and Moe, recall when they were twelve and Homer found a dead body, which he never reported. The family journeys to the old quarry to find the body; which they do, with help from Chief Wiggum and Burly paper towels. They follow the drainage pipe back to its source, The pipe leads back to Burns' office at the plant. He disposed of a corpse thirty years earlier. It was the corpse of Waylon Smithers... senior. He shows an old film to prove the death was accidental. Homer and Marge journey home, with Homer feeling satisfied. Moe visits them and tells about how he cracked the case.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • mediocre

    half of the episode was homer screaming (admittedly this was kind of funny), the other half a murder mystery... it was an OK episode, it was interesting to see who the corpse was. it was kind of even foreshadowed when smithers makes the comment that his dad is dead (it takes skill to foreshadow something in a show imo). it was an OK episode i guess but it was kind of low on laughs and whilst the plot was kind of interesting i don't think they handled it the best they could. it gets a C- or so from memoreless
  • The Simpsosn solve a mystery

    When Marge falls in love with the spokesperson on the Burly Towel, Homer decieds to fool Marge into thinking Chad Sexington is coming over for dinner. Who actually comes? A shirtless Barney. Marge is embarrased, so Homer takes her out to a dinner and magic show to make it up for her. While there, Homer gets hypnotized to think that he's 12 years old. He then starts screaming for a long time. Later, Homer drinks memory tea to see what happened that caused him to scream. He remembers that he saw a dead body. The Simpsons and Cheif Wiggum go back to the swimming hole to try to find the body. They find it, and the tunnel that its in leads to Mr. Burn's office. He tells them that it's Smither's father.

    This was a pretty good episode. I loved Barney's scene, Homer screaming, and the whole mystery plot.

    Overall Grade: 80%/B-moreless
  • Decent

    In this episode, Homer plays a prank on Marge so bad, that he has to actually aplogize and take her out to make up for it. They then go to a play restaurant, and Homer is hypnotized into remembering a memory from when he was 12, that has haunted him since. Can the Simpson family figure out whats wrong? It was a good episode for the most part, I liked the mystery of it all, and the prank at the beginning was funny (of course I can't forget Burley Towels.) I didn't like Homer screaming for as long as he did, it reminded me of a bad family guy joke (luckily, this one was better.) This was a decent episode for the most part. 8/10 B-moreless
  • An entertaining Simpsons episode with a nice plot and mystery to it

    "The Blunder Years"

    Grade: A-

    One of the better episodes of Season 13, The Blunder Years had some good quotes, interesting plot elements, and even some flashbacks and revalations to it. The whole episode worked and despite not having too many huge jokes, the structure of it held up well.

    The episode starts out with Marge coming home with her grocery, discovering that she brought the wrong paper towel brand, named "Burleys". She decides to give it a go anyway, and becomes so attached to it that she ends up writing a letter to the company, hoping to meet up with the owner (or Burley himself).

    Homer and Bart see this opportunity to pull off a prank of pretending to be Burley, and Marge arranges everything to meet up and have family dinner with him. Once Homer reveals that it was all a set-up by revealing Barney as Burley, Marge feels humiliated, and Lisa suggests that he makes up for it by taking her out to a dinner and a show.

    The family go to have dinner alongside an event show, with Marge admitting now that the prank was kind of funny after realising she got too obsessed with Burley. A hypnotist comes out for the show and attempts to successfully hypnotise people, including Homer, but it goes wrong after he tells Homer to be back at the age of 12, as Homer constantly starts screaming at the top of his lungs non-stop.

    As a result of being too loud to go to work, Marge manages to stop Homer's screams by giving him some Yaqui Tea. As Homer begins to rethink his memories of what occured to him at that age, he remembers Lenny, Carl, Moe, and him going to a quarry to swim in. Homer jumps in whilst the others chicken out due to the lack of water. Homer tries to clear this up by unblocking the water pipe, and after successfully doing this, he accidently uncovers a corpse that was stuck inside, resulting in the screams.

    Nevertheless, the family conclude that the corpse is still in the quarry, and team up with Chief Wiggum to try and find it. After realising the quarry is full of water again, Marge uses Burley's paper towels to absorb all the water, and discover that the corpse is now just a skeleton after all those years.

    They decide to follow the pipe that originally had the corpse all the way to the end to find out who murdered the person, and discover it leads to Mr Burns' office. Mr Burns explains everything with a film reel showing that the corpse was Smithers' father after he saved the town from a nuclear disaster by sacrificing his own life for everyone. Mr Burns dumped the body into the pipe afterwards because he didn't want Smithers finding out. Smithers does find out anyway, and is glad that the real reason his father died was because he was being a hero.

    The episode ends with Moe coming into the Simpsons house with clues for the mystery, whilst the family tell them they've already solved it, but nevertheless let him continue with what he's discovered anyway.moreless
  • Homer has visions of a traulmatizing expirence back when he was 12.

