DVD cover featuring Ralph Wiggum
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||22|
|Original release||November 6, 2001 –|
May 22, 2002
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.
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 cred 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 box set for season thirteen was released by 20th Century Fox in the United States and Canada on Tuesday, 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 ion "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|
|Tuesday, August 24, 2010||Monday, September 20, 2010||Wednesday, December 1, 2010|