    Well I had my doubts about this episode, but it sure did pull through for me because this was episode was just hilarious and very entertaining. I dont understand why people hate this episode. I enjoyed Homer screaming, and uncovering the mystery of Mr. Smither's death. I found it to be a great episode, and I especially loved how horrible of a sleuth moe was haha. There were a lot of very memorable jokes in here. Also, I think that sesaon 13 is shaping up quite nicely. This is one of the main reasons that I so very much enjoy this season.moreless
Julie Kavner

Julie Kavner

Marge Simpson, Patty Bouvier, and Selma Bouvier

Harry Shearer

Harry Shearer

Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, Waylon Smithers, Kent Brockman, and others

Dan Castellaneta

Dan Castellaneta

Homer Simpson, Grampa Simpson, Barney Gumble, Krusty the Clown, Groundskeeper Willie, and others

Nancy Cartwright

Nancy Cartwright

Bart Simpson, Nelson Muntz, Ralph Wiggum, Todd Flanders, and others

Yeardley Smith

Yeardley Smith

Lisa Simpson

Hank Azaria

Hank Azaria

Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Moe Szyslak, Chief Wiggum, Comic Book Guy, Lou, and others

Judith Owen

Judith Owen


Guest Star

Paul Newman

Paul Newman


Guest Star

Joe Mantegna

Joe Mantegna

Fat Tony

Recurring Role

Tress MacNeille

Tress MacNeille

Agnes Skinner, Brandine Del Roy, Dolph and others

Recurring Role

Karl Wiedergott

Karl Wiedergott

Additional Voices

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • In Homer's flashback, when he begins screaming among seeing the corpse on his lap, he initially starts screaming in his higher-pitched voice he had at age twelve, but after screaming a few times his voice suddenly switches to his "present" self, resembling how he screamed constantly at the restaurant.

    • At The Pimento Grove, there are pictures showing characters and guest stars including Birch Barlow, Barry White, Bette Midler, Brooke Shields, Stephen Hawking, Rainier Wolfcastle, Johnny Carson, David Crosby, Leonard Nimoy, Anthony and Flea from The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ron Howard, Paul McCartney, Betty White and Bumblebee Man.

  • QUOTES (17)

    • Mr. Burns: What are you people doing in my corpse hatch?!
      Chief Wiggum: Mr Burns, you're under arrest for murder!
      Mr. Burns: Oh, did I say "corpse hatch?" I meant "innocence tube!"

    • Homer: Wait a minute! I remember falling in the mud, but I don't think that's why I've been screaming.
      Moe: Fine, crap all over my theory.

    • Young Moe: Ah, look at all them stars. Bunch of lazy lights, don't do nothing for nobody.

    • Marge: Well, is anything coming back to you?
      Homer: There have been so many classic Simpsons moments. I remember the time I tried to jump Springfield Gorge
      (Cut to flashback)
      Homer: I'm gonna make it!
      (Cut back)
      Lisa: No, dad! Everyone's sick of that memory!

    • (Lenny and Carl bring Homer home.)
      Carl: Sorry, Mrs. S. He was kind of disruptin' things at work.
      Lenny: Yeah! He ruined nap time and quiet time!

    • Marge: I guess it was a pretty funny prank. I like the ones where nothing catches on fire.
      Homer: Yeah. Nothing gets hurt, except feelings.

    • Lisa: I came as home as fast as I could! What's going on?
      Marge: Watch what happens when I spill this blue liquid.
      (She cleans it with the paper towel.)
      Lisa: You pulled me out of school for this?

    • Young Moe: Are you guys really gonna dive off of here?
      Young Lenny: Not me. I'm shaking like a French soldier.
      Young Carl: Yeah, I think I just logged on to my internet.

    • Young Carl: Have you heard about this Internet thing?
      Young Lenny: Internet?
      Young Carl: Yeah, its the inner netting they invented to line swim trunks. It provides a comforting snugness.

    • (Marge unpacks the groceries.)
      Marge: Fruit roll-ups for Bart... Beer roll-ups for Homer.

    • Marge: Wow Moe, you've been doing a lot of sleuthing.
      Moe: Oh, yeah, oh yeah, I sleuthed my ass off on this one.

    • Young Fat Tony: You've stumbled onto our secret supply of tobacc-y. (Points to patch of tobacco plant)
      Young Lenny: Wow, is that wacky tobacc-y?
      Young Fat Tony: The wackiest!

    • Mr Burns: I told him that his father was murdered by a tribe of savage women. (to Smithers) I hope that didn't affect you in any way.
      Smithers: We'll never know, sir.

    • Mr Burns: If you see one film this year that proves my innocence, make it this one!

    • Young Lenny: Hey, it's coming from that new nuclear plant!
      Young Carl: Yeah, there's your future! Can you imagine us working there?

    • Marge: Maybe we should wait til morning.
      Homer: Someone's yellow belly is showing!
      Bart: Oh, sorry. (Pulls down shirt to cover his stomach)

    • (After Homer attempts to have a fantasy about Paul Newman)
      Paul Newman: I'm going to tell you the same thing I told Redford, it ain't gonna happen.

  • NOTES (1)

    • Blackboard Joke: I am not Charlie Brown on acid.
      Couch Gag: The family runs in and is frozen in mid-air while the camera pans around them 180 degrees parodying similar shots from The Matrix. The family unfreezes, lands on the couch and Homer turns on the TV with the remote.


    • Carnac The Magnificent

      Mesmerino psychically predicting what his mail says is a parody of Carnac The Magnificent, a sketch on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in the 1970's, 1980's, and early 1990's. Ed McMahon would hand him envelopes with the beginning of a joke and Carnac would predict the punchline.

    • Brawny paper towels
      Burly paper towels and the lumberjack, are a takeoff of Brawny paper towels.

    • The Wonder Years
      The title of this episode is a parody of the title of the TV series, The Wonder Years.

    • Stand by Me
      A large portion of the episode is a spoof of the 1986 film Stand by Me. Among the homages are: the singing on the tracks; crossing the bridge; Moe's rescue with the gun, and the plot device of finding a dead body.

    • Lenny: I thought we were gonna call ourselves "Lenny and the Jets."
      This is a reference to one of Elton John's many hit songs, "Bennie and the Jets" from the 1973 album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

    • South Park
      The blackboard joke for this episode, "I am not Charlie Brown on acid," is a reference to the TV series South Park. The creators describe their show as Peanuts on acid. Peanuts being the cartoon strip in which Charlie Brown is featured.